November 18, 2022

From Dusk to Dawn: A True Story of Surviving Suicide.

He asked me if I would be interested in writing a six-year episode of his life, saying that it might be an inspiration to others.

I didn’t know him, just a stranger on social media. But after knowing what he went through, I did not hesitate for a second, for I couldn’t turn down a survivor who wanted to “anonymously” share his story with the world.

It’s not only about pain and struggle; but also a story about healing, resilience, and hope.

It all began in 2009 in his senior year of college when he started having distressing thoughts about almost everything going on around him, along with physical symptoms such as fast heartbeats, sweating, and muscle tension all over his body.

He did not understand what was happening to him at that time and his condition got worse. Obsessive thoughts about the existence of God invaded his head, finding himself going so far as to search for answers—like waking his parents up in the middle of the night only to ask them if God really existed, as well as asking every single person he met.

He wanted answers, and he wanted them right away.

His inability to control these thoughts was driving him crazy, to the point that it became so unbearable that he eventually had a breakdown. That night he sat in a corner, scared as a little child, not knowing what he was exactly afraid of.

His parents thought that it was a demonic possession for lack of understanding of the symptoms, given that he was acting all weird, becoming a completely different person, bursting with uncontrollable anger, and falling suddenly into questioning the existence of God. That’s when they took him to several spiritual healers who tried all kinds of spells and rituals, but all to no avail.

They were getting desperate seeking a solution, a cure, or just about anything that would get him out of it. His problem kept deteriorating, up to the day when they had to drive him to the ER, where a psychiatrist diagnosed him with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and prescribed medication immediately.

Within two weeks of medication, he felt a positive effect. Just like magic, his obsessive thoughts disappeared. He enjoyed a stable state for the following year, before relapsing again.

The same thoughts about God came back unwillingly, as he compulsively read religious books many times trying to find a satisfying explanation, however, nothing seemed convincing to him.

Later, this obsession vanished on its own with a new obsession coming to light: “What if I have a son out there somewhere that I don’t know about?”

So, he went about searching for his presumably unknown son. He laughed while telling me this, finding no logic about that thought, yet it seemed reasonable to him back then.

This kept going on for years, with many adversities along the way. But the real crisis came when what he called sarcastically “the smart-ass doctor” changed the diagnosis from OCD to Bipolar Disorder and prescribed a different medication.

Of course, the medication was not effective since he suffered from OCD and not Bipolar; as a result, the illness got severe, along with depression, only making things even worse. That same doctor told him he had done everything he could. “I can’t do anything for you anymore.”

It destroyed him.

That’s when he thought to himself, “Am I going to live with this pain forever?”

He said to me, “I felt a sense of relief once the idea of suicide crossed my mind since this suffering will soon be over.”

You can imagine what happened next.

His family had been trying to contact him that day with no answer. They knew something was wrong for he had been showing some warning signs, such as sleeping a lot more than usual, throwing comments about his unhappiness, and giving his clothes away.

They had an apartment he escaped to from time to time, which made them expect he could be there. His father and cousin rushed over.

They found him on the bed unconscious after more than 10 hours of taking a huge amount of antidepressants.

All he could remember were a few flashes of consciousness while they were carrying him through the door. He explained to me, “It was a feeling that I cannot describe; I had the worst pain ever. I reckon I would never experience such pain again.”

The moment they arrived at the nearest hospital, the doctors told his family that he was already dead, and nothing can be done. However, they could not believe it. “He cannot die, not now.”

After his parents threw a tantrum, they forcefully moved him to another hospital, where they did their best to save him.

He stayed in a coma for seven days. No one knew if he was going to wake up, and even if he did they weren’t sure if he would return to his normal state.

He mentioned to me what he saw during the coma; lights, colors, and shapes that felt like a dream. Then, he heard a voice in his head saying, “This is not your time, wake up.” That’s when he opened his eyes.

After two weeks of recovery, he had a stroke as a result of complications from the coma. A while later, he got into a car accident. All of this has got him thinking, “I did not die by a suicide attempt. A stroke did not kill me. I came out of a car accident alive. But the OCD is still a curse in my life—I need to do something about it.”

This was his breaking point to seek psychotherapy. That’s when he was introduced to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention), which did wonders for him.

He talks about how he learned to control his OCD with so much enthusiasm and pride. Indeed, it takes a lot of strength and willpower.

This whole experience transformed him into a new person who appreciates life with all the beauty it holds. He now looks at the world with admiration—from sunsets to flowers to scents to a deep sense of connection with nature and animals.

The past has lost its hold on him, while the future is not as scary. All he has is now, this present moment which he is enjoying to the fullest and making the best of it. He learned to live a mindful life.

Surviving suicide, coming back from the dead, and knowing that it was not his time to go left him with only one choice—to heal.

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