One, two, three, four, five, six.

September is Suicide Prevention Month, and a new organization called Take Five to Save Lives is working on spreading awareness about suicide, encouraging people to reach out, practice self-care, learn about suicide warning signs, and tell others.

This is especially important to me because I’ve gone beyond five – I have had six suicide attempts in my life.

The most serious suicide attempt was over five years ago, when I swallowed nearly an entire bottle of Valium before a “friend” – who was catfishing me – called the police long-distance to save my life.

I was kept sedated and on a ventilator for over two days before being released to a psychiatric unit for two weeks.

If you ask me now what actually led to the attempt, I can’t truly tell you. Like most of the suicide attempts, it was a rash decision and a desperate cry for help. I was lonely, depressed, and felt like my life had no purpose. Having suffered from mental health problems since adolescence, I felt there was no way I would ever be able to contribute to society, and that no one would ever truly love me.

Research indicates that the best way to prevent a suicide attempt is to simply delay it. People who have time to think things over, even for a day, often end up not going through with their plans. I have found this is absolutely true: there have been other dark times in my life when I have battled with suicidal ideation, and the only thing that has prevented it has been the resolve to simply wait it out for one more day. Often, what looks like an insurmountable challenge in those cold dark hours of the night ends up to be something glimmering with some faint hope in the sunlight.

I have had many dark days since that desperate night with that bottle of Valium, including the night of my assault, but I have now found a peace that I hope will last, through the power of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. This empowering mantra connects me to a vast circle of friends across the globe who also believe that they have the strength to realize their inner Buddhahood. I will always have a mental illness, but I now also have the ability to focus on something greater than myself and to feel hope in human revolution, which helps me move forward on my darkest days.

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