*TW* Thinking About Suicide

Ever since last Friday and hearing about the tragic suicide of Chester Bennington I’ve been thinking about suicide. It has sadly already been a week since the news first broke and my thoughts are still heavily on him and suicide.

When I first heard the news I was just truly shocked and speechless. Chester Bennington had died? That couldn’t be right. That can’t be. Please don’t let that be true. I sincerely hope this is not true. But it was. He had died. And he had killed himself.

That was a heavy blow I am still unable to get past.

I couldn’t help but wonder how such a talented and insightful singer/songwriter could take his own life. Just weeks after a new album release, and practically days to the start of a North American tour. He was the frontman to a wildly successful group, and had millions of adoring fans who looked up to him and listened to his beautiful words with a ferocity that few can claim. And he had killed himself?

I just can’t understand it. I can’t understand how it could be possible. I can’t understand how he decided to make the choice that he did. I can’t understand it. I question this as if I myself have never struggled with suicidal thoughts before. But I can’t help it. I can’t help but feel confused. How could someone seemingly doing so well would commit suicide? Why? Why did he do it? Why would he feel that this was the end? Why would he feel that life was no longer worth living? What was it that broke him?

I was fortunate to see Linkin Park in concert with one of my best friends a few years ago, and it was one of the best nights. Their concert still resonates with me today when I hear their music, and I was hoping I would one day see them in concert again. They were just so good. But alas it is not meant to be. The one concert I was fortunate enough to see will have to be my single concert memory. Fortunately it’s a good enough memory it should last. But it certainly doesn’t make that we will never see Mr. Bennington in concert again any easier. In fact, it makes it harder.

His death is truly heartbreaking. He was so talented and his lyrics were beautiful poems. Listening to some of their music was like coming home. It felt like not only did he understand what you were feeling but he knew how to articulate it. He knew how to weave the words together so well that he could make the hardest emotion seem poetic and lovely.

I know that fame and success, no matter how much you have, doesn’t guarantee anyone anything when it comes to struggling with mental Illness. Having family and friends around you doesn’t guarantee anyone anything. If anyone understands the fragmented, disjointed, scary thoughts that can accompany mental illness it’s someone else (like me) who is also struggling with mental Illness. And for those of us who do struggle with mental illness, and have had suicidal thoughts, we know all too well how quickly things can go south, and how close many of us have come to dying by our own hands.

Those who struggle with mental illness tend to take solace in each other’s struggles. There is something about knowing that we are not alone, and that what we are feeling or struggling with is not just us. That others have scary thoughts like we do. That others have overwhelming emotions and urges that we try so hard to manage makes it seem a little less daunting. We hold onto each other and our respective struggles or demons or disorders and feel just a little bit less hopeless and alone. We hold fast that we will make it out alive. That we will all make it out alive. We hold fast that if others can make it then maybe we have a chance too. And when we lose one it can set us back. It can put a stop on any progress we’ve made thus far, and it can relegate us back to old habits and patterns, and the belief that we won’t be able to beat this. It can throw us into a tailspin that leaves us wondering and scared that we might be next.

We sometimes can’t help but think, if he can’t make it then what hope do I have?

It is always difficult to hear about the loss of a fellow sufferer. When the light of one of us is darkened by their own hand I think we all take it a little personally. Whether you knew the person or not. Because it means one more of us who didn’t make it. It means one of us didn’t make it out alive. It means the darkness took another light. It means that there is one less of us to hold onto and hope for better things. It means there is one less of us hoping to pull through. And we need all the hope we can get.

As anyone who has struggled with suicidal thoughts can tell you that often the thoughts are not on a linear path. In fact, they rarely go in any kind “logical” order. Feeling blue to sad. Sad to depressed. Depressed to severely depressed. Severely depressed to suicidal. It would be great to track it from phase to phase but it just doesn’t work that way. The path of mental health and mental Illness almost never goes the way of order. It is chaos personified.

It is sporadic and temperamental. It is tenuous and fragile. It is scary and dangerous. It is subject to change without a moment’s notice, and can leave you feeling like you’ve just been hit by a truck. You can wake up feeling okay and on a good path, and mere hours later you could be feeling like suicide is the only way out. Certain behaviours and moods can certainly help to identify and intervene before it gets that bad but as many signs that can be seen there are double the amount that can come out of nowhere. And the scariest part is that you can be feeling better and doing better and still have suicidal thoughts come on. You can be in recovery and moving forward and still find yourself falling backwards.

For myself there was something truly terrifying and so very fragile about moving away from depression. I was feeling better and I was seeing things clearer but there was still this nagging darkness behind me. In some ways it comforted me that my old familiar darkness was there, but it also scared me because it could creep up over and take me down again at any moment. And in fact, it did.

I remember the night I walked the floors of my hallway holding a knife and feeling like there was just no other way out. I was so terrified that night that blood would spill on the hardwood floors in my bedroom that it still shocks me I somehow managed to survive that night. I am still not sure what got me through to morning but whatever it was it stayed my hand long enough to call for help.

What really shook me about that night was that I had been doing so well. I had been seeing a therapist and making great strides in finally understanding a lot of my past and my trauma. I only recently discovered that back then I was really just scratching the surface, but I digress. I was working full-time, I was in a relationship that I loved, and I was doing stuff that interested me. I was generally feeling okay about things overall. It was by no means a complete recovery but it was certainly better than it had been.

Back when I was crying every day and feeling like the world was crushing me. When I felt so alone and lonely and that no matter how many words I used no one would ever understand me or be able to help me. When I felt so weighed down by life I could barely make it out of bed. Comparatively-speaking I was doing really well.

And then that night happened.

As the sky darkened outside my windows I suddenly felt this crushing weight on me that literally pushed me to the floor. Where I remained for a few hours crying until my tears ran dry and I was totally numb. I suddenly felt so hopeless and helpless that I was forever doomed to pain and suffering no matter what I did. I felt as if life was just not something that I was meant to have. I was never meant to be happy or have good things. I was forever destined to darkness. And it crushed me. I mean it broke me right down. As depressed as I had felt before, this weight that came over me literally left me breathless. I remember sitting just outside my bathroom gasping for air because something was breaking me down. Something was suffocating me. And it wasn’t long before I suddenly found myself with a knife in my hand and the will to live just fell away.

I didn’t care that I could die. I didn’t care if anyone might miss me. I didn’t care who found me or how. I didn’t care about anything. Literally. I lost my connection to the world so profoundly that it wasn’t until I saw the blood running down my leg that I realized where this was going. I frantically searched the apartment for bigger knives and drugs that I could take and things I could use to end it all. Anything was fair game. Jumping out the window, slicing my body to pieces, taking every drug in the apartment, or all of the above. I was on a mission and the completion was death.

Whatever carried me to morning did so without my knowledge.

I remember seeing the sun peak through the window and as I lay on the floor staring at the ceiling I was amazed that I was still alive. I laid there on the floor for most of the day after, as if I had run a marathon the night before, and at some point I fell asleep as the adrenalin dissipated. And it wasn’t until the following night before I finally moved off the floor. I slept most of the next few days away and spoke to no one. I’d like to say that what happened that night was cathartic and that it was a breakthrough for me, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t even close. It had terrified me. It had set me back to a place where I couldn’t even trust myself. It had literally almost killed me. It had not left me unscathed and I did not feel any better about life. It took months and serious therapy to bring me back to where I could function again.

One thing I did learn from that night was that even someone on the recovery can still be broken. I learned that being in therapy and coming back from depression did not mean that everything was okay, or that I was fully functioning again. It did not mean that the darkness couldn’t take me again. And that’s not to say that therapy and recovery are a lost cause because they aren’t. And it doesn’t mean that recovery will be negated in one fell swoop. Yes, that night blindsided me but that might not be true for others. And when I look back I can see in some parts why I turned to suicide that night.

That night almost killed me AND I still believe in recovery and I still believe in hope.

I wrote earlier that the path to suicide is not linear, or constant, and it often makes no logical sense, which is true. However, it is still a path. Suicidal thoughts rarely just spring out of nowhere for no reason. There are usually some signs that show where things are headed. Sometimes we see the path, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes others see the path before we do. And sometimes we don’t care what path we are on, or where it will end up, as long as it ends the pain and suffering.

What I want to really be clear about here is that suicide is something that should always be taken seriously. Whether the person is asking for help or whether they fully intend to end their life, the threat should be treated as real and true. I want people to understand that suicide is scary at times, even for the person who is attempting or committing suicide.

I want people to understand that suicide is rarely about not having a great life or great success. It is rarely about the people around us and in our lives. It is often about us, and our own pain and suffering. It is something that can happen to anyone and there may be times where it seems to come out of the blue. It can hide and spring on you when you least expect it. It is something that can happen when you’re in the darkness or trying to come out of the darkness.

There are as many reasons to commit suicide as there are people in the world. And what is enough reason for one may not be reason for another. So that is a lot of reasons and a lot of chances for the path to turn dark. And it’s important to keep in mind that feeling suicidal is not a weakness nor does it mean failure. It means that you need help. You are struggling, out of ideas, and out of options, and need help. You are boxed in, overwhelmed, stuck, lost, and need help. You feel helpless, hopeless and worthless, and need help.

The bottom line is that you need help. And you are entitled to it as much as anyone else is. You are NOT worthless. And even if you’re hope has diminished then let someone else hope for you, until yours comes back.

I am going to close this by saying that I hope anyone who feels suicidal, please reach out for help. Or if you know someone who is suicidal, please try to offer them support, whether it’s making the call for help for them, or just sitting with them to let them know they aren’t alone. Please take all suicidal threats seriously because it could cost a life.

I know that there will be some suicides that won’t be able to be stopped. There will be some who will not see the next day. There will be some who you won’t know are struggling. There will be some who will go out of their way to not tell you they are struggling. There will be some of us that won’t make it out alive. But if you see it, or they ever do tell you, please try to help.

For those who find themselves in the darkness and are unable to find your way back to the light, I sincerely hope you find peace, no matter where it lays.

Hope and hugs for everyone out there 🙂

SUICIDE LINES – CANADA:
Call 911
https://suicideprevention.ca/need-help/
https://thelifelinecanada.ca/help/
http://www.yourlifecounts.org/need-help/crisis-lines
http://www.suicide.org/hotlines/international/canada-suicide-hotlines.html

*TW* Trying to Return to DBT

So the last several weeks have been hard for me. Last couple of months? Hmm. So more time has passed than I previously thought. I don’t really know if it’s my BPD, depression, or anxiety…actually that’s not true, I do know, it’s all of it. The whole mess of chaos and confusion that lives in my head and in my body, pinning me to the floor, or pushing me into a dark hole. One just egging the other on until I am a puddle on the floor.

The good news is, during this time I have been continuing to attend all of my weekly DBT Groups, and all of my weekly DBT Individual appointments. So I have a wealth of DBT information on backlog. I’ve wanted to start posting those again but I just didn’t have it in me. I thought I could squeeze them in but it didn’t work out that way.

Despite the backlog of posting any DBT skills, there were a few days the DBT stuff helped me with my stress, anxiety, and distress. Some days, I admit, DBT didn’t even enter my brain let alone my practice. And there were a few days I did think of it and it didn’t do squat. But there have been a few moments when it did help, a lot, and I think a lot of it can help others too. Especially the Distress Tolerance, which is unfortunately the most recent module taught, so it will be the last ones to be posted.

Either way, if it can help me, then it has a chance to help others too.

My goal is to now get back on track with posting the DBT stuff again, and in the midst of that, I am going to still try and climb my way back to my normal. “My normal”, for those of you wondering, is a place where I don’t wake up every day wanting to sink into a deep, dark place and be left completely alone. *TW* Maybe or maybe not, considering if I’ll wait for death, or if I’ll walk right towards it. And where every day feels like moving through tar, in body and mind.

I hope to get back on track within the next few days. Wish me luck 🙂

*TW* Should I Stay, or Should I Go?

Dealing with suicidal thoughts and feelings are overwhelming and frustrating and it’s only made further confusing and frustrating by not necessarily actually wanting to die. At least not right now.

When the idea of wanting to die starts to float through my mind, I sort of let it drift in and out, testing the waters to see how serious I am about it, and if it will stick around or was it just a passing thought. Most of the time it just goes away on its own and nothing else happens.

But sometimes it doesn’t go away. Sometimes it sticks around and becomes more than just a floating thought, it becomes an idea, which is one step away from planning, and that is one small step from attempting. It starts to grow inside my mind and slowly I start to notice and consider all the passive ways that I could die, all of the ways that I wouldn’t be responsible for my life ending so I wouldn’t have to worry about how to do it, and I wouldn’t have to worry about hurting anyone left behind. I wouldn’t have to worry beforehand about people wondering what happened and why I did what I did, nor would any of my family or friends. It would be taken care of by fate and no one would be the wiser that it was what I wanted to happen all along. Of course this passive plan has its faults because there’s also a very good chance it might not happen, and if I’m feeling really low and looking for an out this can be kind of an inconvenience because I want things to end but I’m not yet willing to be the cause of it. In this case any attempts at dying would have to be by my hand so there are pluses and minuses to the passive route.

When I start to imagine the passive ways that my life could end, I know that this is a crossroads for me; I’ll either go down the one road to a much darker place where the passive route of death moves from a wish to a want and then it gets even darker and I actually move into planning or attempting, the other road I decide it’s not really what I want and look for help and ways to come out of the dark place.

Leaving the decision to fate always starts out so tempting, like when I’m standing on the sidewalk at the bus stop wondering if I tripped and fell into the street, would I be hit by a bus and killed? Or if someone knocked me into the street into the path of any oncoming vehicle, would I be killed? What if there was any kind of accident and I was killed? The ideas and fantasies, if you will, become quite fantastical. And in my defense, none of them are totally out of the realm of happening because weird things and accidents happen every day in every country in the world, and whose to say one of them won’t happen to me.

I also consider at this time the even more passive ways my life could end, like if I don’t take care of myself maybe nature will decide for me. I could have a heart attack, or a stroke, or I could get sick. This way however could potentially take months, or even years to happen, if they happen at all, so this route, though it’s relatively easy, is not the most effective way of them all.

What if I stop eating and moving, will my heart give out? What if I find something toxic and it “accidentally” gets ingested? What if I self-harm, will I strike the wrong spot and die? The ways to be killed and die are endless, and it’s amazing at what I start to imagine and hope for that will cause my life to end, yet will be little to no work on my part. It’s skewed thinking I know, but it’s hard not to entertain the thoughts when it feels like it’s the only way out.

I do have to question how much of these thoughts, particularly when they remain as thoughts and don’t move into planning or attempting, is about control. When I feel a lack of control about life in general, and my emotions and thoughts are all over the place, one way to take back that control is to know I have the authority to say when it all ends, even if it means taking my own life. It’s extreme but it gives me some sense that I have a say in what’s happening. When everything else feels like it is being done to me, and I am just stuck on the roller coaster forced to endure the constant ups and downs that wrench me from state to state, taking the reins on whether I live or not feels like I finally have a say. Suddenly the roller coaster ride, though still hard and frustrating, becomes a little less violent and overwhelming, knowing I can just stand up and jump out of my seat and end the ride permanently.

There are times when I wonder if my solitude is a means for me to slowly extract myself from other people’s lives so if something were to happen to me, and I were to die, whether by accident, nature or by my hand, it will hurt less. For them and for me. I can convince myself that because I haven’t talked to people in a while it will be easier to leave them, and I can believe that they feel the same. I can push people away, or keep them at arm’s length because it will be easier to leave if I have no one close to me. And I can tell myself that no one cares because they aren’t around. So I may as well be gone.

All of the things I would distance myself from; friends, family, work, interests, hobbies, and dreams, and then I will have nothing left to stay for. I can leave without feeling anything because everything I cared about is either gone or taken away. I would convince myself of all of this in order to make it easier.

It’s in this state of mind that the passive ways to die aren’t good enough or fast enough for me, and I actually start looking and considering how I want to end it. This is when I am in the darkest of places and this time it might be the last.

The uncertainty of life terrifies me enough that it paralyzes me. And the farther I am from all that I care about and love, the easier it becomes to end it for good. My reasons for living will be gone and there will be nothing to hold me here. Why would I stay here if no one is looking for me? Why would I stay if no one is seeing me? Why would I stay if no one is paying attention to me? Why would I stay if everyone else has better things to do? Why would I stay if my dreams are dead? Why would I stay if I have no interests or purpose? Why would I stay if I am alone?

I am not yet sure what will happen.

*TW* When It Feels Like the Only Way Out

One of the hardest things about BPD is the suicide ideation. It can come out of nowhere and for seemingly no good reason. But when it does happen it feels like it’s the only way out. It feels like all options have been eliminated and the list of choices has shrunk to one.

And it can turn on a dime. In the morning things might not be so bad but by the end of the day the feelings and thoughts become so loud and mean and they just get louder and louder until it feels like suicide is the only way out.

I always think something is wrong with me. I always feel broken when I start to think suicidal thoughts. I hate the bombardment that comes over me because it’s a torturous cycle.

My thoughts race through my mind at a million miles a minute, and they are relentless. My mind feels like it’s on overdrive and my emotions feel like they’re on a high speed roller coaster that won’t stop. It leaves me paralyzed, scared, and tired. The thoughts come at me…and I start to believe that I am unworthy and unloved…I start to believe that I am hopeless and helpless and alone…It feels like things will never get better and my life will be plagued by these evil thoughts forever. There is no respite from them.

My mind says…you are unloved…you are unlovable…you are unworthy…you will be left behind…you are a failure…there is nothing redeemable about you…you are flawed…you are broken…you are nothing.

And I wonder…What is wrong with me? Why can’t I do better? Why can’t I be better? Why do I try if all I will achieve is failure? Why do I constantly try to fit in and belong when I should know better, that I am not worthy of better, and I don’t deserve it.

I am manipulative. I am a bitch. I am undeserving and I am alone and that is one thing that I do deserve.

The thoughts pour over me like a waterfall and my emotions are along for the ride on this violent roller coaster trying not to cry or fall off but also wanting desperately for it to stop. My anxiety climbs to its limit pushing me into dissociation and numbness because it’s the only way I can cope with the bombardment.

I am to blame for all that is wrong with me and for all that I fall short on. I am a disgrace and a disappointment.

As these thoughts get louder and meaner I start to spiral down and it could be days or weeks, sometimes months, before it eventually lands me in a dark place of solitude where I start to build walls around me so I can try to keep all the pain away.

But somehow the thoughts and the pain find their way in and now I am in a dark enclosed space with them where they become deafening and I can’t stop crying but I feel powerless to stop them. I try to plug my ears but they work their way into my mind where I have no peace from it all.

And so I think of the only way out and the only way to silence all the mean thoughts and derogatory comments is to die. That dying is the only way to finally have some peace and quiet. Dying is the only way to stop hearing all the mean things, and it’s the only way to get rid of the pain, it’s the only way I can finally get ahead of the thoughts and shut them down for good.

Sometimes it’s not that I want to die as much as it’s about wanting all the thoughts and emotions that overwhelm me to stop, and death feels like that’s the only way it will happen.

Desperate thoughts lead to desperate actions and as much as I wish it didn’t need to go that far, I can’t help that it does. The pain is too great. The thoughts are too mean. The emotions are too much. There is only so much I can take. I hope to get past it without extreme measures but I can’t promise it won’t.