• Kristina Cherep

What It Feels Like To Almost Die By Suicide

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

For me it was a mixture of feeling absolutely nothing and feeling absolutely everything. It was wanting to go to bed in order to turn off my brain and then waking up in a panic because it was turned back on. It was laying on the floor gripping anything to help me hold on to feeling heavy and lethargic. This was me three years ago before I was hospitalized. This was the closest I had been to dying by suicide.

In honor of #suicidepreventionmonth I am sharing this with you. Not to get pity, but to make you realize it can happen to anyone. Whether their life on paper is not so good or it's really good. It’s what’s written on the paper in invisible ink that is more telling. It’s the thoughts that people hide about how they are truly feeling. They may hide it because of the fear of rejection, misunderstanding, the stigma behind it, etc..

There is a sense of guilt behind having suicidal thoughts while having a great life on paper, such as having the perfect job, the perfect partner, the perfect home, etc.. Because of the dangerous word of SHOULD. The thoughts like I SHOULD be happy. I SHOULDn’t feel this way. Who is enforcing this shouldness? Yourself or society? No one else has the right to tell you how you are feeling. They’re your feelings! This was one of the biggest things that I struggled with three years ago. I would keep telling myself that people have it much worse than me, so why aren't I happy? To everyone else I have everything I could ever want, so I should be happy.

Who says just because you have the “perfect” home that your thoughts are no longer valid if they're negative? Just because it looks like you have your 💩 together doesn’t mean you don’t struggle and your struggles aren’t valid or real. Look at all the celebrities who have the life of luxury, but end up dying by suicide. There's the cliche saying of how money doesn't buy happiness, which is completely correct. It doesn't. Because if it did that would mean the richest people in the world are the happiest which is not the case. Robin Williams and other celebrities have proven this to be true. It makes me wonder if they also suffered from this guilt or shame that they were wrong for feeling suicidal because they had "so much more" than most people. I’m not the one to say if they did, but I have a feeling they might have. I know I definitely felt this guilt and shame and I'm not even a celebrity!

I want to bring awareness to this guilt because if we eliminate that, that takes a little weight off of someone who is struggling. It may make them more willing and able to talk to someone and reach out for help if they aren’t afraid of what that person may say or think of them. I know I would've reached out for help sooner if I had this understanding. I had just graduated from college, moved to a beautiful apartment complex, and was marrying the man of my dreams, so I felt ungrateful and like a terrible person for feeling the way that I did.

Three years ago was the closest I had ever been to dying by suicide. It was the darkest time in my life and was completely terrifying. To the point where I was not only having suicidal thoughts, but I was starting to have suicidal ideation. Or in other words starting to think of a suicide plan. However, I was lucky enough to have my husband and mother to stop me and help save me. To bring me to the hospital to get the treatment I needed to get. To get out of that dark place. I was in an outpatient program for a month. Not to get rid of these anxious and depressive thoughts, but to be more aware of them and to learn how to cope with them when they come up again. Because they most likely will and they have and still do. That’s just kind of how a mental illness can be at least that's how it is for me.

I learned so much from my treatment and feel so grateful for it. I wish anyone who has suicidal thoughts experiences something like what I experienced in my treatment. Because they deserve it too. This is me telling you that if you ever do suffer from suicidal thoughts, there’s a way out of that dark place. And it’s not dying. It’s reaching out to just one person and letting them know that you need help. It doesn't even have to be someone you personally know. It can be the National Suicide Prevention Hotline ( Call 1-800-273-8255 ) or a doctor.

Also, don't let the fear of not feeling "qualified" enough to be having suicidal thoughts hesitate you from getting the help. This is me telling you that it's okay to have these thoughts if you're having them. It doesn't make you a crappy person. It just makes you a person who is suffering and deserves treatment. If the person you go to doesn't have this understanding, go to the next person. You're not in the wrong. So my post is also for everyone in a way because any one of you can end up being the person someone comes to for help. It’s important to understand that what they are feeling is real and they don’t need you questioning why they are feeling that way. They don't need to give you an explanation. It took them a lot of strength to come to you and they trusted you in not judging them. They are coming to you to help them get to a safe place.

If you compare someone having suicidal thoughts to someone having a heart attack, it makes it a little easier to comprehend. If someone has heart disease they are more susceptible to having a heart attack. If someone has a mental illness they are more susceptible to having suicidal thoughts. If someone is having a heart attack, would you ask them in the moment “well why are you having a heart attack? You eat healthy” I would sure hope this wouldn’t be anyone’s response. You would most likely take them to the hospital for treatment. Same goes for someone who is suffering from suicidal thoughts. They need and deserve treatment too. Whether it’s immediate hospital treatment or scheduling an appointment with their therapist. They need and deserve treatment too.

Do I still sometimes suffer from suicidal thoughts? Of course. I have depression and anxiety. However, am I able to overcome those thoughts with the tools I have learned from treatment and therapy? Of course. Within the last year I have probably had suicidal thoughts a few times. One of the times it lasted a couple days and another one of the times it lasted five minutes. Just because someone goes to therapy or has ever experienced suicidal thoughts before doesn’t mean they’re in the clear of never having them again. And there’s no shame in that either.

I know this is kind of cliche of me to say, but be kind to others. You truly never know how someone is feeling or what they are going through. They may look like they have their life together, but they also may be suffering.