• Bre'A Belle

1-800-273-8255 (10 Years Later)

Updated: Sep 23, 2019

On a daily basis I struggle with trying to function in my twenties and that's because I never thought I would live this long. I never took the idea of going to college seriously, I didn't think I would have kids, and I was almost certain that I was never going to get married and that's all because I had planned out how I was going to take my own life. Death was the only thing that I was sure of when it came to my future.

I remember being in such a bad place that all of my memories from 12 years old to 13 feel like I was just going through the motions in permanent darkness. It just seems like it was always nighttime.

I had so many unexplained feelings when I was 12. I really couldn't talk to my mom or anyone because black families just don't believe that things like anxiety and depression exist. They think you can pray about it and the feelings will immediately vanish. If you say that you want to take your own life, they tell you that you will go to Hell and wanting to do that is being ungrateful for the things you have in life. Slowly but surely, throughout the years I learned that nothing in this world can stop you from being depressed and having anxiety. It takes a lot of time and patience to move past those types of things. You can't just sit and think of what you have or the people in your life and make it go away instantly. When you're tired, you're tired and when you feel like you're ready to die from your own hands, you feel weightless because that's literally the only thing you have control over. For me, that's what made me wear the mask like everything was okay as well as I did.

In the early days leading up to my first attempt, once I made up my mind, my grades were slipping, I wasn't eating, and I wasn't sleeping. I didn't care because I kept telling myself that I wouldn't be around for much longer anyway. None of it would even matter. I isolated myself like I usually did. I wouldn't really talk to anybody. I just tried my best to move around like a shadow. You could see me, but I wasn't really there. There were classmates that would find anything in the world to make fun of me for and the day I went to the office, begging to change my schedule with pain written all over my face, every adult in the office laughed in my face and basically told me to piss off. That pushed me over the edge.

On the morning of January 20th, 2009, as President Obama was being inaugurated, I was ready to go and there was nothing that was going to change my mind. There was snow on the ground and there wasn't going to be any school for a few days. I wasn't scared and I wasn't nervous. I just knew that there was going to be peace waiting for me and my body would be at rest after 6 months of my thighs being mangled because of self-harm (I would cut my thighs because my scars would be easy to hide underneath pants. That worked until I was at cheerleading practice and the scabs broke open from my sweat and started bleeding. I was laughed at and ridiculed because people thought it was menstrual blood. They found it hilarious and thought I was gross and should have been ashamed of myself, but I died a little more on the inside that day. This happened 2 weeks prior).

I grabbed a bottle of Benadryl, the only medicine I could get my hands on, and found myself swallowing pill after pill after pill. Not once did I think about stopping. I lost count after 20. I remember getting dizzy and nauseous along with breaking out in sweat. I felt like I was being stabbed in the stomach. I stumbled out of the bathroom and collapsed on the bed in the back of my Paw Paw's house. I felt my arms and legs getting heavy and I was beginning to panic because I felt like I was suffocating. But I didn't fight back. I put my headphones in the best that I could and I listened to something calming to help me through my transition from this life to the next. When I finally started to lose consciousness, I couldn't wait to let myself slip away. Then everything went black.

I woke up 16 hours later feeling groggy and surprised, upset, and angry that I was still alive. No one even questioned the fact that I was knocked out for so long. They just assumed that I had stayed up all night the day before.

It took me a really long time to sit and think about that and see how bad I really was. I would cry my eyes out and that was because I failed. I was stuck to suffer more and more every day.

At 15, my self-harm had gotten so bad that I decided to use it as my method this time around.

It seemed like I just blacked out. I took a pencil sharpener apart and used the razor. I started cutting, feeling the familiar sting. Then it seemed like I was just cutting and cutting until a pretty decent amount of blood came out of my wrist. I did the same thing as I did before. I found some comforting music to listen to and let myself drift away.

I woke up once again from another failed attempt and came to the realization that I had unfinished business in this life and there was no way that I was going to cheat death. I walked around with my wrists wrapped with athletic tape (claiming it was because of my Carpal Tunnel) and arms covered with a jacket or an Under Armor shirt during softball season.

It's been a long, hard road, but thankfully that door has closed. Unfortunately in the aftermath of my second attempt, I still have some numbness and tingling in my arms due to the damage caused to my tendons. When I saw a therapist back when I was in nursing school, he told me I was lucky because people generally don't survive a second attempt.

I was right. I had unfinished business and after my second attempt, I became a mother. At the beginning of my senior year, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life when the 180 days came to an end. But 11 days into that school year I got pregnant and 11 days before graduation. I gave birth. A few years after that, I was put to the test and came out a nurse. The odds have definitely been in my favor throughout my life and that has to mean something. I found a reason to live and I'm thankful that I was able to find a way out of the darkness.

I'm actually excited to see where my future goes and what else this life has to offer. I'm ready to grow more and more every single day and I'm finally able to take it one day at a time instead of freaking out because I don't have something huge to look forward to in life. So, here's to the last 10 years. I survived.

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