My Life: After Attempting Suicide
“I was 16 and dealing with a lot of depression and a lot of anxiety, but I didn’t know what those things were,” Benoit says. “I was so confused about the way I was feeling.”
Life felt too much to bear, and on June 7, 2017, Benoit shot herself in the chest. “By the grace of God, I’m still here,” Benoit says of surviving suicide.
The gunshot wound left her with a spinal cord injury. Initially paralyzed from the chest down, Benoit has regained her ability to walk.
“Slowly but surely by working with rehab and physical therapy and doing things around the house, things started to come back,” Benoit remembers. “Every day since that day, I’ve gotten stronger and gained more function.”
Benoit also regained the ability to drive. “That was a big milestone, getting back behind the wheel and learning how to adapt to my new disability with driving,” she says. “I drive with my hands and feet just like you. That’s a blessing.”
In addition to her physical recovery, the Geismar resident has also worked hard to improve her mental health, and she is always willing to share her journey with others.
“I live in a small community, everyone knows everyone kind of thing,” Benoit says. “There was lots of speculation and rumors and not much truth being told about what happened. I wanted people to always know the truth.”
Although it was hard to be public with her pain, Benoit says writing her blog, Life Rejuvenated, is worth it. “It takes a lot to be vulnerable, and I just went ahead and did it. Best decision I ever made.”
Through her website, she was approached by Greg Dicherry about making a documentary. The result, My Ascension, is in post-production and will be released in 2020.
The film’s title plays on the various ways in which Benoit is ascending, from the pain and darkness that led to her suicide attempt to physically ascending from her wheelchair as she recovers. It also nods to the Louisiana parish in which Benoit lives.
“The entire parish was affected by what happened,” she says. “The film shows how much one single person’s life can affect so many others.”
Benoit’s survival impacted her spiritually and she’s joined Healing Place Church. “My faith was born through this,” she says. “I was truly saved, and it’s definitely been a journey with my faith.”
This fall, Benoit began online classes at Baton Rouge Community College, which she balances with ongoing physical and occupational therapy. Benoit says she’s adjusted her outlook to stay in the moment to avoid anxiety about the future.
“Being in the present and figuring out a game plan for my life right now is what I need to focus on for my mental health,” Benoit says. “I think about the now and live in the now.”
If you’re considering harming yourself, call the National Suicide Hotline at (800) 273-8255, or text HELLO to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. Both are free, available 24/7, and confidential. ■
Des Allemands La. 70030
It’s so good to see & hear of all your achievements., your positive flow to yourself and others as well. We Love you Emma.!
Amazing story for a beautiful girl! She is very blessed and thankfully she has the chance to live and heal and help others with her story. She is a beautiful girl with a beautiful soul.