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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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Self Harm

I don’t know why, but lately I have been thinking a lot about self harm. Not in the way that I think about suicide. Thinking about suicide is soothing and abstract. It calms me down and feels like doing a brain teaser or a word puzzle.

But my thoughts of self harm are not like that. I’ll just be going about my day and a thought will seem to suddenly pop into my head. With an accompanying image.

For example: I was tweezing my eyebrows the other day. I had my face only a few inches from the mirror and found myself staring into my eye. I had the sudden, violent urge to plunge the tweezers into my own eye. Of course I didn’t. I put the tweezers down and walked away.

Then, yesterday, I was at work, walking with a pair of extremely sharp pointed scissors. As I was walking with them when I got this horrible, gory image of stabbing myself deep in the meaty tissue of my thigh.

These aren’t the only instances. Just the most recent ones. They are quite upsetting to me. I don’t know where they are coming from or why. I don’t know what is wrong with me.

I brought it up to my therapist and she compared it to my suicidal ideation, very dismissively. But I know this is totally different.

Enough

I was thinking about suicide and suicidal ideation earlier today. I was thinking about how much I actually think about suicide. And I was wondering what was honestly stopping me.

I mean, if I want to die so much all the time and I think about it so much, why don’t I just do it? For a second I thought about how much my family would miss me. But then I realized that was total bullshit. My death would genuinely not affect their lives much.

So then I really sat down and thought about what my life was actually worth. Not a whole lot, it turns out. Some people would be sad for a very short time. And then, everyone would just move on with their lives. I don’t have children. My death really wouldn’t affect anyone for life. And even if it did, they’ll be dead in 100 years too. So who cares?

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t thinking this in some emo “nothing matters and nobody cares about me” kind of way. That’s what happens when everyone dies. It’s ultimately kind of meaningless. My death would be so insignificant, it would barely have an affect on those closest to me.

So then I started wondering why I was even still alive. What is keeping me here? And then I started thinking about the thousands and thousands of things that I experience on a daily basis that I enjoy.

And I realized that I was keeping me here.

Because I totally do not want to die. At all. I just want all my problems to go away. And I know that dying is the only way that will happen.

Being alive means having problems. And I have A LOT of problems. I like to think that’s because I’m more alive than other people. Or maybe I’m more alive because I have more problems.

Maybe I have bad luck. Maybe I am doing this partly to myself because I avoided facing my past and letting all of this go.

But I do get to start choosing how much I allow my past to affect my future. This is not how I want my life to be at 30. This is not how I imagined my life. And I don’t want to realize it at 40. I don’t want to waste another 10 years stuck in the same old patterns and afraid of the same old things. Being the same old me.

I like me, most days. But I want to be better. I want to stop being so scared all the time. I want to stop worrying so much about the end result.

I want to stop obsessing over what everyone else feels and thinks and wants and I want to start obsessing over what I think and feel and want. I want to stop blaming myself for everything. I want to stop being afraid of being rejected, especially physically.

Because all these limitations I have been imposing on myself, they are actually limitations that were at one time imposed on me. By first my parents and then one abusive man after another.

I’m tired of letting all of them win. Because allowing them to continue to dictate my life and how I feel about myself is letting them win. It’s still allowing them to abuse and control me.At this point in my life, I am the only one that can abuse me. I am the only one that can let my past continue to harm me. And I am the only one that can say “No. That’s enough. No more.”

I can’t say I’ll never think about suicide again. But the thought of it seems to have lost whatever appeal it had. At least, for now.

Suicidal Ideation

I want to talk about something hard today. I want to talk about suicide and suicidal ideation. It’s where I got the name for my blog. It’s the one thing that I have the hardest time sharing with real life people. It’s the reason why I wanted my blog to be anonymous. For my sister’s sake.

Suicide. I think about it all the time.

In high school freshman year, I was thinking about it every day. But I wasn’t just thinking about it. I had reached what I thought was my breaking point.

I made a plan. I chose a method. I wrote out a note. I picked a day. It was only five days away.

I had to make sure I did it on a day where there was no possibility of my body being discovered by my little sister. It was literally the only thing stopping me. She was going to be spending Friday night at a friend’s house and I knew I could do it then. She would be safe from finding me.

I even did a test cut to see how much it was going to hurt. It turns out, not as much as living did. It was the only time I’ve ever intentionally physically harmed myself.

On the Thursday before the big day I ran into a guy I knew after school. It was urgently hot that day and he was wearing a long sleeved shirt. I asked him if he was cold. He shook his head and said he was embarrassed.

He pulled back his sleeves and showed me the bandages on his wrists. We weren’t close friends, and I’ll never know why he opened up to me that day. But he told me all about how he had tried to kill himself. He told me that he knew he was going to try again.

I convinced him to get help. We spoke for several hours that day. And I think, in convincing him, I somehow convinced myself to stay alive too. Though it would be another 14 years before I got any kind of help for myself.

I heard, several years later, that he had successfully committed suicide. I still think about him from time to time. For as long as I live, I will never forget, sitting on that stone wall, sweating in the hot shade, the empty hallways of the school like a ghost town, talking things out.

But, I still have those feelings inside me. I still feel hopeless sometimes. I wonder why I am alive. I wonder why I bother getting out of bed. I wonder if anyone would truly be affected by my death. Or even care.

I start thinking about death and dying. Is it the long dark sleep I imagine it to be? Does it hurt? Is it scary? Is there anything else? Is there even a point to life if it is so easily and quickly ended?

I don’t think about committing suicide the way I used to. But I still think about it. All the time.

Now I think about things happening to me. Intentional accidents. Like stepping in front of a train. Driving off a bridge. Falling off the roof of a tall building.

I think about them abstractly. Figuring out the mathematics. Wondering how it would feel. How high is high enough? I don’t WANT to do these things. Most of the time. But thinking about them is oddly soothing. Like a bizarre type of meditation.

It’s like a brain teaser I turn over and over again in my mind. A puzzle. The intention is long gone, most days.

It makes me feel better to know there is an option. A back up plan. If I need it.

I mostly feel happy. I mostly feel grateful to be alive. I mostly want to live. But I can’t stop those other feelings. The rise up from the depths, like corpses. Haunting me. Demanding my attention.

I know it isn’t good. I know it isn’t normal. I know I can’t stop it. And I know it isn’t my fault.

In the words of one of my favorite bloggers, http://thebloggess.com/: “Depression lies.”

Sometimes that’s enough.