Mental Health & The Suicide Crisis

S.J. Elliott
5 min readJun 15, 2022


Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash

In case you haven’t been paying attention, there is a crisis of death by suicide going on — it is scary to me that so many people are feeling so alone.

I say scary because I know that feeling and it is dark.

I was nine years old the first time I considered killing myself.

I climbed the highest tree in the neighborhood, right up to the point that the branches began snapping under my weight, and I sat there. An angry, frightened child trying to process the complex emotions of humiliation, failure, and a loneliness so vast that I imagined no one would even notice I was dead. I don’t remember what happened specifically, but the emotions and the phantom wave of utter unworthiness have stayed with me for more than 30 years.

At some point, I realized that as high off the ground as I was, jumping wouldn’t kill me. There was a good chance I would wind up with some broken bones or maybe end up in a wheelchair, but I wasn’t looking for sympathy or to be further indebted to my parents — I wanted out.

If I couldn’t have that, I would just have to power through until a better opportunity presented itself.

After that, suicide became a constant thought throughout my adolescence, and eventually, I tried to take my life with pills when I was 16.

I ended up with a horrible stomach ache and some serious short-term memory issues.

I tried again at 17 by getting blackout drunk on a bottle of tequila and driving down the interstate at 120 mph.

The next morning, when I realized that I had made it home safely, I decided to stop trying and just let it happen — aka, the self-destruction phase.

When I was 28, my first marriage was ending, my first restaurant was failing and that wave, that tidal wave of overwhelming desperation, crashed down hard.

I remember sitting on the edge of the bathtub, butcher knife in hand, trying so hard to fight the urge to slip into the water, but wanting nothing more than the relief death promised. The saving grace was that I was house-sitting for a family friend and couldn’t stand the thought of them coming…

S.J. Elliott

Aspiring story-teller. Ordained coffee connoisseur. I write about processing personal trauma, & my quest to be a better version of myself as a human/woman/wife.