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Tag Archives: emotional issues

Life and Death

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As you know, I have suicidal ideation. I think this gives me a different perspective on suicide and depression. I know many of my readers also struggle with this issue. And I have a few friends in real life that do as well.

One such friend, was recently going through a difficult time in his life. His relationship had ended. He was going through a vicious custody battle. He suffers from depression. And he had once been hospitalized for previously attempting suicide.

We all know that nobody kills themselves just because they are sad. Or because something bad happens in their life. The story is never so simple.

This friend confided in me that he was starting to think about suicide. That it was on his mind all the time. That it seemed like a reasonable response to what was happening in his life.

I was glad he told me. He is the first person that I have ever talked about my own suicidal ideation with. I was a relief to hear him tell me all these feelings that I myself have felt. And to know that I could speak to him from experience.

I was very concerned for his well being. He asked me to promise to not call anyone. He did not want to be Baker Acted. I made the promise. But he doesn’t know how close I came to breaking it.

I felt that being hospitalized would only make him more apt to kill himself. That does happen sometimes. But I was determined to help him.

I called him every day, multiple times a day. I let him talk for hours. I stayed up till late into the night and early morning, listening, giving him advice, sympathizing.

He came close several times. Maybe even closer than I know. Once he called me in the hopes that I could talk him out of it.

But I am happy to say that he is still with us. And he has since told me, that him being hospitalized would have been the worst thing for him. And that knowing I was available to talk any time helped. That knowing that I was there, listening, letting him feel his feelings, was more help than any doctor could have given.

I know he is not out of danger. People with suicidal ideation will always be in danger of acting upon it. I have tried to get him to go to therapy. But he has resisted.

I urge anyone that is feeling these feelings to tell someone. Talk to someone you can trust. Get help if you can. But talk if you can’t. Sometimes our feelings really are a matter of life and death.

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Visualization

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I recently finished reading a book about PTSD. This book had many visualization techniques for working through issues, calming yourself down, and dealing with anxiety. I have been in therapy for a little over a year now and I have never tried a visualization technique before.

I have tried to do guided meditations before but I found them to be both annoying and distracting. And I kind of assumed visualization exercises were similar. At best ineffective and hokey and dumb at worst.

But I was really upset a few weeks ago at something a friend had done. I was so upset I tried to call my therapist and book an emergency appointment. But she wasn’t answering.

So I decided to do the least hokey visualization to try to calm down. And that was imagining that my emotions were on a dial from 1-10. First you decide where you are on the dial and why. Then you decide if that’s an appropriate emotional response. And if it isn’t, you try to figure out how to change or lower it.

I decided I was a 5 mad at my friend for what he did and I was an 8 mad at myself for allowing him to do what he had done.

But then I started thinking about all he has been through lately. And I decided being a 5 mad at him was a little too harsh. He has had a tough time. So I lowered it to a 3. And I imagined physically rotating the dial from a 5 to a 3.

So then I started wondering how much sense it made to be so mad at myself when I didn’t even actually do anything wrong. Except give someone a chance. So I decided I couldn’t be MORE mad at myself than I was at him. So I imagined physically rotating the second dial from an 8 to a 3.

I was shocked at how much better I immediately felt. I don’t know if it was because I was logically picking apart my feelings which helped to calm me down, or if it was the visualization.

But it was one of those things I also didn’t want to try to examine too closely. If there was magic involved I didn’t want to see the explanations behind it. It worked and that’s all that mattered.

I’ve used this technique a few times to calm myself down when I am upset. It has actually worked every time so far. It’s making me start to realize how useful visualization can be in recovery. Maybe I should give one of those other ones a try…

Using my voice

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One of the most important lessons that I have been trying to learn (over and over like bashing my head into a wall) is that people don’t know where I am coming from.

I don’t know why I am having such a hard time learning this. I have always disliked those girls that act like their boyfriends should read their mind.

For example:

‘I know I told him that my birthday wasn’t important and that I don’t care what he gets me. But he should really know that it’s actually a big deal.”

Ladies, no offense, but that is so idiotic and illogical. If something is important then you need to say it is important.

Another time my sister told me ‘It’s unromantic to have to tell someone what to get you.”

Really? Is it less romantic than being upset and disappointed and not getting what you actually want? You have a voice. Use it.

And yet, I seem to expect people to read my mind about certain things too. Like, people should know to not make rape jokes around me. But honestly, other than it being in extremely poor taste, why would someone know?

I’m not handing out business cards with it printed on them. I don’t have a ‘I was raped’ t-shirt or tattoo.

If someone does something that I don’t like, my first instinct is to ignore it. I figure if I let it go, they will just stop on their own. But why would they?

How can a man know I hate it when he kisses the back of my hand if I let him get away with it even one time? What part of me not bringing it up would ever clue him in?

I guess I think that I am so damaged that it is immediately noticeable to everyone I meet. But it really isn’t. My past is not written on my face, it’s not coded into my body language, it’s not a stone that I am dragging behind me.

Nobody knows my past unless I choose to tell them. Nobody knows my preferences unless I choose to tell them. And, most importantly, nobody can possibly know that they are doing that one thing that reminds me so much of one of my abusive exes.

And they don’t know that when they remind me of one of my abusive exes I totally freak out because I think it means they are going to turn out to be abusive too. But it doesn’t actually mean that. And I have dated so many men at this point, there is bound to be some overlap in some of their behaviors. The only true predictor for abuse is abusive, disrespectful behavior.

If a new guy likes eating pizza with ranch on it, it doesn’t mean he is going to turn out like the ex that also liked to do that. All it means is that he likes to eat gross things. Also, the fictitious new guy has no clue why him doing that others me so much.

And that’s why I need to start explaining to people where I am coming from.

Coin Vortex

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Sometimes lately I think my depression is getting worse.But then I look back on my life and my past. And I know it isn’t.

The episodes are starting to happen more frequently. That may be because I am actually allowing myself to feel things now. But now, the depression feels different.

It feels like it is going on behind a pane of glass. I observe it happening, and in the observing I am affected. But in a way, I am not. I see what is going on. I name it. I recognize it.

I never did that before. I couldn’t see what I was feeling while I was feeling it. And naming it does take away it’s power for me. After so many years of feeling broken and defective. I’m glad I can recognize it and react to my thoughts.

I feel like my depression has become self aware. It knows it’s time is growing short. And that’s why it’s trying so hard. It’s in it’s death throes, grasping desperately to claim a hold over me again.

I’m starting to liken it to a penny in one of those coin vortex wishing wells. I love those things. And I love the noise they make. I’d have one in my house. But that is besides the point.

The coin starts out going relatively slowly. As it makes smaller and smaller circles it speeds up and gets louder and louder. Each revolution gets smaller and smaller until it drops down into the pit below.

Only in this scenario, the pit is being free from depression. Which is where I hope I am heading.

Lying to Myself

My brain doesn’t know when to stop lying to me. I’ve never been a good liar. And I guess my brain isn’t either.

When I get depressed, it starts out mild:

You are alone. And I think, well, that’s true.

You keep fucking everything up. And I think, maybe not everything. But it is hard to argue with that. I’ve made a lot of mistakes.

You’ll never find someone. And I think, well, I’m not sure if that’s true. But I’ve proven to be terrible at predicting my own future.

You’re ugly and awful and stupid. And I think, I may be unattractive (and awful). But despite having done my share of stupid things, I am not stupid.

You should kill yourself. And sometimes I think I should, and sometimes I think I shouldn’t.

You’re unhappy. And I think, I am unhappy right now in this moment. Maybe it’s because you are telling me awful things, brain.

You are always going to feel this way. And I think, now you’ve gone too far, brain. I have an excellent memory. And I KNOW I won’t always feel this way. Because I don’t always feel this way. You are a liar. And you can’t trust anything a liar says. You’ve probably been lying about everything. I don’t know why you do that, brain. But you’ve been caught. It’s time to stop now.

And it does for a little while. Until the next time. But luckily, my brain doesn’t know when to quit. It always takes things too far.

Postcards

I know I thought I was done with it, but I have been thinking about suicide a lot lately. I have been feeling pretty depressed. I don’t know if it is the time of year, or the book I have been reading about suicide.

I just keep thinking about how awful my year was last year. And how alone I am. Not just alone for the holidays that have passed, but alone in general.

I’m single. And I’d be okay with being single if I had a family that was close, or reliable, or just not bad people. But I don’t have that.

And I’d be okay with being single and having an awful family, if I had really good, reliable friends. But I don’t have that either.

Most of my friends are good people. But they also have their own problems. And they don’t really have much time for me.

I keep wishing I could just throw my depression and feelings back into that locked room in my head. And I can. But that’s not what this past year has been about. All this stuff was so much easier to deal with when I wasn’t dealing with it.

I know this suicide stuff is just my brain malfunctioning again. I feel so detached from it sometimes now. The suicidal ideation comes and I know it isn’t me that wants that. And I think “Here are my thoughts of suicide, but I already know I want to be alive.”

And then I tell myself that my brain is lying to me again. And eventually I start feeling better. As intense as my suicidal ideation is sometimes, I also feel like it is happening somewhere far away.

Like my brain is sending me postcards from Europe. Usually they are happy and upbeat. Sometimes they are deep and philosophical. Other times they are amusing or interesting. And, a few, times a year, they are depressed and suicidal.

But those postcards don’t compel me to act in any way. I can just read them. Think about them. And then continue on with my life. Thinking of it that way is really helpful.

Crying x2

I feel like my parents have really taken away my ability to have a satisfying cry. I hear other people say how crying can be a release.

Not in my experience. I know I probably feel this way because my parents used to punish me for crying. But that doesn’t make me able to stop beating myself up for it.

I feel like I am weak when I cry. I feel idiotic and childish. I feel like a total wuss that can’t manage my own emotions. I feel like I am not a grown up.

So not only am I upset about whatever is making me cry. But I am totally beating myself up the entire time.

I usually feel even worse if I am crying in front of someone else. I feel like they are thinking the same thing I am thinking about myself. Even when I know they aren’t. Even though I don’t think those things about someone else when they cry in front of me.

I also beat myself up because I never think my issues are ‘bad’ enough. It’s an issue I have also discussed with my therapist. Like, maybe I don’t have ‘enough’ problems to need therapy. Or bad enough problems. And that I am just kidding myself. But my therapist has assured me that my issues are very real and bad. So that’s good. I guess.

I rarely cried at all in the past 20 years. Like, less than 20 times. Even through losing friends, getting a divorce, being abused, being raped, having surgeries, and facing my own death. And I could barely cry.

I’m starting to think that this was one of the worst things my parents ever did to me. Denying me the ability to cry. To express my emotions. To feel the release of tears. Even now, when I actually can cry.