Sad Story Turned Positive

This is my sad story turned positive. Disclaimer: this story is pretty raw.

It took me a long time to open up and tell it. I was so afraid of judgment and losing out on future opportunities but maybe sharing this could help younger folks. They say take your messes and turn them into a positive message. So here’s to being brave and authentic. Here’s my story.

Everyone has a sad story, something bad that they had to face in life. Mine was depression and suicide. But in every story, there is a silver lining I guess and doom and gloom grey clouds eventually give way to sunshine.

They say, around the world all over the age group at most risk for suicide attempts is between the ages of 25 and 35. That’s how it was for me too. I don’t know why. Maybe that time period is extremely stressful for people. Lots of changes going on and trying to establish careers and get married and start families I guess. So much pressure to be successful that it really weighs people down.

Anyway, here’s my story:

I got divorced in 2010. I was a single divorced mom at 32 years old. I was a mother to 2 little toddlers, a boy and girl. We lived in a little beige duplex.

One night, I got pretty messed up. I just didn’t want to live anymore. It’s hard to understand why someone would want to end things. Sometimes, life just gets to be too much and people aren’t in their right thoughts. No judgment, honestly. It is sad to say now that my kids were asleep in their twin beds in the room they shared next to the bathroom. I just was struggling and super sad and super lonely.

I cut myself several times with a knife but it hurt like hell. I picked a serrated edge knife from the wood block in the kitchen, which made it worse and I tried to cut from the inner elbow down to the wrist. It was bloody and hurt so bad.

Frustrated, then I took a bunch of Tylenol PM about maybe 30 or 40 pills and then just swallowed em. It was sorta hard to get em down with water, but I did and then I just kinda looked in the mirror wide-eyed for a bit and waited. I probably shoulda picked a different pill. I really didn’t know what I was doing to do this properly.

Thing is, I don’t remember what happened next much. I remember darkness. Just darkness. No visions of nothing. I don’t remember how I got on the floor even but somehow I did.

Woke up the next morning. My first gut reaction was, “Damn, I’m still here.” I got up and made breakfast for the kids like nothing much happened. Things went on like there never was a glitch moment. It was a bit surreal.

I did end up getting help for depression and trauma. I’d had it since my late 20s. I had some stuff from the past I was grappling with, unrelated to love relationships but clearly impacting them negatively. I spent several stays at mental wards for a while, usually just on weekends and once for 3 weeks.

That time was pretty frightening to me cause I saw my roommate go full insane and have a psychotic break, get put into a straight-jacket, strapped to a gurney and taken by security guards and police to the state hospital.

After seeing that, I got real messed up for a bit, wandering the halls of the mental ward and just praying and hoping they’d let me out and I wouldn’t crack under pressure. The more stressed I got, the more meds the docs gave me until I had tardive dyskinesia and literally drooled out the side of my mouth.

It was a pretty bad moment in my life. I just remember being very thirsty and drinking lots of water from the fountain. I know the docs were just trying to help me but I can’t help but wonder today if the Lithium was giving me a very, bad reaction.

My friend helped me, my sister’s husband. I don’t even think today he realizes how much he helped with just a little thing. He brought me a music player and an old CD of classical music. It soothed me and blocked out the voices of the folks around me so I could just focus on the sound. That music player is really the only reason I didn’t probably end up like my roommate truthfully. It calmed me way down in those moments. And that, is why I love music now.

At that time too, I got a card from my relatives in Texas. It was Bible passages. One was the quote from the Bible of Jeremiah. “For I know the plans I have for you, to give you a future and a hope.” I kinda literally clung to that Bible passage for a while and memorized it by heart. I kept believing in the passage and hoping and trusting in it.
Things got better.

A few years later after the failed suicide attempt, I started a new job and the guy next to me was an older guy but very friendly and affable and god, he’d play music all damn day. It was this old time country music. Anyway, he went through a divorce too. We were just friends, never went out nothing at all. Just friends, honestly.

One night he said he was sitting in his truck in the dark with a gun in his hand, planning to shoot himself cause his 26 year marriage was ending. He called me that night seeking a friend to help.

We went on a date a few weeks later. He showed up at the door with yellow tulips. We had a picnic and walked a wilderness trail and spent the evening rollerskating and holding hands. It made me feel alive and like a teenager again. It was pretty fun.

We got married to each other. Our wedding was at a little chapel with my daughter as the flower girl and my son as the ring-bearer. It was just a small reception with BBQ and cake and ice cream afterwards. We went to Arkansas for our honeymoon, Bentonville, the home of Wal-mart and 2 hours away to see Crystal Bridges art museum.

This year, will be our 10th anniversary. We’ve had our challenges through the years , usually financial and career problems but we stick together. I’m proud of him and grateful for him. He’s currently pulling a second job part-time incidentally so we can pay off bills and help the kids with college and the car. That job is at Wal-mart too. Funny how things turn out like that.

He’s a good Dad to my kids. My daughter graduates high school this year and will go off to college soon. My son will get his first summer job soon and we want to buy him a car to get there.

I guess God’s plans for us both did work out after all. We just had to keep going through the hard stuff.

Divorce is such a hard challenge. Nothing breaks like a heart. My ex-husband never did anything brutal or mean to me but the divorce, the societal implications of it, the judgment, and the loneliness of separating from your lover and best friend and trying to go on by yourself especially with young children that you are trying to mother or father, that can be really hard to bear.

Morale of the story: Check on your divorced friends. They may be putting up a brave fight but trust me, they are struggling and some are not okay. Be kind like my relatives and friends were. A little word or two of encouragement or an inspiring song or a phone call outta the blue to say hi, these little things can go a really long way for them.


Author: J. Speer

I like to write. I have 5 books currently on Amazon, mostly fiction. I try to write positive and uplifting children's stories, expressive poetry for women, and interesting articles about personal growth, alternative medicine, and spirituality. My stories are often about diverse people but with human connection in mind through inner perspective. I love my characters especially the ones from my first book, Searching for Fire. I moved recently to Vermont. I live in the North Country region near Lake Willoughby, one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. My heart will always be with Kansas but I love travel and meeting new people with diverse perspectives on life. I have found Vermonters to have many admirable qualities like stoicism and a love and stewardship of nature. My hobbies are writing, gardening, outdoor activities like kayaking, fishing, and hiking. I am an amateur herbalist. Many years ago, an alternative medicine doctor cured me of a respiratory illness by teaching me about vitamins and for that, I owe her a debt of gratitude. I recently bought a Jeep Wrangler that fits my personality and love for adventure. Associated with the military in my younger years, I have lived in Israel, Germany, and Virginia as well - all of which I loved in different ways. I thoroughly believe in the military spouse phrase, "bloom where you are planted" and endeavor to carry a positive optimism wherever I roam. Most days are good but admittedly I get down sometimes. I am prone to sadness or severe cynicism at times, so I turn to music as my consolation and source of expression or inspiration. My favorite songs currently are "How Deep is Your Love" by the Beegees, "La Vie en Rose", "A Million Dreams" or maybe Karen Carpenter singing "Close to You" or Elton John singing "Your Song." I also like "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us" by Starship or "I'll Stand by You" by The Pretenders. "Faithfully" by Journey always reminds me of rollerskating with friends in the 1980s. My favorite quotes are from the Velveteen Rabbit, Steve Jobs, and this one..."To the caterpillar it was the end of the world, but to the butterfly it was merely a beautiful beginning." Or there is the quote from Peter Pan teaching Wendy..."What if I fall? But, oh my darling, what if you fly?" I also believe in being a pearl - graceful on the outside but full of grit and gratitude on the inside. My favorite women of the Bible are Ruth, Hannah, and Hagar. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Cheers, friend.

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