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Patty Overland

is a suicide attempt survivor.
this is her story

Patty Overland

is a suicide attempt survivor.

"I Survived a Suicide Attempt."

I met Patty Overland at her home in Berkeley, California. At the age of 19, she became physically disabled as a result of her suicide attempt. She is a LGBTQ and disability rights advocate. She was 59 years old when I interviewed her on April 18, 2013. Here, she talks about being a survivor and the power and unity to be found in sharing our stories. 

And, for the first time (thanks to Kickstarter backers), below Patty’s interview, be sure to check out some video I made of her performing a poem she wrote in 1986 called “Super Crip Girl.”

I decided I’d like to tell my story because…

Patty Overland is a suicide attempt survivor.Besides the initial shock of somebody saying, “How’d you get in that wheelchair?” and I tell them, and they go, “Why did you do that?” People think they can just say that. So I’m supposed to do, like I just did, a brief thing about my adolescence, and then somehow they’re gonna understand it? It’s like, “No, no, it’s a very invasive sort of a question…”

I think it’s important for me to tell my story because people survive all kinds of things.

I think it’s important for me to tell my story because people survive all kinds of things. People survive rapes. They survive car accidents that are also violent. In a way, my friends born disabled don’t consider this, but to me, I feel like they are survivors too, being born disabled. ‘Cause they’ve had to go through the whole experience of their life as disabled people, and so they’ve had to put up with all the attitudes about that.

I think it’s even more important now, with the suicide bombings back there in New York and then what I’ve seen of people jumping off the Golden Gate out here on the west coast. What I’ve seen coast to coast, if a person is a survivor, it’s important that people should know that.

What I’ve seen coast to coast, if a person is a survivor, it’s important that people should know that.

And people that know me know that, and maybe they’ll know more from your project. But when I’ve hung out at the White Horse Bar, the local gay bar, I’ve met survivors there that are lesbians. It’s mostly a men’s bar but women started going there. The minute I tell them, they’re like, “Oh, I am too.” And somebody else will say, “Oh, I am too.”
 
 
 
 
 

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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.