Evan Dalen

I Fell 11 Stories And It Completely Changed My Life For The Better

By

Last summer, the most unimaginable thing happened to me. I was drunk and somehow survived falling 11 stories off a high-rise apartment building.

I made a full recovery and now have no permanent damage.

I will never know exactly what happened because I have absolutely no memory of the entire day of the falling or the day before.

The police report says they didn't even know what to call this.

I do know I was in a very unhealthy, two-year relationship that desperately needed to end.

A suicide attempt has become the explanation easiest to understand. My family, therapist and I have chosen to call it “my accident” because that is what it was.

It was not something I had planned to do or ever considered doing prior. This terrible relationship wore me down, not just emotionally but also physically.

I was the skinniest I'd ever been, and I am pretty petite to begin with.

I had constant anxiety, to the point where it felt like something was always wrong and my muscles were almost always clenched.

I lost who I was; I made pleasing him a priority in my life. I didn't trust him at all, and he didn't bother with ever trying to make me feel secure.

Instead, he insisted on going out every Friday and Saturday night, claiming he worked so hard all week and was owed a night out.

I would always tag along because I didn't understand what was drawing him to the bar. I didn't trust him to be out of my sight.

I'd never caught him cheating, but in the beginning of our relationship, he did cheat on me and always claims he did it because we hadn't established clear boundaries yet.

And, of course, he was drunk and at a bar.

I had been his friend for two years before we started dating, so I was very aware of his drunken hookups and slew of girls he kept on call.

Heck, I was one of his drunken hookups. After that happened, we decided to date instead of continuing to be “just friends."

Dating him was never easy. I had to adapt to his insane work schedule (3 am to 2 pm M-F, and most weekend mornings), and the fact that he grew up extremely privileged and never knew what it was like to work for anything.

He worked for his family business, and his job always came before me. That was clear from the start, but still wasn't easy to get used to.

He would constantly work from his phone all hours of the day; he would even get texts from customers at 1 or 2 am in the morning.

I had never seen someone so attached to his cell phone as he was.

I was kind of the third wheel to the relationship he had with his phone.

I would tell him I never felt important, but he would either blow me off or tell me what he thought I wanted to hear.

My problems were my own, and I was left to deal with them.

So I think you get it.

This relationship was horrible and I regret how long I stayed in it, but the few times I would try to end things, he would always convince me I needed him and would talk me back into staying with him.

The week this terrible thing happened to me, I was having horrible anxiety about going to his friend's wedding because one of his old hookups was a bridesmaid, and I knew it was going to make me feel insecure.

We got in a horrible fight the night before the wedding.

I called my mom that morning. I filled her in on the fight and kept saying how I didn't want to go at all.

She offered to come and pick me up and was trying to convince me not to go.

His parents were already coming to pick me up for the ceremony, since he was standing up in the wedding.

I tried to tell him I wasn't sure about going, and his response was something along the lines of it being embarrassing if I didn't show up, and he had forgotten to bring socks and needed to me bring him some.

He and I hadn't resolved anything from the night before (which was typical for us), and the amount of anxiety I was experiencing was beyond anything I had felt before.

I was prescribed a very small dose of Xanax (.25 mg) and had taken maybe two or three throughout that day.

I decided to ignore my gut feeling, and my mom, and suck it up. I even bought him new socks while I was at the mall getting my hair and makeup done.

Not listening to myself or my mom is something I will always regret.

Something inside of me was trying to tell me not to go, but I just did want he wanted me to do.

I was always aiming to please him, but this time it almost killed me.

We went back to his apartment after the wedding, and he decided to go straight to bed.

I decided to grab a bottle of red wine and drink it on his balcony by myself.

I do vaguely remember being so upset and hurt he would choose to go straight to bed instead of spending some alone time with me.

This was pretty common in our relationship, due to his strange work hours, so he would always be very tired (but never too tired to go out drinking).

I think after the big fight from the night before, I was just sick of the way I was being treated. Obviously, the Xanax and alcohol did not help with this either.

I later found out I scribbled some thoughts down on a piece of paper.

I have no memory of this, and while it sounds like a suicide note, it wasn't addressed to anyone specific and just said in a few sentences of I was feeling at the moment.

The events that followed have changed my life forever.

There was a railing around his balcony that probably was up to my elbow, so there was no way I could have fallen off. Plain and simple, I jumped off.

It's even hard for me to write that because it's not something I thought through, or even knew I was thinking about doing before those few short minutes.

I was black-out drunk, very upset and this was the outcome.

I fell from the 11th floor and somehow landed on a small theater located next door that luckily had plastic shingles. This saved my life.

Landing on plastic instead of concrete is how I managed to walk away from this with no internal damage, only broken bones.

Don't get me wrong; the broken bones were painful and I was in two casts up to my knees on both legs for a few months.

I know how lucky I am to still be alive.

I had an amazing team of doctors and nurses at the hospital who saved my life. I am now able to go for short runs.

I have made a full physical recovery, and am just starting to be able to process this all emotionally.

Sometimes, the emotional aspect feels harder than learning how to walk again, but I have been able to keep a positive outlook.

A lot of my friends have a hard time understanding what happened and I am right there with them. I just woke up like this in the hospital one day.

Now, me ever drinking again is a very touchy subject. No one wants to see me drunk, in fear that I could hurt myself again, and I completely get that.

Of course, that is the last thing that I ever want to happen.

I am trying my best to put the pieces of my life back together, and learning how to live a life after a traumatic accident.

I do not talk to my ex-boyfriend at all anymore. I actually broke up with him in the hospital once I began to understand what had happened.

At one point while he was visiting me in the hospital, he mentioned to my parents he had no clean clothes because I wasn't there to do his laundry. He actually said that. Out loud.

I also have no need to take Xanax anymore. After I severed ties with him, the anxiety just seemed to disappear.

I am so thankful my story has a happy ending because I know how much worse it could have been.

I am still recovering, which is something I have to sometimes remind myself of. Even though I feel normal, my body went through a lot of trauma.

It has been a little over one year, and I have been able to make so much progress. I am happy with myself, and go to bed every night feeling good about the choices I was able to make that day.

The best thing I can do now is just take life one day at a time because you have no idea what can happen. This was that last thing I ever saw coming.

I was able to find inner strength I had never seen before.

Life got hard for me, as it does for everyone, and the only thing I can do now is move on and learn from my mistakes.