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Abdelrahman Elaraby: for the souls suffering in silence

TW: suicide attempt

I am here to tell you about my bedtime routine...not really, but bear with me and hopefully I'll touch your soul today.

I have a specific spot on the end of my bed facing the mirror in my bathroom where I can see my face while sitting, I sit there for 10 minutes whenever I feel down and remember the lowest point of my life, and how it passed, and that is why I am here.

For some, it will not be your first time hearing this, but today I will be sharing my story with you. I had a bunch of stressors like finance, pressure from family and coaches, fear of failure, and I started dealing with it using a very bad lifestyle, we all know what college students do, but I took it to an extreme.

That shallow lifestyle had masked all of what I thought I was trying to get rid of inside my head. And slowly, I started feeling unworthy of living, unworthy of being loved, that all I do is bring pain and suffering to those around me, and that feeling kept growing in my head until one day I decided I do not want to live anymore.

I gave myself two weeks to live life to the fullest, I went to class, practiced, went on dates, and performed well in the weight room, until Saturday, March 12th, last year, I woke up and knew that was it. I did not feel better. Nobody asked how I felt, although I do not think I would have told them how I felt anyway, as I saw no hope from how they were calling other teammates "p words" for struggling with suicidal thoughts and quitting before ACCs, I had lost vision in my heart all I could see were the words “unlovable”, “failure”, “disgrace”, “disappointment”. I ditched all my friends last minute and told them I had my girlfriend coming over, I told my girlfriend I was going out, and I sat in my room for 30 minutes trying to find one reason to live, and could not find any.

I opened two bottles of an over-the-counter medicine that I bought two weeks before, texted my roommates I love them, swallowed the pills, and tried to go to sleep.

It started to gradually happen and I was okay with it, but suddenly something snapped in me. I had a hallucination of my sister and mom being in the room with me there and I immediately went into survival mode. I tried to make myself throw up but my throat was too numb and I was already under the heavy effect of the medication. I couldn't see anything other than dots, I couldn't feel my legs or arms. I collapsed on the floor and called for help, I called my friends and my athletic trainer and then crawled back to the bathroom trying to throw up again, but there was nothing. As soon as I picked myself up to stand and saw that reflection of my face, I realized that I had just killed myself but I did not want to die.

I crawled again back to bed, sat down and just lived for few more minutes I remember seeing everything, hearing everything how the EMS was talking about me, how my best friend broke down crying when he realized I was no longer responsive and asking me “Please do not leave me man. I love you. I still want you here. Fuck all that is hurting you.”

I stopped breathing and I closed my eyes.

I have no idea what happened but I woke up two days later with a ventilator in my mouth and a bunch of electrodes wrapped around my head, I saw smiling faces and realized I made it and immediately broke down crying. Teammates started coming to visit, my mom and sister started calling and messaging about how devastated they were going to be if I had gone through with it.

I tried to avoid what happened and attempted to get back to life. It was like when you get smacked in the face by a ball and try to shake it off like a champ. Everyone knows you got smacked, who are you kidding?

I was transferred to a psych ward and had to deal with the problem head-on, without distractions, no school, no phone, no swimming, nothing.

There are a few morals I want to share from my story.

If you are contemplating suicide, there is always a choice not to. It will not go as you plan it. It is a horrifying place, and you will not just go to sleep. The thoughts haunting you are real, but they are not fact.

I am telling my story today and will continue to do so every day because there are people who go through this every minute. It could be you, the person sitting next to you, your father, brother, friend, or partner. I want to help save all of these souls suffering in silence. I can not reach them all yet, but I can reach you, and I hope you took something from my story.



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