Very few people know how I became involved with IMAlive but under the ongoing campaign Hold On Pain Ends I thought it was finally time to share and be real.
When I was 19 I moved abroad, actually to a different continent. I had the time of my life but this time of my life was short-lived. During this move I started university and I started a degree in psychology. It was before IMAlive was even up and running but the idea was already present online and I thought that this would be a great application of psychological skills that I was learning. Or so I was telling myself. I never got to training while being abroad because my time was dominated by drugs, alcohol and partying. My mind was up and down, I was failing classes left, right and center. I wasn’t in a place to help others. My mom, who was back at home, knew something was up. I wasn’t the person who failed classes no how matter how hard it got. Intuitively she managed to get me back home without knowing was actually happening. She didn’t know that I didn’t make it through the day without the vodka in my fridge and that drugs were part of my routine. She didn’t know that I got fired from my job because I was partying too much the day before and couldn’t open the store after my manager had already caught me doing drugs at work. And she definitely didn’t know about the suicide attempt.
When I got back home my mum just thought I couldn’t deal with my emotions and I was overwhelmed but she was determined that I needed help. She moved me to my grandparents house because I didn’t know anyone in the area and she thought it was the safest thing to do. Ignoring all the little things that happened in between, I needed something to occupy my time with. I remembered that I had signed up to volunteer with IMAlive a while but never really followed through, so I tried again. Only with a little more determination this time. I didn’t understand what was going on back then. I just thought maybe having suicide intervention skills can help me while I can also help other people before they feel like suicide is their only way to end their pain.
It is so much easier to say that I got involved because it tied into my studies at the time. It feels like it is impossible to say “I had a suicide attempt and I still struggle to this day with my diagnosis”. It’s not that I am ashamed about any of it but imagine sitting in an interview and someone asking you “why do you volunteer”. So it is a story you stick too and it almost becomes a truth.
I saved my life by helping others and I know that this doesn’t work for everyone. Joining IMAlive has given me a purpose, it has given me work when my mind needs distraction because it starts to wander, it has given me mentors in many areas of life. It has also given me a few of my best friends that I could not imagine life without. It let me grow and develop skills in crisis intervention and many other areas. Because of IMAlive I am currently in school studying something I think I will really good at. And I got all of this because I attempted suicide.
I know how easily that attempt could have succeeded. At the time I didn’t think that it would ever get better but I held on and the pain ended.