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Melody Moezzi

is a suicide attempt survivor.
this is her story

Melody Moezzi

is a suicide attempt survivor.

"I survived a suicide attempt."

Melody Moezzi is an Iranian-American lawyer, writer, and human rights advocate in Raleigh, NC. She lives with bipolar disorder and attempted suicide when she was 25. She maintains a weekly blog for Bipolar Magazine and has written for the New York Times and CNN, among others. Her memoir, Haldol and Hyacinths, was published in July 2014. It’s an amazing story of bipolarity in culture and mind. Melody was one of the first people to believe in Live Through This and agreed to share her story back when I had nothing but an idea. She was 34 years old when I interviewed her on August 18, 2013, and ended up being the 50th person I interviewed.

I’m a human rights activist, first and foremost.

Melody Moezzi is a suicide attempt survivor.Everything that I’ve done since I was a kid, in terms of what’s been important to me, has been activism–whether it’s for Muslims or it’s for Iranians or LGBT rights or for people who are mentally ill.

The thing about the mentally ill is [that] I had never been familiar with that community until I was diagnosed and went into the hospital and realized that this is an incredibly vulnerable community that is so silent and is not some tiny minority of people. You’re talking 25 percent of the population in a given year. 50 percent of people in their lifetime will have a mental illness. It’s not some tiny minority of people, but they’re so fucking quiet about it, and that was the thing that really pissed me off when I went into the hospital and realized that.

One of the stories that I think is really indicative is, I was in a hospital in Ohio and it was… 2008 was the election, and so I was very excited. Everybody had this Obama mania, and I was manic. At the time, I thought I was a high-level advisor to President Obama, so I was very excited for him to win. Anyway, there was a gentleman on the floor who had been a Vietnam vet–I had already voted early, so it wasn’t an issue for me–but he was a vet and he asked to vote, and one of the nurses laughed at him. You can’t do that. That’s illegal. You can’t take someone’s right to vote away because they have a mental illness or because they’re hospitalized.

Witnessing something like that, knowing that what she was doing was illegal–and then, on top of it, the humiliation of laughing at somebody who’d served his country and part of the reason he was there was because of what he’d gone through–it really pissed me off. It made me realize that we don’t get a vote in so much. That’s just one example, and it happens to a lot of people…

I’ve never seen that kind of discrimination plus humiliation. The thing about stigma is there’s general societal stigma and then there’s the stigma within the mental health community, [which] is a lot worse, in my experience. You would think it wouldn’t be. There was a study in the UK awhile back about how, over time, societal stigma has gotten better, but within the mental health community it’s stayed the same roughly–pretty much the same–over I don’t know how many years, but that’s my experience. I’ve experienced a lot more discrimination [from medical professionals]. Can you imagine laughing at somebody who says they want to vote? It’s their most basic civil right. I think, in a way, they become immune and, in a way, they feel like they have to protect themselves, but at the same time it’s just really dehumanizing.

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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.
More Information
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.