Category Archives: suicide

Endings suck…

…Even stupid, meaningless ones that shouldn’t suck as much as they do.

Like tv shows that let you escape yourself.

And fictional characters dying.

Because they tug at the old hurt of all the losses that came before, and were actually meaningful…

It compounds when more than one loss is piled on at the same time. Then suddenly everything else comes flooding back, and it sucks…

The stupid, meaningless losses take on all the hurt and emptiness the previous ones left you with…

At least Lucifer wrapped up the series well, almost as if they were planning on ending it this season. They could take it further, but this is a good stopping point. They gave is the closures we needed to be able to walk away from the show satisfied.

Scorpion, not so neatly wrapped…

Totally left without closure; Chris passing away Monday. She had gotten through so many health issues over the years, ones that were true miracles she recovered as well as she did… I guess her body finally gave out. I’m not even sure if it was the cardiac issues, the kidney issues, the cancer, or something else that finally took her. Before this week, she had beaten cancer, recovered from kidney failure, and was recovering from bypass surgery… she and L were friends for a quarter century (give or take a year or two). I had only met her after I stated dating L, but she was an amazing person. She is greatly missed.

… Then the older stuff picks up; L’s dad, Chow, ButtButt, K & T, Floppers, Twigs, Tigger, Dizzy, Sugar Cane, Almond Joy… De, Chrispy, LKB… All the endings that were sudden, painful, and unresolved.

It all gets rolled into a giant ball that feels choking and overwhelming.

This time of year seems to hold a disproportionate amount of those losses…

And then there’s July 7th (the anniversary of K’s death, and almost 14 years later, my first suicide attempt… there were only ever 2 thought-out attempts where it was a conscious choice. Anything else resembling one was an impulsive, desperate attempt to find some peace, but not necessarily an attempt at ending my life… I blame it on the meds. I’ve never done anything like that when I wasn’t spiraling out of control on psych meds. Even when I was ridiculously depressed, I never gave in to the impulse when not on psychotropics. They work wonders for some people, but I am not one of them)…

Back to the original point of this post: grief sucks. Losses suck. Especially when the biggest, earliest ones were never resolved…

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On using psych meds

… that Sarah Silverman tweet got me thinking…

There’s so much info and support out there for people taking meds, but nothing for people who react badly to meds.

I’m not sure I ever really talked in detail about my struggles with psych meds.

I tried them briefly in college, but came off of them after a short time (can’t remember why, or how long I was actually on them). Then, 4-6 years later, I was convinced to try them again. It was against my better judgement, but my therapist at the time was adamant that I needed them. I wanted to trust that she had a less biased view of things than I did, and that she was more knowledgeable about it all than I was. I battled her about it for several sessions before I caved and agreed to try them once again.

I had trouble finding a psychiatrist I felt comfortable working with. I must have cycled through 5 or 6 before I found one who I felt listened & cared (read: didn’t try to push the same meds I reported as having not worked when I tried them; wasn’t cold or condescending; sat with me for more than 3 minutes before handing me a prescription). Sadly, she moved out of state after about 3 months, and my search began again.

I really don’t remember much of the details at this moment, but I do know at one point I was taking roughly 15 different meds up to 4 times a day. It started with one med, then another med to combat side effects, and another to augment the first, then another to help with side effects from the one helping with the original side effects, and so on.

The meds didn’t work for me. I kept getting more depressed, more anxious, and more suicidal. I cycled in and out of hospitals. Each time, they added meds, or switched them out, or increased doses, or all of the above. None seemed to help.

They started blaming me for complaining about the side effects. I was called willful and resistant to treatment. I was told I was being manipulative; that I didn’t actually want to be helped; that I was enjoying the depression; that I was not trying hard enough to get better. I was told I would never be able to live without medication; that I needed to accept it as a part of life… at one point, doctors told me that I would never be able to survive on my own because of my level of self-sabotage.

I was seriouslly depressed, constantly anxious, extremely impulsive, and actively suicidal 90% of the time, not to mention my mounting ptsd symptoms (an enormous difference from my demeanor when not on meds, but few people had seem me prior to starting them by this point. Even I was mostly convinced that I would certainly die without meds (which was honestly part of what prompted me wanting to stop them. At least if I managed to kill myself, the pain would end)).

During one of my last dozen hospitalizations, it was strongly suggested that I not be released back to my home, but rather permanently be sent to a residential facility, as I was an inherent danger to myself. The doctors were shocked that I had survived this long. Even less believable to them was that I had a successful life and career prior to my most recent hospitalizations. I had held down a full-time supervisory position, as well as 3 other part-time jobs up until that final year on meds. I would be hospitalized one week, then return to work as soon as I was released. I attended intensive therapy programs during first shift hours, and worked in the afternoons. I taught trauma informed care workshops. I attended professional trainings. I was very high functioning professionally even as I was crashing personally…

I was lucky enough to have family and friends on my side backing my insistence to receive more intensive treatment (mind you, this was 4 years after I started meds, and roughly 40 hospitalizations in by that time). I knew I was metaphorically drowning. I knew the treatment I was getting wasn’t sufficient (most psych units, even in psych hospitals, don’t offer therapy so much as physical containment), but I did not totally know what might actually help. Dr C was a great resource. She helped me figure out that a specialized trauma program would likely be beneficial. She’d also advocated strongly with the doctors at the local hospital to send me to a more intensive program. Between her, my family, and my own insistence, I was finally admitted to a trauma clinic, The Center at PIW.

There, I finally found some meaningful & intensive help. Despite reading my recent history, the psychiatrist agreed to help me come off all the meds. By the time I left there 2 weeks later, I had tapered off most of the meds. Those last ones I was able to come off of with the help of the psychiatrist at the day program I attended following my discharge from The Center.

The first day back to the IOP, the staff commented that I was doing the best they had seen since I first attended there 4 years ago. They said I seemed clear-headed, articulate, calmer… they asked what changed. When I mentioned I was tapering off the last 2 meds, they seemed incredulous. After all, how could the person who was so debilitated for so long be better not taking the thing they believed was her biggest hope at normalcy? Initially, the psychiatrist was ready to refuse treatment because I was refusing to take medication again, but upon seeing how differently I presented, I was allowed to stay in the program. I was, however, requested not to mention that I was no longer taking any regular psych meds. They claimed it was to avoid compliance problems with other patients in the program. I guess I was seen as an oddity.

After my shortest time “completing” the program (3 weeks or so), I was deemed stable enough to graduate. I returned to only doing individual therapy & the trauma group with Dr C.

Since that time (2011), I’ve only tried psych meds 3 times. Each time I noticed the impulsive drive to kill myself return in less than a week’s time. They faded just as quickly once I stopped taking the pills. The depression still hits hard, but suicide is no longer my first and only thought on how to deal with it. I’m also better able to avoid cutting (actually, I rarely think about using it as a coping tool these days).

Doctors still react with shock and disbelief when I deny being on psych meds despite my diagnoses. I’m pretty sure most believe I’m lying when I tell them I only take something for asthma and stomach issues. Even the neurologist did a side-eye when I mentioned the only 2 meds I take aside of the pot.

In a society where pharmaceuticals run the medical industry, and they are the be-all & end-all of mental health treatment, not taking meds is seen as going against medical advice. Hell, we take away people’s basic human rights when they say meds don’t work so they’d rather not take any. They are deemed an immenant danger to themselves, and not competent enough to make rational decisions… all because something we are indoctrinated into thinking is the only way to treat mental health issues harms some people more than it will ever help them.

I can’t tell you how much I loathe the phrases “you just need to find the right meds or combinations),” and “the benefits outweigh the side effects.” Sometimes there is no right combination, and the benefits definitely do not outweigh the side effects (because for some, there are no benefits). I wish medicine understood this…

Maybe we need to start another movement; that sometimes meds do more harm than good, and there’s nothing wrong with choosing not to take them. There are several notations in my records that insist I’ll die within 6 months max if I were allowed to stop all psych meds, yet here I am, 7 years later, more stable than I ever was on the meds. Oh, and check it out, I’m still alive! Who knew that was possible?! 🤔

It’s time we stop forcing everyone with mental health challenges into a medication routine. They can definitely be helpful for some, but we also need to acknowledge that they can be detrimental to others.


weirdest flashback yet (TRIGGER for talk of suicide)

ok, so I’m calling it a flashback because it came in super-intense, lasted a few seconds (though felt like forever), then completely faded leaving a hollow echo…

so yeah, had my weirdest flashback yet; I was suddenly overwhelmed with the thought/urge/almost action to kill myself. Specifically, it very much echoed my first (and most serious deliberate) attempt.

I am not currently suicidal. I have not felt that way in quite a while, except for around 5:20pm tonight. It came out of nowhere, hit hard, and dissolved into nothingness. I was aware of it as something that “didn’t fit” with the rest of my current reality. I had a quick dialogue with myself in the background of the overwhelming feelings. I was aware that I was having a dialogue and that this other overwhelmingness was playing over that.

It took me a while to label it as a flashback though.

I knew it was “wrong” in intensity for my general mood lately. I knew it came on very hard and seemingly un-provoked, but I didn’t identify it as that first attempt until finally talking it through with a crisis chat (everyone else I would have contacted or tried to contact to talk it through was unavailable). In the back of my head, I’ve been wondering if today was the true anniversary of that first attempt because I saw a fb “memory” that hinted at it. The time of day would have been about right for that attempt. The line of thinking that was intruding would have also been accurate for that attempt… and it completely left as fast as it came on, so I’m gonna call it a flashback.

That was super-disturbing. I wonder what part of me was scared so much by something to throw that out at me for the first time in a long time? And I kinda wonder if all those times I was dealing with “impulsiveness” was really just a flashback that I couldn’t label as one yet. I did manage to traumatize myself pretty badly (and many others) with that attempt. I distinctly remember being terrified of doing it, but also feeling like I had no choice anymore because I had made the decision within myself, and needed to honor that decision… I kinda bullied myself into it right before; I was both the abuser and the one being abused…

Anyway, so… yeah. Weirdest flashback yet, but really glad I was able to identify it as one. Now, back to the general “meh” feeling of having my emotions jumbled due to hormonal fluctuations.


thoughts and ramblings… (apologies for this wall of text)

I had my usual appointment with TM today. I struggled to explain to her what was different about this weekend. She asked what the motivators were for my change in attitude. I couldn’t put my finger on the tiny “half-spark” of internal motivation for the change, but I also could not adequately describe the difference in external motivators either. At one point, I tried to explain that I disliked being a cause for concern. I don’t think I explained the “why” behind that very well though… Just now, reading through an older post from another blog I follow, I found a wonderfully concise and accurate description:

“I have always reacted badly to emotionally affecting other people; it’s like I should exist as a neutral entity. Especially when it comes to people who matter to me.” ( blogged about it in this post from last year)…

I’ll have to try to remember this the next time I see TM.

Anyway, we talked about the weekend, and she challenged me to find what it was that allowed for that tiny bit of internal push to change how things turn out. I kinda thought about it already while running errands on the way home… I don’t think she will like the answer (though maybe she will be able to put a positive spin on it): Since I don’t have a fool-proof, guaranteed-to-work method to kill myself, I might as well work to make the interim as pleasant and productive as possible. If I’m in crisis and falling apart at the slightest sign of stress, I will certainly not be making the most of this time I’m “stuck” here. I will also never progress past the initial “dump” of info in therapy. I need to be able to get past this point.

To that end, TM pointed out what should have been obvious to me but wasn’t: I’m still pretty depressed. We talked about what my barriers are to accomplishing even the simplest things. I had reported to her Friday that I had tried several times between Tuesday and Friday  to go to the beach without any success. She wanted specifics around what had me turning around. I explained that it should have been easy enough for me to go, since I always have a “beach bag” in the car (shirt, shorts, blanket, towel, bathing suit). I could simply head out and either change when I got there, or go in jeans and change into dry shorts after. But I would get stuck on all the steps needed to make it to the beach. Sometimes I would start to go, get much of the way there, then turn around because the remaining effort was just too much. The slightest hinderance to making the full journey (which is really only about 6 miles or less, and maybe takes 20 minutes) had me losing my resolve to go. It became overwhelming to think of having to make all those turns, go through all those lights, find parking, gather my stuff, walk “all the way out” to the water, find a spot to consider “mine” or walk along the shore… And if I decided to go in the water, I would have to make sure my stuff didn’t blow away, and my valuables were safely hidden, and battle the waves to get to a point where I can just chill… It was so much easier to just turn around and go home. (I also described my thought process around going to the mall several weeks ago to exchange my bra. She was surprised at how far I broke it down, and admitted that having to think about doing all that would exhaust her also). She agreed that my miles-long list of “steps to get there” could seem to out-weigh the single acknowledged gain. This was where she pointed out “what [I] probably already know, but…” that’s all depression talking. I sometimes forget that depression can also manifest as a lack of energy or enjoyment from things. I’m so used to it being a horrid, hopeless, lifeless mood that as soon as the mood lifts a bit, I don’t see the depression anymore. I think the universe has been trying to bring this to my attention of late. Not only has TM now pointed it out, but I had followed a few forum posts where it was suggested that the poster still was experiencing depression despite the lack of depressed mood. It was more of a behavioral presentation. If I take an honest look at myself lately, I have to admit I’m still obviously depressed. Not only do I find it incredibly difficult to motivate around anything or take enjoyment out of what used to be enjoyable activities, but I also actively battle a higher intensity of “self-destruct” thoughts than would be considered my baseline… So much for moving past the depression. :sigh:

Anyway, she left me with cognitively challenging homework this week (a good balance to the emotionally challenging timeline from last week). I’m supposed to document (timeline or otherwise) some happy/good events in life. I laughed at her and said it would probably all fit on a post-it, compared to the large piece of brown paper I brought the other timeline in on. We laughed, then commiserated on the salience of negative or traumatic memories as opposed to positive/happy ones. I pointed out that we probably wouldn’t have gotten very far in the history of humanity if we forgot tigers might rip our arms off when we tried to cuddle them in the forest. She laughed at that. I like that we have a similar sense of humor, and our thought-process is somewhat similar. I again almost asked her if I could take her with me when I moved…

The other piece of homework was more of a reflective exercise: to figure out what happened to give me that internally motivated little half-spark of hope that helped me get through the weekend. That is so much more challenging. I can easily figure out the external motivators: L, the animals, not wanting to wind up in the hospital, not liking the feeling of causing others to worry or be concerned… easy-peasy. Internal factors though? maybe the discomfort with causing worry? (because it has changed somehow from not feeling worthy or deserving of worry, to disliking the feeling I get within myself when others say they are worried. I know I’m not describing that well, but…). So yeah, I dunno. This one may take me forever to accomplish.

On another note, though TM offered the possibility of a scheduled phone check-in, we ended with leaving it up in the air. I told her I really wanted to prove to myself that I can be self-sufficient (because I used to know how to do that at one time). She made it a point to say that neither calling nor not calling her would mean a failure of any kind. I’m glad she has been listening to all my fears, lol. While I still am seeing calling her as a failure, I will keep playing her statement over and over again in my head. Regardless what happens this week around seeking support, I will not have failed… (some day, I might believe that).

 


interesting concept as a middle-ground for suicide prevention

saw this article via fb. I think it’s an interesting concept, though I am hesitant on the heavy focus on peer-counseling. While I think it can be an amazing thing, I personally am more comfortable with a clinically trained therapist or crisis worker. Regardless, I think this is a great idea and a good step in the right direction.

The “Living Room” model of crisis intervention.

What do you all think?


site on suicide prevention, support, and treatment resources

someone pointed me to this site. it’s really good. check it out. Speaking of Suicide

it has resources for suicidal people, friends, family, treatment providers… all around good info. (I will also list it under my “resources” page so it’s always relatively easily available).


New art journal pages

After almost 2 weeks of nothing artistic happening, I worked on 2 pages. There’s been a lot going on that I am not comfortable expressing directly (though it needs addressing. Maybe with the next therapist?), but it’s finding its way into the art, even if no one knows it but me…

Safety MeasuresThis page was started while I was visiting L last weekend. I was stalled on the dog image transfer. Finally figured it out tonight. “Safety Measures”… whatever it takes to keep breathing, because monsters are real.

 

remember meAnd this one was started yesterday. “(don’t) Remember Me”… not sure how I feel about the visual balance of this one, but going to call it “mostly done” (for now) until I decide what else needs to happen to it.