Welcome to There, I Said It- a column where we give you, the reader, a chance to get something off your chest in an anonymous fashion. Be it embarrassing, frustrating, or just something you didn’t want to admit out loud, it still might make someone else having a bad day feel just a bit better. If you have a story of your own, unburden yourself at TISI@drandyroark.com.
In 2005, I tried to commit suicide.
If it wasn’t for my dad (who happens to be a veterinarian) I would have been successful. He told the ER physician they did in fact need to treat me for acetaminophen toxicity, and I am so grateful that he did. Today I am a wife and a mom to three beautiful boys. I am thankful, grateful, and as happy as I think anyone really can be with all the stresses life brings.
I never forget what I did. I think about it often and recently, with the publication of a study revealing that 1 in 6 veterinarians have considered suicide, I think about it more often. As part of that statistic, my concern is for those that don’t ask for help. I didn’t, at least not really.
I turned my life upside down, but otherwise I seemed happier then I had been in years. The weekend I attempted suicide was the anniversary of my grandpa’s death and a friend’s suicide. I remember driving home and feeling the urge to just drive off the road…the only reason I didn’t was because my cat was in the car with me and I didn’t want to hurt him. It was a very calm decision, no crying in the car, just calm.
I got into my hometown and drove to two grocery stores, one for a bottle of alcohol, the other for a bottle of Tylenol PM. I arrived home as if it was any other day. That night my family took my grandma out to dinner so she wouldn’t be alone. I said goodbye, but she didn’t know what I really meant because it was expected for me to hug her longer, tell her I love her repeatedly.
The next day, I got breakfast on my own and drove to my grandpa’s grave to write my goodbyes through rushing tears. I arrived home calm and made my parents dinner. Afterwards, they went downstairs to watch a movie and I went upstairs to study for my cardiology exam- which I did for almost two hours before taking a bath with a bottle of wine, a knife, and a bottle of Tylenol PM. I didn’t cut myself because it hurt when I tried so I just took more pills. At some point I crawled out of the bath and got myself into bed.
My mom came upstairs and saw the bottle of wine, not concerned until she saw the knife at the side of the bathtub, then the notes. Then I don’t remember much until I do- the awful taste of acetylcysteine.
I am so thankful I am here. I love my husband and my boys, I am grateful I got to stay alive, to make it through an inner hell that I wasn’t even aware I was in until after. The things I wrote in my letters did not make sense. The whole thing didn’t make sense. The only thing that makes sense is in those moments I was out of my mind, not really aware of what I was doing or what was happening to me. My thoughts were not rational, I was not rational.
Every day I worry, for those that ask for help, but even more for those that don’t. How can you help those that don’t ask or don’t appear to show their pain? I fear for those like me in those moments. How can we really help others like that, like me? Unfortunately, online, we can’t. But we can think about how we could for those in own personal lives, or anyone you see and meet around you.
My hope in sharing my experience is that it might help others understand the illness that is depression. Or that I might reach someone who is on that ledge to say: “I am here, it does get better, what is to come in life is worth this struggle.” To those of you who are lucky enough to not suffer from depression, support those who do even though you may not understand. The conclusion that suicide is an easier choice makes no sense to you because it makes no sense at all. So just be there.