[Guest Post by Jami Witherell - I "met" Jami when I watched her episode on Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition. She inspired me to try running for the first time. Her story was so real, so honest (my kind of friend). She shared on the show about dealing with suicide. I asked if I could share her story and she said YES. You can read her original post in it's entirety here.]
I am reminded it’s much easier to pick out flaws in others than it is to accept them in myself.
And realizing that is helping me–not so much forgive (that will take time), but press on into today’s post on suicide prevention.
It started last month, when I read that Gia from the Bachelor was removed from life support after an attempt earlier in the week to take her life. And then Lee Thompson Young. They were two young individuals with so much potential and such bright futures.
Such beautiful people.
And I am reminded in an almost too much way, how close my story came to aligning with theirs.
How on the night of shooting our first work out –I had slowly been slipping deeper and deeper into despair.
I couldn’t comprehend how ANYONE liked me.
Or why I’d been chosen.
Or why I was there.
I couldn’t breathe under the weight of disappointing Chris Powell and my production team.
How tightly I gripped both pill bottles in my room after filming wrapped.
Yeah, after filming wrapped.
I sat with my producer Ashley before going in to film, and she could tell something was really wrong.
“It’s not us, is it?” She asked, “It’s not me, or anything production? Because we just want you to be you.”
“No,” I had responded, because it wasn’t.
It was ALL me.
I made it through the filming of the work out, and staggered back to my room. I thought that everyone hated me.That I had done a horrible job. That people would be so disappointed.
So I took my bottles of pills and went to sit in the bathroom shower stall. Because my roommate was there and I didn’t want to wake her.
And I turned the shower on hot hot hot. So hot, it burned. I opened one of the bottles, and stared into it.
And I nearly became a statistic.
People often want to say I survived suicide. I don’t know if that’s the case, but I came close to attempting.
So what really happened, since obviously Chris Powell didn’t pull me out of the shower, and my roommate was asleep? I decided to go on one last walk. I got up out of the shower and went for a walk in the garden of our hotel, and while I was walking–I thought 100 racing thoughts.
About people who hated me.
And how much I hated myself.
And how ugly I was.
And how much I hated taking up space in other people’s worlds.
Then, among all the racing thoughts and all the squeezing of bottles in my hands, I thought of my sister.
And how, even when I was so dramatic about the things going on in my life, she stayed calm–and treated it like it was no big deal. That we were going to get through it. And I started to run in the garden.The combination of my sister, Jen, and the endorphins of my run provided clarity.
I was as alone as I wanted to be or view it.
I was as ugly and overweight as I wanted to be.
I hated myself as much as I wanted to, and if I wanted to move past it–I could.
It would be hard.
I would be sad.
And I might still hate myself some days, but if I wanted to–there was a way. In that moment, there was a mental shift. A strength that came from the understanding that I was somehow in control of the story I would tell.
For the first time, it didn’t end with my suicide.
Three months later, and two days before my 90 weigh in, I had another moment. This time, Jen was physically there to calm me down, and tell me, that I was giving too much credence to people who didn’t really care all that much about me. And I, yes ME, I had the choice to give them that or to take it back.
So I did.
Yes, I know it’s not that easy. I get it. I get it so much my heart hurts.
If you are struggling–if you connected with my Extreme Weight Loss story because of the suicide angle, I’m sending you to YOU MATTER , a site for suicide prevention and contacts and links. I LOVE the 100 things you can do to survive the next 5 minutes. I use a lot of them when my thinks go somewhere I can’t unthink them.)
Jami Witherell was a cast member of ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss, Season 3. She believes that WE ALL MATTER. She lives in Westfield, MA and blogs at http://www.jamiwitherell.
com. Connect with her on Twitter or Facebook. Or catch her in real life at the Exit 7 Theater’s Production of Les Miserables later this month (see: http://www.exit7players. org/)!
[Photo: En..., Flickr]