In the mid-nineties I sat on my living room floor listening to the same song repeatedly, convinced my family, my friends, and my toddler son were better off wothout me.
I attempted to take my own life that night, saved only by a very soft, distant yet persistent voice in my head that said “you have to keep fighting”.
Miraculously, some deeply hidden part of me woke up and heard that voice. I picked up the phone, barely able to move, and called my own ambulance. I am forever grateful that they made it to me in time.
My memory therafter is very fuzzy with medications, shock treatments, and numerous hospital stays. But, that moment sitting alone on my living room floor, will forever be stamped in the forefront of my mind.
In that very moment my entire life passed right before my eyes. My mind screamed for relief from the internal pain I struggled with daily. I wanted, needed, the pain to end. There was only one way I could imagine shutting off my mind and alleviating my family of the pain watching my mental and emotional state deteriorating quickly.
I never want anyone to be in that moment.
Since that day I have progressively grown into a woman who lives with Bipolar Disorder versus the girl who struggled with mental illness.
One of the many important coping skills I have found and worked into my life is running. I have said before and I will say it again, running has saved my life.
In 2015 I ran my very first marathon to benefit the Samaritans Suicide Prevention Organization. I ran in honor of my friend’s sister who took her life at a very young age. I also ran for her Mother who I befriended , who later also lost her life to suicide. I ran for them. I ran for their family. I ran for friends , family, strangers- myself- everyone affected by suicide. And , yes, there are a lot of us.
I wanted to help those finding themselves feeling as I did that night, on my living room floor-HOPE for a better day- HOPE for finding peace in this life- HOPE to find coping skills and strength to reach out for help....and ultimately, to raise funds so the Samaritans could be there when they called out for support.
I am honored to find myself once again running for all of us affected by mental illness and suicide to raise awareness and funds to help those in need.
Though sharing my story is never easy, i will continue to do so- my Mom was once told while I was struggling that I would make it through because I could help people by sharing my story. I have been inspired by so many men and women who share their stories of pushing through barriers every day, and I am humbled to be able to share mine with the HOPE of helping others along the way.
It has taken me years to figure out how to not let my past haunt me and how to not allow my Bipolar Disorder to rule my world. But there are times I still find myself in need of support, falling a bit behind, requiring my village to join forces and carry me through. But knowing I am doing something that could help others to find the help they need drives me to keep fighting and stay focused.
I would be delighted if you would join me and support the Samaritans and the amazing work they do every day.
Thank you 🤘
Michelle “Mo” Wheeler
Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Daughter, Friend, Runner, Ironman and Suicide Attempt Survivor
You can help save lives by supporting me on the 2019 Samaritans’ Marathon Team today.
Trained volunteers listen day and night offering support to people who are struggling or feeling suicidal on our call or text Helpline.
Our SafePlace meetings and Survivor to Survivor visits help those who have lost a loved one to suicide deal with the unique grief of a suicide loss.
Samaritans’ free Suicide Prevention Workshops - in schools, businesses, and community groups - teach teens and adults how to recognize that someone might be suicidal and how to help themselves, a friend, classmate, or co-worker.
To learn more about Samaritans and suicide prevention, visit samaritanshope.org.
Feeling hopeless? We're here to listen. Call or text 877-870-HOPE (4673).