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Christina Gleason

is a suicide attempt survivor.
this is her story

Christina Gleason

is a suicide attempt survivor.

"I Survived a Suicide Attempt."

Christina Gleason is a computer programmer. She was 26 when I interviewed her in Boston, MA, on April 6, 2014.

I’m first generation in America. My family’s all from Portugal. My parents were born there.

Everybody was born there, except for me. I’m very, very, very into my Portuguese culture. There’s a lot of things that I didn’t learn about until I was in college, like, of American culture, just because I was so sheltered. It put me in a box of what I thought life was, and it wasn’t really until I left home [that] I saw what life could be. In terms of how everything came to be, for my first attempt, I guess that’s why that happened, because I didn’t know. I really didn’t know. I had no idea. I was just so naïve. I really had no clue.

I was like, “I love Jesus. Oh man, I love Jesus. I love Jesus so much.” I still think he’s a cool guy. I don’t know if I love him as much. I was really into Jesus when I was younger, so I was really involved with my church, and I was doing the choir. I was in CCD. I taught CCD. I did the youth group. I ran the youth group. I was just in it. I did Jesus camps. I was all about it. All about it. I was gonna save myself for Jesus. That didn’t work out. There was lots of stuff that I was gonna do.

I have a brother who I’m very estranged from now. He’s my only sibling, and when we were growing up, he had—you know how they overdiagnose people with ADD? My brother was the textbook case of ADHD. He definitely should have been diagnosed. He was really a pain in the butt to deal with growing up, and he took up a lot of my parents’ time, just ’cause he literally could be doing three things at once, and he just would drive them crazy ’cause he couldn’t settle. He just literally could not sit down. Can’t sit, can’t read a book, can’t do any of that. So, when I was growing up, it was just a lot about my brother and taking care of him.

My grandfather was sick too. Up until I was nineteen, when he passed away, we were taking care of him, too. It was a lot of focus on everybody else, and I was just expected to kind of behave and just don’t make a fuss. [They’d say], “There’s already enough going on. Don’t make a fuss!”

I don’t remember being a kid. I just remember making sure everyone else could be a kid, especially with my brother. With my grandfather, it was just trying to keep him sane, ’cause he would have dementia moments and stuff, so we would just want to try to keep him as normal as possible. A lot of my life was either getting out of the way, or taking care of somebody else. That was just how I knew it.

Like I said, when I went to college and I talked to other kids, and they told me about their lives, it was like, “Wow, you did that? You had sleepovers? Wow! I never did that. What’s that?” You know, stuff like that.

Des: Let’s do it now!

Christina: Yeah, I know. I had so many sleepovers in college. I was like, “Let’s have a sleepover!”

They were like, “We’re not fourteen.”

I was like, “I need to do this! Just appease me!”

When I was sixteen is when I started, um… I don’t know if it was rebelling. I don’t think it was rebelling. I just wanted to meet different people, and I just wanted to know about different things. The church group I was involved with was getting cultish, and it was freaking me out. I was starting to be like, “Whoa, this is a little too much.” They wanted to meet more often than just once a week. It was just getting a little intense for me, so I started backing off from that a lot and questioning things.

Then I lost my virginity and that was the beginning of the end, so to speak. No, it wasn’t. I lost my virginity to someone who I still am a very close friend with today. In my head, when I thought back on it and was talking it over with my husband, trying to figure out what triggered me to start realizing what was going on was that moment. I realized afterwards, the night after I lost my virginity, [that] we weren’t going to get married and have 2.5 kids and be in this Catholic Church and blah blah blah. None of that stuff. I realized I was breaking the mold of what my family was expecting me to turn into, so it turned into a lot of me having panic attacks all the time, ’cause I thought I ruined everything. I thought I ruined everything that everybody planned for me, and there was no turning back, and I couldn’t fix it.

It’s weird because I never hated myself, so when I started being a little bit more depressed and out of it, the school [started] noticing it, so they tried to put me in group therapy sessions. In certain periods of the day where people would go to study hall, I would go to group therapy. I felt so out of place because everybody was dealing with these really serious problems of alcoholic abusive fathers and drugs and stuff that I never was really exposed to as a kid. They were all talking about how much, like, “Oh, I hate myself,” and I just didn’t feel that way. I didn’t hate myself. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just be myself… It felt like a lot of people coming down on me and being like, “If you don’t fit this, it’s not good enough.” I didn’t understand it ’cause, to me, it was good enough. I was like, “Huh. I’m awesome. Why don’t you think I’m awesome?”

I think the breaking point for me was that my brother got his third car, and he was a delinquent, and he was messing up in school. He was misbehaving everywhere, and they just kept giving him shit. I don’t know how else to say it, but he would [get] constant rewards of all of this crap. He gets to ride in an Escalade to prom, and—oh yeah—just fancy, fancy stuff, and I didn’t. I went in my minivan to prom. I loved my minivan. I spray painted it and everything. It was awesome. But it was just different, the experience, and I was really frustrated because I had such a poor relationship with him. I really just hated him, and I wanted nothing to do with him, and we didn’t have a good past…

There was this one day when my mother was mad at me for something. I was frustrated, and one thing I would do when I was frustrated, instead of lashing out—because I’m a pretty quiet person—I would take my journal and I would just write, because that was what they would tell you to do in group therapy. It was like, “If you feel mad, if you feel frustrated, write in your journal.” So, she was yelling at me about something, and I felt like I was having a panic attack, so I was like, “Alright, let me get my journal out.” I got my journal out, and I started just writing everything. She got mad that I was writing in my journal and not paying attention to her screaming at me, so she whipped the journal out of my hands. For me, that was like, you take my safety blanket out. Now I’m like, “What the hell? What do I use now?”

She whipped it out, and she’s like, “You’re always writing! Stop writing! What are you writing down?”

I’m like, “I don’t know. I need to write. It just makes me feel better,” and she gave me this huge, huge smack across my face, and it was hard. Our parents were a spanking family, so I was used [to it], but it was just really, really hard across my face. Like, I saw stars and rainbows and I was just like, “Whoa.” It was just like [a] cartoon, you know?

I remember looking up and she was like, “You can be such a bitch sometimes!” She said that to me, and I was so frustrated because I felt like she never explained to me why I would do something wrong. She would just be mad at me. Then she would go away and, ten minutes later, she would come back and everything would be fine. It was really a mindfuck for me, ’cause I didn’t know what was going on.

I remember, after she did that, I just felt like I was done. Like, “You don’t want me here, and I’m always in your way of dealing with him”—my brother—and I was done. I was like, “What’s the point?”

Now, looking back on it, it was the dumbest thing I could have done, but I thought that the best thing I could do is I just took a whole bottle of [pills] because I thought that was gonna work. By the way, horrible way to go. Just don’t do it. ‘Cause it doesn’t work… I went to my room and I was like, “Okay, now I’m just gonna fall asleep.” That’s what they tell you, right? That you’re just gonna fall asleep and pass out. No, it was the exact opposite because it’s [pills], and you’re not supposed to do that with [pills]. I ended up vomiting everywhere. I was just puking endlessly.

I remember my dad came into the bathroom, and he looked at me, he looked at what I was puking, and he’s like, “What—what did you do? Why did you—what? Why would you do this? You have everything. Why would you do this?” In my dad’s head it was like, “You have everything,” because my family’s well-to-do. He could buy me whatever I want. “You have everything. I could buy you whatever you want.”

And I was like, “Oh, yeah, thanks. ‘Preciate it.”

After that, it was a slew of hospitals. The hospital wanted to know why I was doing what I did, so DCF got involved. They wanted to know why I was trying to do that. They said that the way I was at the hospital wasn’t a cry of attention. I really didn’t want to be there.

They were like, “Okay, we need to get involved, because she really doesn’t want to be here, and we need to know why.”

I ended up staying with my aunt and uncle for like a week or two while they evaluated my parents, and my aunt and uncle basically told me to just shut up. That’s basically what they told me. They were like, “What are you doing? Don’t you realize they’re just going to send you to some foster home, and then you’re going to not be able to keep any of your stuff, and you’re going to have to pick up whatever’s on your back and just leave,” which wasn’t true. It was just, “You’re just gonna have to be how you are and leave. You can’t take any of your stuff with you. You’re never gonna see any of your friends again. You’re never going to see any of your family again,” and it freaked me out. I was scared.

Then I was like, “Oh, well, if I have to be here, I don’t want to be completely ostracized.” The biggest thing for me was all my journals, ’cause I had so many at that point. I had like eight or nine, and I was thinking about them finding them all and seeing all of the shit I wrote about everybody, and I was like, “I want to keep that.” They convinced me I wasn’t going to be able to keep it, so it was like, “Okay.”

After a week or two, they came back, and my parents looked at me, and they were like, “Are you going to shut up, or are you just…? Just be good. Don’t say anything.”

I was like, “Okay.”

The DCF worker came, and I just stood there. She looked around the house, seen everything was okay, and then she looked at them and she was like, “So, everything’s fine?”

They were like, “Of course! Oh yeah, we’re great!” and my mom gave me this really awkward side hug that I don’t even know what that was, but it was just this really awkward side hug that I guess was supposed to mean that everything was okay.

She looked at me and she’s like, “Are you okay?”

My mom was kinda like, “You better say it’s okay.”

I was like, “It’s fine. I’m good,” and that was the end of it.

After that, I spoke with my friends at school, and they were just like, “Well, when you turn eighteen, you can really leave, and you can do what you need to do. You don’t need to depend on them anymore…”

After that, I was always upset, but talking about it wasn’t really an option anymore. The worst thing that happened was the DCF therapist that I saw, because she made things worse. She really did. She tried to have this family group meeting with my brother and my parents and me. As we were having the meeting, I was just sitting there, and it literally devolved into talking about my brother, and what a hardship he was.

Eventually, after like ten minutes of them literally just going on and on about my brother, she stopped everybody and she was like, “Can we just pause for a minute?”

They were like, “What?”

She was like, “Do you realize that your daughter tried to kill herself, and all you can talk about is your son?”

My dad flipped out. He was like, “You don’t know me! You can’t judge me!” He just flipped out, and he was like, “This is bullshit. I don’t believe in any of this. She’s just doing this to just be a brat,” and like, “Whatever,” and he just left.

My mom is all about image. She doesn’t really want to look like we’re having problems, so she’s just kind of like, “Oh, he has a hot temper.”

And I’m just sitting there. I’m like, “Oh, this is fun. I’ll just watch you guys just do whatever the hell you’re doing.” It was weird.

Eventually, when I went to college, my grandfather was still alive. He was still sick. So, a lot of my choice was pressured into going to college close to home so I could still kind of help. I’m originally from Connecticut, so I decided to go to Central Connecticut, which ended up being like a forty-minute drive from my house. I could be close by, and they could be close by, and everybody was close—not too far. It was very jarring. That’s the best way I can describe it.

My first year was just… I’d always been an A student. I still was through college, but I definitely think it was more stressful because it was just a lot of like, “Wait, what was your life like? Really? That’s what you did?” There was just so much that people did that I never did. I didn’t do sleepovers. We didn’t go on trips with other families. There’s just stuff that people did that I just never [did]. It was weird. I felt like it was weird how much freedom other people had that I just really didn’t have. Even down to when I was a little kid. I really couldn’t go outside much, or really just go out to play. Like, if I did it, I had to be with my brother type of thing, which was always awkward for me because I really didn’t want to be by my brother at all. So, it was weird to hear my friends talk about how they would go and hang out in the neighborhood and hang out with their friends.

It was like, “No, I just didn’t do that. I just really didn’t do that.”

The other thing with college was that, at this point, sexually, my sexual self-worth [was low] because I’m coming from this high of being a Jesus freak and then coming down from it. I don’t know how else to describe it, ’cause I was like, “Oh, my Jesus,” and then coming down from this. I tried to kill myself, [I] lost my virginity, and doing all these horrible mortal sins that I shouldn’t be doing. I didn’t feel like I fit with the church anymore, because it was just not with me, so I kind of went off my own way.

The person I ended up being a roommate with, I’m really close to to this day. We ended up rooming together for like four years. We ended up actually finding groups we could hang out with, and there was boys, there was girls. You’re eighteen, nineteen, I don’t know. Stuff goes crazy.

When I was nineteen, my grandfather passed away. I didn’t think it was going to be as hard as it was, but it was. You have something that’s so much in your life, and then it’s gone. Not so much of him being involved, but just the fact that he was always a factor in everything. If we had to go anywhere, if we had to do a vacation, if we wanted anything, it had to come down to like, “Is Avô going to be okay? Is Grandfather going to be okay?” It was just a big void that was just there.

We have a tradition in Portuguese culture where you dress in black for a period of time after someone passes so, for six months, I was dressing in black. All black, no deviations. No gray, no white with black. Straight black… I did that for six months. I was gonna do it for a year. Usually it’s for a year, but my mom told me to stop after six months because my grandmother was just… It was depressing her seeing everybody in black, ’cause it was reminding her of it. She wanted to still dress in black, but she didn’t want anybody else to dress in black, so we all kind of started to deviate while she stayed with it for a while. She still kind of does to a point, but not as much anymore.

It sounds crazy, but it’s actually really easy, because then you know exactly what you’re gonna wear tomorrow. Picking out clothing was super easy. It was like, black dress, black pants, and shirt. It’s like, “What’s the weather like?” type of thing.

Des: “I’m not goth, my grandfather died.”

Christina: No, that was actually a conversation. He died in June, so when I went to school that next semester—that whole semester—I was in black until the end of the semester, which was basically the six months, and then I started dressing in not black. I remember, almost everyone in my classes, I had people coming up to me going, “You’re not wearing black. Are you trying new colors or something?”

It was like, “No, my grandfather died and we decided we’re gonna start wearing other—”

[They’d gasp], “Oh! I thought you were goth.”

I was like, “No, I’m not goth. That’s okay.”

But I mean, I got it. I understood it. At the time, I had pink hair, so it was like, “I’m not really surprised,” but yeah, it didn’t really bother me.

Then, as my therapist says now, I spent a period of four years putting on a face because I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t deal with it. He was gone. My family was… I don’t want to say that they didn’t care. They were happy I was doing something. They weren’t necessarily thrilled with my choices when it came to college, ’cause I was doing computer science. I don’t know if they expected me to do anything with it, as a girl. I think they just had this ideal that I was this woman, and what is this woman gonna do with computer science? I don’t think they were surprised, ’cause I’d always used computers when I was younger, ’cause I couldn’t go out much. Literally. My computer was really the only thing I could do, and play with. So, I don’t think they were surprised, but I don’t think they were hopeful.

They were just like, “We’ll see how this plays out, but I think she’s gonna have to do something else, or find a husband or something. I don’t know.” You know, like, “What is she gonna do?”

It ended up okay. I went through relationships, and finally, beginning of my senior year, I met my husband and we were dating. It was easy because it was long distance for about a year and a half,  ’cause he is an electrician, and he was working in New Hampshire, or Vermont at the time, so he was like four hours away. We really only saw each other every other weekend, if that. It was pretty easy, because it didn’t really [involve] anything, and I could focus on what I was doing.

I guess I’ll just fast-forward, ’cause with my most recent attempt, it wasn’t until we had gotten married. It was after I got married. We had been having problems. When they say the first year of marriage is the hardest year of marriage, it really is. It really is. It’s just so shitty. I don’t know what else to say. I don’t know what it is about it, ’cause it’s really no different, but everything changes, and I have a hard time telling people why, ’cause I don’t know why. I can’t put a finger on it. It’s just suddenly you’re married, and you just hate them. You just hate them. So we got married, and we already had issues before we got married… We were just kind of like, “Okay, we know we love each other, and we know we can at least power through this,” ’cause we’d always been friends. We’d always been like really close friends, so it’s like, “As long as we can keep our friendship and keep the love of our friendship, then we’ll be okay…”

So, we spent probably six months or the first year of our marriage just hating each other, and I got up to kind of a climax where I was frustrated because I felt like I got myself back into the situation I was [in] with my family, where I just didn’t feel wanted, and now I’ve married this guy, and I still don’t feel [wanted], and I’m like, “How do I do this to [myself]?” It’s like the wife who keeps going back to the abuser. It’s like, “I just keep going back to somebody who doesn’t want me,” and again, I loved who I was. I loved who I became. I just couldn’t understand why the people who I cared about the most—’cause I don’t give a shit what people think about me—but the people who are your closest friends and your family, if they don’t like you, who do you have, you know?

So it was about six months into our marriage, and I just pulled my car to the edge of the river, and I was just like, “All I gotta do is push this accelerator, and I’m done. It’s good. I’ll go in the river, and I’ll be done.” I sat there for a while, and then my ex actually ended up calling me, right at that moment. Looking back on it, he had no reason to call me. We really hadn’t been talking for years, and he had just called me out of the blue.

He called me and he said, “Oh, no, I just wanted to catch up with you. We haven’t talked in awhile.” He’s like, “You know, I miss our friendship, I miss hanging out, and I just wanted to see how you were.”

I was like, “You wanna know how I am? I’m at the edge of a thing right now, ready to go!” And we were close enough that it was like picking up where we left off, so it was like, “I am not okay right now. I am about to off myself again, or try to.”

He’s like, “Um, you need to not,” and he basically talked me out of it.

I went home, and then I felt upset that I had talked to him, ’cause there was that anxiety of he’s my ex. Even though we’re friends, it was like, “He’s my ex.” Like, “Oh no, what are we gonna do?” So then I was upset about that, and when I got home, I told my husband what happened, and I told him who I talked to on the phone, and I told him about everything. He was so shocked. He had no idea. He was so enveloped in his own stuff that he had no idea that I was feeling so out of it. So it wasn’t until that, and he’s not a crier. He’s a very black and white, serious type of guy.

He just bawled his eyes out at me, and he’s like, “I don’t want you to die. Why would you want to die? I don’t want you to go anywhere. I know we have issues, but I don’t want you to go anywhere. Don’t do that.” He was just really upset about it, and that was when he told me we need to try therapy.

I was like, “I don’t want to do therapy,” because I had such a bad experience when I was younger of just it falling apart and making everything worse. I was like, “I don’t want to do therapy. I just don’t want to do it.”

He was like, “No, we’ll find somebody good. If you don’t like them, we’ll leave. We’ll do something else.”

That’s how I met my therapist now, and she’s amazing. She just basically tore both of us a new one because he was having his own stuff, I was having my stuff, [and] because we were so enveloped in our own stuff, we had no idea, and that’s why it wasn’t working between us. He had his own family issues, and that’s part of why we connected so much, ‘cause he was the person in his family that kind of held up the family too, in terms of taking care of things. He had that, and I had my grandfather, so we kind of both had that. We have to take care of things, and it’s so much on our shoulders, and we don’t know what to do, and how do we take care of it? We just came from that, and now it’s amazing…

Now we’re in the second year. We’re gonna be two years, so I’m like, “Oh, see, the second year’s good!”

It’s so easy with him now. It’s just comfortable. We’re just kind of just happy with each other, and happy where we’re at, and the stress level’s gone, and all of that.

I think, for me, the biggest thing is that I never met anyone that had gone through any kind of suicidal issues who liked themselves. [There was always] something about them, like, “Oh, I can’t change this,” or like, “I hate this, so let’s off it.” I never felt that way. I never hated myself. I always liked who I was. I just felt like I was born [in the] wrong place, wrong time, and it was just not the right people, and maybe if I offed myself, we could… ‘Cause I believe your soul doesn’t really die, and you come back. So I was like, “Maybe if I off myself, it’ll put me back somewhere else, and I’ll fit in perfectly.”

I guess, now, I’m good.

 

Des: You’re first generation Portuguese-American. Tell me about mental health in Portuguese culture and your family’s beliefs in it.

Christina: It’s not talked about. I know it runs in my family, at least the women. My grandmother has very similar symptoms to what I have. My therapist thinks it’s more of a generalized anxiety disorder, and my grandmother has the same kind of symptoms. I have these… they look like seizures, but they’re not. I’ve done the testing. It’s not seizures. It’s more like tremors, and the whole panic attack thing. My chest will hold up.

She has the same thing. She calls it the heebie-jeebies, or the English equivalent of that. There’s a Portuguese word for it, but it’s like heebie-jeebies, and she just says, “Oh yeah, you just have a cup of tea and you go to bed.” It’s not a mental health issue, it’s heebie-jeebies. You just need to take some tea and you’ll be fine.

So I know she has that, and then I have a cousin of mine who has a pretty severe mental health problem. I don’t know what her official diagnosis is. I want to say she’s manic-depressive, but I’ve never actually heard the exact wording from her or from her family what it is. She has episodes sometimes, depending on [if] her medication’s working or not type of thing. When I was younger, it was like, “Don’t talk about it.” Even when she was having an episode, it was like, you just didn’t talk to her for a couple weeks. We just didn’t talk about her for a couple weeks. Now I think it’s a little more open, but still not with the older crowd. It’s more with my generation. We’re more willing to talk about it.

 

The other issue that I deal with to this day is that there’s a lot of denial about how it went down and what, exactly, happened. A lot of people tell me I got it wrong, and it took a long time… For a large portion of my life, I was told I was a liar. It took me to look up documents to confirm that I was in the hospital, that I went to DCF, the dates that I went, because I was so convinced that it never happened, and it was all in my head.

My therapist now, who’s amazing, said to me, “You can’t fake a feeling memory.” She’s like, “You might get the process wrong. Maybe you do. Everyone does [get] kind of fuzzy [with exact] details, but the way you felt isn’t a lie, so if you remember feeling this way, it was the truth. Your feelings are the truth. If you remember feeling low, you were low. If you remember feeling, you know, on your high, you were high.”

It took a lot of talking with her back and forth of just trying to get down the basics of what happened, and then piecing that together with the information that I went and looked up, dates-wise, to just kind of know this happened. This happened. Sometimes I talk about it with them, and one of the excuses they come up with is that my friend made it up. My friend called DCF, and the suicide thing had nothing to do with it. My friend called and complained about me getting abused, and I don’t remember this at all.

I’m like, “What friend? Who?”

They blamed this friend of mine that they didn’t like, that they never liked. I actually dated her for [awhile], but they never liked her, and they blamed it on her. I just remember thinking to myself, now, I’m like, “You’re just blaming her because I’m pretty sure you knew we were dating.” Like, of course, obviously, they didn’t [like her]. God forbid their daughter was a lesbian. Let’s put that on top of things. I identify as bisexual, but I’m pretty sure they knew I was dating her and they didn’t like the type of person she was. She’s very free-spirited and outgoing. Total opposite of me. Just very out there and a lot of fun, and I’m just pretty sure that they did that. They blamed her ’cause it was easy to blame her, [rather than admit they] got caught. I don’t think they want that to be what is remembered…

It was very frustrating. It’s still frustrating to this day, and I think that’s why I have so much resentment for all of it. For all of it.

 

Des: Is suicide still an option for you?

Christina: I don’t like that question. Before I got pregnant, yes. Now that I’m pregnant, no… I don’t think I could do that to my own kid. I wouldn’t want them to be angry at me, and I wouldn’t want them to feel like they need to take care of me, if I were ever to come back from it. I think, before, it was [still an option]. I didn’t have anyone counting on me. I probably would think about it, but not with my kid.

Des: How are you gonna deal with the suicidal thoughts, should they come up?

Christina: At least for me, I think it’s a lot better, because my husband and I are in a better place, so I feel like I can be a lot more honest with him than I could two years ago, three years ago, four years ago, whenever we started dating. When I mean honest, I could tell him anything now. There was a point where there was a line, and [we couldn’t] really go past it. We don’t have a line anymore. I think, because I have somebody like that—and I’ve never had somebody like that—I feel like I could confide in him more. He supports me a lot through it.

My friendships are a lot stronger, too. Once you get out of college, you start getting into adult life, and a lot of people fall off. Then you kind of get this handful of just, like, “Okay, these are people you’re actually gonna spend the rest of your life with,” and so I probably have one friend like that: my girlfriend from college, just because she’s gone through a lot too, and so I don’t feel as guilty. She’s come from a similar family like mine, in terms of, like, you know, it looks very good on the outside type of thing, so I don’t feel as guilty talking with her…

Long story short, no, I wouldn’t do that to my kid. I can’t. I can’t. I want my kid to be in an environment where he’s got a mom that’s at least as much there as she can be, and his dad being there, and I don’t want him to have an experience where there’s other things that are more important than my kids. I don’t want them to feel like I did, you know?

Des: Reasons to live.

Christina: Reasons to live type of thing. Yeah! Reasons to live, I guess, yeah. Babies.

Des: Babies!

Christina: Babies. I’m sure my husband would hate that, but yeah. “Not for you, honey, just the babies.”

Des: Do you have anything that you would want to say to other attempt survivors who might feel like their experiences have been invalidated?

Christina: Just what my therapist said. If you feel it, it’s real. That’s been my most thing to go back on. Before I heard that, I don’t think I was able to handle it. I think I was able to deny it more, but now I know I felt it… You can’t lie an emotion. You can act an emotion, but if you’re feeling the emotion, and there’s no way you can control that emotion, it’s happening, and it’s there. There’s no denying that. No matter what anybody says, even if your entire family and most of your friends and faculty and everyone tries to tell you you’re lying… don’t deny your memories.

Thanks to Lucia Daniels, who volunteers at the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, a Live Through This partner organization, for providing the transcription for Christina’s interview.

Want to support Live Through This?

Live Through This is made possible in part by donations from incredible humans like you. If the project moves you and you have even a single dollar to spare, please consider donating. Every dollar donated goes straight back into the project. These funds allow for gear, web real estate and hosting, travel associated with the project, professional fees, conference attendance, and more.

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About Live Through This

Live Through This is a series of portraits and true stories of suicide attempt survivors. Its mission is to change public attitudes about suicide for the better; to reduce prejudice and discrimination against attempt survivors; to provide comfort to those experiencing suicidality by letting them know that they’re not alone and tomorrow is possible; to give insight to those who have trouble understanding suicidality, and catharsis to those who have lost a loved one; and to be used as a teaching tool for clinicians in training, or anyone else who might benefit from a deeper understanding of first-person experiences with suicide.

More Information

Tax-deductible donations are made possible by Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization, which sponsors Live Through This. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Live Through This must be made payable to Fractured Atlas only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Please Stay

If you’re hurting, afraid, or need someone to talk to, please reach out to one of the resources below. Someone will reach back. You are so deeply valued, so incomprehensibly loved—even when you can’t feel it—and you are worth your life.

Find Help

You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, the Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255 and pressing Option 1, the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 (U.S.) or 877-330-6366 (Canada), or The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386.

If you don’t like talking on the phone, you can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741. If you’d like to talk to a peer, warmline.org contains links to warmlines in every state. If you’re not in the U.S., click here for a link to crisis centers around the world.

Live Through This is dedicated to the lives of so many friends and family members lost to suicide over the years. If you would like to add the name of a loved one to this list, please email me.

Live Through This is dedicated to the lives of so many friends and family members lost to suicide over the years. If you would like to add the name of a loved one to this list, please email me.