Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rerun:On Suicidal Ideation

Therese Bouchard of Beyond Blue had a gem earlier this month I must have missed.  It was on Suicidal Ideation.

I think I am the Queen of Suicidal Ideation. Right now I have my ibook on my lap, a razor next to me. I want to pick it up, go into the bathtub and play with it. What is stopping me from that? I am writing this, fast, furiously, hoping among hope I can stay busy until the feeling passes and I can put the blade away without any cuts or blood to my person. But oh! It would be so tempting to just pick it up, go into the bath tub, strip down to my underwear, crawl into the tub, run a little hot water so that one delicious vein in my wrist will show, and cut deep.

But what stops me is what if I screw up, and only destroy a tendon. Not loose enough blood to sanguinate?  That is one. But if I mess up and can never use my hands again? I gotta fight it.

And in fighting it, fighting this feeling, I could take Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali down with one hand tied behind my back. I   have been doing this most of my life, since my first attempt at four.

I have learned various tricks to stop it when it hits, write. Write as if your heart is breaking and just keep writing. Don't proof read, just write/type as fast as you can, and when you are in a better frame of mind, proof read, or destroy the manuscript.

Another trick I have learned is to take an ice cold bath. Don't know why but it works. Another trick is to smoke- this probably won't work for everyone but for some reason after a few cigarettes, I feel stable. It must be the nicotine.

Sometimes the feeling comes and goes quickly, in minutes. Sometimes it goes on for days and weeks like it did when I wrote this to Liz Spikol, who was kind enough to print it.  Three weeks ago my mother phoned me and I was crying, begging her to let me come over and pick up the rifle my dad has. That is a rifle for game, not people. It doesn't even have ammo, and hasn't been used in over 40 years. I got over that by staying in the apartment, until it passed.   I don't drive. I try to identify what triggers, if any made me get Existential and want to x myself out of existence.

It's not that I want to die. I  want to stop living. I want the pain- whether it would be real or imaginary, to stop. What is painful to me, may not, as triggers and thoughts go, be the same for another. For me, it's broken dreams. The realization I peaked at 23, and the life I wanted never would happen.Wishing when i was 22 and had a chance to have my novel published, I choked.  From that point on, my writing and my career dreams went down the toilet.  Other things, the fact I am not a mother, that ranks pretty high. Seeing couples being happy and being in love, makes me want to stab myself in the heart and rip it out like an auto-sacrifice of my own in a mock  Aztec fashion. Only I would continue to live, without the heart.  It's not a big deal because I think honestly I am living that way now.

I still feel like I want to go into that good night, not sure if I will hit the publish button or delete. Maybe should try to sleep a bit? Lie down and arrange the pandas in the bed with me. With a bit of luck, the striped one will finish her nocturnal rounds and snuggle. She is my saving grace, my saviour. She leans up near me so close I can hear her breathe, and feel the fur against my naked leg. And it soothes me.

I know I will pray as I do most every evening of my life to not wake up in them morning. To learn if you dream you are falling and you really hit bottom and don't wake up. If a heart attack really hurts. And I have trepidation because I am such a loner and introvert it could be days if not a whole week before they find me. So what ever it is, will be. There are some things I can change, and other things I cannot and I need the courage to know the difference.  And dying, no matter how tempting it seems, isn't. Not now. Not ever.


midnight rainbow said...

Man, can I relate. I've been there several thousand times before. Especially these last six months. I don't know that I have any magic words to help, just to let you know I've been there and I understand all too well what you are going through.

Do whatever works for you to hold on. My prayers and thoughts are with you.

Natalie said...

Please know you're not alone - so many of us out here are thinking of you and holding you in our hearts. I know that doesn't help much in these moments, but we're here nonetheless.

Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly...for us and for you. I know this temptation so well, and have been fighting it since I was a teen. And reading about your thoughts makes me feel a little less alone, a little less crazy, and a little more hopeful.

Why would your dance with suicidal ideation seem hopeful? Because your strength and determination are so very clear. Do whatever you need to do to stay safe. Write, share, and if need be, please get someone to hang out with you and let you just be.

The Depressed Reader said...

Hi Susan,
This is a powerful post. I have never quite reached the stage of having to actively stop myself from self harm, although I have wanted it all to be over. Like you say, it is not wishing for death, it is wishing the pain to be over.

It is a hard road, and I haven't found the solution. I've often wished for someone to care and look after me, but I've found that people have to take care of themselves. So, like you, I've developed some strategies to help take the edge of the pain. Writing is definitely one of them. It really helps. Starting a blog last year and interacting regularly with other bloggers has not been a cure-all, but it has helped.

Ruth said...

Keep writing if that's what it takes.

Many mornings I wake up. Move. Feel pain. Damn I am still alive.

My low point is when I wanted oblivion body and soul. Didn't happen.

My change for me was the day I was at an all time low, I had opportunity, privacy, and only needed a little more pressure on the knife. Then I remembered that the pedophile abuser wanted me to commit suicide. He drilled it into my head. For me, I realized if I did, the abuser won. Damn I am competitive. I couldn't let him win.

Keep typing. I'll keep reading.

Kristy said...

I can really relate to some of your triggers suc h as peeking career wise and having broken dreams at an early age. The grief process of getting over it is hard. All the what ifs , are harder. One thing that keeps me grounded is life is totally not fair and so unpredicatable for many people . Why not me. A lot of bad things happen to good people. One trick , I have used when I was suicidal is not to leave the couch or bed and for some reason the urge left. I do relate to when suicidal tendencys last awhile and life seems a bitch. I think it is my mood and it does pass over time. I make it a job to stay one more day . What ever it takes you to just stay one more day. It is hard work but you can do this. I wish I could tell you everything gets better and it is easy but I think you already it is hard as hell. I agree you should keep on writing. Not to be selfish but it helps many people relate to your words. The pain is so real. Thanks, for what you share.

Jen Daisybee said...

Hi Susan,
I'm sorry you're feeling so low right now. I truly hope for you that this passes soon. I haven't felt that way in a while, but I used to feel that way frequently with severe lows of depression, so I totally understand. I guess I'm lucky, because now I'm more likely to get delusional and hear voices than I am to think about killing myself. I wouldn't wish that anyone start getting psychotic, but I have seen my frequent tendency to long for death leave me alone for a long time now, and I hope that for you, too, this longing leaves you. I hope that you can hold on and keep hoping for better days until the better days come. It's so wonderful that you are able to use writing to help yourself. That's a great coping skill. I think you have learned over the years how to keep going and I hope that you will be able to keep yourself going through this period too. I know how hard that is. I remember going to buy a gun (twice, once actually getting it), and driving to the top of a high bridge and thinking about jumping (and once trying to drive over the guardrail, totaling a car in the process), and sitting with razor blades or thinking of jumping on train tracks every time I heard a train, or thinking of jumping off high buildings every time I saw one......when your mind is doing that to you it's torture which I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. It seems like there is no way out, but eventually, I think for most people this period passes, at least for a while, and you get to see sunlight again. I hope that happens for you soon. Take care of yourself.

barbsobel said...

so much of what you wrote here mirrors my own experiences. i had to chuckle "peaked at 23", as i often think the same thing.

keep writing, keep talking, keep living.

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