4 Suicide-Attempt Survivors Tell Their Stories

Carlton Davis

Suicide 2

Carlton Davis is an artist and writer.

I can’t quite believe I’ve lived this long, to be honest with you. I didn’t think I was gonna make it past 30, or after that, maybe 40. It’s a miracle that I’m still here. It really is.

I remember lying in bed next to a man who did die, and I heard his death rattle throughout the night. I said, “Okay, I want to live.” I said, “I’m gonna live.”

And I made it through that. I ended up in a psychiatric part of the Yale New Haven Hospital for a while. I got out and then I got into art and design stuff. It kept my life going. But I also realized I was a person who was subjected to periods of depression, and severe depression, and cycles of great mania and excitement, and I’d stay up all night and do things. I recall reading Sylvia Plath at that time, ’cause I felt a lot like her.

This is a thing that she said that I felt sort of described my life:

“It is as if my life were magically run by two electric currents: joyous and positive and despairingly negative; whichever is running at the moment dominates my life, floods it. I’m now flooded with despair, almost hysteria, as if I were smothering.”

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