suicide cathy terranova blog

I read somewhere that if you die and are left alone with a cat for an extended period of time, it will eat your face. Now, it doesn’t matter if that’s true or not because that weird maybe-true maybe-not-true idea is the reason I didn’t take my life last summer.

The main thought that always pulls me back from the brink of suicide is the realization that someone has to find me. If I commit suicide, someone else is going to have a rough time.
Last summer, thinking of my best friend coming home to me not only having killed myself but also missing my face because her cat, Hadassah, ate it —Well, that was enough to pull me through those few days. It seems silly, but one thing I’ve learned is that as long as it keeps you alive, it doesn’t matter how silly it is. That weekend, what kept me alive was the thought of Hadassah eating my face.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, that for some of us thoughts of suicide never really go away. They don’t just waft through our heads every once in a while and scare us. Instead they camp out on the edges of our consciousness and pop in for visits regularly in case we forget they are there.

For me, they serve the purpose of realizing what poor shape I’m in mentally and physically. If I’m in a rough spot physically my mental health suffers. It could mean I need a medication adjustment or that I need to alleviate some stressors from my life. Sometimes, life is just hard; there is a lot of personal funk and it weighs me down. The thoughts like to creep in then too. 

I’ve noticed though that they aren’t very creative. The lying thoughts that usually precede thoughts of suicide don’t change much. 
-No one wants you around
-You are a burden
-You’ll never have your life together
-You’re just a bummer to be around
-Nobody really likes you
-A few people would miss you, but they would be better off anyway

It’s that same script almost every time. But what’s dangerous is that they always pick some new reason that they’re true. It’s always someone new who hasn’t texted back, or some new mistake I made at work, some new way that I’m not worth it; but they just lead back to the same thoughts. That’s what makes it hard to see the pattern for what it is. 
Something like A+B=C is easy to recognize. 
But what always throws me for a loop is some little thing that’s different. So it ends up being like this:
So I wind up thinking, “Man! This came out of nowhere!”

It didn’t come out of nowhere. It never does. That’s not how mental health works. If I’m not exercising, not eating well, not socializing, not doing constructive activities, budgeting my energy and time; all these things add up. Then, next thing I know the monster of my mental illness has all this fuel to pick on me and I’m too weak to do anything about it.

Last summer I had let a lot of things slide. I was under a huge amount of personal stress and was depressed beyond measure. But here’s the thing. Most of those circumstances haven’t changed. I’m still not in a good place emotionally, financially, or health wise. What’s changed is how I deal with those things. I have good days and bad days, sure. I wouldn’t be writing this post if all my days were good. 

This last year I have come closer to suicide more times than I would like to admit. It was a dark time for me. Last October, for the first time in recent memory, I planned a suicide attempt. In many ways this year I have had to fight harder for my mental health and really, my life, more than any other year before it. 

Sometimes, what kept me alive was the promise I made to my mother, other times it was the thought of someone finding me, a few times it was the idea of what would happen if the attempt wasn’t a “success”.
I know now if you Google, “easy ways to kill yourself”, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number comes up. With a simple message:
“You’re not alone. Confidential help is available for free.”
That simple gesture from a faceless multi-billion dollar tech company spoke louder to me than anything had in a long time.
What continues to speak to me is how true it is that I’m not alone. Google knows what we’re all looking up. Enough people are searching for ways to kill themselves that they took it as a call to action. 

Hadassah died a few weeks ago. She was a lovely cat and the world was better for having her in it. I can honestly say that she saved my life. Not from love, but from the threat of eating my face. If you knew her then you would know that that is a perfectly acceptable substitute.

Don’t be afraid to laugh at what has kept you alive. If you’re laughing it means you’re still breathing, and for that, I’m sure someone –even if that someone is a cat– is very grateful.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 1-800-273-8255

If you believe that someone you know may be thinking of harming themselves, speak up. Ask them if they need help, your concern could save their life.

anxiety, depression, suicide, Trauma