My Suicide Story
Being from Southeast Louisiana, snowballs were a common thing when I was growing
up. Almost every summer memory I have involves sticky heat, but even stickier syrup dripping
down my hand on a hot summer day. When I was a kid, I never thought that one of my favorite
summer treats could be a lethal weapon, as it was on July 22, 2018. You see, I am severely
allergic to coconut. On that day, I purposefully ingested a coconut snowball with the hope that I
would end my life. Long story short, it was a suicide attempt, and my third one in fourteen
months. Ever since then, I have been recovering from trauma that I just didn’t think was
possible to live through.
My parents and aunt found me after my attempt. They immediately called the cops and
I was brought to the hospital. I was alone for ten hours in a purple “suicide gown” before being
brought to a mental hospital. I have done a lot of scary things in my life, but I had never been so
scared than I was in that moment. I went in an ambulance wearing blue paper thin scrubs. They
brought me into the hospital and I was disoriented. Upon the realization that I would be there
for 72 hours, I started to freak out. I had an orientation to be at, a meeting with my Dean, and a
paper due that week. Needless to say, my suicide attempt was pretty inconvenient with my life.
Although I had just tried to end my life a few hours prior, it was comforting that I had plans.
That moment wasn’t the time for those plans, though. It was then that I realized that I had to
focus on me.
While in the hospital, we had to give a reason for living each morning. For the first two
days, I couldn’t find that reason. Everything in my life seems to happen in threes, however. On
the third day, things started to change. When they asked me what my reason for living was, I had one answer: my family. Now, family to me is not biological. To me, the definition of family
are people who love me unconditionally. I hoped that they were sending lots of good vibes my
way while I was hospitalized, and that sense of hope brought color to the white walls of the
When I was in the mental hospital, I was so worried that the people who loved me the
most would be mad that I didn’t come to them. I was scared they’d say, “I am angry that you
tried to end your own life before coming to talk to me.” That was not the case at all. Rather,
they said that they hoped I realized how much I was loved, and that I could come to them if I
ever had these thoughts again. I am proud and honored to say that the people who were there
for me in my darkest days are in this room right now. My attempt ended up being the best
thing that ever happened to me because it showed me the value of unconditional love.
After getting out of the hospital, I felt like I was back to freshman year when I was
exploring the world of college for the first time. However, the “college campus” was actually
the world. I was lost. I am slowly working through each of my issues. What I have had to learn,
though, is that people are not elastic. We cannot expect attempt survivors to bounce back to
the “old version of themselves” when they have been changed forever by attempting suicide.
So what can someone who loves an attempt survivor do? Speaking from personal experience,
being there is more than enough. Being patient, supportive, and kind is exactly what you should
do after someone you know attempts suicide. Rather than sweeping it under the rug, talk about
it. Saying, “I am here for you and I am not leaving you” means so much. When I was shown
unconditional love, I finally saw the light. Although I am permanently altered by my attempt,
my healing process was easier because I knew I could rely on others.
I tell you my story as a way to create awareness. I am a warrior first and an activist
second. I want to be a part of the generation that changes the way we talk about mental health.
The reality of it is that you are more likely to know someone affected by suicide than you are to
know someone who was struck by lightning. Now if you do know someone who was struck by
lightning, I do apologize, but I hope you nevertheless see my point. Let’s make suicide
something we talk about more often. If not, countless of other innocent lives will succumb to it.
Our generation needs to be the one to say that we have had enough of the stigma. Embracing
suicide, rather than running from it, will enable our generation to be the voice for a group of
people who has been silent for too long.
Emily Rasch is a senior English major at the University of Southern Mississippi. When she is not reading, Emily enjoys hiking and focusing on her mental health. She lives by the mantra of “it’s okay to not be okay,” and hopes to use her story to inspire others.