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I Woke Up When I Died That Day

Jamie Thompson
| March 17, 2017

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.

Nineteen years ago, March 17 was the luckiest day of my life. The part of me that wanted to die and give up died. When I woke up, I was blessed with the gift of awareness. I was conscious of my brokenness. I was ready for the challenge of the rest of my life. I have felt like giving up many times since then but never as much as I did then.

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.

  • Cathy Pietrzyk

    That is a beautiful story, thank you for sharing it with us. I can tell you I have been struggling with many things in life lately and have been at the helpless and hopeless spot so many many times. My mental health had affected my working and my income, I had my car repossessed last week and I literally wad ready to end my life. But I kept going through the motions each day, never feeling like I had a support system. Well friends reached out to me via messenger and started a go fund me page to help get my car back. It was the sweetest thing ever and the people who have donated have just amazed me! I never realized what a fantastic support system I really do have! My ex husband was letting me use his truck so I could continue to go to work and I picked up a 2nd job, I was so excited because it looked like I would be able to get my car back!! That’s all I could focus on, my car, my car, my car. I was still missing the true meaning of everything, one of my Facebook friends had commented trying to raise my spirits by saying “It’s only a car and just a material item” she also shared with me how her daughter had stolen her car and her troubles. She is a beautiful person but I was not getting the message yet. I don’t know why, I suppose due to do many adverse events happening in my life lately (well the last 10 years) I was living in a fog unable to experience joy or any other positive emotions. It was not until this past Tuesday that I actually understood the value of life and true joy or happiness and really how to be thankful for my life and all that I do have. When you are depressed it is very easy to focus on the negative and be unable to see the positive. I set out for work in the borrowed truck and not even 2 miles from my home I lost the brakes as I was going down a steep hill! It was the most frightening event I’ve ever experienced, I literally thought I would most likely die as I began to pick up speed down the hill. At the bottom of the hill there is a wide turn and then it comes to a T a it intersects with another road. Knowing this I knew I could not continue to travel along the road and there is a grassy area on the right side of the road. Do many things went through my head as to what I should or could possibly do, my best bet was to go in this grassy area. Well as I began to go that way I must have lost control of the vehicle, I struck a telephone pole and then a few trees, only to roll over in the truck a few times. I remember striking my head and things went all white, I thought I was dying at that point. I think I kept my consciousness and the truck landed right side up in the same lane I was traveling but I was facing on coming traffic. Thank God this is not a major highway but it thankfully is a road people do travel and people stopped to help and also came out of their houses to help as they heard the loud crash. I was stuck in the truck and had to wait for the medics to get me out. My anxiety was raging and my hands were tingling so badly, I was afraid I had sustained some type of internal injury and was going to lose consciousness at the scene and probably die. Oh it was terrible, I kept thinking about my children and how much I loved them. I was extracted from the vehicle and there was glass everywhere and all over me from the windshield, as they were walking me to the ambulance I turned to look at the truck and it was totaled,the front end on the passengers side was pushed up into the vehicle. I didn’t realized until later as I saw a photo, the side of the truck on the passengers side was also smashed in! Where I sat was not as severe, I was so lucky my life was spared and I thought of all the times I had this hopelessness and helplessness in my brain not caring if I lived or died. Oh how wrong I was!!! And the friends who have reached out with such kind compassion, I am totally blown away!!! I do have a support system after all!! It is the greatest gift I could ever be given and I realized as my sister fought with me on the telephone two days later that life is not about feeling guilty as I have for so many years, she always trys to make me feel like I’ve done something wrong she even sent me a text on Thursday telling me I need to examine myself and take some credit for this happening to me! It was actually with that text that I had my Ah-ha moment and I haven’t looked back since! I came out of that crash with only bruised ribs, a chest contusion and a big old lump on my head, I am so lucky I didn’t have any further injuries or I wasn’t paralyzed. I thank you for your post of your story and I’m so happy your life transpired as it did. They say all things happen for a reason and I was searching for my reason for all of my sadness but this is why I traveled the road I did, literally! I don’t know if I will get my car back as I have not worked and am still too sore to do so, I also do not have sick time. But it’s not something I am perseverating over for the first time in many years I feel mentally good! Things will work out in some way shape or fashion and the most important thing is I am ALIVE! Thank you for this space to tell some of my story and it is one big paragraph because I was afraid to hit the return button and only send part of my story. Have a blessed day and I hope you are well! <3 🙂

  • Cathy Pietrzyk

    That’s bizarre, I thought I posted a comment?

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