Photo Description: Two pictures side by side taken 24 hours apart for the same individual. The picture on the left shows the face of a young man, with unstyled hair and a pained facial expression. The picture on the right shows a young man hovering above the ground in front of the Great Pyramids of Giza, a smile on his face.
At a recent speaking event, I was asked what motivates me to keep going. The other speaker beside me shared her answer, and it was honestly beautiful, motivating in its own way. But, when everyone turned to me for my answer, I had to be honest. I am still searching for something that will motivate me to keep going, something that keeps me alive day in and day out. The reality is that there's no "one thing" that keeps me here, just excuses that I give myself every moment of everyday to keep me going. I have been Suicidal for a little over 7 years now, and I still struggle. As I mentioned earlier in this, 3's are my default. But lately things have not been going so well and I have found myself, for more days than I'd like to admit, hovering at a 7. As a friend mentioned a while ago, it's as if I'm living each of these stages as I write this series.
I've spoken about planning and even attempts in my previous post, which you can catch up on here. 7's are the next level. At a 7, death is everything, and everything is death. You will have it in any way possible. So you plan, and you try, over and over, until you either get help or you reach an 8.
At a 7 there's just pain. The hope that was delivered at a 5 is no longer there, and you just want a way out. This is when substance or sex abuse can become a reality, when you give up everything that you are just to feel slightly better. Death fills your every thought, and you find yourself functioning less and less, if at all. The longer you stay here the harder everything becomes. You might write notes, here and there, trying to say good-bye in the only ways you know how, but ultimately you find yourself drifting further and further away from everyone else. You push those around you away. Some will wait, while others will be too hurt to ever truly return, sometimes hurting you more than either of you would like in the process. At a 7 you might become the monster you view yourself, and those friends that you've just pushed away might validate it. This is the most difficult time to be alive.
But there's hope. This is also when you do everything you can to hold onto life, thus the addictions. The longer you stay the more difficult things become, but at the same time, after a while our brains will always find a way out. If we can survive this stage our brains can propel us to recovery.
Everything I have mentioned above has been my experience during the three times I have reached this place. I can honestly say, it is the beginning of the worst place that my life has taken me.
I have never reached here. For me, an 8 is absolute. This is when a body is found, a note beside it at times while other times without. This is when communities and families, at times, will try to cover up the tragedy. This is where many individuals are blamed for being too weak to survive. This is also where individuals begin to understand that this was most likely due to an illness. This is when they start getting involved. This is when others start to seek help. This is when it's too late.
Unfortunately, this is where many dream of ending up.
There's very little that I can share about these two stages that will not be triggering to many. All I can say is this, no one should ever reach this stage, and if there's something you can do about creating safe spaces, and allowing individuals to heal then please do so. This is also the place I ask for understanding when it comes to addictions. I was asked last year what I thought of homeless people shooting up, and looking back at my experiences I had answered "you never know, this might be the best time of his life." I didn't say that because of the drugs, I said it because the world is unimaginably cruel, and sometimes escape, in any of its forms, is a mercy.
If you or someone you know if suffering please seek help, trust me, there's hope.
Ahmad Abojaradeh is the Founder and Executive Director of Life in My Days, Inc. He is the co-Founder of Muslim Community Link, An Engineer, a world traveler, a Peer Support Specialist, and a Novelist. He hopes to spread awareness of living a life of wellness through his writing, workshops and speaker events. Follow Ahmad on twitter, instagram or facebook.