survived the shot

Discussion in 'After Effects' started by Christian Price, May 23, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. I had grown up in a home filled with sadness, fear and depression. I wanted to escape to a safe place and get away from the adults that seemed preoccupied with making my life hell. I went into the woods and with a rifle and shot myself through the chest. When the bullet hit me; the reason why was no longer important to me. I thought it was to late, once a bullet leaves the end of the gun its to late and no one knew where I was. I hated I quite at life, I hated I let the adults hurt me to the point I thought this was my only option and thought life was worth living in spite of them. So, I decided to not lay there and just bleed out and die. When I woke up in the ICU I wanted to celebrate I'd survived.

    4 days after the shooting the Space Shuttle Challenger went down and I watched it live on TV. It was all I could do to manage a cup of ice chips let alone be confronted by anyone in white lab coats with what I had done; my first thought...I had a shared experience with the crew. Adults familiar with what happened to me only told me "Boy, you were damn close...really close." I was afraid to look at how close meant. I have sensations of my chest being opened up; distant thoughts of telling them I was fine and it was not necessary to keep working on me.

    My new lease on life was overshadowed with this word: stigma. They told me to create a lie; I could never let them know what I had done. They told me: You should have had your legs cut off or burned in a fire people would see those scars and be more patient with you. I was afraid; I had a thoracotmy scar from my left chest muscle almost to my spine. Chest tube drains and of course when I saw the bullet hole for the first time I thought I was going to pass out. They left a portion of the bullet in me; on top of the sense of having lost my life...I felt like a reanimated monster the villagers were going to track down with torches and ropes should my secret get out: You shot yourself, you tried to kill yourself. I suffered with violent memories. I cant count the number of times I've been shot. I can still see the dreadful flash of light because light is faster than sound; then the god awful roar and the sense of my chest imploding. I take asprin like candy to blunt the constant ache. When I am stressed my PTSD gets worse. I have had mood swings, inability to concentrate so it has been a struggle keep employment. I got sick of people heaping insults on me : next time you shoot yourself aim higher, boy that was stupid of you, you chose the cowards way...or you should get over it...not focus on the past. Though my chest hurts all the time, a bullet hole still looks at me. I only try and open up to my society to talk about the lasting effects my suicide had on my life and not harp on why I shot myself. I could've cared less why when the gun went off. I had counseling for a year and was told "own it boy you shot yourself."

    I've been homeless, divorced once before, denied careers because of the history, all I believe from PTSD. Yet; I remain thankful 26 years later I'm alive. I am trying to give back. This weekend I spoke openly at a small community gathering about suicide. I offered up my story; I tried for 7 months to get peoples attention and it went unheeded. I have good days and bad days. I feel like I have to constantly keep one shoulder against the door to keep the beast at bay; those god awful memories. Tasting the gun powder in my mouth. At times it feels like I have been snatched away from the present to the past and back to that cold evening in the woods. I can see my breath once more and feel the bolt close in my hands. There was so much blood. I talk myself down from the ceiling: those memories mean I'm alive. I wanted to live and continue to do so. I would have missed out on so much in life. I don't have much in the way of "success" what society considers. After the shot I thought of one reason to live for; a reason to hope for despite the reasons why I had shot myself...I wanted to be a father. I wanted to offer a safe and loving home to someone I did not have. My hearts desire has been granted to me. I would have missed this treasure. It has only been the last year I have addressed the PTSD. For 25 years I have lived with this monster and never knew that it had a name. I never desired to take my life again; I died a violent death once before..no thank you. I was granted my hearts desire; I have two more: To be a goodsteward with my life and to go peacful in my sleep at an old age having lived a full life.
     
  2. TheLoneWolf

    TheLoneWolf Well-Known Member

    That was an incredibly powerful post. I thank you for sharing, and I am glad to see that you survived and have a new lease on life. I just hope that the rest of us don't have to reach that point before we decide that we want to live. Best of luck to you in the rest of your life.
     
  3. I have good days and bad days; when things are good the beast is quiet. When my life is stressed I feel like the animal comes roaring back at me. I did this 26 years ago am just figuring my life out. I could not look at half of my body until I was in my mid twenties. The sight of the bullet mark scared me because I could hear the blast once more.

    I sat in numerous supervisors offices being reprimanded for my "lack of team playing". I distrust people because if they found out "my secret" they would offer an opinion about suicide if I wanted one or not. Many times the opinion was not helpful to my well being. I was numb inside; my personal relationships suffered and it would snowball. I wanted to be a cop growing up; but "you have a history of suicide" automatic disqualified. I wanted to go into the service; never told the recruiter; get to my physical and the Army docs look at my body and ask "Where did you get the GSW" did you do that? ...rejected. I felt broken inside most of my life. My current marriage was strained and we went to see a family councilor when she raised the specter of PTSD from my shooting. I told her "oh, that.....it happened 25 years ago. I'm over that." She asked me how they treated me. "They wanted me to promise never again; for me it was no problem. No way was I going to endure that horror again at least by my hand." I told her "I was told; boy enough of this counseling, take a hit of a bottle and own it. You did it you deserve it."

    I did much soul searching when I came to the realization: I was given another lease on life. My scars mean I am alive. If I were dead I would not have these pains, scars and such. I was given what I asked for when I was losing my life. I wanted to give back and help people. I've always had a heart for people that were in the place I was. My fear for them is "What happens when the moment of violence hits them to deliver enough force to take life...when it dawns on them.....I wish I hadn't done this." I was fortunate because those thoughts were going through my mind.
     
  4. TheLoneWolf

    TheLoneWolf Well-Known Member

    One of my biggest fears is attempting suicide and failing. I've made halfhearted attempts before, but nothing that would leave me permanently damaged or disfigured. I vowed that if I was ever going to try again, it was going to be for real. And that means doing something that would at the very least leave me permanently scarred. If I shoot myself in the head and somehow miss all the vital parts of the brain, I could end up in a coma, paralyzed or mentally disabled. That would only leave me worse off than I already am. That's one of the thoughts that keeps me from trying. That, and wondering what happens after we die. If there is no afterlife, then I have nothing to fear from death. But what if there is? It's these thoughts, along with the hope that my life may someday improve, that keep me alive. I know your experience must have been extremely traumatic, and I hope I never have to experience anything like that. But I'll confess that it is hard to keep on living when you can't see any light at the end of the tunnel.
     
  5. I thought I was going somewhere safe. I was tired of adults; I had known a life of child abuse and neglect. I had every intention of dying when I set out that day. It took almost an hour to see it through. I was sober and have never known a drug in my system. <if I were under intoxicants I would not be here or known the life I have had> At the last minute I *blinked* and did not have the will to pull the trigger. I got up and picked up the weapon and started back to my home. As I started to head back to safety I remembered I had been given a list of things to do before the source of my abuse got home from work. If the list was not done there would have been sincere consequences. So this is what drove me back. The blast ripped back a veil; I thought I was going to go quick as that was my plan. But, I was awake and coherent. This is when the regrets begain; I was afraid to die alone and very angry I had let people push me to this even if they were bigger than me. This was my life; I owed it to me to live and to fight on. I have known many valleys living in this stigma ridden society with regard to suicide. As mentioned people were quick to tell me where to put the gun next time or question me why I didnt aim higher. But I can tell you as a person that has been there: I would have missed out on so much. Life is worth living. I learned to take life one day at a time. All I had to do was make it through today. Find one reason to hope and hold fast to; it may be a cold wet dog nose pressed against my cheek or an ice cream cone; or the birth of my children. A failed suicide does leave the specter of pain, disfiguration, and IMHO as a person that has been there: regret when its to late to regret. I was fortunate and have lived my life in accordance to this understanding. I hope I can give back what was given to me
     
  6. red ribbons

    red ribbons Well-Known Member

    Christian, thank you so much for telling your story. My husband completed suicide with a gunshot wound to the head. You helped to fill in a lot of pieces of what his final thoughts may have been and I am grateful to you for your courage to help others.
     
  7. Red Ribbons; I can with honesty say, I'm sorry for your loss. I've always felt the loss of a person. I was confronted by death in the hospital when the shuttle went down, didn't know why I felt that way. There were 2 suicides in my HS the year after my shooting. A member of the faculty and a fellow student who sat behind me in Math class. Again there was this sense:shared experience: My only knowledge of my condition;"Boy you came real close, damn close...the only reason why you survived...you were healthy before the shot" Red Ribbons; I thank you for your kind words because your words brought healing to me as well. My story has laid silent since 1987; people laughed at me, mocked me, told me to point higher next time. My body was ripped open and scars left, the pock mark from the bullet, the remains of the bullet..all compounded the feeling of being a reanimated monster in the village. My wife wanted me to tell my story this year. I've had many PTSD encounters but, the results have been as healing to me knowing I helped someone else. Thank you again, the morning does come after the night. I've known many nights living with the lasting effects of suicide on my life. Morning will always come if we wait out the night...
     
  8. red ribbons

    red ribbons Well-Known Member

    Christian, once again I heard the words I needed to hear from you-morning will always come if we wait out the night. I am so grateful you are able to begin to tell your story. You will heal by doing so and find new meaning and purpose in your life. I was shattered by my husband's suicide and thrown into major suicidal depression myself by all his actions. Please stay away from toxic people and stick with only the people who are true friends that love you for who you are. I'm sorry the horrible stigma of suicide still exists in this world. Unless people are touched by suicide, they truly do not understand and get very self righteous about something they know nothing about. You are a hero for having the courage to live through all you have gone through and my heart goes out to you for your bravery. It takes a great deal of strength to survive and overcome all odds. Please know a lot of people need to hear your story. Peace.
     
  9. I have turned into an advocate; unknowingly... I am working out a game plan to help my brothers and sisters who are in this storm: one of the major obstacles is this sense of "lost hope" I can't see beyond the next day. One reason why my grades went to hell between sept 85-Dec 85 because I had already decided on a window of time Jan 86-May 86. So I had no need for grades; the night before I initiated my pre made plan; I was threatened with abuse for the last time.

    When the shot went off: the reason WHY I shot myself no longer mattered. I wanted to live despite my fear of the abusers; I wanted to live and to hell with everyone else. I am working on an idea for a token, or ribbon. A person; who feels suicide is their only way out, has that moment when they reconsider; I did. They still want to live. They sign a contract with themselves. They get a token to put into their pocket, wallet, purse etc.

    This token represent *what if* they had hit that moment; and spared. Another chance at life; a second chance!! A reprieve! I swore "Never again" I have kept that promise to myself. Let's say; the person signs this contract with themselves and treats that moment like I treated mine: If I could leave through what I just did: never again. The token is two part. They share the token with a buddy; a buddy system. Silence takes lives. Councilor; a friend; there has to be 1 compassionate person in a circle to be the 'buddy" like scuba divers.

    The next step is the fun part: LIVE LARGE!!! What I mean; ever wanted to learn to speak French? Go back to college? Here is the point; by saying "no more will I consider suicide." A person; has changed their thinking, new purpose!! hope!! They start to bring value into their life. Value saves lives.

    Once a person brings this into their life; its time to give the gift back. This is where I am at in my walk. Once a person who considered suicide as an option is out in the community giving back; they have personal value, hope, and giving back is very healing. The token need not be displayed, perhaps on a fridge, wallet or purse...its a reminder. i want to live despite what is happening. I am going to fight like hell for my life.

    #1- promise to self/ no more/ never again- my life is a gift and this is my repreive
    #2-buddy system/ counciling/ accountability
    #3 live large, pursue your dreams and ambitions no more excuses...darnit LIVE!!
    #4- reinvest your life's gifts and talents back into your community
     
  10. red ribbons

    red ribbons Well-Known Member

    I will put a heart magnet on my fridge to remind me and wear a heart necklace. You are very wise and a gift to all of us, a source of hope and strength. A friend of mine said you should have 5 people you can call when you get really down. Your sharing is invaluable. Thank you!
     
  11. :biggrin: Awsome Red Ribbons; step one and two. Just know your not alone. I'll remember your family in my prayers. Please use your buddy system if you feel overwhelmed. If you feel overwhelmed and the buddies are not avaible; always remember your promise at step one. Don't be afraid to pick up the phone and call prevention lines...the numbers are just a google search away or post them next to your buddy list. Always think scuba diver and buddy breathing. One day; when your able you can move on to livin large for you and your husband. But for now just making that promise to yourself and keeping your self safe with an ac****ablity system is important.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.