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I chose life!

For many months, I have debated whether I am strong enough to share the most vulnerable and dark time in my life. As I get closer to home, I understand it is in my integrity to do so.

For many years during my marriage, I struggled with suicidal thoughts. My biggest challenge was keeping myself alive. Hiking with my dog was my lifesaver. My own pain from losing my mom at an early age allowed me to focus on my responsibilities as a mother to Adi and Ron.

I was seeing a therapist, and her wisdom helped me on many issues. However, I still kept my biggest secret locked inside of me from her.

She learned that I follow through with what I say. She knew I was serious about committing suicide. She asked me to please give her one last chance if I ever come to the point of going through with it. I promised her I would, and that promise saved my life.

I always knew that if I would take my life it would be on a one-way hike. One Thursday in mid-July 2016, this plan was quickly changed as desperation took over me.

I was driving back from my usual ride to Trader Joe's, and was choking on my own depression. I was very quickly and rapidly sinking. I didn't care anymore about Adi or Ron; I didn't care about anything. The sweet taste of death seemed like a delicious solution to end the pain in my heart. As I got closer to my exit, I found myself to be the only one on the road. It is very unusual for Route 17 to be empty at eight-thirty in the morning. I press on the gas pedal with a clear mind to smash into the overpass of Franklin Turnpike. My speed is increasing faster than ever. I almost reached 100 miles per hour (in a 55 MPH speed limit) when my promise to Joyce entered my front lobe and I let go of the gas pedal.

Shaken by the experience, I called Joyce right away. I also called my doctor and asked to be put on an antidepressant medication.

When I saw Joyce, she said one sentence that changed my life. She said, "Gila, you made a decision seventeen years ago. Maybe it is time to make another decision." I knew right away what I needed to do.

I returned home to ask for a divorce. For many years, I honestly thought I had a chemical imbalance that made me feel unstable. Since I never shared with anyone the trauma that my ex's actions created in me, I couldn't get the support and understanding I needed.

As I made the announcement to my husband, in a matter of seconds (and I am not kidding), a huge weight left my body and a burst of life entered my heart. There was still a long road to healing for me. Two years later, I reached out to the NY hotline, which provided me with a therapist focusing on my trauma. Lauren was a great source of support and provided me with great tools to find the light at the end of the tunnel.

There were times on my journey, especially when my view took my breath away, and my heart was so content that I had to pinch myself to ensure this was all real. The simple understanding of how wonderful life is and how close I was to losing it all encouraged me to share my story with you.

Here is my most important point. I chose life; I chose to make a difference in my life. I chose to make the most of life and I took a dream and made it a reality.

Please don't let anyone else take away the gift we are all blessed and privileged to have...LIFE.

Bullying and abuse are someone else's pain reflecting on you. It is not a second measurement of yourself. I did clean out all the toxic people in my life. It was not an easy decision, but it was the right one for me.

Please give yourself the life that you deserve. It's in your hands to make it or break it. Please don't let that voice in your head take it away from you. Please reach out for help and create your own journey of love and happiness.

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