The Reality of Suicide Attempts




A family event yesterday caused me to spiral downward in a most drastic way. Before I knew it, what seemed like such an insignificant event brought me to the point to where I locked myself in my room for two days, refusing to eat. My two young sons didn’t know what to think; I imagine I hurt them a great deal with my irrational behavior. I was trying to prove a point to my wife, but the children were the ones who got caught in the crossfire.

I reached rock bottom this evening. I read in a mystery novel recently about a character committing suicide by swallowing Drano, a drain cleaning product made mostly of sodium hydroxide (lye). They sell it at any store like Walmart, so I was planning on making a trip there to pick up a bottle.

However, something told me to research it online — on my phone, of course; I didn’t want my family seeing the search terms “drano suicide” in the browser history. After my Xanax-and-booze attempt, I wanted a sure-fire way to kill myself.

What I read shocked the hell out of me. I found out that the most painful form (among many, I’m sure) of a suicide attempt is swallowing lye. If a person does indeed die from it, it could take days or months. The reason is that it burns the mouth, tongue, esophagus, and it also burns holes into the chest cavity. Years of painful surgeries would most likely be required.

That settled it. I was fortunate enough not to be turned into a vegetable for taking 40 Xanax pills mixed with tequila. (However, my memory has suffered somewhat — I can trace it back to that fateful night.)

From what I was reading, the human body is tough and harder to kill than people realize. For instance, slitting one’s wrists wouldn’t necessarily kill them. It may just damage the tendons and nerves in the wrists instead.

I remember the nurse at one of my hospital stays telling me about a man who once put a gun to his temple and pulled the trigger. The barrel of the gun wasn’t where it should have been to kill him. Instead of blowing his brains out, the bullet traveled right behind his eyes. He survived, but he was permanently blinded.

There were other deterrents that I came across: hanging oneself could just cause permanent brain damage; jumping from a high place might only cause permanent injury; overdosing on aspirin could only damage the kidneys, lungs, and liver instead of resulting in death.

After learning all of this, I became

1. disappointed and

2. scared.

Soon after that, my sons came into my room (I let them in) and asked if I could play outside with them. I said no because I was sad. My youngest left the room saying, “Daddy doesn’t want to play with us.” It broke my heart, but I was still too inwardly focused to do anything.

God knew I wanted to do the right thing. Before I knew it, I was outside in the dark, playing tag with my kids and having a great time.

If you are considering suicide, please remember this:

*Suicide is often messy, and the rate of success is not very high.

*If you by chance are successful, your loved ones (and you DO have people who love you) would be devastated for the rest of their lives.

My cousin committed suicide, and my aunt was never the same. Many say it caused her early death.

Hopefully this post will prevent your attempt. I pray it does.


Information taken from the book Here Comes the Sun by Gayle Rosellini & Mark Worden


About Topaz

I'm a college teacher, writer, and faithful Catholic. I do my best to juggle all of these while dealing with my mental illness -- a constant thorn in my flesh. View all posts by Topaz

11 responses to “The Reality of Suicide Attempts

  • lonlon558

    My God, I am so relieved that you did not take your own life, despite your attempt with Xanax and alcohol. I haven’t kept up with your blog (or anyones for that matter) as I’ve been out-of-touch with my blogging for a while now. But the thought of you leaving your wife and kids behind crushes my heart, as I imagine myself in that position and all of the horrible emotions that go along with it.

    I am bipolar and have contemplated suicide before also. I also am a muslim so I can relate to the idea of “dealing with mental illness while Catholic.” It IS significantly different for those of us who suffer from mental illness AND also are faithful followers of God.

    It’s funny, because I sympathize with both sides. Having contemplated suicide myself (though never yet attempted), I know the feeling of wanting to die. You truly and honestly feel from your head to your toes (and your heart included) that these people in your life would be better off without you. Somehow your mind convinces you of this, that you feel you are more of a burden to them now than the emotional aftermath they would experience afterwards. Or, using your own words, you are so “inwardly focused” that you don’t even consider the feelings and struggles the others would go through were you to take yourself out.

    On the other hand, especially listening to you talk about this as a man (me being a woman) reminds me of the gut-wrenching emotions I would have to endure if my own husband were to attempt and succeed in suicide, leaving me alone with my two boys. I would be completely distraught and would never be the same.

    I admire your courage in talking about this. I’m never able to seek help when I feel I want to die, but after I’m feeling better, I look at blogs such as yours and I feel comfort in knowing I am not the only one who feels this way at times.

    I pray you find peace and that you do not fall into the trap our minds throw us into headfirst – that our loved ones would be better off without us. Because they wouldn’t. And that’s the reality.

    Insha’allah khair. (May God make things better for you.)

    • Topaz

      Thank you so much for your comments. One purpose in starting this blog was to help others who suffer like I do. Although meant to inspire and help, I sometimes post my most personal struggles. I try to end on a positive note, though. It doesn’t always happen.

      I saw an interesting indie-film called Cake (starring Jennifer Aniston). A lady in her support group committed suicide. Jennifer’s character visited the widower. She asked how he was doing. He said something like “I hope my wife is burning in hell because that is where she put our son and me.” Very powerful. I guess my point is that we would affect people’s lives so much.

      Insha’allah khair to you as well, my friend.

  • lauramacky

    This is so raw and powerful. I’m glad you ended up playing tag and having fun with your kids. I battle depression and it’s hard to snap out of it sometimes.

  • momn3boys

    So glad you were able to bring yourself back from the brink. God is good, isn’t he? Sounds like getting outside and playing with your sons is exactly what you needed. God bless you and your family!

  • Daniela Chamorro

    Hello person. I recommend you looking for Meagan Weber From the Ashes. She has a testimony from her own mothers suicide wish is very revealing on what the ones left have to go through after a effective attempt of suicide. I hope you are better now. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. It’s very hard when you family doesn’t understand your irrational behavior. They don’t have to give you excuses but should help and be supportive making yourself away from it.

  • Sandy McCready

    Your blog touched me. I’m coming up on the tenth anniversary of my first psychiatric hospitalization and I’ve been battling the demons of my past. Thank you for sharing. I’ve been there.

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