April 20, 2014

Healing a Suicide Attempt: My Rebirthday. ~ Amani Omejer

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Warning: naughty language ahead.

Two years ago, today, I overdosed.

The fact this anniversary is here again is nuts.

The fact I can even write about it is even more nuts.

And the fact it is today is off-the-scale nuts.

Last year I was flooded with a whirlwind of trauma, haunting memories, and bodily sensations, that created an almost unbearable hurricane inside of me. The event was seemingly happening, or going to happen again, and all I could do was hold on.

This year, it’s different.

I think time has played a part in it, too—with another year having passed, things have softened even more.

With what is here, there’s a distance and a peace around it. An acceptance of the fear and anxiety that’s churning inside of me. A freedom within the fear, rather than only a freedom when I’m not feeling it.

There’s a freedom to look the fear in the face and say, “I see you, but I’m not listening to you”. Or, I tell it to fuck off. Or, I gently but firmly, tell myself all the ways in which what the fear is saying, isn’t true—could no way be true, or happen, or simply that this fear (no matter how convincing) has no better ability of telling the future than I do.

I tell myself all the ways in which it’s okay: I’m okay.

I self-talk my way out the other side of the crippling anxiety, trying to convince me that what happened two years ago, is about to happen again.

I self-talk my way through the forest that lies inside of me, in relation to the event.

There are the dark patches of trees where shadow and emptiness lies. The pockets of darkness in which my wounding and my sorrow is all I can seemingly see. No words, only tears, can bring me any release. I long to avoid or hide from these deep and dark spots, but every time I do, they only get bigger, more widespread, and burrow seemingly deeper. I fear them taking hold and me losing myself and my sanity, completely. I fear them ridding my ability to connect with the tall, strong, and stable, trees that also lie within me.

I sometimes run, and sometimes it feels like I run a lot, but when I look closely, I never run as much as I used to.

Lately, I’ve been building up my ability to connect with these tall, strong and stable trees, no matter how deep into my forest they’ve seemingly strayed or how madly I’ve seemingly run around in circles, beforehand.

Once I tap into my toolkit and find myself again, I stand tall and stand stable inside my anxious wanderings. I can bend down and meet the dark patches, nose-to-nose, with a friendly compassionate warmth and understanding. I can sit beside the deep dark voids, and only venture in, in little stages, when I feel strong enough.

I allow myself to lose myself because I trust I can find myself again.

I can meet the grief that is with me, too.

The grief is the mossy undergrowth between my toes that’s cold and damp, and seemingly foreign, but as soon as I step on it, I know I’ve come home. The release this grief brings, is the release that the forest fire of rage and agony burning inside me, needs.

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But it hurts, and I feel afraid.

The discomfort the moss leaves beneath my feet easily feels like the last place I want to be—the pain is too much to bare, and the last place I want to take my weary and tired body. So I run, desperate for a way out without feeling the grief and pain. Eventually—after heading in anxiety-ridden circles, running head first into trees and shrubs, and getting stuck in the same internal fear-spiral—I always find my way back to the moss, to the grief. I always end up face-first in a bucket full of tears, and I am always so glad I have.

It’s the release that my body wanted, the clarity my mind needed.

Over the last year or so, my time stood on this moss—with my grief—has left me sobbing and crumbling for hours. Lately though, my grief has come in short, intense, bursts—five minutes, max. ten. Catching me and bringing me to my knees, but finishing almost as suddenly as they began.

Inside I feel tight and constricted, like ivy is wrapped around my internal trees. I long to burst open and to feel free, to feel the full release I need, but there’s a safety hatch that’s tightly on, at the moment, keeping me safe from letting go of too much.

I fear I’m not ‘releasing enough’, or ‘working on this enough’ or allowing myself to ‘feel enough’, but these fears stem from the shit my critic is throwing around—my critic is the shifty little forest troll, that lives beneath a stone and only pops out to throw some shit around.

He rarely sleeps.

Amongst this forest is the scattered debris lying along the floor—the thick and toxic debris of trauma. The shit that seemingly strips me of my ability to self-love and nurture, or simply just makes it so much harder to find. It’s an internal dialogue and a determination to self-destruct, make life hard for myself. I try to figure it all out, because I fear letting go and being gentle, but all I need to do when this debris takes over, is move.

Get into my body. Get out of my head.

“This is trauma”, has become my mantra.

The part of my forest that I feel most grateful for today, are the patches of light and joy that stream in through the trees: the utter joy and celebration, and relief, that I am alive.

I am here.

I survived!

And not only am I alive, but I am beginning to truly thrive.

My insides are glowing with love for myself in a way they never did, before. My ability to parent myself is blossoming and blooming as each day goes forth.

Two years ago, today, on the day I tried to take my own life, I pretty quickly decided I wanted it back. I made the decision to be here, and it doesn’t get much cooler than that.

Today is the day I decided to step into the being I knew I always deserved to be, but couldn’t find beneath my wounding. Now it’s here—this new me, together with my wounding—on a journey of healing and blossoming.

The journey’s been (and is) messy, fucking confusing, so incredibly isolating, and excruciatingly painful, but it’s been a journey that has so been worth living. And the journey I was so desperately needing.

Seeing this anniversary come, and seeing the pain it’s brought with it, fills me with dread and fear for the few days ahead, but it also fills me with pride. To watch myself be able to sit with my pain and survive through it, through the days, in the way I am now doing, is so far from where I was a year ago.

I’m not as haunted by this event as I used to be, and that, to me, feels as though I’ve won the internal lottery.

Finally, there’s a freedom within me that I used to find so, so, difficult to see, know, or trust, would one day be what I would feel. And now it is! Now this freedom that people used to tell me would, and could, happen, is something I now not only see, but it’s something I also feel in my body and my mind, too.

There’s the need to sunbathe and soak up the warmth when I reach these areas within my forest. The nakedness and openness of the relief and gratitude. The sense of freedom and self-love.

I want to climb to the top of the sun-glistened tree that stands next to the sun-filled clearing inside of me, and tell the world that I’m free—the trauma is no longer haunting me. I want to tell them I’m alive, I’m here, I survived.

I want to tell them that today is my birthday—my re-birthday—and I am so, so, glad it is.


This is Part Five of a series.

Read Part One—Waking Up From a Dream—here.

Read Part Two—I Can’t Predict The Future—here

Read Part Three—My Internal Wardrobe—here.

Read Part Four—My Life After—here.

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Siavash ShakeriBojan Dzodan

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