This is a hard one. Trigger warnings abound.
Six years ago today, I tried to kill myself. It wasn’t the first time, but it was the worst. I was the lowest I had ever been and my life dropped from under my feet in an instant. The reason I decided to kill myself isn’t important now, but then it felt like the only thing that mattered. And when I decided to do it, there was no changing my mind.
I broke that night. Everything inside me shattered. I failed, and nobody knew I had even done it. For months, for years even, only a handful of people had any idea that I’d tried to end my life that night. How I did it is also irrelevant now, but let’s just say it changed how I could interact with the world for a while.
Every year, when this day is approaching, I begin to think heavily about what I did and why I did it. I start to remember the feelings and the brokenness and how alone I felt through all of it. And it makes me dread living through this day.
November 11th, 2011 was a terrible day for me. And some November 11ths that followed have been pretty terrible too. But last year, on the fifth anniversary, some of my friends held a celebration of life for me. We had sparkling cider and just hung out and people said nice things about being in my life. It was so helpful, because it gave me a good memory of November 11th.
This year, I spent the day with two of those same friends. We went to some stores and baked (even though I’m terrible at it) and just spent the day doing happy things. And though it doesn’t take away the sting of what happened all those years ago, it’s nice to have a new day dedicated to love and friendship and joy rather than just the darkness of the past.
I hope in five years, in ten and twenty, I can always remember to celebrate life on November 11th. My own life, the lives of people I love, the life that we each get to have if we don’t take it for granted… life is important. I want to remember that.