The CYMHSU and the Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society are hosting a candlelight vigil on Sept. 10 in honour of World Suicide Prevention Day. (Submitted)

Revy Let’s Talk: On World Suicide Prevention Day know someone is always there

A Revelstoke resident tells columnist Stacie Byrne her story

Stacie Byrne

Special to the Review

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to go through a suicide crisis while living in Revelstoke? Or maybe you’re someone who has gone through one and wants to share your experience with others so they’re not afraid to reach out for help. I sat down with one woman from Revelstoke who shared what happened to her. If you have an experience to share, please let us know. You’re not alone. #RevyLetsTalk.

It’s the Christmas holidays and I’m alone… again… Moved out of a bad relationship, couldn’t find anywhere else to live so now I’m on a mattress on the floor of a stranger’s house. A woman who needed some money to help pay the rent. But her and her son aren’t here for the week. Even they have family to visit and someone who loves them.

I don’t know what to do with myself during this time alone. Drinking helps the day go by. If I can go to the bar to meet my “friends”, go home and pass out and sleep all day, maybe the holiday’s will be over and I can go back to work. I can distract myself with that – with work. It’s easier to pretend that I’m normal when I’m there.

READ MORE: Candlelight vigil being held in Revelstoke for World Suicide Prevention Day

I call a crisis line once just to talk to someone. It’s okay. It helps the time go by a bit. I also started cutting and that seems to help. Like drinking, it’s another way to distract myself from the emotional pain that I’m feeling that I don’t want to deal with.

But one day I’m getting ready to cut and suddenly have a thought that I could make this all go away right now. Maybe instead of temporarily making the pain go away I find a way to make the pain go away permanently. I know this is no way to live and I’m sick and tired of it. It’s time to just make it all stop…

For whatever reason, and I can’t tell you why, I call the crisis number again. We chat a bit and then I tell the guy on the other end of the line that I’ve been cutting. He knows all the right questions to ask: “What are you cutting with?”, “Where is the blade now?”, “Are you able to keep yourself safe?”… It’s at this question that I suddenly realize what I’ve been planning to do. “No”, I say to him. And I’m suddenly afraid for my life.

He’s calm and asks if I have someone I can call. “No”. “Can I call someone for you?”, he says. “Can I call 911?”. “Yes”, I answer. I wait on the line and hear him use another phone to call 911. He gives them my location, then comes back on the line with me. “Do you want me to tell them to keep the sirens off?”, “Yes, please” I answer. Like I said before, he knows all the right questions to ask. When he’s done calling emergency services, he comes back on the line with me and asks if I’d like him to stay on the line until they show up. I tell him I should be okay. I feel safer already. “Make sure when you walk outside you have your hands out of your pockets. The police know you had a ‘weapon’ so they may be on high alert”. This comment shakes me out of myself a bit and I roll my eyes at how militant the RCMP can be sometimes, but maybe I do sound like a threat. If I can’t keep myself safe how can they trust I won’t hurt them as well.

We hang up and I go downstairs. The cops are already there. Two, maybe three cars; four or five police officers. We don’t say much. They’re there to make sure the paramedics are safe with me when they arrive on scene. Once they do, I quickly get into the ambulance. I’m embarrassed standing outside of my apartment building surrounded by emergency services.

The trip to Queen Victoria Hospital in the ambulance is a blur. I don’t know what route we took or how we got there. Once I’m in ER I slip in and out of sleep. Talking to nurses and doctors. Telling them I don’t want to go home. Telling them I don’t feel safe. Telling them I’m afraid. Dr. MacLeod is the doctor on call and he’s great. I’ve never met him before, but he doesn’t make my feel embarrassed or ashamed. He says I can stay in the hospital for the night and he’ll come in and reassess me in the morning.

READ MORE: Better suicide prevention needed for B.C. youth, group says

A few days in the hospital go by and I feel safe and loved and cared for. It’s so good to be away from the mattress on the floor, away from my phone, away from everything. It gives me time to reflect and have clarity on my situation and the path I’m going down.

After it’s time for me to go home, I follow up with Dr. MacLeod, find a really great counsellor, and a better place to live. I’m back at work and moving forward with my life. I can’t believe how close I came to ending it all.

Over the past few years since that happened, I still have thoughts of suicide every now and again, but something keeps me hanging on and hoping for better days to come. Even when I don’t have hope for the future, I do have hope that if it gets too dark, I can call for help and it will be there.

I hope everyone knows that there will always be someone at the end of the line to pick up even when it feels like there’s no one.

Sept. 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. If you or someone you know if struggling, please call a suicide hotline and find help. 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)



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