I am over the top~~~~~ thankful that in a few days I will share the stage with my beautiful daughter Amber Lynn and cast yet another ripple of hope, joy, and faith. With courage and grit, I will share the strength of my heart with those who are struggling and those coming to find a sense of community.
Eighteen years ago, I walked into the psychiatric unit. Despite all my efforts, despite trying everything to fight my battle with suicide, on that day, I had the most terrifying thought. That thought… still haunts me. It’s dark and not something I would ever want to act upon. Yet, as dark as it was, this year, I shared it on CTN in Nashville on a show called Bridges. I was going to end my life that day for many reasons. One of those reasons was I was tired of fighting the many thoughts that waged war in my mind.
In the psychiatric unit, I was afraid and ashamed. So ashamed, in fact, at first I refused to answer phone calls or see anyone. I truly felt like a failure. Eventually, some of my family came up to see me, and that was a turning point. They loved me and told me they were glad I was still here. That was the first time I realized that I didn’t love myself. I wanted to, but I didn’t know-how.
To those of you who have lost loved ones, I am so sorry. All I can tell you is that I was not in my right mind, and I didn’t get to leave until I was in my right mind. My friends, that was 18 years ago. I know that not all units are the same. I know that not everyone finds what they need in the psychiatric unit.
The shame and painful journey that followed that time in my life were one of the darkest years of my life. I lost friends. I was labeled. It was the first time I tasted betrayal from those inside my church and family. My daughters had to endure the comments they heard about their mom. My mother-in-law treated me like I was worthless. I think she was more afraid of what people would think about her than she was about me at all.
But what I want to ask you today is this: Do you think walking myself into the psychiatric unit made me a bad mom or a good one?
Did I ask for the thoughts that told me to end my life every day? Do we have any control over the thoughts that enter our minds?
If what I did was right, then why did it feel like the wrong thing to do?
If getting help was the right thing, why don’t more people do it? I think we can all come up with some reasons why people don’t, right?
It took a while for me to realize that what I did that day came with a price, but I genuinely feel that what I did was brave, the right thing to do AND I know that it saved my life.
Today I am thankful that I had the courage to get help because, as I said above, I am alive this week and able to share the stage with my daughter Amber and to meet so many amazing people that we will share the night with.
Oh God, make me a vessel of your LOVE. I am here for You to continue to use. Use all my pain and trials to help others. Thank you for helping me find LIFE on The Other Side of Suicide.
To those of you reading this, never give up. I’m cheering for you!
No matter who you are, what you’ve done or how messed up your life is… YOU ARE LOVED and YOU HAVE VALUE.
With Love, Hope and Happiness,
Watch Jennifer Tracy on Bridges