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Natasha Winn

is a suicide attempt survivor.

this is her story

I survived a suicide attempt.

Natasha Winn is a hairstylist in Copperas Cove, Texas. She was 25 when I interviewed her in Austin, Texas on November 27, 2013.

Natasha: It started, I guess, when I was 13. I was living in North Carolina and I lived with my mom. She’s a single mom and she got cancer when I was 13 and I think that’s when I started being depressed and I started cutting myself as a release for that.

And when I was 14, I was in eighth grade and she died, and I didn’t know my dad at all, so my friend’s mom got in contact with him because we didn’t talk at all. So he came down and he met me and he took custody of me. So then we moved up to—after I was done with eighth grade—I moved up to New Jersey to start high school, and it was pretty good from there.

My boyfriend got me into drugs and sneaking out and doing all the bad stuff, and that really hurt my relationship with my dad.

My dad was a pretty cool person, and then when I turned 16 or 17, I was in an abusive relationship in high school. My boyfriend got me into drugs and sneaking out and doing all the bad stuff, and that really hurt my relationship with my dad. So he didn’t trust me and then he was—he put me in a rehab because he found me smoking [marijuana]. And then he accused me of doing other things that I wasn’t doing. I was just smoking [marijuana] at 17, but whatever.

It really hurt our relationship, and I think that he was probably going through some stuff too because when I got to college, he kicked me out of the house. I was living at the dorm, so that was like an escape. I broke up with my abusive boyfriend ‘cause that’s the best way to break up with an abusive person, I guess, is just to remove yourself from the situation.

I was on my own for a while and then I started dating another guy and I told him that I didn’t have a home. I [was] just living at college and then when it was break I didn’t have anywhere to go, so he offered to let me move in with him and his parents. But then it turned out he was also abusive.

It’s a cycle, I guess. If you’ve been in an abusive relationship, it’s, like…

Des: It’s really hard to break it.

I don’t think his parents knew that he was abusive, ‘cause he was one of the quiet, shy guys.

Natasha: Yeah, you’re more likely to get into another one. So I was living with him and his parents, and I don’t think his parents knew that he was abusive, ‘cause he was one of the quiet, shy guys.

He was abusing me emotionally and physically and everything, and I think one day I just couldn’t take it. I don’t know. I started talking about wanting to kill myself. And then he would say that he was gonna kill himself as retribution, so our fights would just get bigger and bigger and bigger…

One day, he just woke up and decided to be mad at me. He just decided, ‘I’m gonna be mad at Natasha no matter what she does or what she says, I’m just gonna be mad at her.’ I started crying and I told him that he was making everything worse and that I was going to kill myself, and since we’d said it so many times before, he was just like, “Whatever, whatever.”

I had prescription anti-anxiety medicine and he threw it at me, and he was like, “You always say it, so why don’t you do it?”

…That was five years ago. After I got out [of the hospital], I was still in the relationship with him, and after that I went to cosmetology school. I dropped out of college and cosmetology school let me get a job so that I could move out on my own, and that’s how I got out of that relationship…

Des: How old were you when you attempted?

Natasha: 20.

Des: Did you have a support system around you after that?

Natasha: No. I went to therapy, but no. It was hard ‘cause I was in that abusive relationship and he would cut me off from my friends. If I was saying something to one of my friends, he’d be like, “Are you talking bad about me?”

That was hard but I did start cosmetology school, so it was all women and that was way better than going back to college or whatever. I made friends and they all had—cosmetology school, it’s like everybody has some kind of troubled past. Everybody had similar—they’d been in abusive relationships and almost everyone there had some kind of mental health… had attempted suicide. It was more open and they could joke about it to lighten the mood.

Des: Do you think that it was the fact that you had been in abusive relationships that caused your attempt, or do you think that it was built up over time?

I really felt worthless, and I really felt like I didn’t deserve to be alive

Natasha: Yeah, ‘cause I really felt worthless, and I really felt like I didn’t deserve to be alive and all the things were true and that… I don’t know. I just thought that I was a horrible person and the only way to not be horrible [was] to die. I guess that was the thought process.

Des: How long after your attempt did you finally get out of that house?

Natasha: It was a year, ‘cause I was in school for a year, and then over the summer I found a job. Then it was in October [that] I looked for apartments on Craigslist, and one day I was just like, “I’m moving out.”

I didn’t even put it up for discussion. I was just like, “I’m moving out next week,” ‘cause that’s the only way to do it.

Des: If you could talk directly to the people reading this and give them advice, from your perspective, what would you say?

Natasha: Don’t tell people to kill themselves when you’re mad at them. Don’t do it. Don’t joke about stuff like that, ‘cause it’s like a serious thing, and it’s not funny to joke about it. And even if your friend or your girlfriend or whatever always says, “I’m gonna kill myself, I’m gonna kill myself,” you should take her seriously and not say, “Oh, that’s something you always say.”

If she’s saying that, it probably means there’s a problem she needs help with.

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Want to support us?

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.

For more ways to support us, be sure to check out our merchandise, subscribe to our mailing list, and join the #STAY campaign by sharing a picture of you and your Live Through This gear!

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, or check out the Lifeline Crisis Chat. 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.