September is Suicide Prevention Month:

My Story & Survival

TRIGGER WARNING - This article and pages it links to, contains graphic information about suicide and trauma which may be upsetting to some people.
"Suicide completion rates have surged to a 30-year high. In the United States, over 44,000 people die by suicide every year, averaging 121 suicide completions each day.
Suicide is a preventable mental health crisis.
The primary obstacle to suicide prevention is the silence of stigma. Stigmas are social and cultural factors that try to dictate how we express ourselves and compel individuals to be silent on their internal experiences. Too often, we do not discuss mental health or suicide until it directly impacts our community. "

-Hope for the Day

 

Hello there friend,

Sly here, the maker and designer behind Coco Rose Jewelry, and I want to talk to you about something very important to me: suicide prevention.

 

 

I am 30 years old (31 next week!), a local Green Bay resident, and lover of sushi. I am an avid traveler, Starbucks aficionado, and WILL cry at the sight of a cute poodle. You might have seen me around town at a local market, smiling behind my jewelry booth, or at a local SAGE meeting for artists.

 

 

But what you might not know about me is this:

2 years ago, I made a plan.

I made a plan to end my own life.

 

I was driving on the way to my friends home, in a dissociative episode, as I thought of how easy it would be to end my own life in that moment. One flick of my wrist on the steering wheel and I could end this lifetime of suffering and torment that was the inner workings of my own mind. I thought of how I could do it. I could crash head onto another vehicle, but then that would hurt an innocent  stranger - I did not want to hurt others with my decision. I could drive into that brick wall ahead of me, but then what if there were people behind it? 

This wasn't the first time I had been there. Struggling with suicidal thoughts was something I had endured since my early teens. It was a part of me that I knew all too well. Like an old toxic friend, those thoughts were always there for me when I just couldn't handle the world anymore.

I was trapped inside my own mind, which felt like a cage, a hell, that I couldn't escape. In addition to that, I was nearing my late twenties, and I thought of my future. Was this all there was to life? Living a little and then crashing again, over and over?

It was 2017, and I was already on my 3rd mental breakdown that year. My third brush with suicide, again.

I thought that if this all there was to life, then I didn't want it anymore. I was so consumed by my severe depression and dissociative thoughts that I couldn't see anything outside of them.

The thing is, when you're buried so deep in depression, you cant see anything else. You cant see a tomorrow, you cant see hope. All you see, touch, and taste is the torment inside your own head. 

I had tried "everything." Self medicating, exercise, positive thinking, yoga, books,  - I had "done all that I could".

But it was then, after that car ride, that I decided that what I was doing wasn't working anymore. I was running out of options, and out of time.

On August 15, 2017 I made an appointment with my doctor, and told her about my plan to kill myself. She admitted me into the Bellin Psychiatric Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where I stayed for the next week.

It was within those walls of the center, where the trajectory of my life changed. 

It's funny.

The counselors and staff in that center can tell when you're lying.

Everyday, about twice a day they would sit down with me privately and asked if I  had any thoughts of suicide, etc. You can't lie to them. If you do, they just sit there and stare at you silently, waiting for you to fess up.

Because of this, I was forced to be honest with them and then in turn with myself. I spoke out loud about thoughts that I had never really admitted to myself let alone others. And that was hard. Real fuckin hard. It forced me to really confront myself, and see what my mental illness was doing to me. It forced me to really look at myself, my life, and what kind of future I wanted.

 

Inside Bellin Hospital, I received the diagnosis: Borderline Personality Disorder.

I had heard of this term before. But, I never thought it applied to me. It seemed too severe, too extreme, and in my mind, people with this diagnosis were "bad." I was a good person! I was kind, I was compassionate. I was a good child to my mother, I even maintained best friends from childhood like good "normal" people! How in the heck could I have BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)? 

That's because it mainly showed up in my dating life, or with anyone who got really close to me emotionally. It didn't apply to all aspects of my life, and that's why it was sneaky. I was able to pass as "normal" in most aspects of my life, but when it came to getting emotionally vulnerable with someone, it's like my mind went on red alert. I was so incredibly terrified of rejection and betrayal that those fears would hijack my brain and relationships. I was so scared of the past repeating itself: of someone I knew, loved, and trusted, hurting me deeply.

After I got diagnosed, everything changed.

Everything started to make sense and fall into place. I started to learn words for what I was feeling. I started to learn coping mechanisms for my breakdowns, and I learned of resources I could turn to in times of crisis. I started to meet other people who dealt with the same struggles and understood me. And I got prescribed medication that helped alleviate some of my symptoms.

And on Aug 22, 2018, one year later, I met Mac - the most handsome, beautiful, and gentle person I had ever laid eyes on.

And on March 15, 2019, he asked me to marry him.

 

It's been 2 years since that fateful day, and life is different now.

I still have Borderline Personality Disorder. I still have severe depression, and I still occasionally have episodes. I still sometimes freak out and fear that Mac is going to hurt or betray me. But the difference now is that I am capable of taking a step back in these moments, and realize when it is my mental illness talking and not me. I also have an entire team of professionals and new friends that I can lean on in hard times! And I am now open and honest with my partner, and able to talk about my illness and how to handle it. He knows when to give me the space I need, and he knows what to say to reassure me that no, he is not trying to hurt me.

 

The point of me telling my story is that I didn't go through with my plan 2 years ago.

My journey didn't end that day. I was able to get the treatment that I needed to: start a business I love, get engaged to my beautiful partner, and begin to have control over my mental illness, not the other way around.

I was able to continue my story.

But in 2017, approximately 44,000 people in the United States alone didn't get that chance.

Don't become a statistic.

Stay with me, and finish your story.

You have gifts that only YOU can bring to the world.

It might not feel like that right now, but you are one of a kind, and you have a purpose, love.

You are BEAUTIFUL and you are deserving of a life worth living.

 

“I promise you that the same stuff galaxies are made of, you are. The same energy that swings planets around stars makes electrons dance in your heart. It is in you, outside you, you are it. It is beautiful.”

― Kamal Ravikant

 

If you have thoughts of suicide, please reach out to someone.

Reach out to me.

Reach out to a friend.

Reach out to your doctor.

  • If you live in the Brown County area please call the Crisis center at: 920-436-8888. It is a 24/7 line where professionals can connect you with free resources.
  • If you are trans, please contact the Trans Lifeline, a hotline run for AND by trans identified people at: 877-565-8860.
  • Or reach out to the National Suicide Prevention hotline at: 1-800-273-8255.

Just please, reach out. Your life depends on it.

 -Sly

 

 

Still reading? First of all, thank you so much for letting me share my story with you. Did it resonate with you? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below. I would love to hear them.

 

 

PS: Proceeds of every purchase here at Coco Rose Jewelry go directly to N.A.M.I. Brown county - a local non-profit that helps those struggling with mental illness.
The stigma against mental illness is REAL. Truth is, 1 in 5 Americans experience mental illness. It is prevalent, it is hard, and it is heavily stigmatized. Coming from a culture, where this topic was not talked about, I have made it my personal mission to talk openly about it. I believe that by shedding light on our demons, we can expel them from the dark corners of our mind. Join me in talking out loud about the stigma against mental illness. 

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