It’s A Great Day to Be Alive
“I don’t want to live.” “I can’t face another day.” “I just want to sleep.” I used to say, like many others, there is no way I could ever feel that way. How could anyone get to that point? Why would anyone consider suicide? After a certain situation in my life I think differently. I feel for people that go through those thoughts and that pain. My heart goes out to them. I had once considered going into a field where I could help people in those situations. I have since changed courses, but my heart still yearns to speak out to them, to let them know they are not alone. That is why I chose to write this essay. I am going to share my story and I pray it shows others you are not alone and no matter how you may feel there is always hope.
“It’s a great day to be alive. I know the sun’s still shining when I close my eyes.” Those words come from a song by Travis Tritt. That song, about five years ago, was my inspiration, and to this day when I hear that song, it still moves me and brings tears to my eyes. For you to fully understand what I mean by that and what I am about to tell you, I should sum up my life until about age 15. I moved a lot when I was young. It bothered me but I never verbalized it to my parents, my mom and step-dad, because I knew they felt bad enough. I was not angry at them; they did what they had to do for my brother and I. My situation with my biological father, which I talked about in the last essay, was something I had not dealt with yet and was still eating a hole inside of me. I know all this plus the situation at my new school in Knippa was bubbling inside of me. It all started when I was 15, we had just moved to Uvalde from Leakey and I had just started school in Knippa. Even though, I look back now and realize Leakey wasn’t a good place for me, my friends and current boyfriend were there. It was my safe place, the place I had known for the last two years. It started about July of 2001, I didn’t notice it at that time, but now I look back and see it very clearly. I started crying all the time, for some of the smallest and stupidest things. My appetite decreased and I lost weight. I started pulling away from everyone, even my family, which was very unusual for me because I had always been an outgoing and I guess you could call me a popular kid. I took part in every sport and even cheerleading competitions. I spent all my time in my room and crying myself to sleep at night. I started talking back to my parents, which I never did before. One night my dad came up to my room and found me crying. He asked me what was wrong and before I realized or thought about what I said, I blurted out “I don’t want to live.” I freaked out after I said it. I didn’t realize I felt that way until it fell from my lips. My parents then started taking me to a counselor here in Uvalde. It seemed to work for a short period of time, but I guess God had something else in mind. I think he felt I needed to have a little harsher wake up call.
On September 7, 2001, my family and I had just returned from a football game in Leakey. When we got home, around 10:30, I went up to my room and hit my knees and cried with great intensity. I cried out to God, “Lord, take me home. Take me home right now. I want to come home to you.” This was my breaking point. What took place next was like a dream, an out of body experience. I felt like I was watching myself from above. After I finished crying, I went to my parents’ bedroom and told them good-night and that I loved them. I then went and told my little brother good-night and that I loved him too. I went downstairs to watch T.V. I remember I was watching E.R. and crying. At about 11:30, I got up and went to the medicine cabinet and got 3600 mg. of Zoloft, which is an anti-depressant, and I grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge. I then went back to the living room and sat back on the couch. As I watched T.V., I began to put pill after pill into my mouth. About 45 minutes later, I took about 1000 mg. of aspirin because I didn’t feel like the Zoloft was working. The next thing I remember I woke up about 2:30 a.m. and found a puddle of vomit on the floor beside me. It felt like I was in and out of consciousness from that point on until about 7:30 a.m. when my mom came down the stairs and found me. I remember her yelling back up the stairs, “Norman, call 911 Lana tried to kill herself.” My mom later told me the reason she came downstairs was I was calling out “mom,” but I don’t remember doing that. She found the empty pill boxes and bottle of water by me. We lived way out in the country at this time and so we ended up meeting the ambulance at the highway. I remember my dad carrying me to the car and my little brother, who was 9 years old, crying. My mom sit in the back with me and I remember her holding me and I kept repeating “I am so sorry,” to her. My mom rode with me in the ambulance to the hospital in Uvalde. It was too late for them to pump my stomach so they put me on an IV to flush my system. By 3:00 p.m. that day I was in the Children’s Methodist Hospital in San Antonio. For the first two nights I was in ICU.
The road ahead of me was long. I started seeing a psychiatrist. For the longest time after that I wouldn’t take pills. I had to take liquid. Taking the pills messed with my muscular system and I had trouble walking for a few weeks after I got home. My mom would never leave my side. She slept in my room on the floor for at least a month after I go home. I can’t fill you in on everything or this essay would turn into a novel. I was home schooled for three months and I believe that actually helped my relationship with my mother because we got to spend a lot of time together. It was the strangest experience the night I took those pills; it was honestly like it wasn’t me. I felt like someone else was controlling my body and I was powerless, all I could do was watch myself. My mom told me later that the doctor told her I should have died because of the high dosage I took. The ironic thing was, do you know what saved me? My own body saved me!! If I hadn’t of vomited I would have died because when I vomited it released most of the pills from my system. What helped me get through and become a much stronger person today was the way I looked at my experience. I looked at it as an eye-opener. I learned I can’t keep things in. Bottling things inside too long can burn you. If I would have dealt with things instead keeping it to myself I never would have taken the pills. God literally gave me a second chance and I have promised myself that I will not waste this second time around. God had the chance to take me home to remove me from here almost five years ago, but he didn’t. I believe that the reason he didn’t is because he has a plan for my life. I had things I needed to accomplish first before I left this earth.
In conclusion, I believe I should use my voice to share this with others. Not everyone that tries suicide lives, some succeed in dying. I need to use my second chance to help others and to let them know there is help and you aren’t alone. I would be a fool to waste my miracle. On a last note, I feel like it’s a little ironic that my failure to follow through with something (suicide) has lead to some of the greatest accomplishments of my life. See whether you believe it or not, the man upstairs does know what he is talking about.
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Lana I shared your story with one of the students in my class. I feel that she could use some inspiration right now. She has tried to do the same several times. I just want her to know that she is not the only one who has had this kind of feelings. I have explained how you have turned your life around, now with going to college. My heart really goes out to you both.