TRIGGER WARNING: With September being Suicide Prevention Month, this interview details a woman’s suicide attempt and recovery. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please seek support by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Ashlee spent most of her childhood trying to navigate life and find her place in the world. As AfroLatina, she found herself ostracized by those who didn’t deem her Black enough or Latina enough. She didn’t let criticism assuade her but when she began to experience depressive episodes, they became another issue that she didn’t want to be picked apart. So she made the decision to handle it independently. It worked for a few months but after dealing with depressive episodes, an unplanned pregnancy, a termination, and relationship issues, she found herself unable to cope any longer.
What was going on in your life at this time?
“So mind you, my hormones are going crazy and I’m on heavy pain medication and this person I’m in love with tells me they don’t want to be with me anymore after I had convinced myself that they would stay with me if I didn’t’ have a baby… I was already going through all of those “how can I fix this”, “how can I fix myself”, “how can I be better”. And so when he was like no, none of its good enough. It immediately translated into you’re not good enough... I had gotten to the point where I just hated myself so much where I was seriously grabbing at everything trying to fix whatever part of me was broken.”
EXPERIENCING SUICIDAL THOUGHTS
“I’m at a very low point. I’m at my apartment and I decide the smartest thing to do was.. I wanted to kill myself. But before I decide to do that, I decide I need everybody to know how I feel, why I feel it, and what I’m going to do.
It’s definitely a cry for help. People always say, ‘Oh if you’re going to tell somebody you’re gonna kill yourself, it’s a cry for help.’ YEAH, I think it is. You’re saying this is how low I am, this is how low I feel, please do something about it.”
GOING FORWARD WITH THE ATTEMPT
"So I post on Facebook just everything that I’m feeling, why it’s my fault, and goodbye.. that’s it… Mind you at this point, I took whatever was left in the pill bottle I had been given after my abortion and drank an entire 12 pack of beer. I thought that would do it. My mom immediately started calling me and I wasn’t answering her calls, started texting me, I wasn’t responding. My brother knew the password to my Facebook and went in and took down the post.
But at that point, a lot of ppl had seen it. I had like 3 diff friend groups show up at my house within like 15 minutes and I’m not listening to anybody. Everything I’ve taken is already weighing down on me, so at that point I’m just low. I’m crying, I can’t stop talking about how terrible I am.
Someone called the cops to check on me. There’s a cop sitting in the room with me, making sure I don’t do anything... The cops declare my boyfriend as a trigger, just a person that I didn’t need to be around. The only thing I’m told by the cops is that I’m not to see him.
So my friend stays with me and I convince her that… I don’t even know what I told her…I don’t know if told her that I need to go for a walk but I leave my place and they’re trying to find me.…took my car keys and I left and I went to go find him (boyfriend).
I’m pleading with him to just be with me, that I will do anything he wants in regards of fixing myself, that I will be anything he needs me to be. Mind you, I’m not that kinda… I’m not everything for a guy but for some reason like my brain was convinced this was the only was I was going to be the best version of myself. That I needed him specifically to fix me. So I’m just.. I’m bargaining, I’m in tears… The police come... Because I was disturbing the area & because I was instructed earlier by police that I need to stay away from him, & because I was harm to myself… they took me into custody."
"I spent 24 hours… on suicide watch."
RECOVERY AFTER THE ATTEMPT
"My parents came and picked me up...They immediately took me to my apartment to pack up all my stuff, they were taking me home… I remember looking in the mirror and I didn’t look like myself... I looked like I had been worn down and the reason I feel like it’s so important for me to talk about it is because it all came from me trying to be this weird best version of myself… and all of that spiraled down because I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t know how to I ask for help."
CONTINUING TO HEAL
"It took a long time for me but… NOW there’s a fight, before there wasn’t a fight…. I wouldn’t be able to do that without the therapist that I saw after all of this happened… I only saw her for 6 months, like I clearly cut it off too soon. I always think about how much more she could have helped me if I wasn’t like, 'no I’m fixed.'
But I think back on it a lot. Um, I always tell myself, 'it can’t get that bad.' When I go through little bouts, at least it’s not THAT. You’ve already been through the worst. That was like my personal hell. The fact that I recovered from it is even more insane than the fact that it happened. Because I feel like that easily could have 100% broken me."