Is that just a bizarre, attention grabbing headline? No. I wish I could tell you that it was but it’s not. As you know, if you have read my blogs on my past child abuse, you will no doubt see where I do in fact talk about my experience with suicide. This blog is only about the topic of suicide. Sure, I could not write about it but then maybe one person who is reading this will see that if I can survive, then they can too. So here it goes and just a warning, this will be blunt and real life terms. The content is reader discretion advised.
Born into a severely abusive home, it didn’t take me long to start hating myself. After all, my father reminded me daily of what a piece of crap I was and how much of a waste of good space I really was. He reminded me how ugly I was and that everything bad that ever happened in this world was somehow because of me. I learned to hate me too.
I remember being around five years old when my aunt and uncle came to town to visit. Whenever my aunt came to visit she would always give me a quarter to go and buy myself some treats. That summer it was soooo hot and I decided, after thanking my aunt and uncle profusely, to go and buy myself an ice cream and some candies from the curio corner store. I loved that store because it was kind of like walking into the twilight when you visited. The owner had all kinds of curio’s, magic stuff, scary masks and of course all the candy you could ever want to eat and awesome ice cream. So I started on my way to the store which was only one back lane away. Back in those days people would let their kids do the strangest things although from my view, I was allowed to go to the store by myself in HOPES something bad would happen. That day something bad did happen.
I am not sure why I did it actually. I was walking to the store and decided to go and get the special ice cream off of the guy who sold it on a bike. I spotted him across a very busy street and managed to run across to the other side. I saw two young boys sitting on their stairs and when they saw me, they came over and suddenly demanded my money. The older brother was a teenager and he began to swing at me. I suddenly knew that it was now or never and ran, without thinking, into the traffic. This time I was not so lucky and I was hit by a car. I still remember that car from the underside when it ran over me. I could hear my father’s voice telling me he wished I were dead and I think that was the first suicide attempt. I should have been dead or at least badly injured but the ambulance who came to get me and load me up in the back of the old station wagon type ambulance, took me home first.
I was asked to give directions to my home and when I got there, the attendants went to speak with my mom while my father came to speak with me. The words he said made me wish I had died under that car. He told me that I was nothing but garbage and that no one cared whether I lived or died and in fact he had wished me death right there. Of course no one heard him say the words. No on ever did.
Every beating and every inappropriate contact episode between my father and I, made me wish for death since God had quit listening or maybe he never started to hear my prayers and chose to ignore them. Every time I was hurt, I pictured myself dying. I had no reason to live other than to be hurt by the very man whom should have been protecting me.
The abuse continued with him until age 9 when my mom had left yet again then threatened to go back. I remember distinctly thinking “I have to die. I can’t go back to that anymore.” It was winter in Winnipeg and the ground was covered with snow with the temperatures being well below zero. I knew I had to go. I had to run. I had to end this. I ran for the door in my flannel nightgown and kept running up the stairs and out onto the sidewalk, headed straight for the busy traffic on Redwood Avenue. Just as I was about to run right into the traffic, my cousin Lloyd grabbed me and saved my life. I loved my cousin but at that moment I hated him. Why didn’t he let me go? Death was better than the life I was forced to live.
At age 9 my father came crashing into the picture, literally. He drove a car into our house one night and then proceeded to put a gun to my head demanding that I tell him where my “bitch” of a mother was. He fired the gun and the bullet missed my head. He handed me the gun and told me to kill him. I couldn’t. Not because I was afraid of prison but because I was afraid of what would happen to me if I missed too. Some part of me wished that bullet had not missed my brain.
Mom finally left my father but soon replaced him with another pig. This one was 12 years older than me and saw me as an easy target. He moved in and while he didn’t hit me right away, he made it clear that the sexual abuse I had endured with my father was now going to continue on with him. I began to cut at that point. Nothing too noticable but relieving of the pain I was feeling inside. It’s hard to tell someone what it is like to hate yourself so much that hurting yourself is the only way you feel okay. The scars remained for many years to remind me of that time. I was releasing the pain but the pain stayed because of the scars.
When I got to be around 12, my step father decided that abusing me while I was awake was not going to work anymore as I had threatened to tell…again. So he decided to give me sleeping medication at night in my hot chocolate. All I knew was that I was very sleepy every night and had to almost be carried up to bed. It wasn’t until years later that my informed me she had caught my step father in my room late one night. She walked in to see my nightgown up, a towel under me, my panties down and his pants down. She got angry with him but stayed with him until I was 18.
When I was 13 my step dad got very angry because he couldn’t get to me anymore and so he destroyed our house. Every stick of furniture was shattered into tiny pieces. Chairs were embedded in the walls. The large fish tank was smashed and the fish were left to suffocate. So many fish. I really loved them because they were the only thing at home which made me feel loved. Sad really but that was what my life was like then.
Mom decided to move with this guy and the kids, to the west coast for a new start but it never happened. In fact he continued on with his sick behavior and at age 14 I found him staring in my bedroom window. I told my mom and we confronted him outside of my window. He claimed he was looking for something he dropped. Mom believed him and took him back in. He didn’t only abuse me. He was caught for doing this to at least one other person at that time but mom took him back again, telling me that she could love who she wanted to and that I wouldn’t stop her. She blamed me for everything which happened not only to her but to me and our family.
At age 15 I was told by my step father that no one could stop him and he would do what he wanted to me. I again entertained the idea of suicide. I went into the bathroom and started cutting my wrists again with a pair of scissors. I ended up passing out and my mom found me. I had to go to the hospital because apparently this time I had done something pretty bad. The solution was to send me to summer camp. No one listened to me about what I was living with or had lived with. Even though summer camp sounds like a bandage it actually turned out to be the best thing in my life…I met my future husband there. I came home and hell life continued on. I was cutting daily by this time and eating issues started up. Both of things happened because I foolishly thought that those two things would be in my control for a change. They weren’t. I harmed myself because of what the abusers did.
At age 17, I had been with my boyfriend for two years and he had no clue about what my life was life even though he was there everyday. My mom told me that they were moving back to Winnipeg and although I hated the idea, I knew I had no choice. Mom told me that I would go with her and my sisters on the train which was tolerable. One night mom told me things changed and I would in fact be going back with my step father and that we would be sleeping in a motel with one bed because they could not afford more. One step father, two brothers and me in one bed. I had a melt down and told my mom that I wasn’t going back with him. She slapped me across the face and told me that every thing which happened in my life and hers, was my fault. She screamed at me that I wanted to be sexually abused by the men who did that to me. My father allowed his friends access to me too. I had many abusers and right then I lost it.
I ran out of the house after my mother slapped me so hard across the face. I didn’t know where I was going but I thought for sure my brother was going to track me down and drag me back to the house. My brother and I did not have a good relationship and never have. I started hearing every person in my life who hated me and hurt me, telling me what a bad person I was, how no one would love me, that I deserved the life I was given etc etc etc. I picked up a piece of glass off the road and began cutting. I am amazed no one stopped to ask what was wrong because while I was cutting I was screaming out “This if for you Wayne. This is for you Gord. This is for you mo. This is for……” No one stopped. I am not sure why but I suddenly felt as though I needed to reach out one final time for help. I realized that even though death seemed like an option, it wasn’t. I searched for a payphone to call the kid’s help phone (18006686868) and I found someone at the other end who seemed to care. She sent an ambulance for me which took me to the hospital. The doctor asked why I had cut myself repeated and I told him. I was honest. He told me that no one is ever going to make me feel so bad that the option is death and or self harm. He was angry. He told me that the people who had made me believe this crap were sick. He tried to help but couldn’t and I was sent to social services.
Social services spent hours talking to me and assured me that I would not be going back. At 6 a.m. that morning my mother and step father came to get me. I heard the bell on the door ring and instantly recognized her voice. We took a long drive to the next social services office where she came into a meeting with me and a worker. She was lovely when he was in the room but the minute he left she started saying all the things I heard in my heard. I was devastated. I was crying hysterically everytime the worker came in the room. He left his speaker on the phone and left the room for a final time. Mom started in the minute he left. This time he heard what she said and in no uncertain terms, he told her that she must sign over her rights to me or she would lose all her kids and may face jail time. I was released to the social services.
At age 18 my foster mother reminded me how good of a person I was but the phone calls from my mother and her husband always reminded me of how bad I was. My depression continued and I cut more. Now I was on meds for depression so I took too many one night when my mom and her husband called and he said, when she was not on the phone, that he was going to do to my little sisters what he had done to me. My foster mom found me and I was once again hospitalized. My foster mother Gloria hated my mom with a passion.
For years I felt less than if that makes sense. I wondered how anyone could love me and tried to push away anyone who attempted to get close. I guess I still do that in some ways. Shattered trust is hard to regain. There were a few other suicide attempts in my 20’s which no one else knew except my husband who loved me enough for both of us. After my children came and I felt the true and healthy love of parent and child, I realized that none of what happened had been my fault and that now I was ready to look after me. I started attending councelling a few times a week and a 12 step program for abuse survivors. Somehow, sitting there with all the other ladies who had been abused, made me feel a little less alone and started to help me realize that my self harming was a result of the abuse but it needed to stop.
I was on antidepressant medications for many years and then one day I just didn’t need them anymore. One day I woke up out of the fog and the pain I felt inside of me, just melted away. I was able to see the man who had stood by me for all the years and still loved the broken me. I knew that my kids and my husband were the family I was always craving. Although I was not a perfect mom, I didn’t repeat the same mistakes my own mother did. My kids all grew up happy and healthy. They know about my past and feeling so bad that death was a better option than life. For them and my husband, I am so glad I survived.
The darkness which enveloped my life like a terrible shroud, gradually lifted and suddenly I didn’t hear the hate filled voices inside my head anymore. I replaced the hate with love and reminded myself that although life is hard, I can survive anything and I have. I fill my heart with love and reach out to those who may feel like I did and considered harming themselves. People ask me why I am so vocal about domestic and child abuse and this is why. I am not a victim. I am a survivor. I win. They lost.
My life is not perfect and I still get my days when I wonder if I can get through just one more day. I have a ton of health issues which leaves me housebound pretty much so for me writing has replaced cutting and suicidal thoughts. I realize that if I knew someone had similar feelings and shared them all those years ago, my story may have been different too. I am glad to be here now. I am thankful for every breath I take. If I have learned anything through my life, it’s that I can survive. I can make a difference. So can you.
Thank you to those people from Facebook who have shared their own stories with me and have sent me messages of thanks for helping them to have the courage to learn to love themselves. Suicide? Yeah I’ve considered that. I love life more. I am never going to be a victim again.
If you or someone you know needs help, please contact me if you want to talk. I can help you find the resources you need. You are not alone. You are not weak. You are a survivor. Now I need to help you believe that. xxx
Kid’s Help Phone: 18006686868+