By Kristy Crill
“Would you know my name, if I saw you in Heaven? Would it be the same, if I saw you in Heaven? I must be strong and carry on, cause I know I don’t belong, here in Heaven…..”Eric Clapton, “Tears in Heaven”
It was a sunny Thursday afternoon when my plan came together. A normal day, for most it
seemed, when I walked into Sam’s Club and bought the biggest bottle of Tylenol PM I could put my hands on. Normally during that time of my life, I would have never spent so much on one thing at a store, because, as was so often the norm, we were in need. Poverty just an inch north of homelessness, and lack was the way we existed, and, as is so often the case in those scenarios, desperate and bad choices followed closely behind. Was poverty the reason I decided on that day, definitively, that the world and especially those closest to me, would truly be better off if I simply went away? No, it was not the reason, but merely one of the symptoms of a long battle raging inside me that began when I was in college at nineteen years old. Now, I know that battle was real and consuming and damning and treatable, and it’s name is manic depression.
I didn’t tell a soul what I was about to do, nor did I consider the Sovereignty of my Maker and my God when I began getting each and every one of those pills into my body. It was not peaceful or easy getting them down, but I was determined, so down they went. Some of what happened next in the hours to follow is still a blur, but I do vividly remember the projectile vomit, the unbelievable pain that I did not expect, the ambulance ride, the charcoal going in for the stomach pump followed by tubes and blood, the police officer in the room writing the report that would force mental health treatment to a point if I survived, and the being taken somewhere in the hospital in quite a rush and then darkness. I remember the anger and overwhelming sense of failure and panic when I woke up in intensive care in the hospital with a stranger in my room who, as it turns out, was there to watch over me as I was in danger and a danger to myself. I remember the day that the medical doctor dropped my chart, smiled, scratched his head, and told us that he really had no idea how I was even still here and that my survival defied science and all medical reasoning. From there, I was transported to a mental facility that felt more like a punishment than the help I needed. For me, the moment I woke up and the days and weeks and even years that followed were not the epiphany of light and hope that you would imagine. Suicide was not my first stop into darkness and surviving did not sling shot me into honesty about my problems and joy that I was still around. I can say that, looking back, I was very aware from the moment I woke up that God was with me, and I was being held and loved. I could write a novel about the years that followed, the further bad choices until long term treatment was first forced, and then became my choice, and what it took for me to arrive at this place where I know healing, prosperity, success, the value of treatment that doesn’t always come in the pretty package we wish for, the beautiful grace of God and a thankfulness for my life and life in general that fuels me to do what I do every day and live a life of character and purpose.
Because of grace, I am the founder of The Dive Savannah, a board member of Truett
McConnell University, I hold a seat on the advisory panel for Bank of America, and I am an
ordained minister with a national clergy license and credentials that allow me to minister and give hope in the some of the very places I have been and could easily go again without the help of medication and continued humble transparency about my truth.
Suidice threats should always be taken seriously. Protocols exist for a reason and should be
followed with great responsibility. But for me, it wasn’t what I said but what I didn’t say out of shame and humiliation that consumed me and led to my attempted demise. As it turns out, it wasn’t what was happening outside of me but what was raging within me that was my problem the whole time. I am a product and proof that the mania of today can be tomorrow’s brilliance, clarity, and victory.
It’s been a decade since that fateful Thursday afternoon, nine years since my second failed attempt, and seven years since one single suicidal thought, seven years since I have missed a single dose of medication I will take for the rest of my life, seven years since I
decided to stop hurting the people that love me and that are better off because I am in the world and seven years since one single manic depressive episode, and I hope to live a long long time to be an old old woman surrounded by evidence of a healed life well lived in service to others.
HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIDE!!!!! I was all but dead for years, and if I came through it, then anyone can. Thank you for the grace!
Kristy Crill is the owner of the Dive Savannah, a business specializing in catering for events and to-go meals. The Dive Savannah is driven by outreach. Not only can you find them giving out meals Wednesday-Saturday but they also provide street level advocacy and “We go to them” mobile office services in areas of need all around the city. They offer meals and a hand up to anyone looking for help. The Dive is also a vocal and active supporter of Fight the War Within Foundation and other nonprofit organizations in the area.