40 seconds

Every forty seconds someone dies from committing suicide.

I was almost one of them.

Every single word of this column is true. It happened. I happened.

And this is my story.


The sirens pierced the air with their shrill call, jerking the citizens of the hospital’s waiting room from their books and halting conversations mid-sentence. The people muffled profanities beneath bated breath when the ambulance pulled into the loading zone outside of the waiting room, one person muttering, “Oh great,” and others commenting, “Well that’s comforting.”

I cringed, knowing those sirens were calling me.


Goosebumps layered atop my skin as my coat of armor shielded myself from the blasting air-conditioning above us. Mom jostled me, attempting to wake me up from my inescapable trance. Realizing the daze was not easily broken, she took my shaking hand and helped me stand on my weak feet.

As we shuffled to the open door, a pixie-like woman slid her hand around my waist and supported me as I walked toward the ambulance.


The pity buried in them from the waiting room. Citizens who recently considered me “one of the waiting” beat down on me with their unwavering scrutiny, along with their weak expressions of guilt from words formerly spoken.


They arrived hot and fast to sear my cheeks and to stain my clothes when we took our first step outside; yesterday’s bliss blowing away from the welcome-to-reality burst of wind. The new goosebumps covering my body were bolded and italicized compared to the dainty ones that layered my skin back in the land of plastic chairs, weak coffee and fluorescent lighting. The beaming lights on the ambulance and the achingly cold winter-air blinded me, causing my knees to buckle and my fear to only grow stronger.


The physician wrapped them around me like a shield of protection in a much needed but ineffective hug. I managed to mutter an indecipherable “thank you” to no one in particular, hugging it close to me and continuing the long walk to the beckoning truck. The lights burned everything in sight to a red, then a white and a blue, as the pixie woman supported my quaking knees and legs to carry me into this new place.


As I first stepped inside, a gurney locked to the floor caught my eye. My new pixie friend instructed Mom to follow behind us in her car, on our way to the destination – the mental hospital. The doors of the truck closed before she could reply, her answer now unattainable and my care for anything too far gone. I was still so far away.


The vehicle began running and the physician helped me crawl onto the gurney, me plopping atop it and her lightly strapping me down. Closing my eyes, I took a shaking breath and attempted to take comfort in the darkness behind my eyelids. The synthetic fibers holding me tight gave me a sense of safety – more than anything, from myself.


Not for where I am. Just for what’s within.