I Woke Up When I Died That Day
St. Patrick’s Day 1998 is the luckiest day of my life.
The night before I write a goodbye note and swallow a lethal combination of drugs with a glass of liquor. The morning of Tuesday, March 17, I wake up in a fog at the emergency room with my sister at my side. She and the physician agree the best thing for me is an involuntary committal to a psychiatric hospital. Later that morning I am bound with hand-cuffs in the back of a police car heading for an 8 day stay at the hospital.
Just a few days before that I go to my first ever psychiatrist appointment at the urging of my boyfriend. I am convinced that all the problems in our relationship are my fault. It is my fault that I am being emotionally abused. I am the one who needs help.
The help I receive comes in the form of a misdiagnosis. The combination of medicine that I am prescribed along with the guilt I feel about the struggling relationship and the shame of being gay cause me to spiral down into an acute suicidal state of mind. My boss tells me that I was present in body but a total “zombie” otherwise on Monday.
I will never forget the sadness I felt when I swallowed the pills. I was hopeless. There was no way out… I was convinced of that.
With my sister’s support I came out to my parents when they visited me at the hospital. That revelation alone was one of great relief. I was terrified that they would hate me and not want to see me again, but it turns out I was wrong.
My dad tells me he raised me to be the man I was meant to be and that I would always be his son. Mom cries and asks me why I had not told her before then. From that day on I decided to never be ashamed of being gay.
The guilt and shame of attempting suicide stuck with me for many years. I dreaded St. Patrick’s Day because of what it represented. With the correct dual-diagnosis, years of psychotherapy and multiple stays in treatment I can share my story without regret.
On this St. Patrick’s Day 2017, I share my story with you. If you feel like giving up… please don’t. If you feel like there is no way out… there is! Let others love you until you can love yourself. The feelings of hopelessness and helplessness are only temporary. I promise!
You have a story that will help other people find a way out of their own darkness. Ask for help to find your way because YOU ARE WORTH IT! Call 911, go to the nearest emergency room or call the National Suicide Prevention Line 1-800-273-8255.