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I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder and general anxiety almost 5 years ago. One of the symptoms of BPD is that you experience thoughts of suicide. I want to share my experience so that others like me who are struggling with thoughts of suicide can find hope by looking at someone else who has attempted suicide, someone who almost on the daily fights these thoughts and someone who has in the past struggled with self-harm. I wish to help others understand how coping with depressive and suicidal thoughts is possible; I'm a living example of the same. It was during the exam season that I felt absolutely helpless, fully distressed and wanted to cease to exist and vanish from everyone’s memories. Exams have always been times of extreme uneasiness and crying spells for me. On the night that I attempted to end my life, I had skipped an exam that day. In retrospect, this was a major warning sign as I've never been someone who skips an exam because of anxiety. The experience in itself was very difficult. Looking back, I think the most difficult part was waiting for something to happen. I remember bawling my eyes out and trying to tell myself that this will end soon.

Therapy and medication have been the most effective in helping me deal with the thoughts and feelings of suicide. The therapy session I received the day after I attempted suicide is extremely close to me. My therapist made me sit through guided mindfulness meditation, while a soft song played in the background. She asked me to talk to a version of myself, be it past, present or future. Studying Clinical Psychology now, I understand that this was the “empty chair technique”. In that moment, with my eyes closed, I was fully aware of my surroundings but also in a weird daze where I was fully vulnerable; I imagined my five-year-old self, sitting in the chair next to me, swinging her little feet wearing white slippers with pink flowers. I remember her so clearly because I felt like she was right there. I asked her how she felt. She said she felt scared because I tried to kill her. She said she thought out of all the people, at least her future self would look after her but even the future her had completely broken her trust. Since that day, I haven’t harmed myself, be it a cut or abusing medications. I have consciously, since then, tried and protected the little girl I talked to that day. That little girl really helped me survive above everyone else, because at that time I did not have the energy to engage with the people around me. Further, what helped me was educating myself and equipping myself with techniques like “the lazy 8”, “5-4-3-2-1” and distracting myself immediately when I’m hit with a thought of harming myself.

Today, I am much better than I was the night I attempted suicide. I am much more aware of myself, so much that I understand what made me want to cease existing and what saved me. I am grateful to have a support system around me. I leaned on those friends who had the mental space to care for me. I actively communicated my needs to my parents, who were very supportive. It took a lot of communication from both ends to reach a place of mutual understanding.

I’m also more aware of my triggers and am able to compose myself before I reach any extremes. I have been meditating quite often, which has helped me be more present. My medications and therapy are the most important aspects that have helped me deal with wanting to die. I’ve been on medication for more than 5 years now and yes, they may have side effects, but I am so much more in control of myself than I was before. The right salts for your system will do the trick. But also, being just on medication wouldn’t have helped me achieve the growth that I can comfortably claim today. Therapy has played a very significant role and nothing can replace it. When it comes to ongoing struggles, I am able to sit through them, weigh the pros and cons and understand where my thoughts around the struggle come from. Being patient and breathing through those 5-15 mins of absolute distress is how I’ve successfully managed to get past numerous triggers without hurting myself. I just breathe in the moments where I feel the need to leave the life I’ve so beautifully built. Breathing in those moments is enough. The next step is asking for help; I’ve reached out to my friends multiple times when I’m unable to cope on my own. I take no shame in needing help when I feel more vulnerable than usual, and neither should you.

For anyone who is struggling, I feel talking to your younger self can help you gain perspective and insight into your feelings. We’ve all been brought up in a pretty messed up world and your younger self wouldn’t want you to cease existing . Look after the child that you were. Look after the person you've become so that your future self can look after itself without having to wonder why it didn’t care for you. I hope this makes sense. Another takeaway I suggest from my experience is to breathe through the difficult times. Acting on the impulse is what leads to suicide. Breathe through that impulse to harm yourself, and wait it out. I know you can do it. You can keep yourself safe.

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