If you think someone is in trouble, you should reach out to them. Not the other way around.[TW: this essay contains descriptions of suicidal ideation, attempted death by suicide, abuse, trauma, and depression.] In 2002 I moved from California to Switzerland, back in with my family, after attempting suicide. It was actually my second attempt, but I never told anybody about the first time I tried in 1996 when still in high school. After the second attempt followed by being involuntarily committed, I thought it best to keep my history with the act private. And I certainly didn’t tell any of the doctors entrusted with my release papers that suicidal ideation was almost as old a friend to me as reading. The first time I recall thinking about killing myself I was around seven or eight years old—growing up in a violent household will have that effect on a person—and I’ve mitigated the urge in different ways ever since. In Dexter Morgan’s words: My dark passenger. Those early days of recovery in 2002 were a new kind of nightmare, made worse by the fact that my father found my traumatized presence at home a nuisance and my youngest sister outright told me I should throw myself in front of one of the trains that passed regularly in front of their house. My sister stood by her words so strong she even said them with my visiting best friend standing right next to me. My friend, who had come to offer the kind of support I’d never get from my family, left with her own secondary traumas of the experience. She’d never seen or heard a family member be as openly cruel as mine were to me, and it shook her core. The worst part about my sister’s flippant push toward my suicide was that nobody knew how I would sometimes sit at the train stop watching the train go by, mustering up the courage to fling myself off the edge. I would ride the train from the quaint Swiss village my family called home into Geneva, making note of the accessible areas where the train didn’t slow down so I could make sure I got the job good and done. When my therapist would ask me if I was still thinking about suicide I would lie to him. The only reason I survived that time at all was because at least I had my familiar, my half wolf, half German Shepard Cubby, who offered some of the only comfort that actually helped me heal.
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