‘I bought a rope and began to hang myself.’ I was living a fantasy of mine. I didn’t see myself living past 30.’: Young woman survives addiction, multiple suicide attempts, says suffering has been her ‘greatest teacher’

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“As I travel with a mirror, back in the past, I gaze into her reflection and find me at last.

And to forget who you are is scary.

It is like everywhere you walk, it becomes dim and soon enough your whole world goes dark.

It can feel isolating, cold, and disconnected.

But just as you think you have fallen, at that very moment, you have been held.

And soon enough, you may feel a warm glow within that pulls you closer to a light.

It is almost like an internal compass that flashes on the next turn to take.

And before you know it, you will be miles away from who you once were and one day you will

realize the undefeated warrior within has never, and will never, give up on you.

For the longest time, I would tell myself, ‘I do not see myself living past thirty.’ I am now 21, nine years away from the age I saw myself dying. I did not see a future for myself. I imagined every possible way of how my death could happen, it was like a living fantasy of mine. At this point, I feel as if I have tried everything in my power to possibly end my life. And, guess what? Nothing worked. Hi, I am still here!

Okay, now with that being said, I see why nothing worked. I realize now that I am here for a reason. Looking back three years ago, I would have never ever imagined I would be writing a story in honor of other suicide survivors, but I feel in my heart that this is apart of my purpose. To share how suffering has been my greatest teacher.

To see where I once was, to the person I am today, are two totally different people. Yet, some days I feel like I am walking in the middle of dark and light, but I understand life is going to have contrast. I mean you would not understand a good day without having a bad day. You would not know how a sunny day feels without dark clouds and rain. Life has seasons, just like us. And to be honest, it is unfair to pretend that we are positive everyday because at times we need to embrace the funk and just remember no feeling lasts forever. We are human, therefore we are constantly changing and fluctuating. Though we do have some control over how we feel, I think it is smart to understand the key roles that influence a lifestyle.

When I was at my lowest point, I was surrounded by a lot of people, environments, and ingesting a lot of toxicity that only contributed to my ‘dark’ persona. So, as I began to become more conscious of the poor lifestyle I had adopted, this is when I began to make changes and my life began a major shedding process. Essentially, I felt like I was dying without actually dying. In fact, it felt like my whole life began collapsing. Though, in my heart, I knew this is what I had to do in order to create change. It wasn’t until I let go of toxic friends, to become alone by replacing my club days with staying home and journaling. While on the other hand, giving up alcohol and ecstasy for green drinks and face masks.

Courtesy of Gianna Petteruti

My life completely changed after admitting myself to the hospital for the second time that year. The first time I actually bought a rope, and began to hang myself. And deep deep down, I knew my issues stemmed from much more than just wanting to tap out of life. The root of my suffering boiled down to a lack of attention. I was so desperately needing it that I continued seeking it outside of myself, even though it was something I could only give to myself. I have come to the realization that you can not change some people and regardless of what you do for attention, no one can give you exactly what you need until you learn to give it to yourself.

The second time I admitted myself to the hospital was when I realized I had a substance problem. I was addicted to the act of numbing myself from the anxiety I would get in social settings, a scene I naturally never fit into sober. So, after spending three days in the hospital, I was naturally guided to come up with a plan to create a new life for myself. I let go of the drugs, alcohol, and finally let go of a lifestyle that no longer served me. After these seventy-two hours, I was inspired to change my diet completely and became interested in self-help and inner healing. From here on out, my life made a complete 180. And before I knew it, I was out of that dark hole and following my inner light to my destination of today.

So, as I sit here, and talk about my life from only a few years ago, I realize, yes, I still have really dark days. Recovering is a journey in itself. On some days, it can feel as if I traveled ten steps back, but I have to remember it is natural to experience all colors of the rainbow because that is what life is all about. I understand how it feels to be lost and to feel like there is no way out. But taking a look at your environment, both inner and outer, is a great way to create change. It is your right to create the life you have always desired, but it takes great work to get there and a lot of shedding. Nothing is impossible, but the world needs you.

Please, if you are reading this – First of all, thank you for coming this far and shout out to you for receiving the guidance you need. This is your inner light navigating you here and you must continue to trust it, for it will lead you more into your safe destination. Personally, I have found affirmations to be my best friend, so stick a note on the mirror and remind yourself how wonderful you are!

I send you love, guidance, and protection. You are incredibly worthy of the life you are living and you have the power to flip the switch on or off. To create a life worth living sometimes means to travel through the underworld to reach a state of illumination. Your path is unique and will not look like anyone else’s, so make sure you tap into your creation and show the world what you are made of. I believe that you read this for a reason. Life is contrast; it is just a matter of how we adapt to the weather by choosing which outfits to best suit the weather. It is learning to embrace. If you feel dark, wear black. But when you feel light, represent that because nothing stays forever.

You are love, and don’t you ever forget that!

July 2017, Before Recovery – Drinking way more than my limit, spending free time at music events getting wasted and making an embarrassment of myself. I was addicted to the act of being ‘numb’ because when I drank, all my anxiety went away and I instantly became the life of the party. I became addicted to this feeling and was high off the amount of ‘friends’ I had, not realizing I was completely sabotaging my life just for the sake of a temporary high that left me feeling super low the very next morning.

Courtesy of Gianna Petteruti

June 2019, Post Recovery – In this photo I feel free, alive, and like I’m shining from the inside out. My values have changed from the first photo and I am in a completely new state of living. I feel as if I have found my purpose in helping others with trusting their inner light to lead them on a beautiful path of liberation and healing their past into the story they wish to create.”

Courtesy of Gianna Petteruti

[If you’re thinking about hurting yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help is out there. You are not alone.]

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Gianna Petteruti of San Francisco, California. You can follow her journey on Instagram and her blog. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories. 

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