Our Biggest Sale of the Year is Here!🎄 ➔

Tuesday December 11th, 1990

Right now I am sitting in front of my locker and no one knows what I have done. I’m scared. Scared that everyone will hate me and no one will understand what I’ve just done. Scared to live though. I really am. I honestly can’t see a future. I want someone to help me, to take away the hurt and make me happy but no one can.

Please forgive me for I am so sorry.

That was part of the suicide note I wrote on my 17th Birthday. It was about 4 weeks after I had BEGGED for help and sat in the Hospital Emergency room with my high school guidance counselor for 5 hours. I had two wonderful teachers that had noted something was wrong and they worked so hard to get me the help I needed. Children’s Mental Health services and awareness in 1990 was even less than it is today. I had “held on” and managed to see a Psychiatrist through the emergency room and he wrote a prescription for Prozac, with 2 refills, without a second glance. There were no other services or treatment offered, just the prescription and an appointment for 6 weeks later for follow up.

My loving and concerned, yet ill-informed parents filled it and gave me the bottle to administer to myself. I took it for several weeks and was not feeling any better. The day after I got the prescription re-filled was my birthday and I was just more miserable and more lost, lonelier and more desperate. When I downed the contents of the bottle on my lunch hour at school I hadn’t planned to do it that day or in that way but thinking and writing about my death had been the primary focus of my life for quite some time by that point.

I remember standing there, stunned, staring at the empty bottle and thinking “now what?” Part of me felt a little exhilarated with the knowledge that my horrible existence would soon be over. I sat at my locker, my heart racing, and wrote the note. Then I realized I would likely pass out at my locker and be found unconscious or dead by some unsuspecting student. I felt horribly guilty that someone would find me like that. This wasn’t at all what I had envisioned when I thought of the various ways to end my life. I began to panic. Eventually I went to my guidance counselor and handed her the note I had written.

Beyond that was a long and very painful path of multiple hospitalizations and medication trials and repeated suicide attempts. I had some horrible and scary experiences while hospitalized as a 17-year-old in an adult Psychiatric ward. I also met some amazing people along the way who began to help me rebuild my life and uncover the causes of my severe clinical depression. I lost and found friends along the way. My parents endured unimaginable pain and sorrow. With the help of a therapist provided by the hospital where I had been an inpatient, I was able to do a great deal of healing. With the right medications I was able to move past the deep depression and anxiety and function again.

20 years later I took my own 11-year-old son to the emergency room after he brought me housecoat belts and rope, begging for me to tie him up because he was worried he was going to hurt himself. He repeatedly told us that he wanted to die. That life was too hard and he wanted to die so it all would stop. He begged us to keep him safe. We were sent home from the emergency room. There were no beds available; we were told there was nothing they could do. Thankfully we didn’t listen. We made calls, pounded on doors and refused to stop until he received the treatment that he needed.

It goes without saying that I am glad I did not die that day in 1990. But my pain was so real and so raw I still break into a sweat when I think about those days. I am glad my son was able to tell us that spring how horrible and desperate he felt. Unfortunately too many people die from suicide every day. The general public often thinks those that attempt or die from suicide are weak or desperate for attention. Mental illness is as much a true illness as Cancer and Diabetes. People who are struggling with any form of a mental illness need our support and assistance not our judgement. It’s not that they want to die – they just don’t know where to go, who to talk to or what to do.

They just want the pain to end.

You May Also Want To Read:  New Mom Takes Her Own Life After Silent Battle With Postpartum Depression

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Tina Szymczak

Tina Szymczak is a wife and mother of two very spirited teenage boys. She is passionate about disability rights; inclusion; adoption and infertility. Also she blogs about her struggles with mental illness, namely Bi-Polar depression. She works as an early interventionist in Ontario Canada. Writing has always been a passion and she enjoys scrapbooking her family's adventures as well. You can find her musings at https://spiritedblessings.com/

Dear Loss Mom, Grieve Your Baby In Heaven Without Guilt

In: Baby, Grief, Loss

My third baby was due on October 19, 2019. Instead, she was born into heaven on March 24, 2019. Not only do I grieve her more in October than in other months because of her due date, but I also grieve for so many other parents who have also lost their children.  RELATED: A Letter To My Mama From Your Baby In Heaven Pregnancy loss is such a strange journey to walk through. I’m years into it, and there are still days when the grief hits and the tears come and I can’t breathe. On other days, I am so...

Keep Reading

My Sister and I Return To Childhood To Grieve Our Mother

In: Grief
Two women, sitting on swings, color photo

“Grief is itself a medicine,” William Cowper. Everyone processes grief differently. The day after our mother’s death, my sister and I began our grief journey and took up swinging. Not that kind of swinging, Heaven forbid! No. What we chose instead was the weightless, transformational lightness of being that only a tried and true piece of playground equipment can supply.  That morning my sister and I waited rather anxiously for hospice (blessed hospice!) to pick up that wretched hospital bed. We wanted it gone, banished from our sight forever. When the truck carrying the bed and other supplies disappeared down...

Keep Reading

She Was Just a Dog…and So Much More

In: Grief, Living
Young woman in car with dog, same woman years later with dog, color photo

She was just a dog. One of my least favorite sayings is “it’s just a dog” when people comment on how much we love our pets—be it a dog, cat, lizard, chicken, hamster, etc. They’re not wrong . . . Harley was “just” a dog. One random spring morning I asked my mom if I could get a dog of my own. She was working and sick of the phone calls. She said I just had to ask dad. Well, we already had two dogs, so I didn’t have high hopes. Cue dad. He was just about to lie down to take...

Keep Reading

I Wish I Had the Chance to Be Friends with My Mom

In: Grief, Motherhood
Portrait shot of woman, color photo

Dear Mom, I never got the chance to appreciate you as a mother. There was so much life still to do. And not just the big milestones. I’m talking about the parts when daughters grow into mothers themselves and have the chance to appreciate their moms for everything they did for them. The chance to get to know their own mother as a person instead of just a parent. You left this earth soon after I became I mother myself. And now I sit here and think back on memories of you from when I was growing up. And, oh,...

Keep Reading

The Faith and Fear of Trying for a Rainbow Baby

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Pregnant woman sitting on living room floor

When we decided to start a family we dove in head first. After having been together for five years and married for a year, we were ready. It was September when we decided to give it a go. By mid-December, I took a test. My first positive pregnancy test. I had a life growing inside me! I’ll never forget my husband’s smile when I told him. We embraced and cried together. We couldn’t believe it could be this easy. The next few weeks consisted of a wave of pregnancy symptoms and before I knew it, we were going to the...

Keep Reading

I Should Be Picking You up from School Today

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Woman sad with eyes closed

I would have cried.  I see the line of cars in the school pick-up line, and my heart is hit with grief, love, and wistfulness all at the same time.  You, sweet boy, should be there, waiting for me to pick you up.   I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gone over it in my mind. Your first day of preschool. I’ve thought about your outfit—little jeans and a hoodie with a ball cap. Would you be into superheroes? What backpack would you want? I would’ve taken you school shopping, picking out all the supplies you’d need. And...

Keep Reading

Angel Babies are Heaven’s Gatekeepers

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Mother and baby silhouette

I never seemed to have the right words. I didn’t have the right words at four years old when my parents lost my 11-month-old brother, and I never seemed to have the right words as I watched family members and close friends lose both the new life growing within their wombs and the beautiful, precious life resting in their weary arms. So, I did what I thought would offer the most comfort. I simply tried to show up and be there the best I could. I shopped for their favorite treats. I dropped meals off on front porches and toys...

Keep Reading

Secondary Infertility Took Me By Surprise

In: Baby, Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother holding toddler by open door

Selfish. Unfair. Guilt stricken. Shameful. Those were just a few of the words that regularly stabbed my lamenting heart as I longed for a second child. Yes, I was grateful for my healthy, beautiful boy who made my dream of motherhood come true, but why did I not feel complete—was he not enough? Was I doing this motherhood thing all wrong and didn’t deserve a second child? Why did I long to give him a sibling so badly knowing millions were aching for their first—how could I be so insensitive? So many questions, so many buts and so many whys....

Keep Reading

Grieving the Baby You Never Got To Know Doesn’t Make You Weak

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Man and woman embrace outside

It seems like almost a lifetime ago that I looked down at my first positive pregnancy test. I couldn’t believe that it happened so fast. My husband and I had just passed one month of marriage, and there we were expecting a baby. I remember how elated we both were and full of gratefulness.  After we told a small group of close friends and family, the bleeding started. “No . . . this can’t be,” I thought. Not our baby. Not me. I Googled so many things and found reassurance in the fact that some women bleed through their pregnancies....

Keep Reading

Finding God in the Before and After

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Woman standing by ocean at sunrise

Everybody loves a good before and after. Two little photos, placed side by side, are evidence of a transformation. A significant weight loss. A sassy new hairdo. A piece of furniture resurrected from a garbage heap.  A before and after is proof that things can be changed. Anything can be brought back from a place of ruin or neglect. With a can-do attitude and a little elbow grease, your face, your home, your backside—anything, really—can be made shiny, new, and desirable. The trip from before to after is usually a long one. It might only take seconds for us to...

Keep Reading