The Day I committed Suicide

This is dedicated to the Men and women of the Columbus Police force, the rangers at Columbus Metro Parks – Batelle Darby Creek , the Franklin County Sherriff’s department. This is also dedicated the the lifesaving members of one of Franklin County’s Fire Departments – serving the Galloway, West Side, and the emergency personnel at Doctor’s Hospital on the West Side.

I write this in thanks to Jeff Pakone of Indana Biblical Counseling Center, for his belief in me.

On Monday, November 17th, I woke up ready to do my practice Super Sprint Triathlon. I had been working on the distances in physical therapy, and I knew I could complete them individually, but I wanted to do it together, testing out the transition times with my blood sugar and hydration.
I was alone, in the gym, doing my thing.
This was my time to prove that I had surmounted my injuries, and I was coming out on top!

Swim distance was to be 400 meters – I did 320 as close as I wanted that day.
(I was not keeping track of times, I was just testing to see if I was able)
blood sugar was fine – I drank a gatorade, and ate part of a clif bar – on to the next event.

Biking distance was to be 10 km, or 6.2 miles. I rode 8.42 miles.
I had to adjust for my hips and I rode these on a recumbent bike – in the gym.
again, not keeping track of time, I was testing my ability.
blood sugar was fine – I drank a gatorade and ate the other part of the clif bar, and onto the next event.

So far, so good. Two events down. One to go.

I am not able to run because of my knees and hips – but I had already sought out spring tri’s that would allow me to walk as long as my average was 4 mph.
Distance was a 5k, which I had done many times before. I’d even completed them within the 1 hour time frame.
And, I did complete the 5k – I don’t remember the time, I don’t remember if I went further than the 5k, but I know I finished.

For those that know about my service dog – Gabriel was with me every moment – and he never alerted to blood sugar crashing or heart rate.
I went home.
I posted my success on some social media at the time.

did bike 8.42 miles(30 min); swim 8 laps(320 meters) in 18.14; Walk 3.17 mile in 60 minutes – then a curves workout. At this rate, it will take me 2 hours to finish the mini tri in February.

Three people posted. Online friends, but not those that I really wanted to have celebrate with me.
And oddly, I didn’t feel like celebrating.

Why talk about a practice tri when I’m talking about suicide?
I should have been ecstatic! But all I could focus on was how I’d missed the length in the swim, and how long it would take to actually complete a mini tri.
All I could focus on was my failure.

The next morning, I tried to get my husbands attention.
There are two sides to every story. this is my side.
I needed him to show me he thought I was wonderful – even though I had overdone the day before and wasn’t feeling well.
We didn’t realize that my electrolytes were whacked out – that would show up later in the ICU. All I knew was I needed to feel loved and appreciated, and Jim was feeling like I was a needy person.
Just because you are married for 29 years doesn’t mean that you know how to communicate to each other.
That facts from my side were that Jim was not available.

I was often suffering from something, with the various issues I had, and that can wear down a person. Some mental and many physical with surgeries needing rehab. I constantly felt like a burden rather than a blessing to my family. Even the doctors’ offices called me ‘what’s next Mary” because I’d get better with one thing, and something else would break. Odd things…like a knee blowing out after a day at a festival, showing my art! Or like carpal tunnel going bad, and I wasn’t painting THAT much! Feet, Knees, Hips, Lower Back, Neck – one doctor said “You just started falling apart the day you turned 30!” And that’s what I felt like.

I had dealt with suicidal thoughts before, and while I am embarrassed to say it, my family had put up with this illness for years. But we had dealt with it – and I had a very good handle on it. I had a therapist and Psych doctor that were helping me to grow in my own confidence and self worth, and they had helped me to turn around.

But let’s go back to November 18th.
With the core belief that I am worthless at my core, and the brush off of my husband, and my children at that age that they want to be on their own, not listening to a whiny mom( I didn’t call any of them), my friends at work(whom I did not call)…I was all alone. Well, except for God and Gabriel, my dog.
And God didn’t seem to be answering – and Gabriel – well, he would make someone that was more worthy a great pet or service animal.
The pain and anguish of my life was closing in, choking me, clogging my brain with the horrible thoughts that had been in the background as long as I can remember.
As scrooge says “If they’d rather die then perhaps they had better do so and decrease the surplus population”
my worthless mass was taking up precious space on this earth.

I worked through my “when I’m suicidal” plan: written on a 3×5 I carried everywhere with me – and it had always worked before.
I went to Battelle Darby Metro park to try to clear my head – a typical calming method for me.
I played my Christian music. This usually lifts me up.
I read through my promises verses. I used them to beat myself over the head.
I called my therapist, AND my Christian Counselor, Jeff Pakone, in Indiana.
I called Jim and left a message that I was having trouble.
I ate…emotional bingeing.
I had to go buy the food – but I drove back to Battelle Darby – sitting in the trees – in the silence – I usually found peace. Not today.

At some point, I drove home, and instead of going in the house – I left the car on in the garage.
“there’s too much air circulating in this leaky garage – this won’t work!”
“You can’t even commit suicide right!”
“You are such a worthless case – why would anyone want to be bothered with you in their life?”
So many negative voices going off in my head, I couldn’t think straight.

Jeff Pakone called – and I told him how horrible I felt, that I didn’t feel wanted or needed by Jim.
That all I do is cause problems in other peoples’ lives, and therefore, I needed to stop taking up the air that is better left for someone who can make people happy, healthy or whatever.
That even admitting that I had this episode would be causing people more trouble.
That Jim didn’t want to deal with this stuff anymore, and I couldn’t make it stop.
I was sucking the life and finances out of everyone, my condition had stolen our wonderful home, our wonderful life with our wonderful children, caused divisions in our family, and left me with no one. I wanted the best for Jim and the kids – not this.
I never wanted the kids to live with a sick mom like I did – and here I am! Not the same sickness – but the same result. Sucks the joy out of their childhood.
I can even put in here how it is my fault that the world is not saved…if I had done what I should have done I would have led people to the love of Christ so that they would have freedom from the demons that haunt them at night! And yet, here I am, being haunted by the demons that had come out of the night into my day.
I just ran off all the things that were going on in my head….going around and around and around and I couldn’t get them to stop.

Jeff talked me down – and in fact he asked me if I was planning something to harm myself.
I had just chosen to turn off the car and go inside.
So, at that point, I could honestly say “No, I’m not planning anything now.”
Jeff had gotten me to a place where I could see the lies in the voices…and I was starting to get a handle on the whole situation…but I needed a little more help to make it.

With that said, I went into my house, and got the call from my therapist.

One of the issues that my therapist was trying to work with me on was to get angry at others when I am hurt, not to beat myself up over it. Not to always take hurtful words and actions as a reflection on my personal worth.
She talked to me about my feelings about what had happened that morning, and that I was feeling unwanted, and she said “I want you to get angry at Jim – get ANGRY. You did nothing to deserve this treatment – and you have every right to be angry! You need to talk to Jim! do you feel ANGRY?”
Well, she only had a limited time to talk to me between her patients, so, I hung up.
the reason I have so much difficulty getting angry is that it is ingrained in me that anger is wrong…so, I blame myself.
But now, I’m angry…and I have mixed feelings about this…

I called Jim – and his response was “I know what you want, you want everyone to drop everything and come running to do what you want them to do!”
That was what I wanted – needed – right then. I needed to have someone drop everything and come help me not kill myself.
And, in my mind, I realized that was not fair.
It wasn’t fair that I wanted Jim to get off work to come and support me so I didn’t kill myself.
It wasn’t fair for me to ask the children to help me not kill myself.
It wasn’t fair for me to ask my best friend to drive down from Cleveland to help me not kill myself.
Even her husband had said as much. It would be horrible if I caused more stress in her life.
Now I am angry….I have ruined everyone’s lives!!!!!

So – what to do?
My favorite uncle did it, when I was in second grade.
A Great Uncle and Aunt did it to avoid cancer.
Mom did it, to avoid suffering.
Mom had told me that they had taken their ticket to heaven.
No more pain.
No more anguish.

Why not me?
I’m too much of a burden – and I can’t stand this pain any longer, inside or out.
The suicide hotlines delayed the inevitable. Yes, I called them.
the suicide websites told me to call for help – I did, and he didn’t want to come.
I’m angry – and I can see, as if it’s a movie, not a memory, me taking the locked plastic tool box that held all my medicine, and throwing it against the concrete floor.
Then, I forget what happened. I have no memory. It’s as if I blacked out.

From Jim’s description of the house when he got home:
I had put Gabriel upstairs in my bedroom.
The toolbox was busted on the ground with many empty medicine bottles lying all over the floor.

The next thing I realize is that I am driving, in our development – right at school release.
I was pretty sure I needed help. Now I’m starting to think a bit clearer….but it was too late!
There were schools at both ends of our development – and I was trying to drive for help.
But I didn’t want to go near the larger school – so I drove the other way, towards Alton/Darby.
When I got to Rt 40, which would take me to the hospital – there were too many cars and I was too groggy.
I couldn’t take the left turn towards the hospital.
I knew I wasn’t going to make it, and someone else might get hurt.
Too many people that way.
So, I turned right, and headed towards the Battelle Darby Creek park.
I think, partly because it was such a peaceful place for me, and partly, because there was so much less traffic.
I have no idea where my phone was.
What I did, was turn down the road towards the park, and as I was getting less and less clear headed – I pulled into an old driveway that had been fenced off for the park expansion.
I looked up at the house, and I went blank.
Even up to the last minute, I was trying to keep from harming anyone.
I didn’t want my death the harm anyone.

My next memory is waking up in ICU, with all sorts of tubes and wires and I don’t see anyone I know.
The nurse points out the bear on the shelf and said that Jim had brought it, and he had left.
I became hysterical – because, in my mind, that meant that he had gotten rid of my bear, and he had left me. I was really alone.
I was getting potassium, manganese, calcium, and a bunch of other stuff, electrolyte type stuff, via IV.

When I talked to my case worker she said:
Honey, do you know what you did?
sort of, but no.
You committed suicide. On the EMT’s paperwork they listed you as _____(I don’t remember this word). That means that when they got to you, you were dead. no pulse. no breathing. and we have no idea how long.

I had no comment

The emt’s had used a method to test responsiveness that is basically driving their knuckles into your sternum…and I had the bruises to prove it.
The emt’s had to pull me out of the car – and my one shoulder was sore to prove it.
When Jim got to the ER – several hours after I actually drove out of the driveway, they would not let him back into the area – and he says I was on life support.

I committed suicide on November 18th, 2009.
I was despondent, despairing of anything ever getting better.
and I was certain that I was the cause of all of the trouble in my family…and, actually, you could ask them, and they would tell you so!

I woke up, and nothing was changed, but me.
There is much more to this story, but the point of this story is that I committed suicide.
I didn’t have a bright light, a visitation with Jesus, or a visitation with the devil.
Just nothing.
And – I have had visions of Jesus when things have gone wrong with illness and I was near death…but not this time.
This time was MY choice.

I took a full bottle of Ambian – 3 months of 3x daily = 270 pills. The bottle was almost full.
I mixed it with various other medicines I had from all sorts of issues. But the Ambien is what put me to sleep.

I don’t remember taking any pills – this is from the investigative work of Jim and the police officer that came to help him.

And here’s the part that is dedicated to those people.
My husband got home about 2 hours after my event.
First, he had to figure out what had happened – and then he called the police.
There is an issue between Franklin County Sheriff and Columbus Police as to where the line is, but a police officer put out a missing person report and helped Jim know what to do.
Around the time that the missing person report was being filed, a Batelle Darby Metro Parks ranger(female I think) and a Franklin County Sherriff were at the intersection of the road. The Ranger had just driven by, and the Sheriff was just able to turn down that road as well.
The confirmed the car, and the EMT’s were called.
The EMT’s – I don’t know which ones – came and transported me to the hospital.

The timing of those two people being at the same intersection at the same time, just as they heard the missing person call go out is nothing short of miraculous.
I had been sitting there, overdosed, for at least 2 hours. But when they needed to hear the call – they were there!

I am afraid to do any ‘pushing’ type of exercise now.
I have not figured out why this happened.
It cannot be totally blamed on the mental illness, because I’d had that under control for a long time.
I’ve heard things about dehydration, even when drinking water….but when a doctor hears that I committed suicide, they don’t look into anything that could have triggered that.

But that’s not this story.
I committed suicide.
I’ve spent all my life listening to a voice that said “you have no reason to live, you should just die”
I’ve spent all my life hearing voices telling me how to kill myself.
When a doctor asks me if I have any suicide plans – I ask him how many he wants to know about…because, when you’ve lived with this voice all your life, you have made many plans.
The point is, I was triggered, by chemistry, the wrong words, and no one to turn to because everyone was too tired to help.

No one can know the triggers.
It is a horrible thing to be so despondent that the only option is to die.
And, I wasn’t even sure that I’d go to heaven, and I’d gotten to the point that I didn’t believe that God wanted me either, so it didn’t matter.

This is my story.
Yes, I still hear that little voice when I am very discouraged about things.
Yes, I still practice my anti suicide plan.
The difference now? A pastor came and spoke with me while I was in Psych care, and he helped me see that my death would not do anything for the Kingdom of God – and I am all about the Kingdom of God and making my KING pleased with me.
I don’t remember what he said right now, but what I remember is that He should me truth from the Word of God, and somehow, after 40 years of being saved, I realized that Jesus loved me.
Jesus loves ME!

I lost my therapist – because I’d broken our contract.
I almost lost my psychiatrist – she carried me through until I got another Psych. But it was because I broke my contract.
There is a mental condition I have that does take over…no, not shizophrenia…but the point is, I was cognizant that whole day, trying to find a way to fight back the inner demons that wanted me dead. And I failed. It would have only taken one person to sit with me.

In fact, we moved to Texas soon after this episode, and I had a friend that would just come sit with me, or have me over when I called and said, I just need to have someone near me.
Through those years, I was able to gain the strength to stand up to the demons – demons that are not spiritual, but true memories that haunt me.

This isn’t written in the best manner – but what I wanted to share was what happened to me – and that it could happen to anyone.
My mom died because the priest told me and the family to call her bluff.
My Great Uncle shot my aunt and then himself – because they could not bare to watch her go through the cancer, after watching their daughter die.
I committed suicide because Jim was told not to enable me by coming when I called.

It’s not his fault that I took those pills – but what if he had come home?
I wouldn’t have had access to the pills(which he took care of later, btw – a gun safe held my meds).
But it would have been written down as a failed attempt – just for attention.
Because, of course no one in their right mind would commit suicide!
That’s my point…I wasn’t in my right mind.
Those considering taking their life are not in their right mind.
I know there are some that do it for ‘revenge’, some that do it to ‘get back at them’
The fact is – there is a problem, and the only way that a person like this sees to make it right is to take themselves out of the question.

Mom’s letter said she did this because she didn’t want to be a burden on Jim’s and my marriage(one month earlier).
My Great Uncle and Aunt didn’t want anyone to have to watch her suffer.
I don’t know the reasoning behind my uncle’s suicide.

But I am sharing this as an example of one that succeeded, until the medical staff pulled me back.
I’ll always wonder if the difficulty I have with thinking, and doing things now is from the medicines I took, or from the lack of air, or what.

If this helps one person understand the mindset of a suicidal person – then I have done what I wanted to do, by publicly admitting this issue in my life.
If someone that is committing suicide is reading this – know there is help out there!
The voices telling you it will be better if you die – they are LIES!
And I assume that those that don’t care would just not make it this far in this long discourse.

Thanks for joining me in this journey,
In His hands and under His wings,

Ps 63:7 Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.

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