*Content Warning: This piece contain a reference to suicide, which may be triggering to some.*
“God dammit, how did I end up here?!?”
I beat my fists against the steering wheel of my Jeep. This storm came out of nowhere, and now I’m trying to drive through it. Trying to make my way home.
“It feels like I’ve been driving forever. My phone hardly has any battery left. It’s dark outside. How am I ever going to get through this one? I’ve battled blizzards before, but this…”
Sobbing, feeling the fear creep in, I wipe the tears away on my sleeve. Looking around all I see is black. Black and a ferocious storm.
Whispering to myself I ask again, “how did I get here?”
I know the answer to that of course, but I’m ignoring it. I’ve been in this for what feels like hours? Days? Weeks? I’ve lost all track of time and direction. The road vanished awhile ago; I’m going off pure instinct now. But even that is starting to wane.
“I should stop. There’s no way I can make it through this.” Feeling defeated, I start to slow the Jeep down, getting ready to pull over and call it quits.
I’m almost at a complete stop when my phone rings. Surprised, I hit the gas instead of the brake and start moving again.
“What the hell are you doing?!?!”
“You never mind that! Answer me, what the hell are you doing?”
I start sobbing, “It’s this damn storm! It’s too strong and I can’t seem to break through it! Dad I’ve been driving for hours! Please! I need to stop!”
“Don’t you dare stop you understand me! I know you’re scared, but you’re smart. You know this road like no other. You keep that Jeep, keep going and don’t give me ‘no never mind.’ I raised you better then that.”
Now he’s pissing me off. “Oh ya you’re one to talk! You’re not the one driving in this crap! You’re not that one having to do this all alone!”
“Oh you think so, eh? Trust me girl, I’ve been in storms like this before. Know what I did? Kept going. Kept driving. Remember what you promised?”
“Good! Now get that little bugger back up to speed. The storm will clear soon, just need to be patient.”
He sighs, putting his own rage and fear aside. He’s only acting this way because he wants me safe, but he could be a little less harsh about it. Of course, that’s never been dad’s way with me. Blunt and to the point — that’s mine and his style.
“Look kitten, you’re going to face many storms. Winter isn’t over yet and you know more will follow this one. But remember, once you face the worst of the worst, the others will be easier to navigate. I know it’s tough now. I know you’re scared. I know all you want is to stop. But you can’t. Make it through this kitten and I promise you, there won’t be a single storm you can’t get through. You’re not just any young woman on this road, you are my daughter, a Yacyshyn. That alone gives you more power then you can possibly imagine. Trust Dad, he knows.”
He’s not wrong.
Taking a couple deep breathes, I wipe more tears away. I grip my steering wheel a little tighter as I push on the accelerator.
The snow fall has started to ease and the road in front of me is slowly coming back into view.
Sniffling I say, “I think I’m almost out Dad. Should be home soon.”
“Good. I’ll leave you to it. Drive safe my daughter, I love you.”
“Love you too.”
Sitting at the dinning table I blink away tears. It’s a beautiful day in May, warm sun streams through the big picture window of the living room.
In my right hand I hold a kitchen knife. I can feel the cold bite of the steel on my skin. Any more pressure and it’ll draw blood.
I glance at my father’s urn of ashes sitting on the mantel.
“I’ll keep going, just like I promised.”
Taking three deep, meaningful breathes I remove the knife. Rising on shaky legs, I slowly make my way to the kitchen and return the knife to its place.
My dog Sheena is at my feet the moment she hears me leave the kitchen. She senses my tension and knows the best cure for it.
“Come on Sheena! Let’s go for that car ride! It’s far too nice a day to be stuck in the house, and I’m craving a latte. Maybe we’ll call one of the girls and see if they want to join us.”
With a mighty bark my fluffy girl races to the door.
As I put myself together to go and head for the door, I pause. Looking at my dad’s ashes once more.
“The storm didn’t take me Dad, I made it home.”
It’s taken me four years to tell this story. This was my first, and last, brush with self harm and suicide. My dad dying was the first domino to fall and cause the chain reaction. I lost more then just my father, but was losing my mind.
And the worse part? I was hiding it from everyone I knew. I’ve done plenty of healing in the last four years. This journey has been uncomfortable. It’s brought up emotions and memories I’ve had locked in boxes for more then 20 years. It’s smashed every single wall I’ve every built and left me exposed. Every fear has been faced in some form or another, and new ones rise from the depths even today.
Healing from trauma is not an overnight venture. You must be prepared to face the demons you know, and the ones you didn’t know you had. You will make it an inch, then feel like someone has shoved you back a mile.
There is no right or wrong way to healing. There is no guidebook, no map, no app that can make you follow the path of healing. The only one who can make it happen is you. As scary as it is to face all you are, it is possible.
For those battling thoughts of suicide, I beg you please reach out for help. Call a hotline, phone a friend/family member, speak with a trusted manager/co worker, seek out professional help. You deserve to live and experience all this life is.
You can beat the storm.
Harness was built on the premise of support and community; including those that may be struggling in ways that others can’t see. Here are some resources in case you need them, today or in the future.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Suicide Prevention Online Resources: https://
Better Help Online Counseling & Therapy: https://www.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America — Find Help: https://adaa.org/