Yes, It’s Me, Sarah & This Is Not Spam

It came to my attention recently, some people think that I’m posting spam, and then don’t read my posts or share the information I’m posting on social media. I get it. Those who really know me, don’t see me as a person to promote a cause or be particularly political in any way. That’s changed because I have changed…

I found the picture I added to this post, and it reminded me of my husband Keith. His stomach looked exactly like that after a suicide attempt where he stabbed himself so deep, that he punctured his intestines.

The night he stabbed himself we were at home watching Perry Mason, a part of our nightly ritual. At commercial, he got up from the couch and walked into the kitchen. I assumed he was after his favorite night time snacks, bread and peanut butter, but he returned empty handed and sat back on the couch.

The show continued and I happened to glance over to the couch where Keith was sitting, and to my horror, discovered his white t-shirt soaked in blood. There was so much blood gushing from the wound that it was pooling in the creases of his shirt and jeans.

I didn’t have time to panic. I grabbed a towel, applied pressure to the wound and called 911. I continued applying pressure to his stomach until the ambulance arrived, crying and trying to get Keith to talk to me. He said nothing. He just kept watching Perry Mason. Only after the ambulance left with him, did I notice the long, blood covered knife lying on the kitchen counter, and drops of blood on the tile floor. 

After his surgery, his stomach looked just like the featured photo in this post. That incident was his first suicide attempt during our marriage. I did not handle it well. I didn’t know what to do or how to help him. I have issues with mental illness and have had a suicide attempt myself, so you would think I would know exactly what he needed. 

I didn’t. 

The timeline around my suicide attempt is very blurry, and I don’t remember the actual attempt at all, just a fuzzy ambulance ride, and the horrible 2 weeks away from home. I do remember feeling so alone, although the word “alone” doesn’t give the feeling justice. 

The “alone” I was feeling, was like a panic rising up inside of me, akin to how I imagine someone might feel if they were awake during a surgical procedure, but paralyzed, unable to talk or tell anyone they were awake. Once the first incision was made, you found not only were you awake, but felt everything. Then you were screaming, yet no sound emerged. 

That is the “alone” feeling which makes suicide seem like the only option.

Keith made a second suicide attempt. I came home one evening and found him on the living room floor. He had stabbed himself in the stomach again, only that time, he inserted the knife 5 times. 

I handled his second attempt much better than the first, hardly leaving his side unless I had to eat or go to the bathroom. 

Following his release from the hospital, he was placed in an inpatient facility for a few weeks. He jumped off a bridge 7 months later…

I have to live with the fact that Keith is gone forever. Living with the loss of a spouse, or anyone really, is so incredibly difficult. Suicide adds something to the loss that doesn’t make the loss worse than others, just very different. 

Keith had support, love, understanding, and his family by his side no matter what, and still lost his battle. 

I am realistic in knowing suicide, mental illness and addiction can not be eradicated. However, with the most up to date information we have about the effects of trauma during a lifespan, and the reality of mental illness and addiction; I feel it’s incredibly important for those of us who are capable, to speak out about our experiences, to help put an end to the stigma attached to mental illness and addiction. So many people are suffering in silence and dying. 

I have been through the unimaginable in my life, and all while battling mental illness and addiction. It’s hard. The way we look at these illnesses as a society is wrong, and people are dying, going to prison unnecessarily, and families are being torn apart. 

So, no, this is not spam. This is the reality many of us live and the more that is said out loud about mental illness, addiction, and what these illnesses truly are, the more we evolve in mind and spirit. 

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