man facing the sunrise

Surviving Twice

One writers story of how he came back from the depths of despair

Mental health and wellbeing
By VoiceBox ·

Gustavo Medina

I'm Gustavo Medina. I'm 21 years old and a student at the University of São Paulo. I write a lot, mostly about all the craziness within my head. I learnt English by myself, watching movies and TV shows, and I've always felt like the English language could better capture and describe my contradictory feelings, which is why it's the language I prefer to write in

Surviving Twice

Please note: this article includes sensitive topics that some people might find difficult. Please visit our Resources Page for help.

I don't know how many people out there have tried or at least thought about committing suicide, but surviving a suicide attempt is something you have to do twice, and I'll here tell my story and how it all unfolded for me. 

I was first diagnosed with depression when I was 15 years old. It came as a shock to us all since there was no apparent reason for me to be depressed. 

I didn't want to accept it either. I felt sad, sure, but being depressed? That's something different altogether. 

Depression hits us in unpredictable ways. I felt this great void inside of me. At first I even thought that it was something physical, that there was something wrong with my heart. 

After going to a lot of doctors, it seemed pretty clear to them that I was in good physical shape and all of my symptoms were psychological. This might sound like some sort of reassurance, but it wasn't. At all. 

I felt that there was something deeply wrong with me and that it couldn't be cured. I didn't accept that I was depressed. I just thought that I had gone completely insane. 

I stopped going to school. I missed three months of classes. 

My family started to worry about me, which made me worry about myself even more. I was exorcised twice. My grandmother insisted upon it. It didn't help, the devil wasn't inside me, something much worse had gotten a hold of me: depression. 

Everything stopped making sense. Playing video games wasn't fun anymore, I pushed all of my friends away, started to smoke, and spent all of my days lying down in my bed watching YouTube videos. It didn't amuse me in any way whatsoever, it just made the time pass quicker. 

Among all of the denial, something drastic happened; my grandfather died. He had been a second father to me, and the news of his death didn't affect me immediately, mostly because I didn't accept it. It couldn't be true. 

I spent hours in denial. I got a pen and started to draw figures on my bedroom wall for no apparent reason. It all felt like a dream, and I just wanted to wake up. 

My raison de vivre was gone. Everything was gone. What was I supposed to do without my grandfather? What meaning would any of my life have without him being proud of my achievements? 

As it's probably obvious by now, I made a very dumb decision. One that I regret every single second of every single day.

I took several boxes of painkillers. 

My mom and dad were away at the hospital, but my aunt saw me on her way to bed. Thankfully. 

I tried to lie and say that I'd taken only one pill so I could sleep, but she didn't believe me. She called my mom and dad, and they rushed me to the hospital immediately. 

What happened next is so woven into my brain that I remember it vividly, as if it had happened yesterday. 

They rushed me to the ICU. The doctors weren't very optimistic. 

But I had accepted my fate already, I was extremely calm. 

Well, at least in the beginning. 

As they were pumping my stomach, I started to feel the overdose. I couldn't open my eyes, and the doctors thought I was unconscious. They were going over my case, and as I previously stated, they weren't optimistic. 

I was losing my consciousness quite slowly. It seemed like those were my last moments alive. 

I tried to fight back. I felt such intense despair that I regretted everything I'd done, and I started to ask every single divinity I know for another chance. I wanted to cry, but I couldn't. My body didn't work, my mind was giving up. Slowly. 

The despair would only increase, and I wanted to scream. I wanted to live. I missed profoundly every single thing I'd lived. I missed even what I didn't live. I wanted to do everything, or just one more chance to do it right. One more day. One more minute. 

Nothing changed what seemed to be my fate, though. 

The blackness was settling in, the last thing I heard was: 'I don't think he's going to live, I'm sorry'. 

I didn't have any energy left to fight any of it. I felt such regret, such despair, such rage against myself. It seemed to be the end. 

The next day, though, I woke up. I immediately threw up on the floor as they had been giving me charcoal. It was hard for me to understand what had happened, but it slowly came back. My granddad was gone, and I tried to end my life. 

I couldn't tell apart my emotions anymore. All I could do was cry and vomit. I only had enough energy for that. 

There hasn't been a single day since wherein the thought of that despair eluded me. It's always here, in the back of my mind. I still can feel it.

My family didn't forget it either. For two years I couldn't feel sad or demonstrate any weaknesses. I had to be 100% 24/7. The whole neighborhood had heard about it too. I didn't have any peace even when I was at the deli getting groceries. 

This second part felt just as awful as the despair. 

Every single person I knew heard about it. 

What is it like to be treated like you're insane? Awful. 

I had to reassure everyone all the time. I had to say that I was fine at least 30 times per day. It was exhausting. I felt so ashamed. Nobody would let any of it go, the reassurances had to keep coming. 

Every night I'd think about my day and just feel so much shame that it was almost unbearable. I couldn't ever go down that same road again, though. 

The despair... it stays with you. Always. 'Suicide' wasn't just a word anymore, it evoked the very despair I felt that day every time I'd hear this word. 

But time helps. People eventually move on. 

I don't feel ashamed anymore. The people around me don't seem to remember it. I'm even allowed to have pills in my bedroom again. 

But me? I'll never move on. I'll never forget it. The memory of that feeling of despair stays with me forever. And taking my own life isn't something I'll ever consider again.

I survived twice. 

The first was simply luck, but the second was just the passage of time and the healing of my mind.

Just keep pushing forwards, and eventually, you will start to heal from your past traumas. And if you are starting to feel like your falling into a pit of despair, don’t let yourself fall as far as I did. Talk to those you trust, and don’t be afraid to seek professional help. It could stop you from doing something that you will regret.

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