I'll start off with the joke I told at my high school alumni show: “I tried suicide and I can definitely say it's not for me.” (It's okay; you can laugh).
I've been meaning to write this ever since Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away. When I heard the news about his overdose, it hit me a lot harder than I thought it would have. Death's not an easy thing to talk about, and suicide’s certainly not an easy thing to talk about because most people don’t have a clue how to talk about it. Suicide is just not a comfortable subject. Everyone has their own view on it ranging from being sinful to selfish. However, I agree with the second part. Suicide is a selfish thing to do, but people facing suicidal thoughts aren't thinking that their self worth is anything important. They think they're doing everyone a favor by calling it quits.
This is why I tried to commit suicide last summer.
For starters, I'm not apologizing for what I did and secondly, I won't go into details of how I did it either; that’s not the point. I don't even know why I did it to tell you the truth. The day of my attempt I got into a fight with my ex and walked home barefoot, getting soaked in the rain. I threw up the next day due to drinking too much alcohol and then came the hospital.
The movies don't get it quite right. It's sort of like prison, but it's sort of not. The food can be pretty terrible and the beds are like sleeping on plywood. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is super friendly. They ask you how you're doing all the time and they genuinely seem to care. You get to read a lot and watch a lot of television too. I watched Walking Tall with the Rock and concluded that it’s still pretty awful. But not as awful as Jaden Smith in Karate Kid. Every movie that's on television sucks.
The worst part is being in this brand new place for an undetermined amount of time with doctors and nurses asking you over and over why you're there, if you're hearing voices, etc. It’s irritating, but they're just doing their job. The hardest part is the first day when everyone comes to visit for an allotted amount of time and they're looking for answers, but I didn't have the slightest clue what the hell was really going on. I had been battling these demons in my head for years and I never had the slightest clue how bad they were until now. I was just throwing up my hands saying, “Guys, I just got here. Cut me some slack.”
I had bedtime, medicine time, food time, and group time. Group time ranges from arts and crafts, to trivia to throwing a bouncy ball around. I realized that I'm good at painting things and hitting things with a hammer.
Like I said before: everyone is very supportive, even the other patients. I quickly formed a bond with the interesting people I met in there even if I knew you're never going to see them again.
The most awkward moment is after I got out of the hospital. Initially people will treated me like a special case because I just tried something immensely and seriously heavy. It's not something they forget, but they'll still love me no matter what. That first car ride home out into the fresh air and being able to see sun is the best feeling I had in a long time. And it made me realize something I never knew last week or even years before that the next time I order my first caffeinated drink in a week, while listening to some shitty pop song, and taking a drink of said caffeinated drink, I’ll realize something very uplifting and pure: I don't have it that bad.
And neither do you. I'm not saying your problems are less of a problem because someone else is on fire. I'm just saying that your problems aren't as bad as they could be. It's not the end of the world unless you make it that way. There is always time for recovery. Things will happen and you'll feel like absolute shit and want to end it all, but it's not the answer. Trust me on this.
I'm telling you from first hand experience that life does get better. You have to wait. You'll be broke, your girlfriend will turn out to be a junkie bitch, and your car's transmission will blow up. But life does get better. Like an old person who's left blinker is on for 25 miles, you'll eventually realize that worse things can happen.
Do you want to know what happens if you do choose to attempt suicide and live?
Life goes on, people forgive you, relationships mend, you get better, your car gets fixed, and you have money again. You might be someone who is in dire need of help, but no one is going to fault you for having problems and if they do, then they're an asshole. Fuck that person. I've realized from 90% of the people I've told that they understand what happened and don't treat me any differently. You're going to get better because life isn't a My Chemical Romance song.
The most important thing I can tell anyone who is in this situation and is reading this is to get help. Talk to someone that can help you because you'll quickly find out that a lot of people will miss you if you're gone especially those you don't even know. If you give you you’re going to miss out on everything. You're going to miss the new Star Wars movies, new music, the sun, and most of all breathing in fresh air. If you commit suicide I'm not going to come to your dumb funeral because I'll be too busy raiding your room and taking your stuff. (That's a joke.)
What I'm saying is I've been in your shoes. I can definitely say that you don't want to attempt suicide and survive because you're going to be stuck in a shitty hospital, with shitty food, and equally upset people with worse problems than you.
My attempt will be coming up on a year in July. It's surreal to realize and come to terms with, but it's a milestone for me. I'm a better and stronger person from the situation. I've gotten rid of the poisonous people in my life and moved on. That time in my life eventually became a memory that I was able to walk away from. I didn’t bury it, so that I could learn from it. I learned what not to do and what I can do instead. I have learned how to laugh, how to get out of bed, how to live again.
Every so often people will ask if I’m doing well and that's okay. I follow this rule: I tell them the truth. Even if it's a mundane feeling, it's still important because they're still going to worry even if the incident was 10 years ago. Of course I’m still going to have bad days and feel sad, but I definitely better not let it get to that breaking point again because a lot of people will kick my ass the second time. Once was enough, I can’t do that shit again.
I find myself cracking jokes about it from time to time because that's all I can do. I made a ridiculous choice and I have to laugh at it. I laughed at it for two days in the hospital while reading Dante's Inferno.
So how can I sum all this up? How can I wrap this up in a neat and tidy bow for you? Take a deep breath because this is going to get heavy: you're going to be fine. We all have bad days and the world may seem like it's caving in on us, but it isn't. The sun will still rise and you will still wake up the next day and breathe. You'll wake up in your bed in the middle of the night sometimes with that empty feeling but everyone you know and love is either in the next room or a phone call away. You may piss them off waking them up, but they'll feel better down the road knowing that you're still around.
Life goes on and moves pretty fast. You're going to feel down and out sometimes. You’re going to feel left out. Some day you won’t even want to leave your bed, but take it from the guy who's been there: you can take your time as long as it means your getting better.
If you're feeling low, can't get out of the rut, and you need someone unbiased to talk to, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline. They are there 24/7 and will listen to you no matter the reason. Here is their phone number 1-800-273-8255 and website www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
And if that doesn't work? Call the police or go to your nearest hospital. Get help. Get better. High five everyone you meet while you're recovering.
I can't stress this enough: You will be fine and you will get through this. You are not alone. Everyone is struggling and they're all fighting some shitty battle just like you are. Life will not be better if you're not around so keep staying alive. If you weren't I'd miss you, and we haven't even met yet. - John Toth
John Toth is a young man living in the greatest state, Ohio. He is a collector of things and a maker of things. He makes films and music, one day we'll hear a full-length collection of his music on this website. You can watch him here.