TRIGGER WARNING!! The content in this article discusses suicide and suicidal ideations.
Suicide is the act of causing the death of yourself. When people think of suicide an image of someone jumping off a bridge or a cliff may come to mind. Maybe even jumping onto train tracks or from a high place into a body of water or the ground below. It can involve things like rope, ladders, concrete, sharp objects, alcohol or drugs, and endless other things. None of those ways or things are often possible for someone with mobility issues due to a disability. Does this mean that those without the ability to access these means do not experience the feelings of suicide and want to end it? NO!
For as long as I can remember I’ve had an overwhelming feeling to escape and get away. Not from just one situation or certain people but all people and all places. As early as the age of seven or 8 maybe earlier I would sit in the car and as it was moving I would open the door hoping to fall out as I was unable to jump due to my disability. Of course, I would be caught and get in trouble for doing this as it wasn’t safe which I was aware of. Other times I would hold my breath as I pretended to be asleep int the back seat when I was checked on to make sure I was breathing. Because I was a child there was no understanding of the result of what I was doing. I never had a thought about wanting to die. I wanted the abuse to end and to get away from the people I was around. The older I got an awareness that I was going to be in trouble for the thoughts and feelings I was having and the fear of being unable to complete it was a big part of my life.
As an adult during my first year of college was what I consider to be my attempt. It was late evening and I was sitting alone in my apartment at the time. Because of the people I was hanging around at the time, there was alcohol in my apartment along with a bottle of aspirin 600 and knives were within my reach. I HAD THE PLAN! I had failed attempts in the past trying to drown in the bathtub as my knees are unable to bend and I have a rod in my back. I wanted to be sure that if the pills and alcohol didn’t do it that I had the knife to finish. All that was left was to write the note.
It started as many do…To whoever finds this it wasn’t your fault. I faked an I love you statement to my parents which I fully did blame and did not love. The place I found myself in that night had everything to do with my childhood. I stated several reasons for why I had done what I did. When I had finished the note, had the pill bottle in hand going to get the knife and everything else, I heard a knock on my door. I rushed to hide the knife in the closet and act as if nothing was going on opening the door. On the other side was the person who would become involved in turning my life around. I didn’t go through with my plan that night and even though I still do struggle with thoughts and there have been urges I’ve never gotten to the point of a plan and further to a note. The biggest thing I took away from that was the realization of how creative one has to be when a disability is in the mix of suicide, suicidal ideation, and suicidal thoughts.
Because suicide doesn’t show up the same for disabled people due to the challenges they face with mobility it often goes unnoticed and it’s not something that many if anyone is equipt to deal with. It can feel for those who struggle with it as if it’s a non-existent problem. Another complexity in this situation is those around you that assist you with daily needs and support fear of getting into trouble. Those things alone can add to the need to end it. The worst part was being able to hear the voices in my head that were saying how much of a mess I left behind or my life wasn’t that difficult and I was selfish.
It’s not selfish and it’s not about death. For many, it may not have anything to do with anyone externally. I once heard suicide being referred to as the ultimate self-harm and it is because for those that get to a place of suicide or even before we would rather hurt ourselves than the ones around us in any way. It was a difficult challenge and time in my life that getting to a place of no escape was overshadowed by limitations and the overwhelming feeling that it was yet another thing I couldn’t do “right” or had the choice because of the “trouble” I would have caused for others
Hi, my name is Destiny and I am a Certified Tauma Recovery Coach. I have a disability called Spina Bifida and I am also a trauma survivor. As I am not a person who particularly likes face to face interaction my writing is a vital part of what I do for my own mental health as well as professionally. Being a person with a disability has developed into coaching those who are also survivors of trauma and are disabled similar to myself. I do this using a virtual reality platform called Second Life. I also own a website and blog to help advocate, education, and rise awareness about disability, mental health, and trauma within the context of disability.
Oh my gosh I can understand how you felt in those moments of dispair. I’m not physically disable but share what you went through having abusive parents. As a child we need support from our parents. It’s difficult to get and hard to understand why we weren’t gifted with warm loving parents but it happens. I’m glad you have help and I’m sure along with that come good and bad days. I still get mine but I understand life better now and getting mental health support from therapy helped alot. Gray days still happrn but I am able to cope with them now.
Thanks for your comment on my post!
I responded to this in another comment of my own about a week ago. I am largely still learning how to reply I guess as I don’t often get comments. As per the comment left prior thank you for your comment on the post!
this article couldn’t have been written at a better time for me! I’ve recently tried out a few sessions with a new therapist, and the same problems around this issue came up. most therapists I’ve seen don’t seem to understand the idea of a young child being suicidal. like you shared in your article, I was also too young to fully grasp the concept of death when these thoughts started. one of my earliest memories was of me trying to find some sort of way to will my body into death, as I believed that if I was in enough despair it would happen. I haven’t had much success with treatment as the usual methods of helping people cope with these thoughts come with the assumption that there was a time before they existed— as if a month or two of CBT can undo a lifetime of learning that death is preferable living. I guess that’s why there’s such an emphasis on finding trauma-informed therapists!
not that I’m happy to see another person with a similar experience, but I’m relieved to see someone else talking about this. thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts on this matter 🙂
Thanks for sharing part of your story with me. I can relate to feeling completely alone with it. Personally speaking, I never found either CBT or DBT at all helpful. Being someone who is disabled and limited in the ways/ means. I had a horrible experience with a therapist when disclosing due to obvious physical limitations. Nobody really saw the childhood experience for what they were with respect to suicide so they went on overlooked and largely ignored.
I don’t know what to say except thank you.
No need to say anything. I think I understand/get it. You are welcome.
Thank you so much for writing this. I’m not physically disabled, but I have a lot of childhood trauma and wanted to die starting at about 7. It feels shameful somehow, and difficult to really look at. Reading your thoughts, it has a powerful effect to feel understood in dark feelings, to at least some extent. I appreciated the bluntness of your words, when it is usually considered trangressive to speak this way. Recently someone who was an old friend, killed himself. I was surprised at the effect it had on me. I feel sad that he must have been unable to find enough redeeming qualities to this world, to want to stay in it longer. And it makes me want to keep trying to latch onto those redeeming qualities, myself.
Thanks for sharing with me. I am sorry for your loss. People often forget that people are making a decision to end it because they can no longer take it. My entire existence still now feels dirty and shameful so I can relate. I question the reality of how bad it really was for me as a child when I look back knowing I wanted to end it that young. Unfortunately when I think about what it might look like after all I see are people hovering around “loved ones” saying I am better off and at least the burden is lifted from them plus “loved ones complaining about the mess I left behind and what people will think of them for not stopping me!