I've discussed the day in detail in my blog before and I've talked to some of my friends frankly about it but I've never really said in a large forum that I have survived a suicide attempt. It's been almost 2 years but it has been fresh lately due to my involvement in the opera "Madama Butterfly."
I've relived that day in a fresh way many times as I've watched, from the wings, the third act.
I often tell Derek Myler, who sings the role of Sharpless, that his character is my favorite. Part of it is because he performs it with a sweetness and a sincerity. A good portion of why it's my favorite character is in the final scene. Chio Chio San blindfolds Sorrow and he holds his American flag while she proceeds to commit Hari Kari. Pinkerton and Sharpless enter and while Pinkerton wails and watches helpless while Chio Chio San's life drains from her, Sharpless runs to Sorrow and holds him and shields him from the horros that a child should never witness.
Like Butterfly, I too chose to end my life. I chose to do it at home. I posted my reasons on a status message and locked myself away to shield my family, much like the blindfold that Chio Chio San wraps over Sorrow's eyes and head.
I described a moment of clarity after I had taken the pills, and prepared to take some sleeping pills as well so that I could just fall asleep, in my earlier post on this moment. It didn't come from myself but I never told of what I saw.
I saw my wife unlocking the bedroom door and finding me, I saw my children now unprotected from the sight as my wife would have cried out and they would surely have come to her aid. I saw that the blindfold I had put between me and them was a lie.
After my ordeal and my fight for my life. I became protective. I worried about my children and how what I had done would affect them. I tried to shield them from it. When someone does something like that at home inevitably DCFS and the police will make a wellness visit. I was grateful to have them come but fearful of the effect of reliving the moment on my children. When they came I asked if we could do most of the interview outside in the shade of the maple tree while my children were inside. I welcomed them to talk to my children and even look at my home after if that was necessary but I wanted to protect them from what I had done as much as possible. They were so gracious and it was mostly me they needed to see and make sure that I was getting the help I needed. Many people are angry with or afraid of the authorities but I was grateful for their kindness and compassion and talking with them was part of my healing process.
I had to dye my hair for the opera and I see a different person in the mirror since then. I change even more as I apply the stage make-up that completes my transformation for the opera. It reminds me that I was once Butterfly and have changed. Part of me is now Sharpless. Holding on to my family and trying to shield them from my depression and anxiety.
So when I cry at the end, it is for the joy that I have in avoiding the scene I watch on stage.
I have become something else since then.
If you haven't read my account of the day you can find it in the blog contents under consequences, or this link: