Semicolons of Life

My goal is to write at least once a week on a theme or topic that has really grabbed my attention for the week. Whether it’s a recent experience I have had or whether it’s something that keeps reoccurring in my life. Last week it was an awesome realization that I am the treasured princess of my Heavenly King and that I deserve to be treated like a princess, not like a peasant. This week however, I have had a reoccurring topic continually find its way into my life and mind. The semicolon moments in life.

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A semicolon in grammar is used to designate the place in a sentence where the author could have ended the sentence but chose not to. The semicolons in life are the moments where our life could have ended but didn’t. It’s been brought to my attention once again as I begin to work with yet another therapist how many semicolon moments I have had these 21 years. And more specifically how many semicolon moments I have consciously chosen.

I sat down with this new therapist who began asking me the standard questions I dread about my history. I’m not proud of the things I have done to my body, and rarely have I met someone who comes close to matching my story when it comes to number of suicide attempts, and other self abusive behaviors. I have a long history of suicide attempts and self-harm.

Beginning at age 11, I wanted to end my life. I didn’t want to graduate high school, attend college, get married, have kids, all I wanted to do was die. My first attempt was that year. I can remember I had just gotten yelled at and reminded again about how worthless and horrible I was. I had only endured a few months of physical, mental, and emotional abuse from my step dad, but I didn’t want to go through any more of it. I wanted out. I tried running away but I had no where to go. My mentor from church, who told me to call when things got to this point, didn’t answer her phone. When my mom and step dad left the house I knew what I had to do. My step dad kept a loaded gun in the top drawer of his night stand. I knew that if I grabbed the gun, held it to my head and pulled the trigger I wouldn’t have to endure any more of the abuse. Crying, I left my room, and headed for the gun. I got half way up the stairs before I was crying hysterically. I had to stop, sit down, I was shaking and crying too much, I couldn’t continue. I was terrified. I didn’t want to die, I just didn’t want to live. Sitting on the stairs crying, shaking, I began to cry out to God. I told God that if He was real, He was going to have to stop me from going upstairs, grabbing the gun, and ending my life. An overwhelming feeling of exhaustion came over me, I physically didn’t feel like I could take another step. I laid down on the stairs until I had enough strength to get myself back down to my room. I cried myself to sleep knowing without a doubt that God had just saved my life. My life could have ended but God had a different plan.

The next year I began cutting. Statistics say that most people who cut continuously for 7 years will have died due to one wrong cut. With arms full of self-inflicted scars I know there has to be someone watching out for me.

The summer before my senior year of high school one of my friends committed suicide. He decided that there was nothing left in life worth living for. He made a decision to place the period on the sentence that was his life. I would give anything to have him back. I would have done anything to save his life. I know that every event in life is a lesson, an opportunity to learn and grow. I know that I shouldn’t regret anything. I have very few regrets in life. This is one of them. I regret not reaching out to him, not spending time with him that summer. I regret not being there. Losing him made me realize the impact my suicide would have on everyone my life has touched.

Unfortunately, that realization tends to leave my mind when I become greatly depressed. I had a few more attempts after that summer. I never received the help I needed while I was in high school. I kept most of the attempts a secret. My family admits now that they knew I was depressed, cutting, and attempting suicide but they refused to help. They did everything they could to hide that from the world, my mom even lied to a police officer that had been called to the house after my friend found out.

Getting help has always been extremely difficult for me (as it is for most I’m sure). Each time I have received treatment for an attempt I have been placed on a hold. I have never gone voluntarily and struggle with admitting to the problem and feelings I have been having. This is definitely not the best way to receive help, but I am grateful for each hospitalization. Because of the treatment a new semicolon has taken the place of what should have been a period.

You might be reading this wishing that your life would end, you’re sick and tired of what you’re going through. You don’t think life will ever get better. You’re feeling all alone, like no one cares.

I was amazing at getting rid of everyone in my life before I attempted so that no one would miss me when I was gone. I’m here to tell you people will miss you. It doesn’t matter whether you chose to remove yourself from their lives. You were once in their lives, that hole you create when you remove yourself from their life will become cemented forever.

No matter how bad your situation is it will get better without having to end your life. I promise you this. We all walk through tough times. Some people have it a lot easier then you do. I have been through almost every difficult situation. I have lost a parent, best friends, family members; I have gone through physical, mental, emotional, sexual abuse; I have endured parental divorce; I have been backstabbed by close friends, mentors, pastors, people I trusted; my family has turned their back on me; rape, domestic violence, stalking, death threats, abortion; I have been homeless, completely broke. Life can be cruel. Life can be fulfilling, happy, and wonderful. I have finally gotten to the other side. I am able to genuinely smile, laugh, and be happy. I didn’t believe happiness existed for years. It may take years which I know you don’t want to wait that long but I promise life after depression, suicide attempts, and self-harm is worth the wait.

My last attempt I called my therapist to leave her a goodbye voicemail. She gave me the best advice I had ever received. She ultimately saved my life. She urged me to call the suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255 and talk to them before I wrote the period. I was angry, I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I was convinced it was a waste of my time as well as theirs. I called with the intent to carry out my plan after I hung up the phone. I knew no matter what they said they couldn’t change my mind. I was determined. Because I called, I am sitting here tonight. I know there is a reason I’m alive. I know that I have a purpose, a destiny.

Life is full of semicolons. Some of them are self-inflicted, others are events out of our control. No matter how many semicolons we have in life let’s allow God to decide where to place the period.

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