This piece by Mercy Survivor Chelsea was originally published on her personal blog, The Pink Propaganda, and can be viewed here.
I wanted to share this because I wanted everyone to know that you can survive without Mercy Ministries. They told me I couldn’t, that they were my last hope. So when they kicked me out at four months a couple days after my twenty first birthday, I honestly thought it was to my grave. My PTSD got much much worse and I became very suicidal all the time. So this piece is about my niece who was born right before my 18th birthday. She’s almost 8 now. It’s about where I am now and the hope that comes from just hanging on and working hard.
It’s been awhile since I thought about suicide. Awhile since I last stood alongside the highway and waited for a tractor trailer to come barreling down the pike at 3am, only to find none. It’s been awhile since I wanted to overdose, since I heard train sounds and wished I was standing in front of it. It’s been awhile since I felt sudden urges to just die.
So I used to have this theory. This total rational theory that as suicidal as I was that I wouldn’t make it to thirty. That at some point on my journey to healing that I would make some wrong turn and end up dead. It wasn’t that I didn’t try to stay alive. That I didn’t fight to stay alive. That I didn’t do damn well everything to keep myself alive, because I would be lying if I said I didn’t.
The thoughts went on for years. I missed out on a good portion of my early twenties living in hospitals. Psychiatric hospitals for when I caught myself before the attempts, and medical hospitals for when I nearly made it.
But don’t think that rationally I wasn’t terrified of my own mind and knew what it was capable of. Gradually I learned how to trick my own mind. I learned warning signs to prelude the suicidal thoughts, and I beat them. I haven’t been in a psychiatric ward in over a year and a half.
But there was a period of time where I was in one every two weeks. I couldn’t control the ravishingly hungry need to die. So I knew. I knew if I kept going like I did, I wouldn’t last to be 30. I would either kill my liver or I would kill myself.
And that worried me. I started to refuse to teach my niece anything important. Like how to ride a bike without training wheels. I didn’t want her to think of me for the rest of her life every time she got on a bike, every time she said her ABCs, I didn’t want her to faintly hear me whisper the song to her from my grave. I refused to teach her to dance, to make toast, tie her shoes, to skip rocks. I didn’t want her to feel me in that space between her bones, where it aches when it rains, whenever she did that stuff for the rest of her life.
But it’s been awhile. It’s been awhile since I thought about death. Years. And so today I taught my niece how to braid. And now I feel like I am grounded to this planet. I know it seems really silly. But maybe I wasn’t protecting my niece as much as I was giving myself excuses as to why it was okay to leave. Okay to die. “She won’t feel you in her bones”. But now she would. Now every time she braids her little girls hair, her friends hair, her horses hair, she will feel me in her bones. And now I can’t leave. Now I am grounded to this planet. I did it on purpose.