surviving depression 23 June 2006

June 23, 2006

I know what you are going through. Sometimes I think that everyone would be better off without me. The only thing that is keeping me alive these days is my word to my therapist that I won’t go through with my thoughts. The pain of living is just too much to bare right now. My therapist often asks me how I get through this. There is a quote that I keep telling her that I got from one of Kay Redfield Jamison’s book, “Only one option left, to suffer”. She is my inspiration as she has bipolar disorder, tried to die by suicide, and is one of the leading researchers/teachers of the disorder. I know it doesn’t make sense to suffer all the time but millions of people out there do it everyday. We few that are in this group do it every day, though it is most difficult and we come from different backgrounds and sections of the world. I know it sucks, but the trick is to realize when we feel this way, it is NOT our true selves, it is the disorder that is talking. I know we all feel like scum of the earth for no reason other than for being allowed to breathe, to be something called alive that we wish we didn’t have to be. One reason why I have read so much about depression and there are a lot of good books out there, is that you have to know the disorder, understand it, then you can know what to do, sometimes when it isn’t hitting you on the head with a 60 lb hammer. Sometimes knowing the demons is better than not knowing them. I know that it isn’t always easy when our physical bodies wreck our lives and we are no longer feel apart of the human race because our b&b are not functioning and we have physical pain that is driving us insane. But things aren’t always going to be this way. One of the books that I had read said that suicide is complete in 10 minutes and if you wait out those ten mins, you will survive. The same thing goes for depression. Though instead of 10 mins, it’s more like 10 days or more. But it doesn’t last. Eventually it lifts, and we return to “normal” functioning until the next episode. The HARDEST part of this fucking disorder is that we forget that we have survived the worse of it. Every time we are stuck in an episode, we think it is for the first time, that we are NEVER going to feel better, ever. I am telling you that you are. No matter how hopeless you feel right now, tomorrow might be a better day and if it is not, least you survived today. Worry about tomorrow, tomorrow I’ll be here for you. Count on it.

About the mood stabilizers, I suffer from bipolar depression, which is a little different than major depression. I sometimes have periods where I am really hyper, don’t sleep, eat, think I am on top of the world, talk excessively, and can’t stand still. These periods don’t last too long, maybe a week or two, then I either have a period of being normal and/or crash big time. I take Trileptal for it and it has helped some with the Cymbalta. Trileptal is an anti-convulsant that is used a “mood stabilizer”. There are other drugs that are used, but you should be seen by a psychiatrist for evaluation. Most GP’s don’t have a clue about psychotropic meds and it isn’t a good idea for them to play around with it if you don’t have the diagnosis.

Fear of suicide (revision to blog of 6 Feb 2013)

Fear of suicide.

This statement can be taken one of two ways. The first is that some people are afraid to talk about suicide for fear of sparking ideation or thinking about suicide. The second is that when
someone knows you are feeling low and have attempted before, they are afraid of losing that person and react in ways that may or may not help that person. Suicide attempters are at higher risk than non-attempters.

I’ll talk about the second interpretation first. I have a friend who is having me motivate her into
writing by having me contact her every day for six weeks. What sparked this was, she read my blog about my recent near-suicide attempt. Now her ulterior motive is to keep me alive the only way she can think of, by having me write to her every day. In return, she has to write at least two pages a day for her own well-being. She needs my help to pursue her writing, which is important to her more than anything. We are also guarding a human connection that is valuable to us. My writing keeps me alive, and because she doesn’t want to let me down, that helps her to write. She has this idea that people need human connection in order to stay connected to what they truly need to do, even if that connection is between polar opposites. She is bubbly and athletic, a motivational speaker, while I’m someone who is in chronic pain and disabled because of it.

I have to say that since I have been writing, I have been in better space. I would not say that I feel more connected, but I don’t want to let her down, so I try and write a little each day. Our rules are to email each other when we are done, and we are allowed our birthdays and Christmas off. For days where it is not possible for me to write because of whatever reason, we have given each other three passes on writing. Sometimes, because my pain or sleep deprivation is intolerable I find that it can help me be creative and write about things. I don’t have a censor when I write. Whatever I think at that moment, I write it out. Sometimes I find that writing it on paper helps more than writing in a word document.

I sometimes feel exposed because I am bearing my soul to this person I met through a friend on Facebook. We both belong to the same organization for suicide prevention. I am guessing that because she thinks of me as a sibling, and she did lose her sister to suicide many years ago, she does not want me to end up that way.

I write often because it is an outlet for me and my emotions. I am anonymous when it comes to my blog but not too much, as I pass these blogs on to my personal Facebook site, where my family members can have access to it if they were inclined to read it. Most often they do not because they are not online as much as my other friends are. I do not tell my family what I am doing. It would be heartbreaking and awkward for them to read what I write and then get asked at the dinner table what I meant by something I wrote. To be honest, half the stuff I write about, I forget. It’s an outlet like no other.

I am not going to lie and pretend that I don’t think about killing myself every day. It is a constant struggle, and I think that I worry a lot of my close friends who actually get to know me or who read my blogs about my struggles. But I think the reason why my blog has been so successful is because people can relate to what I write.

As far as the fear that talking about suicide can bring about a suicidal crisis, that is a common myth. Talking about suicide can actually prevent one, but some people are just not comfortable with the subject, and so they will say stuff that they think the person who is miserable wants to hear, like. “You have your life ahead of you,” “Don’t be so down, things could be worse,” or my favorite “You have so much to live for.”

People don’t understand the pain that is involved in depression or in thinking about suicide. I have problems. Quite a few. I have mental illness and chronic physical and mental pain. Both make me want to take my life. I have been thinking about taking my life since I was 8 years old. I was in a lot of pain for some reason or another, and it never got taken care of. Today, I think that pain stems from the fact that I am really a male and not a female. I knew at a young age that I was different, and back then, there was no expressing how I truly felt. I really think that if I had gotten help sooner, this would have come to light sooner, and I wouldn’t be in this pickle today about what to do with my transition.

I’ve started a new journal. And like every other journal before it, the first thing that goes into it is my crisis response plan which is the following (taken from the Air Force Guide to Managing Suicidal Behavior-Appendices)

When thinking about suicide, I agree to do the following:

Step 1: Try to identify my thoughts and specifically what’s upsetting me
Step 2: Write out and review more reasonable responses to my suicidal thoughts
Step 3: Do things that help me feel better for at least 30 minutes (examples can include trying to sleep, playing internet games, listening to music, etc.)
Step 4: Repeat all of the above
Step 5: If thoughts continue or get specific, and I find myself preparing to do something, I will call a suicide hotline or someone that I trust sometimes hotlines aren’t so helpful but calling a friend is
Step 6: If I cannot reach the above, I will call my therapist or psychiatrist
Step 7: If I am still feeling suicidal and I don’t feel like I can control my behavior, I will go to the ER or call 911

I have found having this useful when I have been hospitalized because it provides a plan of something that they need for discharge, and I always carry my journal.

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safety planning by Stanley and Brown

hey all,

I couldn’t find the link I used so I created one. here you go.



another month of existing

Another month of existing

Despite being suicidal for almost 16 days straight, I lived to tell the tale. I honestly don’t know what gets me through the hardest of moments when I am in so much pain and all I can think about is death. I think fantasizing my death has gotten me through, only because I was so immobilized by pain, I couldn’t act on my thoughts. Then the next day, the pain was down and I didn’t feel so terrible. I didn’t feel like ending my life.

Sometime in the beginning of September or the end of August, I thought that if I had 41 consecutive days of suicidal thoughts, that on day 42 I would end my life. If by some chance, I had a day that I didn’t think those thoughts, I would have to start all over. I kept a spreadsheet of the days. Some nights when I was in pure agony, I would bargain with myself saying just x many days more and then I would end it. I kept these thoughts pretty much to myself. I had texted my therapist this plan but we never talked about it. I don’t remember if I let my psych know either.

I don’t know what really changed that stopped the suicidal feelings from occurring. I still had pain every day and night. But after my PT evaluation, I felt like things could be better. I was sad that the days of me working were truly over because too much time had past for me to recover. I was diagnosed too late with CRPS, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Now I just want to be able to make pancakes without having to take breaks in between the prep, the mixing, and the cooking. Small stuff but it would be a goal. I left the PT office feeling a little hopeful that things might change for the better. It didn’t take away my suicidal feelings completely. I still thought about ending my life, but there was no urgency to it. I just put it in the back of my head.

Suicidal thoughts have become so much apart of my life that I can’t imagine my life without it. Will I my life end one day at my own hands? I don’t know. I think so and have felt that way for quite some time. Little things stop me. My nieces or nephew’s love and care. A friend online that needs me. Having a low pain day so I could get out of the house to have my espresso at Starbucks. Being able to shower, make breakfast, and then go out to do what I have to do. It doesn’t happen every day as some days I can barely get out of bed, either because of pain or my mood. Sometimes both. Sometimes a good word from my therapist or psychiatrist is enough to lift the heavy coat to make it through the day. I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it through September without making a suicide attempt. But I did.

Tomorrow starts a new month, with the same challenges. Hell, I have appts all this week with no rest days at all. It’s going to be hard. I hope it doesn’t set me off in a flare for days on end. The weather is also going to be cooler. If it remains stable, I should be okay. If it fluctuates more than 10 or more degrees, I am going to hurt more than any activity that I do. I have a lot of appts this month. I don’t know how that is going to make me feel, physically and mentally. Dealing with chronic pain every day is difficult to say the least. I have mixed feelings about this month. I hope that I survive and I hope that I die. We’ll see if I make it to Oct 31st.