How Trying to Kill Myself Saved My Life
I was 15 years old, and my life was over.
It was the middle of the night, and I had swallowed as many pills as I could find in the house. Dozens? Hundreds? I wasn’t counting.
I just wanted all the hurting to stop.
School was a nightmare for me, and bullies taunted me for years about my weight, clothes, social awkwardness, you name it. I was also struggling with my bisexuality and felt like I didn’t fit in with my straight or gay friends.
I was alone.
After not doing homework for months, I was failing 5 classes and was told I would have to repeat my freshman year. But the worst part of my life was outside of school. My family was the biggest reason I didn’t want to live anymore.
My parents never wanted kids but were pressured to do so. It was devastating to not feel loved and to have my parents ignore me in our home but act completely different whenever we were in public. My older brother had behavioral problems and was kicked out of school for punching a teacher. He beat me constantly, but there was no one to protect me.
I was alone.
On my dresser was my suicide note. I don’t recall what I wrote, but I remember addressing it “To whom it may concern.” Who would read it anyway?
I was alone.
And as an atheist, I knew just how alone I really was.
The room was spinning, and it felt like all my energy had spilled out through my tears. I crumbled onto my bed, and an invisible weight pressed down on my body.
There was nothing left of me. Just a shell. But I could finally rest.
I was so tired…
I opened my eyes. There was someone in the room with me.
I felt a distinct presence, but I saw nothing but darkness.
A voice was talking to me, and I realized with dismay that it was coming from inside my head. I was hearing voices!
It wasn’t enough that I was hopelessly depressed, but now I got to experience insanity right before I died. I smashed my face into a pillow.
The voice was becoming urgent. And I had the strangest feeling that I knew who it was. But I was so tired…my head was foggy…
“Get up. Get up. Get up. Get up. GET UP!”
Holy shit—it was me!
Here’s the part where it gets really weird, and I don’t care if you believe me or not.
It was me, me, me! But it was a part of me that existed in the future.
There was a tiny speck inside me that knew the future could be different, that I could be different. She knew that I wouldn’t always be hurting. She knew that I would find people who love me. She knew I could be happy.
I wasn’t alone.
I threw my legs over the side of the bed and stood up. It was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. But I had someone helping me.
“You HAVE to call an ambulance!”
The rest of the night is a blur. I remember the ambulance lights, my screaming mother, vomiting for what seemed like hours, and waking up in a facility for mentally disturbed children.
“Future me” was there the whole time. I felt her watching me while I slept and sitting next to me on the couch while counselors interviewed me.
No matter what was happening, she quietly reassured me that it would all be different someday. I held onto that hope with all the strength inside me.
And she never left me even in the days, months, and years that followed.
I felt her hand on my shoulder while my father screamed in my face telling me over and over how selfish I was and I how I had embarrassed him.
She pulled me away from the ledge when I daydreamed about jumping off the third floor balcony in my high school’s atrium.
In college, she distracted me with thoughts about my future life and made me miss the train I was going to throw myself in front of.
I saw her reflection in the plane window when I finally broke away from my abusers and escaped on a flight across the country at 2:00 in the morning.
And a few months later at the courthouse, she steadied my hand as I signed my new name for the first time.
I could hear her cheering me on as I quit my job. And the next one. And the next one.
Since that night I tried to kill myself, I have never been alone.
It’s been nearly 20 years, and I don’t feel suicidal anymore. Future me is still here, but I often don’t know where she stops and I begin.
Sometimes I catch her voice coming out of my mouth when I comfort a friend or advise one of my clients. I see her smiling face in the photos on my website. I’m thankful every day that she made me get up.
I don’t feel separate from my future self anymore. I am her, and I don’t need a degree or fancy credentials to help save someone. I already saved myself.
I’m telling you my story because I know how horrible it is to feel alone, like there is no one in the world who loves you.
I’m telling you this because if you’re feeling hopeless and powerless I want you to know that there is a stronger version of yourself in the future who wants you to keep going.
It’s OK if you can’t hear her. I don’t want you to go to that dark place before you get help because not everyone comes back. I was lucky.
So if you’re feeling like you just can’t do it alone anymore, I want you to know you’re not alone.
I’m here. I see you. I love you.
3 Simple Steps to Become a Productivity Superstar
Dump your excuses, transform your habits, and become the most productive person you know.
I’ve heard that one of the definitions of a shaman is someone who’s climbed their way out ôf hell so they can show others how to do it <3
Incredible, Sage. WOW. Firstly, I’ll say that for all the time I’ve known you, I am realizing how little I actually know about you (I was fascinated going through the list of interesting facts about you here on your site). At first that saddened me a bit. But then it made me very happy because I realized that there was just SO much more of the fabulous Sage that I could get to know! What a lovely opportunity.
I read this poignant post that you were so brave to share with all of us. Although most of my family was thankfully very supportive of me growing up, I could instantly relate SO much to many of the horrible experiences you were faced with among your peers. As a highly creative youth, I was often picked on for my uncommon qualities and interests. I was quite often just totally misunderstood. I began studying metaphysics, quantum physics and meditation at the age of fourteen (I am now forty-one), and in 1986 a large percent of my fellow high schoolers thought I was a total whack-a-doo! Upon graduation from high school, I received the award of being “The Most Unique” of my class. At the time, I didn’t know whether or not to take that as a compliment or an insult! As an adult, now I know with total clarity: that title was given to me as validation for being authentically me in the past, and as a whispered promise of how rewarding it would be to live that way as an adult for the rest of my life.
Thank you so very much, Sage, for being vulnerable and for sharing your bright, beautiful soul with us. You are adored beyond measure! XO
Sage, this is incredible. Thank you for sharing. The power of your voice through this writing transcends your body and really does touch upon the eternal. Thank you.
Thank you so much, Jess. It was the hardest thing I’ve written, but it feels so good to share this part of me.
Sage, a beautiful name for a kind, gentle, woman I first met with CK live in Atlanta. Not only is she reaching out to care for others, I just found out this woman is courageous beyond limits. She has the heart of a lion and the strength of the universe on her side.
My dear, Sage you inspire me!
Hugs to you too, Elaine! 🙂
I am so proud of you Sage for sharing this. What a leap of confidence to share but even bigger, this different you who has overcome so much and has lived to tell it. For how positive and loving you are, it is a shock to imagine you have been through so much. But it is your story who makes you who you are that can be available to help others who struggle in similar ways. There was a point in my life where a mentor told me I needed to embrace a younger version of myself that I did not like. I needed to accept her for who she was, but also know that I am not her anymore. It is so easy to get caught up or fear pieces of ourselves when in fact it can bring us strength in being an even better version of ourselves! Thank you for sharing!!!
You have inspired so many with this post. It’s authentic, raw, and honest.
I, for one, am glad you came back. I’m glad you’re here to tell about it. I’m glad you’re here to share your sweetness. You are so resilient and clear. Truly one to watch.
Love and hugs,
Wow, this post was timely for me Sage, thank you for being so brave and sharing this with us. 2 months ago I ended up in the ER because of a panic attack, I was convinced I was dying, had MS (my biggest fear) and was terrified. This health anxiety then morphed into depression and I am now trying a 2nd antidepressant, went to CBT and am feeling scared that I won’t feel myself again. I am frustrated and have had suicidal thoughts which terrifies me. I am lucky to have a great support system but it’s still scary when you’re the one going through it. I am so inspired by your story, you really went through a hard battle and you came out the other side victorious! For now I am taking it day by day, this too shall pass, I am hoping soon! xo Emily
Great job Sage! Not only in writing such a powerful message but being willing to leap from the one ledge that is bound to help many. I also know how freeing it is to tell about this ultimate courage…to dig deeper that you ever thought possible and find yet something more under the barrel. Well done!
Such a powerful post, Sage. Thank you for having the courage to share.
Thank you for the kind words, Nikkiana.
Wow. You’re story is incredible, Sage! I’m glad you had the courage to write this, because I know it’s blessed many people and will continue to touch many others. I can relate to your experience a little, except that before I took a whole bottle of pills, I felt? heard? a clear command to stop and call a friend. Since I’m a Christian I attribute it to God, but I can relate to feeling completely alone, and yet realizing that I actually wasn’t. Again, thanks for sharing your story Sage!
Hey Emily! I’m so glad you didn’t take the pills and called a friend instead. It was a horrible experience for me, and I don’t want anyone else to go through that.
Other people have said that it was God speaking to me. And who knows? Isn’t God inside all of us? Whether it was future me, God, the universe, or something else, there has been something with me since that time when I chose to believe that there was a better life for me.
Sending you lots of love and a great big hug! 🙂
I’m conflicted on what to write – I want to be honest with you about that. I want to respect your atheism because I’m not here to judge…or to persuade. But, my beliefs are so intrinsically part of me that I can’t honestly comment on your story without seeing the impact of God in it. I don’t say that to offend you, believe me. But, when I see you say over and over again how you were alone, I know you actually weren’t. Are you familiar with the poem “Footprints”? If not, I suggest reading it, even for something peaceful to ponder, if you choose not to believe the overall message. Anyhow, after reading your story, I’m wondering if our dads are cousins. I’m so glad you were able to pull through and see the value in your life. I hope that the dark feelings are behind you permanently. Take care.
You’re not offending me–really! I get where you’re coming from. Other people have told me that it was God speaking to me, and not just “me.” And isn’t God inside all of us? I think there are many ways to interpret what happened to me. This story is my interpretation through my filter.
I have read “Footprints,” and it’s sweet. There was definitely someone carrying me during this part of my life, whether it was God or myself. Thank you for the kinds words.
Sage, Thank you for being able to tell your story. You are an inspiration and I know it will literally save many people. Have you considered sharing your story to teens via their high schools, etc.?
Hi Lisa! Thanks so much for commenting. I haven’t shared my story with teens yet. In fact, this is the first time I’ve ever shared it! I would love to do some speaking events, and I plan to seek out places to speak in the near future.
Wow–that is quite a story–I’m so glad your story didn’t end way too soon!
Thanks, Rachel. I’m so grateful every day that I’m still here.
Wow Sage, what a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your very moving and inspirational story. I am familiar with the pain of feeling all alone and it’s not easy to move past it. It took a lot of strength and courage to move through your pain to save yourself and also to share your story. And I am so glad that you are here to share that story. Your presence is so loving and upbeat, you are like a ray of sunshine and your story is a ray of hope. Know that you are a very powerful woman and you have so much to offer. Lots of love to you.
Ruth, thank you for commenting and for being so supportive of me. We all feel alone sometimes, but there is unlimited strength and joy inside us, and I want everyone to feel that. So much love to you too!
Wow Sage, what a powerful and courageous post. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for you to share this. As someone who has a past of self harm I can relate to the feelings of fear, loneliness and desperation but have never had the courage to talk about it. You are doing amazing things Sage. You are inspiring and helping so many people with this post. Your ability to overcome your past and become to amazing woman you are today is such a testament to your strength, resolve and courage.
Thank you so much for writing this. I think you’ve given a lot of people hope and that is one of the best gifts you could possibly give. XO!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Sarah. You’ve been such a good friend to me. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve experienced self-harm, but we are so much stronger when we talk about our hurt rather than letting it fester inside us. Sending you love and hugs! 🙂
I am so grateful that you had the grace, courage, and wisdom not only to tell this story, but to own it and embrace it. I think the part that stands out the most for me is that your “future” you was there for you. This is something that so many of us don’t “get”…we want for someone else to save us. We want for our parents to be the parents they often times can’t be and we don’t understand that we can be there for ourselves. Brava and thank you. <3 xxoo
Hey Karen! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I used to be angry that my parents were cruel and manipulative. But I can’t hold on to my anger about how things were. I’d rather focus my attention on making a better future for myself. We can save ourselves!
Wow, Sage. That is a very moving and powerful story. You are such an inspiration to have turned something so terrible around to be so great. You have such strength and courage!! I am in awe of you and I know you will help many, many people!!! Much love!!! ~Jen
Much love to you too, Jen! Thanks so much for commenting.
Sage- you are a woman of rare courage. You are serving and loving so many people by sharing this story. I hope you take a moment to appreciate how special you are! Much love, Christine
Thank you, Christine! Lots of love to you too.
Sage- you are a woman of rare courage! You are loving and serving so many people by sharing your story. I hope you take a moment to appreciate how special you are. Much love, Christine
Your name is so perfect for you. A wise “sage” in a beautiful woman’s body. Hearing what you went through as a child is hard to imagine. Especially because I see such a vibrant, happy, positive person in your eyes. I know that must have taken all the strength you had to keep the essence you always were, so beautiful and positive all the way through those heart breaking and painful times. But you did it. I am so inspired by your courage to share this part of your life so that someone else may feel a light in the darkness.
I see great things for you in the future, reaching many, many people on this planet with your light. You are a modern day “Sage”. Not the grey, bearded man we imagine when someone uses the word sage but instead a pretty, petite, powerhouse of love. It is amazing.
Your comment just made my day, Lissa. I’m sending you so much love right now! Thank you for being a great friend. A “powerhouse of love” is exactly what I want to be. 🙂
Sage – Your courage and strength are beautiful. This is going to help so many people who feel they, too, are alone.
I am so proud of you!
Thank you, Glad! It was scary to finally tell my story, but I truly hope it helps other women who feel alone. Lots of love and hugs to you!
Thank you for being so brave! I can’t even imagine how hard it was to share, but I’m really glad you did. Your courage to be open and honest inspiring to me, and I am sure there are others out there who needed to hear this story from you.
Thank you, Summer! Holding this in was making me feel less than genuine. I feel so much better now that I’m being truthful about the struggles I’ve faced.
You are so brave for sharing your story! Thank you for doing it so very openly and honestly! I believe you will help others by reaching out like this!
Hey Beth! Thank you so much for the nice words. 🙂 I definitely want to be honest about my life so that I can help other people who feel alone.
Amazing post, Sage. You’ve shown a tremendous courage telling us what you’ve been through. I sure learned a lot with you testimony. Thank you for that.
Thank you, Joana. I’m working on being more honest about my past so that I can help others.
Thank you so much, from my heart, for putting this out there. I know it will help many people, hopefully especially teens. You are such a light and now I know exactly why. You had to shine brighter than the sun in order to save yourself. Love, love and more love to you. Beautifully written post, too. xo!
Thank you for commenting, Kimberly. I do feel like I shine brightly today because I had to overcome so much. It was scary to share my story, but I hope it will help other people who feel alone. Lots of love to you too!
Aw, Sage, you’re beyond awesome for sharing this! I could relate to so much of it, too. It really brought me back to the person I used to be and I’m so, so thankful for who I’ve become. It’s wonderful that you discovered that you are your own best friend and I hope that everyone who reads that realizes that it’s true for them, too. I can just imagine how hard this was to write. I hurt myself a lot when I was a teenager and then used pretty heavy drugs for the first few years of my 20’s. It took me a while longer than it did you, but I finally broke free of everything that was dragging me down and took charge of my life. 🙂
Oh, Molly! I’m sending you tons of love and the biggest hug ever! Thank you for sharing about your struggles. I hope that I can help other people find their inner strength because we have so much control over our own lives…we just have to realize it. Thanks for being a good friend. 🙂
Sage, I feel like I’m finally meeting you for the first time. I mean that positively. Thank you for sharing your story.
Love love love love love you love love love love love.
Love love love love and hugs to you, Christina! Thank you for the kind words. 🙂
Wow, Sage. So intense and candid. I knew from earlier remarks that you had a difficult past but I didn’t realize it was this bad. I feel sorry for you. It’s good you overcome your troubles but I’m still sad you had to endure them. That was rough. You have both my sympathy and respect.
Thank you so much, Ally. I learned that “family” are the people who love you, not necessarily the people you’re related to. I’m sad that I had a horrible childhood, but I’m happy that it was possible for me to find peace in my life.
Such an amazing story, Sage. I’m so grateful to you for being brave enough to share this. What a wonderful example of “it gets better.” Looking at you now I would never have guessed all you’ve been through. What an incredible life you’re creating for yourself. And your future self knew it all along. Thank you for sharing yourself and your gifts.
Thanks, Michelle. I’m so grateful to be alive and that a part of me knew my life could get better. I feel like it’s my duty to help other people who are struggling find the strength inside them. Thank you for commenting!
Sage, thanks for sharing so openly. You story is so raw. I had many similarities when I was growing up. That drive, your future self, is something most of have if we just listen. It’s hard to stop wearing the victim label and to stop agreeing to allow others to take advantage of us, when all we want is a hug and some love. Decision is the key. Decision is survival. Look at you now! You are such a beacon for so many and you are thriving. Good for you!
Thank you so much, Alexandre! I considered myself a victim for so long, and I didn’t think there was anything I could do about it. Whatever saved me (my future self, survival instinct, God), it convinced me that I could do something about my circumstances. And now I want others to believe it too!
Oh, Sage. Your story made me cry, first with sadness, and then with happiness. I’m so glad your future self saved you! And it’s incredibly brave to share this story with the world. *sends many hugs*
And now and your future self will go on and coach many more people to take responsibility for their lives and make the most out of them – just as you are doing. You inspire!
Thank you, Frauke! *many hugs for you!* I feel like I owe it to myself to help other people find the strength inside them.
Sage, I’m sure this was hard to write and share with your readers, but I’m so glad you did. Your message of saving yourself is so beautifully written and I’m sure will give hope to those who need it. It takes a strong person to share their greatest weakness and your continued successes are a testament to all that you have overcome. I know what it is like to escape your birth circumstances – it is hard and awful when you are in the midst of it but the mental health and self esteem rewards are innumerable. Truly inspiring, Sage!
Thank you, Gillian! It was SO hard to write, but I feel really good that I did share my story. I want people to know that anything is possible despite your circumstances.