Hell to Paradise

“The path to paradise begins in hell.” ― Dante Alighieri.

I have experienced the path to paradise. Suicide became a legitimate struggle for me when I was 11 years old. I made methodical plans, impulsive attempts, and accidental overdoses. My first attempt at suicide began by taking a handful of pills from my mother’s medicine cabinet. At the time, all I wanted was for the emotional turmoil I lived in to disappear; the pain to vanish. In 5th grade, the news was broken to me; my classmates never had sex before. I hadn’t experienced an ordinary childhood by any means, having sex was normal for me from before I could remember. I always recognized my childhood was not normal, for instance being shot by my mother at 7, or being beaten, starved, and sexually abused and trafficked by my own flesh and blood, my family. It was then, when I realized the sexual, emotional, and physical abuse I incurred was not common.

My best friend Emily, my only friend, committed suicide in 5th grade, after suffering abuse from her parents and being placed in foster care. The day before she was removed from her parents, by Child Protective Services, she asked me, “Has anything ever happened to you before?” I told her no. The next day, I was pulled from class to the principal’s office and questioned about the last time I saw Emily. What happened next changed my life forever; I learned, Emily shot herself the night before. I walked out of the principal’s office. My heart was broken more than ever.

5th grade was when real suicidal ideations began for me, or when I remember becoming conscious of the thoughts. Suicidal feelings were constant from the moment I walked out of my principal’s office, that May morning in 2003. I spent 9 years fighting to save my life from others, in the same turn, I thought of ways I could end my life. Following no less than 25 suicide attempts, my final attempt is an event I honestly don’t remember. My friends told me I jumped out in front of a car. The last thing I remember was volunteering at a homeless youth drop-in shelter and waking up in the hospital. After mental and physical evaluations I was sent home from the hospital. I imagine, when the hospital staff saw my name on the chart, they rolled their eyes.

Coming home from the hospital was the turning point. I decided I needed to die, and this time I would have to do it the right way, so the planning began. My plan was solid, date, time, place, and details to how I would end my own life; how I would commit suicide. I wrote letters to the people I felt would care if I died. This meticulous planning and my death would finally save me from the hell I lived in from the moment I was conceived. It is safe to assume I did not take my own life, as I planned because I am writing this today. — Recently, the man and woman, who promised me help, love, and family disappeared into the abyss, and it brought back some of those old feelings of suicide and wanting to take my own life. However, I decided suicide is not an option any longer and never will be. I am meant to be here. I have purpose, and I am loved.

“I walked through hell in to the paradise I live in today.”

~Sarah Birch


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