June 18th

Monday, June 18th. I decided I was going to end my life.

I left work. I bought a 12-gauge shotgun. I went to a park in Plano, laid down, and shot myself.

Joggers saw me. They were the first to call 911- I found this out afterwards. I would have bled out if it were not for them. I still don’t know who they are, but God performs miracles for a reason.

Speaking of miracles- I should not be alive today. If you know how guns, let alone a shotgun, works then you will understand that I should be 6 feet under right now. Doctors told me every single day at the hospital for the next months that I was so, so, so incredibly lucky.

I have not always been a religious person. Mental illness, trauma, and abuse will strip away everything you have to believe in, even a God I once knew. But after June 18th, I have never questioned the guardian angel who watched over me as I quite literally escaped death.

I will forever have scars. I still have hundreds of pellets inside my body, peeking through my skin’s surface- a daily reminder of what could have happened. For whatever reason, the universe was not ready to let me go. I stand here with wounds and memories, but I am not paralyzed, I have no broken bones, and no organs are damaged. For this I am so thankful.

I am usually a very open person online, but it has taken me a lot of time to be able to share this. The only reason I share this is to raise awareness that mental illness and suicide are very real problems, and are probably affecting people you know and love. Very few people in my friend and family circle knew I struggled- and not a single person could have EVER imagined I would become so incredibly immersed in an illness that I would buy a gun and shoot my own body without reaching out to a soul. Mental illness took me to the darkest depths of my being, lying to me and convincing me that my life was burdensome to everyone, that I was worthless, and that my death would be for the greater good.

Now, I am in the healthiest place I have ever been in. I went through months of PHP, IOP, and still see a therapist regularly. I now work in the mental health field, and I am finally seeing that perhaps I was spared so that I eventually become the person I so badly needed during my time of pain. I am here on this earth to help others, to raise awareness, and to heal.

Mental illness has, in great, prevented me from continuing education and pursuing my dreams. For a long time, I was unable to even get out of bed, let alone return to a Masters program. I have spent this past year reflecting deeply on myself, my past, and my future. I have discovered so much about myself and have healed internal- and external – wounds that had been open for far too long. I have cut off abusers, I have remedied injured relationships, and I have created the most beautiful friendships and connections imaginable. Finally, I am returning to school part-time to obtain my LPC license. I am determined to use my experience and passion to continue helping others.

To all of my family, friends, and colleagues who have loved me and supported me: thank you so much for never giving up on me.

And to anyone struggling: please, reach out for help. Your situation is not permanent. You will be okay. It gets better.

I almost left this world too early to see just how important I am for both myself and to others. For the first time in many years, I am so grateful to be alive.

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