It was summer … or late spring. My father had thrown a ROYAL hissy fit about a name. My name. Only it wasn’t the name he and mother had given me as a child. Where I worked, we could drink all the soda we wanted as long as we brought our own cup. I labeled MY cup with my D&D character name. Apparently that was an insult to my father.  Anyway …

The ensuing tongue lashing grated on an already worn thin spirit. I was at that tender young age of 16 and I was struggling with battles my parents had little inkling of. Though I had survived sexual abuse (the offender had moved away) it had not been revealed to my parents.  *sigh* I’ve done quite a bit of typing and backspacing trying to get past that last sentence. Clearly I’m not ready to share more deeply on that subject with the random public. So let it suffice to say that my survival tactics made me a challenge for my overbearing father.

In the days that followed, with a spirit worn thin and no sense of a light at the end of the tunnel, I raided the cabinet. Our house was not filled with much in the way of medication. But there was this one bottle of stuff advertised to be a ‘brain activant’. My limited knowledge of drugs and overdose issues in hand, I decided to go out in a blaze of mental glory – or agony more likely.

I gave no warning. There were no subtle cries for help. I simply took the bottle and headed into the wood. I went to a favorite spot, a small little glade where I had once dreamed of building a small cottage, a place of peace and solitude. After consuming the entire contents of the bottle, I leaned back against a comfortable tree and waited. No turning back the clock. No panic. A choice made in peace and sorrow. And waited …

Of course I thought about my life and what had and had not become of it. I don’t recall regretting the decision to end it. I do recall wondering what was taking so long … and wondering. I do remember realizing that I had failed. If it was going to do what I had thought it was going to do, it would have happened in a matter or hours. As the sun sank lower in the sky, I had to accept that I was still alive.

And I sat there, thinking about that. I was still here. The whole world had crashed down around me, enough so to drive me over that edge. The whole world had crumbled, no stone left standing, and there I sat. In the end, I still had myself.  In the end, I still had myself. In the end, I still had myself. Yes it bears repeating. Because when the whole world is crumbling and you can’t take it anymore, you can let it fall. And in the end you will still have yourself.

I don’t think of that day as a failed suicide attempt. When it comes up, I do describe it as ‘the day I killed myself’. I walked away a changed person, not so much renewed as resolved.

I carry in me the sure knowledge that I am a force unto myself, for myself. I can stand alone. I am grateful that I don’t have to stand alone. But I could. And I would. Because I understand that in the end, I still have myself.

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