by Maricela Estrada-Moreno
My mother told me she lost track of how many times I tried killing myself. The truth is so have I. It wasn’t until my last suicide attempt that I had a broad awakening. I actually almost died by an overdose. It is by God’s grace that I survived it. I overdosed on all my medication. My roommate did not realize what I did the night before and didn’t call 911 until the morning when she was getting ready for work. I fell off the bed and became unconscious with pain all over my body. Not even the shots of Morphine took the pain away. People think that when you overdose you just fall asleep and die peacefully. That is far from true; your body goes into shock. Your body quivers and trembles. You feel so much physical pain. Then your vocal cords lock up, and you cannot even scream for help. You cannot move your body, let alone reach for your phone to call 911. It is the real thing. You are dying.
Surviving the worst suicide attempt of my life made me realize I took my life for granted for 29 years. Almost losing my life made me appreciate my life and everyone in it, and surviving suicide was the beginning of my beautiful life. So, I decided to fight for my life, and I found hope when I least expected it.
I was accepted to Project Return Peer Support Network’s Peer Advocacy training. Attending that training gave my life a greater purpose. When I graduated from the program, I was immediately hired at PRPSNs Warm Line. However, it was only part-time, and I only made $800 a month. I decided to apply at the Los Angeles of County Department Mental Health. The Program Manager, Leticia Guzman Soydan, hired me of the spot as a Peer Advocate. She is a little lady with a fancy scarf that truly believed in me. She was impressed that I wrote a book, too. Since then I have received three big promotions. Now, I am a Medical Case Worker. I help people every day which has given my life a greater purpose.
Yes, sometimes I still think of suicide if something bad happens, but I do not have a plan to act upon it. I reach out to my support system: my husband, my mother, family friends, therapist, and psychiatrist. I will attend a DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) support group. I have the comfort and love of my emotional support dog, Gypsy Blue. He licks my tears when I cry. I would never take my life. I love my life. Someone once told me, “Maricela, if you killed yourself, you would never know if tomorrow would’ve been a better day.”
I will never forget that. So now I have a new philosophy. If something horrible and catastrophic happens today, tomorrow I can start over. There is a new day and a new light awaiting me. The sun rises and I live again. I take my life one day at a time and one pill at a time will never lose hope in tomorrow.
Check out KRL’s Mental Health section for more mental health related articles.