Tag Archives: schizoaffective disorder

About suicide hotlines: My thoughts

About suicide hotlines: My thoughts

some hotlines: Crisis text line 741741, National Suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255, Trans Lifeline 877-565-8860, Trevor Project for LNGTQ 866-488-7386

After a 9 year old that came out as gay to his friend and then killed himself, there has been an increase in sending out the suicide hotline numbers. While I know that sending out and calling does help people, there are other that feel too hopeless and alone, maybe feeling ashamed, maybe feeling no one will understand, and therefore won’t reach out.

One thing that is often said in hindsight of a suicide is why? Why didn’t I see the signs? But knowing the signs are not enough. Often when confronted, people with suicidal thoughts or maybe even planning a suicide, will deny it. It is a sensitive issue. A private issue. I know when my best friend told me at the age of 11 to seek help, my response was “I am not crazy”. With stigma, it is hard to approach someone who is suicidal. Often, there is the thought, no way this person is thinking of suicide, not my child, friend, co-worker, etc. They may deny it and say they don’t because it is against their religion or maybe the person who asks, frightens their friend or family member for fear of being stopped or if they do say yes, the person who asks responds with “don’t do something stupid” or “I will kill you if you do this”, which further alienates the suffering person. I’ve had this experience from two different people. I’ve never understood this logic. I still don’t.

My point of all this is people who are depressed ad suicidal need to feel safe in order to talk openly about their feelings. Often calling a hotline takes a lot of effort to even pick up the phone or dial the number. It is so scary because they are afraid they will be turned away and that holds people back. Or maybe they have phone anxiety like me. The Crisis Text Line is super for those people. But it is still scary to admit they are having suicidal feelings. They don’t know what will happen when they call or text.

In this case of this little boy who apparently was bullied, I don’t know if he would have had access to a phone to reach out and seek help. We often think those under the age of 10 cannot think about suicide but the numbers are growing. I know when I was eight I started having suicidal thoughts and made my first attempt at age 10. I didn’t tell anyone about this besides my best friend. He was probably sick of me talking about it so told me to reach out and then I shut down. I stopped talking about it but the thoughts were still there. When I was 12 I did reach out to Samaritans. I talked to a nice British speaking lady. I was very scared to call. I never had another good experience calling a hotline again. I was often rushed off the phone once I mentioned that I was suicidal.

World Mental Health Day

This is going to be negative but I don’t care as it is my lived experience: I’ve been in therapy since I was 15 because I self-harmed. Seen a wide range of therapists from social workers to psychologists to psychiatrists. Most have ended treatment with me for various reasons. I am now on therapist number 14. First 6 months I didn’t think I was going to stay with him. He is a psychologist with supposed experience with trauma and suicidal ideation. He took me on knowing this. Now since the MeToo, I’ve been having intrusive memories. I tell him about it and he shrugs. Seriously? Why am I seeing you if you don’t know how to deal with trauma when you said you had training? I feel like the system has let me down, yet again.

Before I even saw him, I must have talked to at least 5 different therapists. None would take me on because of my suicidal history. I thought I could shove it aside and just have this guy because he returned my call and wanted to work with me. Now it is a year later and I am finding it so difficult to deal with him. I am once again looking for therapists and I am wondering why. I live in a large city. There shouldn’t be just 1 therapist in my 5 mile radius that deals with suicidal histories. Suicide is its own can of worms. I understand from a suicidologist standpoint. Not everyone is cut out to deal, it isn’t taught in school yada yada. I get it. But where is the compassion in therapy? Are too many good therapists burned out? Am I ever going to find someone to help me through suicidal crisis and chronic pain and all the other shit I deal with? Or is that too much because I don’t follow god or help myself?

About Therapists

About therapists

I have been thinking about writing this for a while, just an overview about the many therapists I have had from all different degrees and orientations. I started off seeing a school counselor. She was getting her degree in counseling, though I am not sure if it was as a school counselor or a social worker. We only saw each other for a few months and then when school started again, I started seeing a social worker that worked at another school. She was good. Had the idea that I shouldn’t use drugs or alcohol. We had a “safety contract”, which my first 10 or so did. It mostly said I wouldn’t kill myself until the next meeting and if I did feel like acting to go to the emergency room or call 911. I only saw her for about 10 months. She left and I saw someone new, a person who was also seeking their degree. I basically feel like she took advantage of me and was only interested in collecting my insurance. Nothing got worked on. I was hospitalized every three months, the last one was when I came out as “gay”. Transgender was never talked about with any therapist until the one I saw prior to my current therapist.

As I had state insurance, therapists were coming and going. By the 10th one, I was tired of them leaving so I left the system for private as I then had private insurance. Only problem was that this therapist didn’t take my insurance. When I switched in 2001, we saw each other for a month before my disc blew and then I didn’t see her again for another three months. We kept in touch by phone. It was a lot to go through. I didn’t talk about my psych issues as I just had my physical health jeopardized. We worked together for sixteen years. All throughout, I was suicidal. But I had the odd hospitalization because we worked on stabilizing using frequent contact. We saw each other sometimes three times a week when I was bad. Then we saw each other twice a week. She moved offices until she moved 30 miles away from Boston. It was tough because I didn’t have a car. I did but it broke down. We just had phone therapy. This went on for about five years. I would get a zipcar once a month to see her but that took some planning around my pain and weather.

The suicidal ideation I had made my therapist nervous. We tried different things, but she never consistently held me to them. I chided away from it because I knew what she was looking for or rather had an idea. I knew it wasn’t going to change. During the last year of therapy we had, we were constantly fighting over my suicidality. She just wasn’t listening to me anymore. I couldn’t explain why I was suicidal. I just mentioned it and she would “hog” the rest of the session with her endless talk, which I just took as her anxiety. It was interfering. I found out she was seeking consultation over me and I felt threatened by that. Eventually we just called it quits. I didn’t see anyone for few months. I had to collect myself. She gave me a few therapists but they weren’t taking on new clients.
Enter my current therapist. He had called back within a few hours of me leaving a message and we had set a time up with in a few days. He sent me his paperwork and other insurance stuff. All throughout seeing the previous therapist, we had tried different suicidal safety planning and scales and whatnots. This guy was not for it. I think the less paperwork, the better. And it bugs me! He just wants to talk things out. For the first six months I didn’t know if this was going to work out. But I had no where else to go. I was tired of searching for therapists only to be told no when I revealed I had a suicidal history. He wasn’t afraid of me talking about suicide and I ease up. Even when I told him I had a plan, he didn’t freak out on me. He understood why I felt that way and we talked it out. It decreased my feelings so I didn’t feel like no one was on my side. I often felt better after sessions but there were a few where I was more frustrated. I texted him a few times and got supportive responses, something my previous therapist did not do, at all. She only responded if we had to change appointment times.

I have been seeing this guy for 16 months. I still find it totally weird that we have an understanding of why I am suicidal yet there is no plan in place, so to speak. He is okay if I live and okay if I die, as long as I don’t do it in his office. He hasn’t taught me things I don’t already know. He would like me to be more social, but that is kind of hard with my physical pain. I like being alone anyway as noise can irritate me, like it is today. Hell, just being in Starbucks when their music is loud is enough to have me leave after I finish eating or when I am ready to write. He doesn’t try to pin things down and my biggest annoyance is when he says we will work on something but doesn’t go further than that. And then when I bring it up next session (I have to bring things up, he won’t), it still doesn’t go anywhere. But I have had that happen with the last therapist I saw, too. She would say we need to work on this and we never did.

I don’t mean to write this to defer you from seeking therapy, that isn’t my goal. I just wanted to write about my experiences with therapists and how they react to suicidal thoughts. Everyone is different. And maybe you started seeing a therapist and then the suicide thoughts started happening. The therapist freaks out and you are then forced to see someone else. Or you attempted and now the therapist doesn’t want to work with you anymore. That is sad and unfortunate but I know it does happen. Suicide is like an elephant (or hippo as someone called it that the other day) in the room that you both know is there but don’t want to face. Or maybe your therapist is trained and does work with you on the issues as long as there is a safety plan in place first with contact numbers and you collaborate on what will work and what will not work. The focus has to be on YOU not the therapist’s comfort level. While my therapist does that and gives me the time to try and work things out as well as support me in any way he can, I still sometimes feel like he just doesn’t get it or dropped the ball on an issue that is never going to see light of day again. I know they are busy people. They have lives outside the office. They see so many patients per day and then deal with the wonderful insurance that can or cannot accept their claims. I don’t know. I am not making excuses for them but if you have a therapist that cares about you and takes your suicidal thoughts seriously, works with you on keeping you safe, and the chronicity of the matter, great. I just am still trying to work with someone and cope with a therapist that says you can kill yourself as long as it isn’t in my office.

in a hopeless state of mind

In a hopeless state of mind

I can’t sleep because of pain and too much on my mind. I keep reading people’s messages about the two people that died by suicide this week and the CDC supposed data that suicide is increasing. I don’t trust the CDC anymore because it fudged data just to push an agenda that hurt people like me with chronic pain.

Some of the messages I read concerned helplines. Do people think that talking with someone for five minutes can help a lifetime of anguish? Probably not. Can it bring enough hope so that person can see to tomorrow? Maybe.

The past few months I have wrestled and anguished with my own thoughts of death. Hell, the beginning of the week, I was tormented with psychache, spoke about it on social media, and then was reported. In the email from Twitter, it said that I could speak to a hotline and there are resources. I deleted the email. What it comes down to, is whether I seek help or not. My choice, really. No one else’s to make. Just like you, reading this. You don’t have to read my blog. No one is holding a gun to head saying to read Midnight Demon. We all have battles that we face, some bigger than others but that doesn’t make them any less of a battle. It could be drugs, alcohol, depression, suicide, mania, voices, paranoia, etc. Some times someone feels too good to get help. Some times someone feels too bad to get help. Others may not think they are worthy or are too afraid what others might think of them if they seek help.

If you have a problem, whatever it is, someone else might have it too. You are not alone. There are people who have alcohol issues, mania issues, depression, trauma, sexual abuse, physical abuse, etc. and live to face another day though they may not want to. Some people, like me, think of suicide often. And that is really scary to some people, so much so they think by reporting them or calling the cops on them is the answer. But let me tell you what happens when you don’t face that person and ask, how can I help or if you need to talk I am here. It shuts them down. That was their one chance of opening up these vulnerable feelings and you just slammed the door, possibly forever, of them ever talking about their dark side ever again. Reporting does not help. I got an email with a hotline and a link to a resource. Did I use it? No, I deleted it. Someone once reported my online activities to the police. The local cops came and scared the crap out of my aunt and pissed me the fuck off. You think I am going to write in my blog the same way again? Fuck no. And why? Because of people like you who are too stupid to understand someone else’s pain and despair. To sit with it and deal with it rather than throwing it at someone else because you can’t be the better person.

I may end my life one day and sadly, even though I talk about it on my blog, you will never know about it because of this one person that sent cops to my door one morning a few years ago. It shuts people down. So I understand why Kate Spade didn’t seek help. She was afraid. I can’t say anything about the other guy. I never heard of him until he died a couple days after Kate. Would either of them have called a hotline? Would either of them have opened the link to the resources that were provided to them? Probably not. Their battle was theirs alone. Their decision was theirs to make. I understand it because I have lived it time and time again. In one of the legal pads I was trying to find to write this down on, I came across a story I wrote that I later published. It is also on my blog (I think). It was about a night where I was in so much pain, I wanted to end my life. And though I had promised my therapist and psychiatrist that I would call them should I feel like ending my life, I didn’t. I had hotlines to call. I had coping skills to use. Instead I wanted to end my life right there and then because of the agony of my foot and ankle but because I couldn’t walk three friggen feet to my bureau, 36 inches away from me to get more pills to take to end my life, it saved me. I woke up and wondered what I did. I will never forget that fear and the shame I felt. I was scared to tell my therapist and psychiatrist what I went through. Terrified that I would be once again be on the psych unit of some hospital never to breathe fresh air again.

Lately, I have been saying, Always be kind. You never know who might need it and is depending on it to survive another day. If you are still reading this and not dialing 911, reach out in other ways. Call that friend you haven’t spoke to in a while that seemed to have stopped posting on social media. Or that friend that was supposed to go to a cookout but didn’t show up. They just might need to know that someone other than the demons in their head care for them. And be kind and non-judgmental. Ask them if they need help with something that is important to them. They might not tell you everything or they might not even want to talk, just listen. Sit with their darkness. It will mean the world to them.

Shepard’s Pie and my downfall

Shepard’s Pie and my downfall

I woke up early, around 0630. I was in pain so took my meds. It was too early to get to the butcher shop. I wanted to go before it started snowing. I played on my phone for a bit. Then decided to leave around 0720. I figure I would go to Starbucks and maybe write if I felt inclined. I brought my notebook with me. I had breakfast. I mobile ordered it because I didn’t bring my own mug. It was the first time I forgot. After I ate breakfast, I didn’t feel like writing as nothing was coming to me. It was after 8 so I went to the butcher’s shop. I had to laugh when I found a 2 pound ground beef package for $18. It was not labeled as ground beef though. The label said marinated steak tips. I found a package within my price range and then left to go to the grocery store across the street. My mother wanted eggs so I grabbed three dozen.

I came home and was hurting. I was also tired. I took a nap and had some wild dream. It was snowing when I woke up around 1. I wasn’t hungry. I wanted to make the cheddar biscuits but I was in too much pain. I decided I would just make the Shepard’s Pie. I was kind of disappointed but I didn’t want to push myself. I tried to nap again around 1400 and my foot went berserk. It was raining by this point. I closed the window. I really just wanted to make the pie and have this comfort food. It came out pretty good, though I forgot to put the beef gravy in before topping it with mashed potatoes. Oh well. It still came out good. My mother said it tasted blah and I should have put in onions. I don’t like onions. A friend saw the pic I posted of how it looked and said next time I should try it with creamed corn. I think I am going to. I haven’t had creamed corn in a very long time.

I came up to my room after cleaning up a little. My foot was hurting and I was sleepy again. I laid down and my ankle, foot, and shin muscles went berserk. I cried out in pain. I took the strong pain pill and was feeling really crappy. It was not a hard meal to prepare and make but CRPS doesn’t care. I was hurting too much to go downstairs to get a heat pack for my shin muscles. I have found that helpful to calm them down. I am still hurting but the pain meds are helping. In a little bit I will take my regular pain pills. I am just so done with this day. I took my night meds early because I just didn’t care. Voices have been bothering me most of the day and my psychiatrist doesn’t want to do anything about it. She asked if I wanted to come to the ER but that will just freak me out as there are always too many people and with my paranoia, it just isn’t good. I wouldn’t feel safe being surrounded by strangers. I see her next week and I will ask her to either increase the Invega or take the trilafon as a PRN. I am playing Mary Chapin Carpenter as her voice calms down my agitation. There is just something about her voice that I find so soothing. She is coming out with a new album the end of next month. I bought her single, Heroes and Heroines. It is a good song. She changed record labels again. I think she has had at least 4 different labels over the years that I have noticed. I don’t care as long as she has new music. She is a great writer. I know she hasn’t been nominated for awards or anything lately but I love her just the same.