I had a hugely happy moment the morning of October 3rd in Portland, OR. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention had an Out of the Darkness walk to raise money for suicide prevention. I had decided that I would start a team for the walk. I called it Wolf Pack for Life. I thought maybe one or two people would join me, but our team ended up having fifteen people and over 20 people donate to my cause. My parents drove three hours to be there, and my sister even flew up from California just to walk with me.
The reason that this was such a happy moment for me was because it was a celebration of the fact that I am alive today. These friends and family members had to go through so much worry and pain when they knew that I was buried in the blackness of depression and bipolar disorder.
Thirteen or so years ago, I tried to kill myself. Every day for 6-8 years at every moment I had to make that choice whether I would kill myself then or stay alive for a few moments or a day longer. It was truly hell for me.
Over the years of that darkness, I got help in many ways and slowly, slowly stepped back into life. I can say now that I am happy to be alive! And the openness I have about sharing my story is helping others. What a gift!
So, as I walked with these people that loved me and were physically showing the joy that they have in my life, I was so touched and glad that I didn't die by my suicide attempts.
As my sister and I walked past the memory garden that was set up for people to put pictures up in memory of those they lost by suicide, my sister looked at me and said simply and earnestly, "I am glad that you are not up there."
Tears immediately came to both our eyes, and all we could do was stand there in the middle of the crowds embracing each other tightly. The memories flooded us both, but the joy and relief washed over it all.
I can not live this life alone. It is the relationships and journey together that make it worth it all.