There are three major things I want to accomplish in this article. The first thing is to answer those big gaping questions everyone has after someone commits suicide. The second thing is to explain to you that specific types of mental illnesses are curable if you catch them in an early enough stage. The third thing is to butcher the stigmas and different labels others tend to place on people who are dealing with certain things, instead of actually dealing with the root of the issue.
First, let me tell you about when I wanted to commit suicide:
I stopped going outside to hang out with kids in the neighborhood right around seventh grade and just stayed in the house after that, because prior, I was always getting talked about over things I couldn’t control (like my clothes and shoes that usually came from a thrift store, or my terrible acne) and then got beat up when I tried to stand up for myself. That started back in second grade. I got into fights every single summer when we were out of school. Not because I was always starting fights. I was the one getting picked on.
Kids felt they could do and say anything to me, but it was a huge problem if I ever said or did anything back, at least where I grew up! You can’t be getting punked by the person who’s supposed to be the punk. I was too witty for my own good back then. I was sharp. I couldn’t help that I had good comebacks, but people don’t like when you’re making good points when you’re talking about them, but even then I thought it to be illogical to go after the person trying to defend themselves when you were already giving them a hard time to begin with.
Now I realize it’s really just about the power trip and retaliation is a threat to that person’s power over you, so most things will be unfair and illogical for those who just feel the need to be in control of something. They may speak and ration in ways that don’t make sense or that are irrelevant, or that really just hit below the belt. I see many people still acting like that as adults!
Once I stopped going outside, the only interaction I had with others was at school. I stopped speaking to people. I stopped trying to make friends or even have a personality. I became completely introverted. I was still getting picked on, but I stopped fighting or saying anything back. By then I was tired of fighting, but they seem to pick on the ones who are quiet and think won’t say anything back even more. The last physical altercation I got in was at the beginning of my Freshman year of high school. I was sitting in my Spanish class, minding my business and not speaking to anyone like I normally did. Someone tapped me on the shoulder and I looked up to see an open notebook flying across the room and hitting me in my face as the whole class laughed. I couldn’t see who threw it but I picked it up, closed it and hit a girl in the face with it who I didn’t like because she was always picking on me. I thought she was the most likely to have thrown it, but she wasn’t the only one in the class to pick on me either.
I’d gotten suspended, but this wasn’t elementary or junior high school anymore. We were now told we could face expulsion, arrest or not graduating as a result of fighting. I didn’t feel anyone was worth any of that so I continued to bite my tongue and not react, but it still effected me. There were a few people that were a little nice to me, but they weren’t really my friends. I think they just felt sorry for me. They wouldn’t even acknowledge me when they were around their cool friends and they still laughed when they were around other people. Some of these “frenemies” would talk about me too and then later say things like “You know I was just playing, right?” Apparently fitting in meant more to them than being a genuine friend to someone who needed one.
When someone kills themselves, everyone wonders what happened. When I almost killed myself in high school I did reach out to people first. I didn’t just come out and say I wanted to kill myself, but I’d open up a little about the things that were on my mind and troubling me. Do you know what happened? I was called a liar. I was told I was exaggerating things. I was nonchalantly told it wasn’t that serious. I was told that I just wanted attention. Most times they’d laugh in my face about what I was talking about, only making the wound deeper.
All the times I was getting talked about and no one stuck up for me because they thought it was funny, or all the times they saw me with my head down on my desk crying and just said I was sensitive, or was too old for that and just called me a cry baby, were my feelings not real to them for some reason? There was one girl I thought I could open up to. She was right there a lot of times I was getting made fun of. I didn’t feel attractive on any day, but sometimes I’d get the courage to ask her things like “Do you think I’m pretty?” and she’d tell me I wasn’t ugly, and it was small things like that which made my heart smile a little bit or lifted my spirit for just a second. I stopped hearing from her though and then heard from other people it was because I had too many issues.
I power walked home from the school bus everyday because I learned how to keep my tears in long enough until I got in the house and inside my room, but they were still hanging on for dear life because I would get teased on those bus rides after school. Did I want attention then, or had I learned to cope in a society that ignored me and made me feel like my feelings didn’t matter? You’re just told to stop crying or that you need thicker skin. No one ever cared about the reason I was crying or having these feelings. I just wasn’t supposed to have them. Then everyone started telling me I was mean. Uh, ya think?
If I would’ve stabbed someone any of those times no one knew I brought a knife to school, probably because they could sense I wasn’t for their nonsense and magically no one bothered me on those days, would I be in the wrong if I said I understand why someone would shoot up a school? It doesn’t mean people haven’t died who shouldn’t be mourned, but no one ever feels sorry for the perpetrator BEFORE something happens. They’re just all of a sudden crazy, right?
The reason I go so hard for my relationship with God is because I know it was Him who answered the prayer I prayed right before I was about to take that bottle of sleeping pills I bought when my mother sent me in the store to get groceries. I was in the dead middle of writing my suicide note when a girl I went to high school with, who had my number from a previous class project called me. She also rode the same bus route as I did. She told me not to listen to those kids. She told me that wasn’t right. She voluntarily told me I was pretty, had a beautiful heart and that they just didn’t know any better. She started sitting next to me on the bus, befriended me and actually acted like she knew me when we got around other people. She even began taking up for me. She became one of my best friends.
I know God is real and I know He saved my life that day. However, not everyone has that moment. I was blessed enough to have someone reach out to me. It’s not that the signs aren’t there. Many people are just so wrapped up in themselves, only being able to see things from their own experience, that they miss them. Most people who go on to be suicidal or homicidal usually always talk about it first, like I often alluded to back then, but no one takes them seriously until something serious happens. Everyone always says they didn’t think they were serious or would actually do that. And apparently it’s ALWAYS just for attention, until someone dies! They’re not as much as the problem as you may think.
I learned to keep things in because no one listened and no one tried to understand. If I would have killed myself back then I’m sure everyone would’ve been shocked and clueless as to why I did it, having no idea that I was depressed. Would it make sense to mention something no one had interest in? Well I just explained to you why depressed people learn to quietly cope, put on a mask and attempt to live life like everyone else undetectably.
Everyone has a breaking point. Just because a person seems one way on the outside doesn’t mean you really know what’s going on internally. I look at this recent story of The Facebook Killer, Steve Stephens, and find it ironic that he worked in the mental health field, considering I want to uplift and encourage others now because no one seemed to listen or pay attention to me. Is this a coincidence, or are the people helping others the ones who understand what it’s like to be in their shoes? People who know what it’s like to feel like something are usually showing the most empathy to others in a similar situation.
Now let me tell you about overcoming mental illness:
If you thought that’s where my story stopped, think again! Those undealt with wounds can easily turn into personality disorders, which I was in the beginning stages of developing! Having one friend didn’t automatically erase everything I dealt with in the past and magically make years of mental and emotional abuse go away. There were still major wounds and traumatic experiences that already begun taking a psychological effect on me, because no one who is in a healthy mental place is about to take their own life.
Once we understand that people aren’t born with personality disorders, but develop them, we can understand that every personality disorder has it’s own set of roots and origins that helped to create it. I later found out in my adult life that I was a burgeoning Narcissist.
If you’ve never heard of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or don’t know what a Narcissist is, I’ll sum it up for you in my own words without tying a chapter from a Psychology textbook:
A Narcissist is a person who has completely lost empathy, or compassion for others. They’re dishonest in order to manipulate people into doing what they want or being who they want because of the large need to be in control due to whatever happened in their past that they felt they could not control. They feed off of people who supply them with feelings of importance or value because they have none themselves, and fiend for that high like a drug. They are initially sweet and charming at first to gain the affections of someone they admire, and will go as far as to imitate or become like the person to secure their companionship. They will be generous to that person, even supplying gifts.
However, they have learned to not trust anyone because of the way others have treated them and this causes them to be paranoid and suspicious of everyone, giving them the ability to emotionally detach themselves. This also makes people disposable to them. They have no sense of feeling when it comes to mistreating others. The lines for what is moral and immoral are blurred. They take no accountability for their actions because they are justified, so they believe others are deserving of the ways they hurt them. They are vengeful and vindictive and often abusive in relationships; usually can become violent; irrational and selfish. They feel satisfaction in the humiliation or downfall of others because it makes them feel better about themselves, and are usually quick to lend a hand in order to help make that happen.
They are empty people who have learned to exist without feeling and don’t see people as human beings, but as pawns to fill their ego or esteem. This turns them into users who commonly become possessive with those who supply their needs or make them feel special. They become jealous of anyone who may possibly get in the way of that relationship due to a deep pit of insecurities, causing toxic relationships to be created with anyone who they may actually become close to.
Let’s continue with where the young lady befriended me in high school when I was about to commit suicide:
I didn’t tell her that I secretly credited her for saving my life, nor did I even share that I was about to kill myself when she called me that day. That’s something most people would be pretty embarrassed to share for the sake of not wanting to be seen as unstable or a basket case. I’d just gotten a friend who made me feel like I was worth something and I was going to do everything in my power to make sure I didn’t lose her, so I started to lie. I lied about things I got for my birthday and Christmas that I really didn’t. I lied about having a boyfriend, which I really didn’t. I even made up having a rich aunt who was a fashion designer and had a daughter who was a model, who would’ve been my cousin.
My friend had actually done some catalog modeling so I thought this would give us something in common. The reality was I had crushes on guys on who would come to the lunch table and flirt with her and never even acknowledge I was there. I had guys tell me they liked me who acted like they didn’t know me around certain people, or made me out to be a liar if I told anyone. The truth is everything she had seemed to be better than what I had, whether it was clothes, shoes, her house, her cars, that fact that her mom took her to the salon to get her hair done every two weeks or the fact that she had her own cell phone. Any time I got a little money, I bought small gifts for her, thinking I had to buy her friendship.
I thought I wasn’t good enough to be her friend and eventually she’d see that like everyone else, so making up these things would make her stay friends with me. I truly cherished our friendship.
One day after school she realized she’d left her keys at home and came over to my house until her mom got home from work. I was embarrassed to let her inside. I felt like her house was so much nicer than mine. Everything in my house had come from the thrift store and nothing really matched, not even our dishes and silverware. I knew she could tell I was embarrassed. I thought for sure she’d stop being friends with me. In my past experience of having friends over, they’d go to school the next day and talk about my house to other people. I was used to it. I expected it.
I saw her at school the next day and when it came around to lunch time she sat next to me and said “What was wrong yesterday?” I was quiet. She then asked “Are you embarrassed because of your house?” I couldn’t even look at her. She continued to say “Because I don’t care about that. I could tell you were embarrassed but that doesn’t mean anything to me. I don’t care about that.” I broke down crying right at the table and told her about other friends who would talk about me to other people after they came over. She grabbed some napkins, wiped my face and said “Those people aren’t your real friends! You don’t have to worry about that. I’m still your friend! I’m not going to do that to you.”
Over time I’d watch her defend me when people would laugh and ask why she was friends with me or that she’d be more popular if she didn’t hang around me. It took some time but I had finally realized that I didn’t have to pretend or make up things in order for her to be my friend. She was accepting of me, cared about my feelings and didn’t make me feel bad about anything. It gave me a confidence I didn’t have before. This was the first time I felt something genuine.
I then felt uneasy about all the things I’d made up and made a decision to not do that anymore, but the thing with lies is that you have to tell several more to cover up the initial lie.
I couldn’t just tell her I lied because she definitely wouldn’t want to be friends with me anymore. We were Juniors now. This had gone on for two years. I didn’t know how to become honest and still make sure we maintained our friendship, so I told her my cousin died. This way I never had to bring her up again and continue to lie and she would stop asking about her. Well, it backfired.
Her mother called to check on me, but my mom answered the phone. That’s when everything came out and my biggest fear came true. She didn’t want anything to do with me anymore. I had run away the one real friend I had. It was disheartening. I was completely heartbroken and overcome with loneliness and rejection once again, but I was intelligent enough to know that this was of my own doing. She didn’t care about why I lied to her, she only cared about the fact that she couldn’t trust me. I was telling her how much I cared about her but I couldn’t overlook the fact that I betrayed her. I was no different that most of the people you see on Mtv’s Catfish: The TV Show.
The fact of the matter is, no matter what it is we’ve experienced and the legitimate reasons we may have for doing some things that aren’t quite moral, we still need to hold ourselves accountable for our own actions. We can’t control what other people say or do, but we can control what we do, what we say and how we make others feel. We can’t blame other people for what we decide to do, though our experiences and interactions play a major role in shaping who we are and reveal why we are the way we are.
I became so devastated over losing my best friend that I decided for good that I’d never do that again and held onto her showing me that I didn’t need to do that. If I would have continued down the path of that type of behavior and allowed myself to become numb and lose empathy for others, I would currently be a full fledged Narcissist today. I had a decision to make and I chose to have a conscience and to treat people the way I wanted to be treated. I realized life would be lonely if I shut people out in fear they might hurt me, and lonelier if I chose to manipulate the people who cared about me so they could fill the void I had deep within myself. Finding my worth and a purpose to live completely changed the course I was headed down.
Finally, let me tell you about finding purpose in life:
I had many wounds I was still hurting from. It would have been easy to see her as just another person who rejected me or fall into the trap of believing that I was not good enough again, instead of taking responsibility in the role I played in the outcome of everything. Maybe I didn’t cause the other times I was rejected, but I know I had this time.
We can never truly enjoy life and form long and meaningful relationships while going into them with presumptions and expecting everyone to treat us the way others have before. After all, that was the whole reason the lies started in the first place. I didn’t give her a fair chance to show me who she was and sabotaged something that could have been both great and beneficial. I saw that type of behavior as something I had to nip in the bud back at seventeen years old, or my life and relationships would continue to be like that and I would be the reason other people wouldn’t want anything to do with me.
Unfortunately, there are many people out there who are completely blind to the ways they mishandle or mistreat people because they have a legitimate reason for their behavior. In the end, they’re actually the ones pushing people away, and as a result feel that everlasting sting of loneliness, rejection, and worthlessness, that only produces more and more insecurities within oneself.
I stopped lying to make myself seem more interesting, but my heart was still becoming vengeful. Not toward her, but toward anyone who reminded me of anyone who hurt me. I naturally found myself talking about people. I would find people’s flaws and point them out to humiliate them before they had the chance to humiliate me. I found it entertaining to play mind games with others. I would flirt with men and make them think I would sleep with them and walk away leaving them ready. I thought it was funny. I was paying back the boys in high school that rejected me. I was very good at telling off any man that approached me. When I actually was sexual, I was very selfish and purposely didn’t do things fairly. I became self serving and somehow, in a sick way this brought pleasure to me.
This only lasted until I was twenty-one. I stopped hearing my conscience less and less and it scared me. It scared me to think about what I was truly capable of without it knowing all the evil thoughts that I’d contemplated on before but didn’t follow through with. My heart was dark. It didn’t start like that, as no ones does, but it was almost reactionary. Luckily, I was somewhere loosely pursuing a curious relationship with God and my conscience started to slowly come back. It’s like God always stepped in at the right moments before I was completely lost.
The way people talk to us, treat us, what we see and what we hear all mold parts of our personality. I could have continued to not speak to people when they spoke to me. I could have continued to look mean when others smiled at me. I could have let my very deep dislike for people turn me into a numb loner on the verge of doing something dangerous because I was a ticking time bomb waiting to express all the simmering, pinned up negative emotions I’d been holding in for all this time.
Instead I decided to CHANGE. I walked away from all my hurting bitter places and decided to become the type of person I would want to have as a friend in my life. Nowadays people tell me that I’m too nice and I’ve even been taken advantage of myself at times for being that way. I found myself giving everyone a chance and the benefit of the doubt. I remembered what it was like when no one believed me or took me seriously. In true Karma fashion, I got my full payback when I ended up actually dating a Narcissist later in life because I’d become the opposite of that and essentially it’s counterpart.
Well how does that happen?
Let’s look back. When I stopped taking up for myself back at eleven or twelve years old, I lost my voice before it had a chance to develop. I didn’t have any kind of backbone. Though I believe it prevented me from giving others my energy, it normalized people saying whatever they wanted to me and treating me however they wanted to without my intervention or expression of how I didn’t like it or how it really made me feel. I silenced myself. So when I got older, that deep rooted dysfunction set me up to be the perfect doormat!
Also, given the experience I had with my best friend in high school and all the rejection I experienced before and after, I feared losing people in my life. Though I hadn’t been a liar for a long time, I started allowing people to stay in my life longer than rational for fear of loneliness. I became that person who would do anything for you. I learned to put everyone’s feelings before mine. I learned to not feel anymore. My feelings didn’t seem to matter because no one ever treated me like they did. I was one big dysfunctional mess who had been temporarily stunted by the experiences in my past. When I lost touch with my feelings, I lost touch with myself. Since I wasn’t in touch with my feelings, everyone else’s feelings became my own and it was important to me that they knew their feelings mattered to me. I desired to save everyone else and put myself in the backseat because of my own void.
This set me up to be used and abused by anyone who was emotionally manipulative who picked up my big heart and well concealed low self-esteem. People knew how to tug on my heart strings to get what they wanted out of me, especially running guilt trips that sometimes triggered flashbacks of that hurting, young teenage girl who wanted to kill herself. I didn’t know how to say no to anyone and I didn’t know anything about having boundaries when it came to the extent of how much I’d help someone.
A Narcissist cannot function without someone who is codependent. Codependent doesn’t mean someone who is dependent on you for something like money or material things. Codependency means you enable someone else’s destructive behavior by allowing them to abuse or manipulate you in order to make the other person feel good. You feel sorry for them. You make excuses for their behavior because you know the dark, hurtful or traumatic place it may stem from. It’s a relationship based on dysfunction and you allow it because you’re seeking love yourself from your undealt with wounds that probably can be traced back to childhood as well. It means you’re trying to love someone who does not possess the tools that would make them capable of being able to properly love you back, but it’s not really your fault! Damaged people tend to have a soft spot for other damaged people, and live damaged and dysfunctional lives together!
Spiritually speaking, it is the same dynamic as King Ahab and his wife Jezebel in the Bible. Jezebel, who can either be a man or woman, was the selfish, entitled, manipulator using her charm to control and deceive others to get what she wanted with no remorse. Ahab, who can also be man or woman, fell victim to her charm and existed quietly, enabling her. God revealed to me both about Narcissists and the spirit of Jezebel when I was leaving that relationship.
Science wants to tell you that Narcissists don’t change or can’t change, and that may be true once they’ve surpassed a certain level of unconscienced thinking, but if we look at it in a spiritual sense, you can be delivered from the spirit of Jezebel, which was operating through me before I gave my life to God, and then later from the spirit of Ahab that was more of the initial problem that came from unaddressed issues in my childhood. I began praying prayers against both the spirit of Jezebel and Ahab that had been trying to lay stealth in my life. I thank God for that revelation!
It’s been a couple years since then, but it was almost necessary in order for God to show me the importance of seeking help for those undealt wounds we may embarrassed about or too ashamed to talk about. The fact of the matter is darkness and light cannot coexist. Once we begin shedding light on those sensitive and dark areas, they lose power over us and no longer have the ability to control us. We open ourselves up to be fully healed and for others who understand to support us in our growth and healing. This is why it is important to me to be this transparent, because that’s where your deliverance lives!
My ambition in life is to become a mentor, life coach and motivational speaker and reach out to those who may have been or may currently be in the shoes I once wore! All my ugly and nasty areas, helped me to discover my purpose, which has given me the will to move forward and unashamedly.
It’s been fifteen years since the thought of suicide has crossed my mind, even though I’ve experienced much more hurtful or traumatic things since then. I realize I can’t help anyone if I’m not here and I’ve learned to combat those negative thoughts with positive energy. I’ve learned what my triggers are (and I may talk about learning how not to allow things the triggers of painful places to control your emotions) and I know they can no longer send me to that dark place. God has healed me. I’ve learned to forgive and I now know what it’s like to both be able to love from a pure place and to live in peace. I am happy and I’ve learned to be content no matter what is going on. I call this part of my life chain free!
If you’re dealing with any suicidal or homicidal thoughts I encourage you to seek help. It may be tough for you to open up at first, as it was for me, and even tougher to really understand the truth about yourself or face the ugliness lurking in your past that you think you’ve tucked away and would rather forget, but things that you want to see as small issues, turn into big issues later! If no one listens, keep reaching out until you find some who will and won’t make you feel bad for that part of your life that you couldn’t control. Christian counseling worked for me, as I wasn’t diagnosed with Depression or anything else, but was led to deal with the root issues so Depression stopped being a major problem.
Also keep in mind that medication cannot heal wounds to your heart nor wounds to your soul.
I AM NOT SUGGESTING ANYONE STOP TAKING THEIR PRESCRIBED MEDICATIONS!
I am saying you need to seek help outside of that if you are on any. It may temporarily pacify it or send you to another place, but the wounds, your fears and the hurt will still be there once it wears off, and all it may take is some time off of it to fly off the handle.
Talk to somebody! – A licensed professional. Many places take insurance and other places are free! If you don’t feel like you’re in the right hands, switch who you’re seeing!
Seeing a mental healthcare professional does NOT mean you’re crazy! It means you’re smart and you’re taking the first step in finding help, not only for yourself, but for everyone who loves you.
You are beautiful. You are important and you are loved! No matter what has happened to you in your life, you’re still here and you still have a future! Keep pushing forward! I’m rooting for you and I want to see you live your best life possible!
You are strong. You are brave! You are an overcomer!
You are someone who is special and was born with a purpose!
Be bold. Be fearless. Climb higher. Be inspired!
-Debrinah S. Dorsey