My Story

Hello, my name is Carrie Lange. Several years ago I was engaged to a man named Dan. At the time, I was 29 years old, no longer a child by anyone’s standards. It wasn’t blind puppy love, or infatuation. I had already been married once, and had a 3 year old daughter.

Dan was to me, the most perfect man I had ever met. He was financially and emotionally stable. He had a job, a car, an apartment, and plans for a bright future. In the year that we were together, we never fought, indeed, I never saw any hint of emotional or psychological trouble.

 Was I blind?

hand over eyes

Many of the people in my life told me later that I must have been. But I’ve had many years and many tears through which to ponder this question, and I know in my heart that I was not.

One day, quite unexpectedly, I got a phone call from his sister. He was in the hospital. He had cut both wrists and been found, very close to death, in his apartment.

He had surgery to repair the physical wounds, and spent a week in the hospital’s psych ward to heal the emotional wounds. All he ever said to me was that it was a stupid, drunken mistake. He snapped when the pressure over whelmed him. He thanked God that he was still alive.

When he got out of the hospital, we had the best two weeks of our relationship. We spent time having fun with my daughter. Dan laughed, smiled, told us he loved us. Told me he was glad to be alive.

Then, the night before he was to return to work, three weeks after being found not breathing in a pool of his own blood, he went back to his apartment and shot himself in the head.

Back then, I didn’t know that suicidal people are often happiest, and most content shortly before their death. No one at the hospital psych department told me. I trusted them not to let him go unless he was healed.

I didn’t know that suicidal people often hide their depression.

I didn’t know that seemingly happy people killed themselves.

No one ever told me.

Every year in America, 37,000 people take their own lives. That is over 100 people every day.

1

Day after day.

Week after week.

Year upon year.

Over, and over…and over.

For every completed suicide, 11 other people attempt it. That’s over 400,000 people. 400,000 different people. Every year.

One can only assume that for all those numbers, there are countless more who wish for it, dream of it, “If only I could…” they may wistfully ponder. Alone. In the dark. In the quiet, solitary recesses of their despair.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America and has surpassed motor vehicle accidents as the #1 cause of death by physical injury. Yet society as a whole attempts to hide it away, perhaps into those same, solitary recesses from whence it is born.

Why do we do this? We aren’t ashamed of Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Cancer… so why are we ashamed of Depression?

Ten years after Dan’s death, I thought my nightmare with suicide was over, the open wounds healed into delicate, gauzy scars which criss-crossed my heart. I was re-married and had a son with a man named Mark who I met on a grief support website. His fiancée, Kim, died two weeks after Dan.

girl and balloon

But the nightmare of suicide never ends. It’s a relentless stalker. It preys on our society with reckless abandon. The nightmare began for me again the day I discovered self-inflicted cut marks on my 13 year old daughter. In short order I got a phone call from her school counselor. My daughter was in the office expressing her desire to commit suicide.

I have been struggling through the nightmare for almost two years now, with no support, and usually no direction. I didn’t know what I needed, but as I learned through my experience with Dan, I couldn’t rely on the medical community to ‘make everything all better’. I became a voracious advocate for my daughter and took it upon myself to seek out the resources which would help us get through the nightmare of suicide.

Out of all this work, and all this nightmare, I developed a strong desire to help others. My daughter, through her struggle to understand her own depression, kept asking me about Dan’s death. The book I wrote, called ‘Letting Go’, first began as my way of explaining to her an often unexplainable act.

What started out as a more or less autobiographical work of non-fiction for my daughter, morphed into a semi-fictional narrative exploration of suicide, grief, and forgiveness, which I felt would be of interest to a wider audience. All proceeds that I earn will be donated to The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

4

My desire to reach out to others has grown and flourished and in this small way, with this blog and with my book, I hope to give to others what I never found for myself.

If you, or someone you care about is Depressed, whether suicidal or not, you need two things. Medical help and hope. I can’t give anyone medical help, but it is my aim, with this blog and with my book, to provide some hope. Hope not just for them, but also for the many tens of thousands more suicide survivors. The victims of suicide left behind to deal with not just grief, but guilt and shame. Burdens which they often have to shoulder alone, cut off from a world which may look on them with uncomfortable eyes, or worse yet, accusing eyes.

If it were within my power, I would take each and every one one of those 100 people who die every day at their own hands and put my arms around them and tell them, “Hang on for one more day. Life means hope. You are worth saving. Don’t give up.”

images

If you are reading this blog, I will say it to you.

Hang on for one more day.

Life means hope.

You are worth saving.

Don’t give up.

logo 3

57 Comments

57 thoughts on “My Story

  1. A tough story, that made an impression on me. I won’t forget it, and think about it to remind myself that you always have to look out even when you think everything is okay. I’m glad you wrote the book, and hope it will help many out there! Good luck with your work in the years to come, you can and will save lives.

    • Hello, I just recently lost my 23 year old daughter, who was just starting her 3rd year of medical school, who never showed one sign of depression in her life, to suicide on 4-11-13. She was my everything and I am devastated beyond belief. I’m glad there is a blog like yours that shows that many times people hide their depression and they are very, very good at it. My daughter was a super achiever, valedictorian of her high school, graduated summa cum laude from undergrad in 2 and a half years, got accepted into medical school (her lifelong dream was to be a doctor) and was doing very well. I had just seen her a few days before, and she acted happy. But in her suicide note, she wrote that she had been depressed all her life and was exhausted from the weight of it and just did not want to exist anymore. I would love for you to visit my blog, go all the way to the bottom and read what a wonderful person she was. I am left dumbfounded and confused. I applaud the work you are doing to bring awareness to this. It’s not always the obviously depressed that commit suicide, I surely have learned this.

  2. Nothing is as compelling as our own personal stories. Thanks for sharing yours. I’ve gotten a great deal of insight from reading stories about Near Death Experiences recently. You can find them online. They have brought me great hope for both my life here, and the afterlife. Dawn

    • After Dan died, I actually became fairly obsessed with near death experiences and after death communications. The stories are quite comforting. Some of them are extremely compelling and affirming. Thanks for sharing, I may end up doing a post on that subject. 😉

  3. What a powerful story you share! It immediately brought to mind my newest favorite book, one thousand gifts, by Ann Voskamp. She just reposted this weekend a gripping description from the viewpoint of a depressed person. This was in response to the news about Rick Warren’s son’s suicide. You can read her post here, “What Christians need to know about mental health” http://www.aholyexperience.com/

    • ooh, thanks for the info, I will check it out! =D The best source of support comes from people who have been there, which is why the work of people like you is so important. Your words of encouragement to others about the tragedy of losing a daughter will mean more than the words of anyone else. hugs to you! =D

  4. Hi Carrie, Paul here from PRwilson media – just read your heartbreaking story, your strength and determination to help others is a shining example to us all – keep doing what you are doing

  5. I am so sorry to hear your sad news! But I am so glad that you seem to have found a very useful (helpful to others, as well) way of dealing with this tragedy!

    Suicide has been a big part of my life, and though I do not wish to divulge the story “why” here openly, know that I am touched by your courage and kindness!

      • Thank you! I’m very glad you discovered my poetry blog, so I could learn about yours! I look forward to reading your posts, both old and new. 🙂

  6. It is a painful truth that life’s ugly tragedies bring out in us either the worst or the best. What a beautiful person life has made you. God bless you in the ultimate healing and upon your quest to spare others from the agonies you’ve born.

    I hope someday we understand as a society the imperative call to heal mental illness forever.

  7. I am fortunate not have someone who has committed suicide on purpose. But, I do feel for you. My first true love died very young from what I suspect was a drug overdose. Experimentally. So on purpose or not, it is still devastating! I carry him in my heart to this day!

  8. Wow! There is such passion in your story as well as pain. There is determined, persevering light as well as unrelenting darkness. Your story is real life; there is a world of wisdom and depth within the heart that has been shattered and shattered again but keeps beating h.o.p.e with each pulse.

    Bless you. Thank you for the following.

  9. I’m looking forward to reading your posts. I have a family member who suffered depression and committed suicide, and my experience was similar to yours. The family thought he was OK. But then his death happened and it took us by surprise. No one saw it coming. And ever since I’ve tried to make sense of it. I’m glad you’re reaching out to others. I hope you save people like the person I lost. Thanks for being brave and sharing your experience. 🙂

    • So many people didn’t believe me when I told them there was no warning, it’s comforting to hear from other people who experienced the same thing. I’m so sorry for your loss, and thank you for sharing your heart wrenching story. 🙂

  10. That was extremely well stated. Ironic timing for me…I just finished my last edit (for tomorrow’s post) of a poem about my Uncle’s suicide and then checked my e-mail and ended up here–thank you. I have been trying to say something about his death for a long time and I have gone through numerous attempts. From heavily fictionalized to various personal narratives and even a large painting (but who would ever want a large painting of a man unravelling into his own death-LOL). And now a poem. I am going to go with the poem. I hope you get a chance to read it. My heart is with you on your journey.

    • I’m following your blog now, so I should see it, but if you remember, let me know when you post it! You know how posts can slip by you. I’m so sorry for your loss and would be very interested in reading the poem. by the way, some of the most evocative paintings are the ones depicting tragedy. I think a lot of people could relate to a visual portrayal.. hugs to you!

  11. Wow, what a powerful, shocking story. So sorry you had to go through it and so glad you have made the choice to do what you’re doing! So often, our pain becomes our passion and our mess becomes our ministry. Go change the world!

  12. Thanks for following my blog, Carrie. Your story is very powerful. May God bless you as you find your way through the maze of depression and suicide. I have struggled with depression at times, and I attempted suicide as a teenager. I still remember how hopeless I felt at the time. Obviously my attempt failed, and I am grateful. I agree with you that we need to get this out in the open and talk about it. You will make a difference, give hope to the hopeless, one word, one person at a time.

  13. I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Visit my post to read about it. NOTE: IF YOU ARE NOMINATED, YOU’VE BEEN AWARDED THE VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD (no need to wait for a winner to be announced)

  14. Pingback: What’s Your Story? | Little Blog of Letting Go

    • aww, thank you! I’ve seen that cute little award on other blogs and thought, “Oh, it’s so adorable, wish I had one!” You’ve made my day, i’m honored! 😉

  15. Pingback: Gaining Strength From Those Who Have Been There | Little Blog of Letting Go

    • oh, oh, thank you so much! I’ve just done some awards, so I will wait a bit as to not over load my readers. But I WILL accept and post on this, thank you so much! 😉

  16. Pingback: Welcome to a new friend: Carrie Lange | Little Blog of Letting Go | Hey Sweetheart, Get Me Rewrite!

  17. animatingyourlife June 13, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Edit | Reply

    Thank you for writing so honestly and so well. You’ve touched me deeply on a subject of enormous imprtance.

  18. I like your blog. Depression touches almost everyone, and if you throw in the other similar mood disorders, probably everyone. When a psychotherapist, mood disorders made up at least a third of my client list, and depression made up about three fourths of the mood disorders. Very hard for others to understand it. Very hard for even people experiencing it to accept what is happening. But, I think you are right about being able to treat it like any other disease (for too many reasons to go into here). If our culture could make that leap many could be helped.

  19. Pingback: How To Silence Your Inner Critic #1 | Gemma Utting ~ Relationship Therapy

  20. The Carrie as you know I have been working on a book. I am meeting with a few publishers later this month and need to have some people to put in my book proposal that are willing to endorse my book. Would you be willing to let me put your name on that list?

  21. I am so sorry for your loss, but I thank you for the work you are doing to make people more aware of the ever growing suicides in our society. I lost my beloved husband 10 months ago. If I had only known then what I know now about bipolar disorder and suicide. Too late I have educated myself on it.

Have something to say? Say it! But please be polite. ;-)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s