I Attempted Suicide & I’m Not Sure It Was Wrong

It was just after Thanksgiving. My head was pounding, and I was freezing as my feet hit the pavement running.

My parents had gone to my grandma’s house for leftover turkey and dressing. I stayed home, eager for the time to myself.

While they were enjoying their family dinner, I took a bottle of Tylenol: 350 capsules. It didn’t help matters much that I had taken a muscle relaxant from my mother’s collection.

I wasn’t suicidal.

I had a migraine from running.

At least, that is the story I told.

By the time my boyfriend found me, my body temperature had dropped, my lips were blue and I was freezing.

I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

When I was 15, medical professionals tried to tell me that it was “depressive disorder.” Even then, I knew better.

While on Facebook, some days, just viewing my profile can cost me an entire day or a few hours. It’s one day one minute, and the next minute, it’s Tuesday.

The days just disappear and so do the hours. Facebook regularly prompts me to update my profile and poses this question:

What are some of your favorite memories?

I should mention . . .

I also have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

As an adult, I have learned that extensive physical and emotional trauma have conditioned my brain to a specific, organized, way of thinking.

Some days, it feels like it did the same to my emotions.

I couldn’t tell you exactly what at the time, but something changed just before I started seventh grade. I stopped going by my first name. I adamantly went by my middle name and became verbally aggressive if challenged otherwise.

Please, call me, ‘Grace.’

I also took a creative writing class that year. When we returned from Spring break, we were assigned a writing project prompted with this question:

What was the favorite part of your Spring break with your family?

In tears and confused, I approached the teacher’s desk and quietly whispered that I had nothing special to tell about my Spring break.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

I can’t remember what happened that year. There were many hard years. My counselor tells me,

We have a way of blocking the hard parts out.

I’d like to know what she considers as hard. 

The teacher told me to write about any happy memory with my family instead. On that day, I realized I didn’t have any happy memories—not one.

Not that I never had any happy moments, that is just how my mind works.

Ethics

As a teenager, if had succeeded in taking my own life, would the decision have been ethical? Would it have been right or wrong? After all, I was the victim of an abusive culture and upbringing, innocent in my youth and my thinking.

I was a child.

If mental health did not play a role, but rather a pure response to real trauma, would you tell a child he/she is selfish for escaping abuse the only way the child knew how or does the abuse give a logical and acceptable justification to suicide?

Physician-assisted Suicide is legal in the Netherlands, currently being determined in Canada, and moderately approved (with restrictions) across the United States. According to the American Medical Association:

Physician-assisted suicide occurs when a physician facilitates a patient’s death by providing the necessary means and/or information to enable the patient to perform the life-ending act (eg, the physician provides sleeping pills and information about the lethal dose, while aware that the patient may commit suicide.)

If the physical need for an escape from pain or the fear of the pain that is coming is an ethical justification for suicide, then, wouldn’t the same be valid in the case of a teenager escaping physical abuse or other trauma?

If suicide is justifiable for any reason, what gives anyone the authority to govern who and who does not deserve to choose if they live or die?

If an adult, undergoing extensive medical treatment for a terminal condition, can choose to end his/her own life at will, why would an adult undergoing daily pain and torment not also deserve that same right?

Wouldn’t it be “ethical” to determine that is for the greater good of all who are hurting to cease suffering, if possible?

The problem is human nature. It makes the majority believe that the method by which death is achieved is not moral. 

I would by lying to say that I am not torn on the topic. Losing a loved one to suicide feels like a shock to the heart. It feels like an injustice, like a life was stolen.

A close friend who lived in my neighborhood was shot in the head during the summer of 1996. His name was Michael Lime. At first, they tried to claim it was suicide. Then, there was rumor and speculation of murder. In the end, it was chalked off to boys playing with guns.

But nobody really knows because we don’t talk about it.

Why do we fight against the justification, ethical theory and legality, of suicide being socially acceptable?

Morals.

If we determine and declare that suicide is an acceptable way of dying, what message do we send our children, friends and family, when they reach out during that moment when life feels like too much?

In those moments, we want to send one message:

Choose life!

So, we declare it unethical, immoral, sinful, selfish and crazy. But is it?

To want to escape something unreal, unimaginable and unbearably painful, is that unethical? Is that wrong?

I’m not sure, but I choose life and every good or bad day it may bring.

I choose life.


Suicide Prevention

Image Credit

5 Things About America We Only Remember As Needed

1 — FREEDOM.

We forget that the setting aside of our differences is not about opinion, moral belief, or judgment! “All men are created equal,” regardless of race, color, title, or faith! We are to cast aside our diversities, so that we can stand behind our freedom! How quickly we forget-

Our freedom did not come free!

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” —Jim Morrison

2— “WE THE PEOPLE”

We forget that we have to be the kind of leadership we our politicians to be! We ARE the people! It is our family, friends, and loved ones who will fill those seats someday! We have to paint, in permanent ink, our future generations with more than just the words “liberty and justice for all!”

If we want to see American values survive over the ages, then we will have to pave the way!

That means we have to stand up, make some noise, and use our voices!

“As we look over the list of the early leaders of the republic, Washington, John Adams, Hamilton, and others, we discern that they were all men who insisted upon being themselves and who refused to truckle to the people. With each succeeding generation, the growing demand of the people that its elective officials shall not lead but merely register the popular will has steadily undermined the independence of those who derive their power from popular election. The persistent refusal of the Adamses to sacrifice the integrity of their own intellectual and moral standards and values for the sake of winning public office or popular favor is another of the measuring rods by which we may measure the divergence of American life from its starting point.” —James Truslow Adams

3— THE REAL AMERICAN DREAM.

We forget what the real American Dream used mean. We’ve tainted it with materialistic ideations and daydreams! It is more than a three-story house, three well-mannered children, a puppy, and a white picket fence!

We’re slamming doors that we have battled in wars just to open. Doors that belong without lock and key, for all of the people!

“From sea to shining sea!”

We’ll sing it. Yet, where is our brotherhood when the fireworks fade and the party has ended, Memorial Day weekend is over, and Veteran’s Day passes?

“The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.” —The Epic of America

4— INDEPENDENCE.

We forget that written within our national proclamation of freedom is the commitment to put all differences aside! We’re to tear down political bands & parties, personal opinions and judgments, and stand together as one! Do we? “And crown thy good with brotherhood!” We must, in the face of diversity, rise to uphold the laws penned by our very own hands!

Democratic, Republican, Conservative, Liberal?

Hell no! “We the people!”

“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” —The Declaration of Independence

5— UNITED WE STAND!

Most of all, we forget, “One nation, indivisible!” Not divided!

This is not a game of Red Rover and we do not run at each other trying to break apart the hands that are joined! United we stand! Divided we fall . . . and we’re falling. We must stand in unity or we will die by our own swords & guns.

When the patriotism has come and gone, we faithfully return to our daily routine of complaining, rallying, debating, and “who scammed who” talk . . .

Easily forgetting why we can stand so bold in our right to freedom, and dismissing the price that it cost!

“My country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!”

“If America is to be a great nation, this must become true!” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

It’s time to make a change, America!

We have stood idly by for long enough.

We shake our heads and roll our eyes— content with pulling up a seat for the show.

Then we watch as we, the people of the United States, destroy, abuse, disregard, and throw away our very right to freedom, while abandoning respect for the lives lost to gain it.

It’s time to stand behind the words that sealed our independence.

Our soldiers have fought.
Our families have scarified.
Our children have seen tragedy and death.

Now is the time to rise as one, raise our voices, and take an unyielding stand!

United, we are a fearless nation; indivisible, undivided, and strong!

“The great value of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.”—James Truslow Adams


 Read Raymmar Tirado’s collaborative article HERE!!

An Open Letter To The Media

I read the articles you wrote about an elementary school student who returned to school as a different gender than before.

KOKH FOX25 and KSDK News Channel 5, I write to you.

As a parent, I need to understand the reason for your blatant disregard of privacy and negligent concern of the results.  So I have to ask:

Was this a newsworthy topic? Did the public need to be informed? Was it for the greater good?

Or . .

Did you  just take a situation that was handled excellently and within best interest of the child and make it open to public ridicule and debate, just to keep a hot topic posted on your news feed?

I’m appalled (though not surprised) that you so easily created a public debate among the entire state (KOKH). You know this is Oklahoma. You wanted a rise.

You made light of  a child’s diversity, struggle and health, and then passed it off as news because you knew it would get a response!

Maybe it is acceptable for you to do such a thing to your own children, but you should stand behind the children of this nation and this state, and acknowledge their vulnerability and their right to dignity as you are supposed to do!

You represent the people. You represent the state. You lead the crowd.

You blurred the lines of the law for profit.

Shame on you.

These articles could have been presented a different way. You could have not named the school. You could have not named the child’s real first name or new name! You could have written an article that was a general inquisition about how Gender Identity Disorder impacts children. Then, you could have posed the question to readers about how they think it may/may not impact the students. You could have refrained from indirectly exposing her medical diagnosis.

But you didn’t.

What you did do was negligently overlook a child’s rights, feelings and psychological development. All for the purpose of stirring the pot, raising the ratings and keeping at the top!

The media is supposed to push boundaries. The media also has boundaries, especially when it comes to children!

Did you ask this child if you could share her story? Did the family consent to this exposure by you? Why have we not heard from them? Oh, wait! That’s because they took proper steps and were advised by medical professionals. They took every possible step they could to help guide their young child through this  very difficult transition and to help her feel comfortable at school.

Here’s what you were supposed to do.

“Journalistic activity which touches on the lives and welfare of children should always be carried out with appreciation of the vulnerable situation of children. Journalists and media organisations shall strive to maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct in reporting children’s affairs and, in particular, they shall:

  • Strive for standards of excellence in terms of accuracy and sensitivity when reporting on issues involving children. (Was this sensitive to you? Did you keep her in mind as you displayed her school, and new name as if maybe a plethora of children did this, so maybe no one will know it’s her?!)
  • Avoid programming and publication of images which intrude upon the media space of children with information which is damaging to them (Like if this child were to go view your article and all that the world has to say about her and her parents?!)
  • Avoid the use of stereotypes and sensational presentation to promote journalistic material involving children (like your article).
  • Consider carefully the consequences of publication of any material concerning children and shall minimise harm to children (like public humiliation and bullying).
  • Guard against visually or otherwise identifying children unless it is demonstrably in the public interest; (Yet passively you did!)
  • Give children, where possible, the right of access to media to express their own opinions without inducement of any kind. (Where was this child you chose to exploit? Did she have a voice?)”

Perhaps, you should read over The Media & Child’s Rights via  UNICEF.

This was negligence by choice.

A sad portrayal of the damage the media can do when it seeks ratings and money, instead of remembering that they are the voice of the people! 

Every single action was taken to make sure this was a smooth transition and that her emotional and mental well-being were kept in mind. All that you did was name names, identify the school, and expose an already vulnerable child to public ridicule, humiliation, bullying and debate.

Yet, you believe that it was okay because you danced around the rules?

What if this was your child? How would you feel as you sat back feeling like you had to protect your son or daughter from his/her classmates, but then end up defending your child to the adults of the town and the general public, the internet and local grocery stores, and the  PTA?

Adults need to be talking about the hard topics and controversial issues, 
BUT IT SHOULD NOT AND WILL NOT BE AT THE EXPENSE OF OUR CHILDREN!