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Caitlin Coleman

is a suicide attempt survivor.
this is her story

Caitlin Coleman

is a suicide attempt survivor.

"I survived a suicide attempt."

Caitlin Coleman’s suicide attempt and subsequent coma resulted in nodes on her vocal chords and nerve damage to her arm—a hard way to go for a vocalist/pianist. She was 29 years old when I interviewed her in New York, NY, on September 26, 2012. Below, we discuss the way we use language in the context of suicide:

Now I feel like I’m at a really good, functional point in my life.

Caitlin Coleman is a suicide attempt survivor.Are there things I would change? Yes. Are there things that I’m still fearful of? Yes.

But I want to speak to people, and I Googled “suicide survivors,” thinking I would talk to people like me, and that’s not [what I found]. It’s people whose families have been affected by it, which I think is still really important, but I just think people have so many averse reactions to it. They blame themselves but they also blame the victim, which is interesting.

I think the use of the word “commit” is also interesting, because it’s not like you do a suicide or you have a suicide. You have to commit suicide and it’s like you’ve committed a crime or a murder or a robbery.

Dese’Rae: That’s what the prevention community is trying to change. That’s the [societally] accepted terminology. Now they say that you “attempt” and you “complete.” And even for me, it’s ingrained. I say, “Oh, so and so committed suicide,” and it’s like, wait, you know?

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About Live Through This
Live Through This is a series of portraits and true stories of suicide attempt survivors. Its mission is to change public attitudes about suicide for the better; to reduce prejudice and discrimination against attempt survivors; to provide comfort to those experiencing suicidality by letting them know that they’re not alone and tomorrow is possible; to give insight to those who have trouble understanding suicidality, and catharsis to those who have lost a loved one; and to be used as a teaching tool for clinicians in training, or anyone else who might benefit from a deeper understanding of first-person experiences with suicide.
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Tax-deductible donations are made possible by Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization, which sponsors Live Through This. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Live Through This must be made payable to Fractured Atlas only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Please Stay
If you’re hurting, afraid, or need someone to talk to, please reach out to one of the resources below. Someone will reach back. You are so deeply valued, so incomprehensibly loved—even when you can’t feel it—and you are worth your life.
Find Help

You can reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. Trans Lifeline is at 877-565-8860 (U.S.) or 877-330-6366 (Canada). The Trevor Project is at 866-488-7386. If you’d like to talk to a peer, contains links to warmlines in every state. If you’re not in the U.S., click here for a link to crisis centers around the world. If you don’t like talking on the phone, you can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.

NOTE: Many of these resources utilize restrictive interventions, like active rescues (wellness or welfare checks) involving law enforcement or emergency services. If this is a concern for you, you can ask if this is a possibility at any point in your conversation. Trans Lifeline does not implement restrictive interventions for suicidal people without express consent. A warmline is also less likely to do this, but you may want to double-check their policies.

Live Through This is dedicated to the lives of so many friends and family members lost to suicide over the years. If you would like to add the name of a loved one to this list, please email me.
Live Through This is dedicated to the lives of so many friends and family members lost to suicide over the years. If you would like to add the name of a loved one to this list, please email me.