World Suicide Prevention Day

Podcast with CMHA Windsor Essex
August 21, 2020

World Suicide Prevention Day

Before I begin let me start by saying the 24hr crisis line  for Windsor Essex is 519-973-4435. Crisis Services Canada is 1-833-456-4566 or text 45645

The following post could be triggering as I speak about depression, suicidal thoughts and actions

Nothing makes me more mad or frustrated than to hear people saying a suicide attempt is attention seeking or a call for help with disdain in their voice. It’s the judgement that makes me furious, the misunderstanding, the unwillingness to feel just an ounce of empathy or compassion. Of course suicide is a call for help. Of course a suicidal person needs attention. Just as someone suffering a heart attack or a blunt force trauma needs medical attention. Suicidal people NEED YOUR ATTENTION.

When I was close to death I was at my absolute lowest. I couldn’t call for help or identify what I needed. I was too emotionally stunted. Too overwhelmed. Too far gone to help myself. My ways of reaching out were more confusing than anything – I withdrew but I also over performed in an attempt to push myself through the abyss. I didn’t know my triggers and symptoms the way I do now. All I knew then was that I was an absolute failure and I hurt so bad I just wanted the hurt to end.

I wanted the hurt to end.

There came a time when it didn’t matter that I had a husband who loved me and two young boys who adored me and needed me. It didn’t matter that I had loving parents and brother and nieces. It didn’t matter that I had friends and co-workers. NONE of it mattered because I NEEDED the hurt to end.

I NEEDED the hurt to end.

I tried medication (but gave up and stopped the medication without doctor input) and I tried therapy (but when things started to get real I gave up – telling myself it was too expensive) so I told myself when the depression hit that I had done everything I could. Obviously nothing could save me. Nothing worked. I was beyond help. I was beyond saving.

And so the downward spiral began and it seemed there was no end in sight. A bottomless pit of absolute darkness.

So how am I still here??

A husband who heard my desperation and fought to get me admitted to the hospital – even when he was convinced that I would hate him forever as a result.

A therapist who visited me everyday in the hospital even when he was told by hospital administration that he wasn’t supposed to.

Friends, some old and some new, who braved the bleak and foreboding halls of the psych ward to come see me and hold out hope.

A Psychiatrist who told me the diagnosis does not matter but rather the everyday things like whether I find joy in my life.

My boys who have always loved and accepted me for exactly who I am.

LivingWorks Asist suicide prevention program – I took it in 2018 and it honestly changed my life. It was where I first heard about safety plans.

WRAP – Wellness Recovery Action Plan where I was able to download the app for free and work on my safety plan with my husband so if I ever become suicidal again he and friends and family will know how to help.

Somehow – in the midst of all of this – I learned to love myself. This means I take my medication, I go to therapy, I see my psychiatrist – even when I think I am all better, especially when I think I am all better – I do all these things. Rinse and repeat.

Most of all I am here because people along the way put aside their preconceived ideas and worries and they asked me “Are you thinking of hurting yourself?” or “Are you thinking of suicide?” and that opened the door. It opened the locked door that I had been banging on in the darkness all alone. It opened the door and let in the light. It let someone in to help me. It made it so I was no longer alone.

Together and asking the blunt questions. This is how we will beat suicide.

Ask the questions.

Tina Szymczak
Tina Szymczak
Tina Szymczak is a 40-something mom and wife with two spirited boys. She has worked in early intervention and as an advocate resource for families with a loved one with a disability. Now she also writes a blog about raising children with complex needs, trying not to lose your sense of self as you parent, and her struggles with mental health.

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