Story of my Suicide Racconto il mio tentato suicidio Meine Suizid Geschichte Viktor Staudt KRO

Uploaded by VidarHD on 23.11.2012

Goodevening all. My name is Viktor Staudt
and at November 12 1999, I jumped in front of a train.
I wanted to commit suicide and because of that I lost my legs.
Actually, 'jumping' is not the right word.
It's more like I let myself fall, standing at the edge of the platform
just before a highspeed train would pass.
After I regained consciousness in the hospital my mom told me
the train had run over me
and because of that, my legs were gone.
Shortly after, I developped so-called 'phantom pains'. Pain in the missing limbs.
Those pains are chronic pains.
It's like I'm wearing shoes that are two sizes too small.
Twentyfour hours a day.
Why does someone jump in front of a train?
How can it be that I am cheerful, smiling actually
while suffering from chronic pain?
Apparently, it's possible and besides, not everything is what it seems.
During my grammar school years, in class I didn't laugh.
The female teacher once asked my mom:
Does Viktor know how to laugh? Outside class I did laugh though,
but in class I've always been concentrated and focussed.
Maybe I just wanted to get good grades?
Or maybe I was suffering from performance anxiety
therefore incapable of having fun?
Was it the very first sign of depression, that would develop later on?
During puberty, right after grammar school,
I couldn't speak up in class anymore.
I stuttered and not just a little!
Perhaps that's difficult to believe now.
Being powerless is what grabs you.
Why can't I speak anymore? What can I do about it?
Questions that remained unanswered.
Only while being surrounded by darkness, I felt calm.
With raised legs I sat on top of the stairs at home
the only way to find some peace.
Now I realise that I was suffering from borderline personality disorder.
In layman's terms: something went wrong as my personality was developping
therefore, part of the software in my head isn't working right.
One of the symptoms displays a very low self-esteem.
In my case that lead to performance anxiety and later on, stuttering and anxiety attacks.
Not a pretty story.
An example: when I met a friend at the supermarket, first thing I thought of
was how to get out of here, asap. If I failed to get out
within seconds I would start sweating.
Excessive swaeting, like a bucket of water had been poured over me
all over my body.
Same thing as I sat down at the hairdresser's
to get my hair cut.
Ok, now that problem resolved itself...
As well I couldn't go to a bar, a restaurant or to the movies
without sensing this constant threat of fear
that was about to explode any moment now, sweating buckets
so people asked me even if I needed a doctor!
You feel desperate, because you don't know what is happening
And powerless because you cannot seem to do anything about it.
My fear was like an 'invisible enemy'
that forced me to get up and walk away
everytime something good or nice was happening to me.
On top of that, I got afraid of the fear!
Another known symptom of this disorder: I wasn't able to commit.
As soon as somebody liked me or found me attractive even,
I already prepared myself to be abandoned by this same person.
I understood this wasn't normal. I mean,
I understood there was no reason for me to think I'd be abandoned,
yet it felt that way!
My body reacted accordingly: an anxiety-attack followed.
I started sweating excessive, I had to get up and go.
I felt alone and miserable
yet I didn't want to quit fighting the invisible enemy.
I was convinced I felt miserable because of the anxiety attacks.
Only years after I tried to commit suicide, a doctor told me it's the other way around:
the anxiety attacks were being caused by depression.
I wasn't depressed because of the anxiety-attacks, the attacks were caused by depression.
And all that time I never thought I could be depressed.
Being depressed I thought, meant doing nothing, lying in bed all the time
or drinking hard liquor all day long?
That wasn't me! On the contrary, I'd decided to fight the invisible enemy.
by staying in shape, eating healthy, working-out,
not giving up, no matter how thick the fog around me got.
I made myself strong, literally, hoping the fog would lessen,
waiting for better times to come.
Instead the fog around me only got thicker and thicker.
You could say that by November 12th 1999
I was certain there would never be enough miles to run, never enough laps to swim.
Never enough to beat the invisible enemy.
My story isn't unique. People who suffer from the same
will understand what I am talking about.
But those who don't have experience with depression, or never heard of borderline personality disorder,
might find it difficult to imagine these kind of problems.
All changed dramatically when a physician described me
an antidepressant in 2005.
After about 2 weeks, for the first time I woke up, without this intense fear,
without asking myself how to off myself that same day, if necesssary.
Instead I realised I wanted to get out and make coffee. Such an easy thing!
I was able to smile about small things, things I hadn't been able to see at all before.
And I gathered strength to go on, baby steps.
Unfortunately not everybody finds a solution to conquer depression.
Often I receive letters from people who lost a partner, a friend, a child to suicide.
A few questions always return:
What did my partner feel those last few days?
Why didn't my friend tell me about his depression?
What did my child think about, the moment before he committed suicide?
I am asked to answer these questions, please!
It's like I've been on an airplane with that partner, friend, child
and this plane crashed and I am the only survivor.
Now everbody wants to know how it was, those last few moments.
Did it hurt, was I afraid, or not?
I wasn't afraid. Not afraid about death or pain,
though I hoped it wouldn't take too long.
And it hurt, while underneath the train, it hurt a lot!
But the pain stopped and a feeling of warmth came over me,
like ten pairs of arms embraced me at the same time.
And I thought that I was going to die after all. Thank God, it's over.
And now, 13 years later, I'm here.
I cannot answer these questions.
Just like I cannot speak for those who committed suicide
during the last few minutes, while I've been talking.
I realise my decision back then, to kill myself,
was a wrong decision.
I want to go on, despite the borderline related problems
that still exist. But one of the most important ones
the depression, has been cured.
Now that allows me to look over the other problems
instead being suppressed by them.
In The Netherlands last year 1647 committed suicide.
That is an average of 4 persons a day.
The amount of suicide attempts of course, is much higher.
Not to mention the people affected indirectly:
friends, family, relatives as well as bystanders, like a train driver.
Let's talk about all that now.
Many suicides are a result of depression
problems that a person is suffering from
not visible on the outside.
Not visible on pictures we put on Facebook or Twitter
showing a perfect world -- small flaws taken out by Photoshop.
Why do we always smile on pictures
even when we're not feeling well?
By sharing my story I would like to talk about 'depression' and 'suicide'
lifting the taboo.
And maybe there's someone outthere who recognizes
what I say and decides to do something about it now.
Only then I will have achieved my goal.
I am here now, so why not see if someone has a question.
And I'll try to answer as honest and sincere as possible.
Hello. - I'm a teacher at school
recently I had student who told me about a friend of his
who's contemplating suicide.
How can I be of help to this student and his friend?
That question of course, I will answer, but I would like
to say before, I am not a psychologist, nor a psychiatrist nor a physician.
I can only speak from my own experience.
I can tell you that in the time before my suicide attempt,
I would have appreciated it a lot,
if someone would have taken my plans seriously
to end my life. And would have listened.
Without judging, without trying to make me hold on
to something, I had already let go of before.
Thank you. - OK
I got very much respect for you, Viktor. - Thank you.
You tried to commit suicide, you wake up in the hospital,
what was the first thing you thought of: damn, I failed or grateful having survived?
And how do you feel now about trains?
Trains... Interesting zou ask me that.
To start with the first part of the question.
After woken up in the hospital. Grateful? No, definitely not!
A physician once told me, shortly after I had woken up:
You had one problem, a psychological one, now you got a physical one as well.
Perhaps you'd think, but you're grateful to be alive?
No, you're decisive and convinced of your idea.
It's not like waking up in a hospital, in a condition that is even worse
you get to think that you're happy to be alive still.
On the contrary, you just want to get out, as soon as possible.
I hope you understand, eventhough the answer may be a bit unpleasant.
And what about me and trains? That's a funny one.
I like to travel by train though.
At first I avoided trains all together.
The first few years, you cannot get into a train just like that.
I think that's understandable.
And still, everytime I see this highspeed train,
I realize: 'That one once ran over me.' - Yes.
For instance when I'm in my car, waiting at a rail crossing
looking at the size of the wheels of a train,
I think like: 'Wow!'
I can talk about that now, it's been 13 years now.
I'm not afraid or so of trains,
but I'll never forget it. - Thank you.
My name is Jo and I sent you a few emails. I lost my husband to suicide 10 years ago.
It's great that you are here.
I had a question prepared for you, all last week long,
but you've answered it already. But I want to say this:
Thank you for being still alive.
It's absolutely terrific that you're here.
I remember our emails very well.
I got lots of emails and I do try to answer everyone personally at least once.
Again, it's great that you are here. I know your story. Thank you for coming.