I attempted to kill myself twice. Suicide takes an American every 12.3 minutes. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the US where 1.4 million people attempt suicide annually. Nearly 129 Americans die by suicide every day. Here’s my story, shared to shine some light of hope on this topic.
My Suicidal Ideation
In 2016 and 2017, I struggled with severely suicidal depression and was in the care of two mental health professionals: a trauma counselor and a Biblical counselor. It was a dark season of life, and I’m sharing with you here a spoken word poem I wrote reflecting on how I felt at the time.
I feel stuck in life and I don’t care about the future.
I have no desires of any kind, I’m numb, and I feel no motivation.
I searched inside myself, but my broken heart I can’t seem to suture.
I just don’t care and for nothing do I have any aspiration.
Why can’t I strive for something great and aim to be important?
Why don’t I have at least some kind of meaningful goals?
Why are my hope, my drive, my aim - all completely distorted?
Why am I not interested is playing any social roles?
I want to want to want some kind of wanting.
I want to want to live, and matter, and achieve.
Only I don’t. And knowing this is daunting.
I’m being honest: all I do is grieve.
My life is not at all like everybody else’s:
They have their past, their present, and their future.
I am my past. And all I am is helpless.
My heart is broken. Can it I ever suture?
© Anna Szabo, JD, MBA
Anna Stevens vs Anna Szabo
This is a poem written by Anna Szabo, aka Me.
Prior to that season of adversity, I was an award-winning author of a goal-setting book and my name was Anna Stevens.
Anna Stevens despised Anna Szabo.
Anna Stevens was an immigrant with no English skills who built her life in America from the ruins of domestic violence, aspired to have a better future. She even graduated with an MBA from a prestigious American University just four years after being homeless and living in a shelter for battered women.
Anna Szabo was a US citizen who spoke English, had American education and a successful career, yet she didn’t care about her future and, instead, she wanted to die.
According to the CDC:
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US
- Every day, approximately 129 Americans die by suicide
- There is one death by suicide in the US every 12 minutes
- An estimated 250,000 people each year become suicide survivors
- Approximately 1.4 million Americans attempt suicide
My Suicide Story
For me, suicidal thoughts were an inheritance received from my mother who often threatened me with suicide.
She hated and rejected me from a very young age.
RELATED: Narcissistic Mother
I was troubled by my mother’s abuse and cruelty. I wanted to free myself from those troubles by committing suicide.
My mother repeatedly said to me: “I don’t want you, I hate you, and I just want you dead!”
Feeling trapped in unbearable pain, I attempted suicide twice, at 11 and 12.
Suicide as an Escape
See, we want to escape our troubles. We hoped for a happily ever after and it never came. Now what?
I’ve learned to hope in Jesus Christ and not in a happily ever after.
RELATED: Who is Jesus?
Apostle Paul, who originally built the Christian Church, was also troubled because he was afflicted. He learned to hope in Christ and not in a happily ever after.
You see, life is a journey of many seasons.
We don’t understand everything.
And it’s ok.
Anna Szabo vs An IronMan Bicycle
The conflict between Anna Stevens and Anna Szabo was due to the fact that Anna Szabo was abandoned by her Christian husband who filed for divorce four months after their wedding declaring that his IronMan bicycle was his actual wife.
He said he didn’t want to be married and wanted to be an IronMan instead.
Anna Szabo was a woman traded in for an bicycle. And that was incomprehensible.
Michel The IronMan was sitting in the marital bedroom on the floor one late evening a few weeks after the wedding, looking Anna Szabo straight in the eye and saying: “I just don’t want you and I don’t want to be married anymore!”
RELATED: Narcissistic Husband
He also began threatening Anna with suicide. This was too familiar kind of cruelty. Anna Szabo was in the same exact situation with Michel two decades later as she was with her mother earlier in life.
She was feeling trapped in unbearable pain, and the temptation to escape troubles through suicide was strong.
That’s the very essence of my suicide story.
Primal Brain vs Modern Brain
At this point, you might be wondering if I’m completely crazy because ultimately YOU know that it’s ME who is talking about MYself as if I were multiple people.
Just bear with me please.
Here’s the thing – we all have two sides to our human brain:
- Modern brain
- Primal brain
The modern brain (frontal cortex) is responsible for problem solving, memory, language, judgment, impulse control, and reasoning.
This brain is also called the THINKING brain.
That for me was the well-accomplished high-achiever Anna Stevens.
The primal brain (hindbrain and medulla) is responsible for survival, drive, and instinct.
It is also called the EMOTIONAL brain.
In my case, that was the fed up with abuse and cruelty Anna Szabo.
She saw suicide as an escape from her unbearable pain.
My suicide story is, like many others, has to do with pain and suffering. And our brain is designed to escape pain and suffering. Sometimes, it may confuse suicide as pain relief.
According to the Crisis Prevention Institute, the emotional brain is the limbic system. This brain is hard for us to relate to. We can’t see it working. We can only feel its effects, which are both physical and emotional.
According to PsychoTherapyCenter.com, when it comes to these two brains, we have a favorite, and it is the thinking brain.
We typically like this brain best because we can relate to it. We can see it working. We can listen-in on its thoughts and inner conversations.
It is what we relate to as the mind, in other words, our identity.
For me, it was Anna Stevens.
When our primal brain is engaged, our modern brain is not working much. That’s why Anna Szabo was dominating and Anna Stevens hated her.
Anna Stevens hated to see how life was fading away while she could do pretty much nothing to save the situation and had to simply hang on to just be there for her next breath.
My Suicide Breakdown and Breakthroughs
Years later, I’m still here with you.
What have I learned from my experience? To NOT fight myself!
Many people fight their suicidal ideation, hoping that it will go away and there will finally be a happily-ever-after. There won’t, and you’re likely to drain hope out of yourself waiting for perfection in life.
Fighting your suicidal ideation is exhausting and is likely to result in death by suicide. Why? The science shows that your modern brain is going to lose to your primal brain every time.
Instead, I’ve learned to alleviate my suicidal ideation through self-negotiation.
After analyzing my own journals and observing 23 people killing themselves in 2004 by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in a 2006 documentary by Eric Steel called The Bridge, I know that suicide comes with doubt. A part of you wants to die. Your primal, emotional brain. A part of you wants to live. Your modern, reasoning brain.
You must get into your mind and figure out the reasons of that part of you that wants to die. You must listen to yourself attentively with compassion, as if you were your best friend. You must not judge yourself for wanting to die but instead – accept your despair and hopelessness as understandable and justifiable human feelings. You’re going through a lot, it’s normal to feel down. You must thank your brain for wanting to protect you from pain by escaping it through suicide. You must persuade your primal emotional limbic brain that continuing to live life is ok.
Everyone’s life sometimes rocks and sometimes sucks.
No one’s life is perfect. Ever! Yet, life is still worth living.
Through self-negotiation and genuine compassion, Anna Stevens accepted Anna Szabo and I am still here.
Negotiating Hope with Yourself
I want to share with you this poem, which demonstrates my technique of negotiating hope with myself.
Dear Anna Szabo...
I'm looking at you - a child of God
And think how sad that so often
Your mind is too clouded with negative mud
And hope that your heart will soon soften.
No plans for the future is not a good thing,
Especially with all your awareness
Of who you are, whose you are and your father King
Who gave you this life of true rareness.
I do understand that your journey has been
Not easy, demanding, laborious...
But looking at you, I ask that you cling
To God, who is always victorious.
He loves you. He has real plan for you life.
It's just that you can't fully see it.
You've been through so much. And you're going to thrive,
I promise, you have to believe it.
Stop thinking those damaging thoughts from your past.
They're not even yours, they're inheritance.
You're now an heiress of God, because Christ
His life sacrificed as love evidence.
You're loved. You're accepted. You're precious. You're blessed.
You're special and chosen. You're gifted.
I do understand: you can get depressed,
So what? Even Paul was afflicted!
Be sad and be quiet, experience pain,
But don't let your mind get too clouded.
When life gets too tough, you still can stay sane,
If you just in Scriptures stay grounded.
Do you understand that your life is a gift
From God who created you purposefully?
Keep working on making this spiritual shift,
You've made so much progress, fortunately.
Continue to study the Bible and God,
Continue to build a relationship
With Jesus Himself, who never forgot
To carry you through with His leadership.
Continue to pray. Continue to grow.
Continue to ask for God's guidance.
The fact that He's good you very well know.
With Him, you can face all these giants.
© Anna Szabo, JD, MBA
I shared with you why I was considering suicide in 2016 and even 2018. Also, I explained why I tried to commit suicide twice: at 11 and 12. Additionally, I shared with you my dramatic self-dissociation experience due to Narcissistic Abuse endured in 2016 and 2017 in my marriage.
Suicide is an indicator of brain pain. If you’re experiencing suicidal ideation, call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Available 24 hours every day.
You’ve learned how I use self-negotiation for suicide alleviation.
Now, I want to challenge you: in the moment of trouble and despair, please negotiate hope with yourself. Share this content with someone who needs to hear this message today.
Anna Szabo is the founder of Online Discipleship For Women, a Christian ministry committed to alleviating suicide among women globally by sharing hope in Christ. Anna teaches how to create a joyful life by embracing God’s word based on her own journey of faith and fortitude.
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