Identifying the real problems that
rob a person of peace and joy.
by Maire Rogevich
The hospital emergency room bustled with activity around nine o’clock on a weeknight. My mother and father checked me in to triage. I stood between them, my body feeling weaker and weaker, my eyelids fluttering open and closed.
I could hear the faraway sound of an unrecognizable voice asking me questions.
“What did you take?” Sleeping pills.
“When did you take them?” About 45 minutes ago.
“How much do you weigh?” One forty-five.
“How old are you?” Sixteen.
“Are you allergic to any medications?” No.
“How many pills did you take?” Sixty.
“Sixteen?” No! SIXTY!
“Oh. You were serious.”
Yes, I thought I was. But at that one frantic moment in the ER, I wanted so badly for someone to save me. Did I want to be saved because I truly regretted taking the pills or because it was the right way to act in front of these people who discovered my secret? Probably a little of both.
Sign from God
I did know that what brought me to the ER in the first place was a sign from God that my life was worth living; my mission here on earth was not complete. Why else would my mother have found that one pill I had dropped on the bathroom floor when I hastily consumed several packages of sleeping pills?
My mother told me about God early in life and continued to do so as I grew older. Now He revealed Himself to me through my mother once again.
After the doctor ordered me to drink liquid charcoal, the nurse inserted a tube in one of my nostrils. It traveled down my esophagus and into my belly to siphon poison from my stomach. Amid the bustle of the ER, my alertness ebbed and flowed. During a brief state of awareness, the tube annoyed my face, like something that didn’t belong.
I ripped the flexible tubing from my nostril. Some of the black charcoal splattered across my face, and some flew into the air. Drops of the charcoal splashed onto my mother’s glasses, obstructing her view.
“Oh, no! Mom . . . I am so sorry . . . I am so sorry!”
Deep inside, I was incredibly sorry. Not just for getting her glasses dirty but for distorting her view of me and of our life together. I felt her pain; it hurt more than my own.
I began to pray for my safety, for my family’s pain to be eased. I apologized to God for letting Him down. Was I a hypocrite now for seeking His help?
I wanted God to help me because I couldn’t help myself. I felt ashamed, powerless, confused. I depended on the people around me to save me, yet I pushed them away. What did it matter anyway? If I died, there would be no more fear, no more feeling, no more pain.
The next day I spoke with a psychiatrist on staff. Once I convinced him that I would see an outside psychologist once a week and that I was not a danger to myself or to anyone else, I was free to go.
My parents did not push extended hospitalization and neither did the doctors. It would not have been the best course of treatment for me personally, because the stigma would have been too much to bear. I could hear my mother’s words echoing in my mind: “God gives us only what we can handle.”
Relief and shame
At home, I continued with my life and with most normal activities. After a self-imposed teenage hiatus, I returned to church every week. If I were the doctor handling my case, I would have prescribed church as well as traditional psychotherapy. I began to improve.
Despite my relief at getting better, shame still engulfed me. How wonderful that my attempt was only that an attempt and that I had failed. However, the underlying problem of my suicide attempt would haunt me for years to come.
Reasons for suicide
The problem was that I had placed one hundred percent of my self-worth in a teenage boy. When our relationship went sour, I crashed emotionally. That was the quick, easy answer. But the more difficult, precise one revealed itself years later.
With the help of weekly visits with my psychologist, I began building my self-worth. I learned that the road to discovering and loving oneself can take a long time to travel. Looking back, I realize how much time and money I wasted, because the root of my problem continued to grow.
In college I struggled — not with grades but with the few ups and the many downs in my life. One of the few ups included church attendance. God renewed me in every church service, but by Monday I plunged into the dumps again.
I never truly enjoyed much of anything. “Muddling through” is what I used to say when someone asked how I was. God was giving me the strength to get through life, but He had not yet revealed how I could enjoy life.
My turning point came when I responded to God’s inner prompting to consult a psychiatrist. I needed to find out why I suffered from so much melancholy. The doctor diagnosed depression, prescribed an antidepressant, and met with me once a week for three years.
Through therapy, I gained much insight into who I was, where I had come from, and where I wanted to go. The counseling sessions provided a new “up.” I started to love myself.
I began to write more often and realized I was happiest when I wrote. I fancied searching for the truth through my writing, and I enjoyed transcribing those truths to the page for others to read.
Today, at age 37, I am alive and healthy. I continue taking my prescription antidepressants and probably will stay on them the rest of my life.
I am thankful for many blessings. I now have a three-year-old son, a one-year-old daughter, and a supportive husband. We live in a modest home on a beautiful piece of land where each day I enjoy the gifts God has given us.
In my teens, I thought I wanted to take my life. But God spared me and delivered me from depression. My story has no permanent ending, I’m happy to say, for each day God grants me a new beginning.
About the Author