With Robin Williams Gone I Feel I Can Tell My Story

(Warning: Triggering for suicidal behaviors and thoughts.)

I’m not sure why but it has taken the suicide of comedian/actor Robin Williams to finally allow me to tell about my suicide attempt.

I skirted the issue when I came back from a long state of depression and suicidal ideation in my September 4, 2012, “Dropping Back Into Life” blog. I didn’t feel my readers were ready to accept that I had tried to kill myself, and I even now I realize this comes with a risk.

Despite currently being in a state of depression, I am not suicidal and hope never to be again. But mental illness is unpredictable. It took me a while to look at my attempt and not be properly horrified by it.

Back in January of 2012 I became dangerously depressed. Being turned down for disability in December, along with non-stop pain and dry mouth from my meds and another diagnosis, this one requiring a procedure, fighting for food stamps, again…I felt like I just couldn’t do it any more. Blog-wise, not realizing that this was part of my depression, I felt uninspired. The ideas had always flowed so freely and now there didn’t seem to be anything to write about.

I was at times depressed to the point of near catatonia. I also felt as though I had Alzheimer’s. I couldn’t remember how to shop for groceries or how to cook.

I became agoraphobic and had much difficulty leaving the house.

I also felt like I could not take care of Tyler, that he deserved a better mother. He was only five, he would forget me, and be better off without me. Any mother would be better than me.

Everyone around me, including my therapist, thought I needed a break. That I was too stressed out from everything going on and would benefit from having a kind of vacation in my home.

My mother-in-law flew in to help me, to be followed by my mother, but I just got worse.

The pain from my illnesses, the agoraphobia, the dry mouth, fighting for food stamps and other benefits, thinking that I had failed Tyler as a mother; I just wanted it all to end.

On January 24, 2012, at about 3 a.m., in my pajamas I took the amount of pills I thought it would take to kill me and got into bed. I felt relieved. When the 7:00 alarm rang for school I was angry that it didn’t work. I told Grant what I had done and he called 9-1-1.

I stayed angry for many months, but realized it was more difficult to kill yourself than I had thought and would not try it again, although I would think about it constantly.

I guess I am coming out now because Robin Williams was always thought by people to be so funny and happy but inside he was struggling with a very dangerous illness. His death shows that we never really know a person and hopefully this will open up honest conversations so that people in need will not feel ashamed to reach out and their friends or family will not be afraid to get involved.

It feels good to come out to my readers and the world and I realize I shouldn’t have kept this a secret for so long.

I feel blessed that I did not complete my suicide attempt and that as hard as life is, that I am still around for it.


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About mamasick

Emily Cullen is a pen-name. I suffer from chronic illnesses and diseases which include Bipolar Disorder, Asthma, Diabetes and Fibromyalgia. I had battled Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis but there is no longer evidence of me having these diseases and my Rheumatologist has declared them to be "burnt out" of my system. I am separated from my husband, “Grant”. Our son, “Tyler” was born in September of 2006 and suffers from tics and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is delayed in fine and gross motor skills. In my blog I seek to let sick moms know that they are not the only ones going through this, and to educate people about what can happens when one becomes catastrophically ill. I also strive to break down stereotypes of what a “Welfare Mom” is like. Anything that I have gone through due to being sick, is written on the pages of Mama Sick.
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10 Responses to With Robin Williams Gone I Feel I Can Tell My Story

  1. Mike T says:

    Thank you for sharing, but you really didn’t need to feel ashamed or like it would somehow change our view of you. I still think you’re a pretty nifty writer!

  2. Cathy/greytfriend says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us and opening up like that, I really appreciate it so much. We have to talk about it, it’s the only way to help ourselves and help each other. Not that long ago just the word suicide was almost unspeakable, so how could anyone ask for help? Now I know many people in real life and in my virtual life who have depression and anxiety too. One of my dearest friends has been dealing with suicidal thoughts for some time now and what’s been saving her is that it’s 2014 and not 1972 like when her dad died of this same damn disease. She has people to talk to and she’s been able to ask for help. And as someone with several chronic conditions, and depression and anxiety, I’ve had some thoughts, though I’ve never gotten close to doing anything. Enough that I can recognize the place you were in, though from a distance. I’m so very, very glad that you’re still here with us. And I appreciate how brave you were to share this with all of us, it takes a lot to open up this way. Please know that you helped me feel less alone. Thank you.

    • mamasick says:

      Thank you, Cathy, I am glad I was able to help you do so. If only one good thing comes out of Robin William’s suicide it will hopefully highlight the struggle so many of us are suffering from mental illness and depression. I feel good I told my story. If you think it will help you friend, please show it to her.

  3. Cath says:

    What courage you have, my friend, to write of your experience. As one who suffers PTSD, I can relate to nearly every word. What was worse for me is that the anti-depressants made the suicidality worse, so I can’t take them. I have found that, so long as I can sleep – nightmare free – I can keep the suicidal thoughts from spiraling. I can never, though, keep them away. So I greet them as a well known friend…every day. I say “Hah! There you are! I know you!” I get dressed for work while crying if I have to. I tell my daughter, “Life is hard…sometimes for some people it is cruel. Mommy may be crying, but I am still getting dressed and going to work.” I found sanctuary in my church, in God, in prayer, in horses, in long walks with my daughter, in the kayak on the lake. I have made a deal with God that I will pitch a tent on a mountain side near a lake and write my testimony before I ever do anything…rash. Now I spend my days waiting for that moment to pitch a tent on a mountain by a lake so I can write my testimony and waiting for a job in ministry that serves God….all as I continue to cry my depressed but hopeful way through my current job. Crazy how a safety plan become my life’s goal. Continue to be courageous. Tell your story. It’s shame free. You survived. That matters.

    • mamasick says:

      That’s quite a life you are going through yourself, Cath. I can’t imagine having suicidal ideation on a daily basis, mine finally went away. You sound like you have a great support system and do things you love. I applaud how you are living your life.

  4. Kat says:

    I remember missing you during your long time away and definitely feeling worried. I knew you had been struggling to get a diagnosis and that your health was deteriorating, but I had no idea how hopeless you were feeling. I’m so sorry you had to experience that and I am so glad you have supportive family to lean on. I have no doubt your post will help many of your readers, thank you so much for opening up and sharing with us!
    Kat´s last blog post ..Writing Prompts 08.19

    • mamasick says:

      I remember you writing me, an email saying something like “Where are you?” and me just not being able to reply back, I am sorry I caused you worry but the depression wouldn’t let me do it. Depression isolates.

      Your writing prompts are a test for my depression. If I can’t come up with an idea I know I am sliding into depression and if I get inspired I am doing well.

      Here’s to more Mama Kat’s Writing Prompts in the future!

  5. Julie says:

    More of us have these thoughts than we will ever know. I’ve not attempted (mostly out of fear of failing), but I’ve come close. Sad thing is I’d say that most of your readers know and understand where you were and what it took to get you there.
    Julie´s last blog post ..Asking For Help is Giving a Gift

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