Trigger warning: Strong emotional content and suicide method mentioned.
by Devon Barfield
Growing up I’d always known I was a bit different. I was an introverted, shy, creative, and intelligent child. I felt that I was special in a way, almost as if I was from another time or place. I never felt like I belonged, therefore fantasized a lot growing up and had a vivid imagination.
As I got older and gained more insight into the world, my mental health slowly began to decline. I had just recently started middle school so naturally, I thought I was just anxious from the transition but no, it wasn’t just that.
Something much worse was brewing just beneath the surface that I had no awareness of yet. I became more sensitive, my anxiety attacks occurred more frequently, and I started to loathe myself more. I felt like I deserved to feel the way I did and it eventually led me to self-harm. I hid it well for a while but my parents eventually found out and when I had confided in my school counselor about what I had done and talked about my suicidal tendencies in hopes that it would be kept confidential. But it wasn’t.
I remember coming home that day from school, and the car ride was painfully tense. My stepdad didn’t say a single word the entire time, just sat there in what I assumed was disappointment. Then again he was always disappointed in me so I wasn’t exactly sure.
When we arrived home I received a lecture from my mother on suicide, self-harm, and other disturbing topics. It only made me feel worse. How was I supposed to act normal when my mind was beginning to crumble? I reached out for help and it only resulted in them finding out and turning into an embarrassing confrontation.
I felt hopeless like no one was listening or even cared
I loathed myself even more and from then on I didn’t speak about how I felt, numbed myself near completely. I was eventually put into real therapy after that and I’ll admit it helped a little, but not as much help as I needed, and was too scared to say so.
I was medicated but rarely if ever went to my appointments. A few years later I started eighth grade. I transferred schools and it was especially hard since I didn’t know anyone there. I eventually made some friends, but I still felt alone. I so desperately wanted this to be a fresh start but something still just felt….off. My anxiety got much worse and my symptoms manifested physically to the point I’d miss school from being so sick from anxiety.
Around two months later my mom and stepdad’s arguments got worse until they finally announced on the day of my eighth-grade graduation they were getting divorced. I was devastated and uncontrollably sobbed for nearly four hours straight.
I remember the next day looking at my face in the mirror noticing how red and swollen it was from all the tears I had shed the night prior. All I ever wanted was the perfect family and now that dream was shattered. In an instant, I lost everything. I wanted to believe it was just a nightmare but it wasn’t. In a way it was, but this nightmare was real.
I knew what was going to happen and it broke my heart
June 4, 2017, we ended up having to temporarily move in with my Nan in her two-bedroom trailer until we found a new house. I was embarrassed at the time since we used to be middle class and my school was with upper-middle class. When I did start high school, not even a week in I became extremely overwhelmed and suicidal. I ended up voluntarily committing myself to a psych ward which resulted in my being put on homebound from August 2017 to February.
It helped a little being away from everyone but eventually, I had to go back to school. It was difficult for me at first, adjusting but I was doing all right. We finally found a house after eleven months and rented it. That was when I was re-enrolled into a new high school.
This one wasn’t the best school, to say the least. And that’s when I got worse. I’d have daily breakdowns in the restroom, never socialized, frequented the guidance counseling office, and rarely if ever, showed up to school. My grades declined and I was, of course, held back.
Eventually, I dropped out after I was once again put on homebound
My mom enrolled me in an online school in hopes that it would be easier, but it wasn’t. I indulged in risky, regretful things which only caused my mental health to decline; this time badly.
I was in a constant state of fear, disgust, stress, and shame. I became so stressed out I stopped eating due to losing my appetite almost completely. I lost a lot of weight I couldn’t afford to lose – I’m naturally skinny and petite. I weighed 64 pounds at the time, and I’m 4’11. My suicidal ideations and tendencies became unbearable to the point that all my bottled up emotions boiled over.
I couldn’t handle my constant state of dread so I decided I wanted to take my own life. On October 30, 2019, I attempted suicide. I didn’t write a note. I didn’t want to exist nor did I want to be remembered. Not long after, my mom found me lying on my floor with a half-empty bottle of pills opened beside me. I remember her frantically dialing 911.
She was hysterical and I will never forget the agonizing pain in her voice. It shook me to my core. The rest was a haze but I do remember being carried downstairs by an EMT and placed into an ambulance, yet they wouldn’t let my mom ride with me.
Looking back at it now, it was probably because they thought I wouldn’t make it
When we arrived at the hospital I was put into the ICU, hooked up with an IV, and was forced to drink two cups of charcoal, which was disgusting. Not long after I remember my vision starting to fade. All I wanted to do was drift away, to no longer feel any pain and in my haze, I kept hearing the nurses and doctor tell me to not go to sleep.
Next thing I know I’m being injected with what I believe to be Narcan and then quickly waking up. I remember feeling confused yet terrified.
I became overwhelmed knowing that I just then could’ve met my fate. I could’ve died at age 16.
Everything I was, everything I had ever accomplished, all my hopes and dreams, gone.
That was when I knew that this attempt would be my last
It took an encounter with death for me to truly open my mind’s eye. Since then I’ve gone through intensive therapy, regained my appetite, and gained around 15 pounds!
To this day I’m grateful that I’m still here. I’m a survivor. And since my attempt, I’ve come a long way. I still have my demons to battle but I’m still healing, still learning but I’m proud of who I’m becoming.
I find comfort knowing that. I’m both an empathetic, and strong-willed woman. Each day is a gift, and I’m blessed to still be here. No matter what, never make a permanent decision based on temporary feelings. Some things cannot be undone, and it’s not worth it.