Often when someone is suicidal they need to be forced to get help. They need an action plan. And they need people around them who won’t think that they are twisted and evil. A year and a half ago when I was hospitalized it was because I wanted to kill myself, because I felt that Hubby would be better off without the mentally ill wife. I was planning on driving my car into a tree and try to make it look like an accident so he would get the large life insurance policy he has on me through his work. This way he wouldn’t have to deal with the illness and would have the money to pay off the house and not worry about bills. My therapist forced me to go to treatment. And when I was released Hubby wouldn’t let me drive myself anywhere for quite awhile.The time I was hospitalized before that I also wanted to kill myself. I told T and she called Hubby and they took me to the hospital.When someone tells you they want to kill themselves and even have a plan you DO NOT IGNORE IT and you absolutely DON’T TELL THEM TO GO AHEAD AND DO IT.Brother has brain damage and he absolutely suffers from depression and anxiety if not something more. So if you can’t do better then tell him to go ahead and kill himself, then you should step out of his way. Because it really doesn’t matter what you do for him, if you can’t help him WANT to live or at least get him to someone who can than you are NOT helping.I know that there are more than one side to every story, but the part I’m worried about right now is the part where my brother wants to kill himself. Because the story that you tell and the story that Brother tells are vastly different. Vastly. So I can’t concern myself with any part of the story except the part that I know is true, and the part, that quite frankly, makes me sick.
TRIGGER WARNING for Suicidal Ideation and Psych Wards
Well, anyone who read early Friday and Friday afternoon knows that I checked myself into the inpatient ward at our nearby psych hospital Friday afternoon (July 1). I remained there until this past Thursday, July 7. I was having severe suicidal ideations, some of which were quite violent, but the main one was to take all my pills. So I locked my meds in the safe and went outside to call my therapist. I wasn’t able to get ahold of her, and my pdoc is off on Fridays, so I began the process of getting myself admitted without my doctor’s help. One really long conversation later, the hospital agreed that I needed to be admitted and told me to come right in.
Hubby and MIL didn’t really believe me or they didn’t know how to react, but getting out of the house was a fight. Once I knew I had a bed, I called a cab and I left. Everyone was unhappy, including me. Once I arrived at the hospital I was informed that my therapist had contacted them, asked the to expect me, and asked them to admit me, which helped things move along.
Being on the ward helped. There were groups to learn about coping skills, which was good, because every single one I had failed me. We talked about stress and depression and various other things, including a psychiatrist visit every morning to try and sort out the meds.
There was some disappointment this time around when I realized that about 90 percent of the ward had attempted suicide and there were only a couple of us who managed to get to the hospital before anything bad happened. There were a lot of pill overdoses and a hanging (Only 19!!!!) It was also a very young crowd, with only 5 of us being above 30.
Since I have come home, I have realized that this is my third inpatient hospitalization in 6 years, plus I had two outpatient experiences as well. Plus, I had at least 2 incidents of suicidal ideation that did not end up in hospitalizations.
We did have a “Nurse Ratchett” one day, and it was a bad day. She was in charge of hosting a group. Most groups have a lot of give and take between the patients and the facilitator. They are meant to encourage patients to talk about their issues, whether in detail or generally. However, Nurse Sally was above that. She stood outside of the circle and lectured us. Basically, she told us that if anyone ever attempted again they would most likely fail and most like end up in a nursing home for the rest of our lives due to the damage we would cause ourselves. But, if we would just live the way she did, we would be fine and would look 55 when we were 65. Everyone was pissed. Way to generalize, and good job knowing your audience. And, oh yeah, what a terrible idea for a speech to give to a bunch of people who were suicidal. I gave her terrible ratings on my post-group patient survey and said exactly what I thought. But I was almost the only one, because the people who were there involuntarily had to see a judge to get released, and a black mark from a charge nurse would be doing them no favors.
I have come home from the hospital with a purpose. I want to start a conversation about suicide. It exists and we’re all vulnerable. Plus, our loved ones, and apparently our psych nurses, need to know what it’s like from our end. They need to know that it’s not a selfish thought, and they need to know why.
People have started talking a little bit more about mental illness, but stigma is still rampant. I think that the stigma of feeling suicidal is going to be a tough nut to crack, but I want to try. Even if I only make a small dent, that’s still a great thing.
Trigger alert for suicide
The word depression is really starting to give me a headache. NIMH defines it thusly: Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.
The word has become synonymous with “bummed out” as in “I’m so depressed that the grocery store is out of grapes”.
This is why, when those of us suffering from severe depression try to talk to our friends and family members about it, we are often met with cries of “push through it”, platitudes about feeling only as good as we are willing to feel and, my particular favorite, “you don’t have anything to be depressed about”.
This morning my bipolar despair, as I would like to officially rename it, hit a serious low. Hubby was stressed about work and upset that I can barely get it together. We ended up fighting, not because either of us was mad at the other, but because of the frustration and stress we are so consistently under, courtesy of my Bipolar disorder. He was stressed from work, I was stressed from trying to not be stressed and to act like I was fine. He can’t remember the last time he saw me smile, I can’t understand how he doesn’t remember last week. He wants to know when I can stop putting all of these poisonous pills into my body (or at least when are they going to start working) and I can’t understand why he doesn’t remember that they will never work well enough and that’s why I’m trying to get disability
And I begin to go downhill…fast. Because now I’m thinking that I’m more trouble than I’m worth. Why would he want me around if I am making his life so hard? Does he want a divorce? Where will I go?
Maybe I should just take a handful of pills.
And there it is. This is the second time in the last month that suicide has come unbidden into my thoughts. The last time there was no plan. Just a thought that everything was so damn hard and that maybe everyone would be better off without me.
Today, I skipped the part where I thought it might be an option and skipped immediately to planning. When will I do it? Which pills do I have enough of? How many will I need to do the job?
And then I stopped. A picture of my not quite 5 year old step-grandson has come into my mind. I hear him asking “Where’s Grammy?” when we get together with family next month. And I know I have to keep it together.
I stay outside. I manage to get ahold of my therapist, who is, thankfully, able to see me at 1:00. Hubby has agreed to go if I can get an appointment, but 1:00 is too late, he has to be at work. He will go to my regular appointment on Tuesday.
I leave the house early to go to my impromptu appointment. Sitting outside her office playing Candy Crush is safer than being at home. Being home could bring more fighting, more suicidal thoughts and I don’t want either.
True to form, Karen is able to make some sense of the craziness in my head. She helps me make a straighter line out of the gibberish happening in there. And she reminds me, because I need reminding, that my husband loves me and wants me.
It is during this session that I decide that I do not wish to use the term bipolar depression anymore. It’s not strong enough. Not intense enough. I am in despair. I’m not bummed out, I’m desperate. Desperate to not feel anguish. Desperate to feel true happiness. Desperate to feel useful. I’m not experiencing the same depression that everyone does on occasion. This is bigger. Worse.
And it’s never going to go completely away. It will ebb. I will move into more of a baseline position, maybe experience some mania or hypomania, but I will come back to this place. The goal is to not come ALL the way back. Or at least stay here for less time.
Hubby will go to therapy with me next week. He will need to get on with the business of realizing that I am doing my absolute best. And I will need to get on with realizing that he is, too.
Author’s note: It’s a couple of days after I wrote this post, and I just wanted to make something a little clearer. This post was written while I was experiencing serious suicidal ideation. I was not however, at the planning stage. I think writing this post kept me from going that far. The point of this post is to show people who have never been here, what here looks like. Because, even the next day it was hard for me to look back and explain it, and I was the one who experienced it. I understand that my family would be devastated if I took my own life. But, that kind of understanding does not penetrate the pure despair that spawns suicidal ideation.
Why do we want it? Why do we think about it? Why do we begin to think it’s a good idea?
This is not an article about science. I’m not good with science and my attention span and memory are so messed up from my meds that the science frustrates me. This is an article about experience. My experience.
Right now I am experiencing a clash, a perfect storm, of problems that lead to suicidal ideation.
I’m depressed. My bipolar is in it’s downswing and I feel like everything is so difficult. I feel like I’m slogging through deep thick mud just to get going.
We are having trouble with our cat. She is peeing all over the house. She is in remission from diabetes, which we found out by her peeing all over the house. She’s still doing it, and we don’t have the money to keep going to the vet to have her tested for everything under the sun. It could be something simple, or it could be something complicated. But at what point do we stop testing and treating and give up? I don’t want to give up, but she’s getting older, and we’ve spent thousands of dollars on her in just the last couple of years. And don’t tell me that I should have adopted her if I wasn’t willing to do everything for her. First, she was left with us by my stepson, so I didn’t choose this. Second, if I had unlimited resources, I would spend them on her, but I don’t. Not to mention that we are going to have to replace the carpet.
Hubby and I are fighting about the cat. When I laid out our feline options and our monetary situation, I began to cry. Which made his frustration overflow. My tears are valid. His frustration is valid. But he’s frustrated about me, too. And, now I feel like he would feel better if he didn’t have to worry about me. He’s afraid I’m going to breakdown over the cat and I’m afraid he’s angry with me.
I know my feelings are valid, but now I also know that he is (again) not telling me things because he doesn’t know which thing is going to set me off. So, he’s holding in work frustrations and other things that bother him. And, for me, the guilt has come raging in , because I feel like I am just yet one more frustration that he has to deal with.
And that, right there, is the problem. It’s the point at which things begin to spiral. I feel like I am making his life more difficult than it needs to be. I can’t work, so I can’t contribute financially. I’m depressed, but there is no discernible reason. I’m irritating him with the cat situation. He’s already frustrated about work. I’m not making things better for him. I’m making them worse.
The suicidal ideation is never about me. It’s always about someone else. When I was a teenager it was that my parents would be happier if they didn’t have to deal with me. As a married woman, it’s that my husband’s life would be easier. And all I want to do, as a wife, is make his life easier. If he’s constantly stressed out that I’m going to have a breakdown at any time, how is his life better? If he’s constantly on guard because he doesn’t know what kind of mood I’m going to be in when I wake up, how am I enriching his life? If his home life and work life are both frustrating, how am I making him happy?
Suicidal ideation is never simple. It’s not selfish. If anything, it’s about thinking about everyone else too much. It’s not about taking an easy way out. These times in my life are some of the most difficult times I’ve ever been through.
This isn’t something I would wish on my worst enemy.
I called my parents.
If you read my post earlier where I was feeling manic you can disregard that. I feel like shit. All I want to do is cry
The story my parents told could not have been more different than the one my brother told me. The only thing that everyone agrees on is that my father told my brother that he should have killed himself.
And my father said that he apologized (I saw the apology…it was a text…and it was lame) and since you can’t take it back that should be the end of it.
So I guess that’s the end of it.
I was kind to my mother. I asked if she was ok. I wasn’t mean or bitchy or accusatory. But, according to my father “thanks for bringing it up because now she’s crying again”.
I told my father that I have spent years wanting to kill myself (on and off) and that I’ve been hospitalized twice because the urge was too strong to resist. “What do you want me to say? I apologized” he said.
Told him it was the cruelest thing I could ever think of that someone could say to another person and he asked if I had anything else I wanted to talk about.
So I’m an idiot. And I can’t stop crying, and I’m going to go lay down and watch reruns of the Walking Dead.
Fuck this shit.
I don’t know how coherent this is going to be so please forgive me in advance.
Our parents gave us every advantage in life. And they worked their asses off to do it. Both of them grew up poor. Mother’s family was just straight up poor and Father’s father was a minister and while the church gave them a place to live, salary was sometimes paid in the form of chickens in the early years. Plus, Poppop squirreled away cash when he got it. They lived poor partially on purpose. Which is a good thing because Mommom is now 97 and has money to live on.
But, my parents didn’t want to live poor, so they worked their asses off. Father was a pharmacist and in the mid 70’s he was able to buy a drug store in a city an hour away from where we lived. In the 80’s he bought out his partner. Every day a 2 hour round trip, and when snow threatened he got a room in a hotel close to the store so he could open even in bad weather. When I graduated from high school, they moved closer to the store and the house they built rivaled Tara from Gone with the Wind.
Brother and I had things growing up. We got the gaming systems as they came out and we must have had 30 games for our Atari. We got a computer in the 80’s. We had piles of clothes, we went to a great school, I got a car when I turned 16.
But, underneath, we felt like nuisances. Growing up was difficult for me and Brother. The picture of the perfect family was complete and as long as you didn’t scratch the surface too hard, it held. But dig just a little deeper and the dysfunction was blinding.
My mother is a masterful con artist. She can take the words you say, twist them and hand them back to you and you will wonder why you were so horrible to say what you didn’t say. She also has the most amazing selective memory that I have ever encountered.
We were generally not spanked as children, although when we were Brother always got the belt. Mother will tell you that we were never ever ever hit as children. Ever. However, I remember quite vividly cowering in a corner as she hit me over and over with the first thing her hands touched, which happened to be one of those heavy duty plastic brushes with the really stiff bristles. My crime? I wanted to explain myself.
I became a prolific liar. We were never allowed to just talk to our parents. We obey. Period. End of story. The word “why” would get you grounded for a month. Trying to explain why you asked “why” would get you another month. God forbid I was in a play during this time of grounding. Days before the performances I would be told that I couldn’t perform. I would say that I had some minor breakdowns back then. I would always end up being able to go onstage but the stress I experienced waiting for permission was nearly more than I could handle.
I went to college. I didn’t want to, but it wasn’t up to me. I was the first person ever on my mother’s side of the family to have the opportunity, but I didn’t want it. I had no idea what I wanted to do and I didn’t see the point on spending money on something that I didn’t want. I joined a sorority because Mother wanted me to. And I got tired of being lectured about it, so I joined one that was having a spring rush, so I didn’t have to go through all the craziness of full blown sorority rush season. However, once I got there Mother didn’t want to pay the fees. She did, but she bitched and moaned for months after she wrote the check.
Midway through the spring semester of my junior year, I quit school. I didn’t tell my parents I was quitting, but I stopped going to classes and used my dorm room as a temporary place to stay until the semester ended. I was burned out, and the latest disagreement between my parents and me ended with the following dictate. “You will live at home during the summer and work. You will follow the rules of our house. And you will transfer to a local college and pay your own way”. I figured if I was going to pay my own way, I may as well do it making myself happy.
I attempted suicide when I was a teenager. I just took about 20 pills from my parents medicine cabinet. I fell asleep, but I think most of them were probably vitamins or something else innocuous. I didn’t tell them till I was much older.
My brother turned to drugs and was emancipated at 16. To my parents credit, they did try to help him, but since they were a big part of the problem, that didn’t work so well.
I have managed to build my boundaries. She still has the ability to send me from a room crying if she chooses to, but I keep rebuilding my boundaries (thank God for therapists) and they’ve been holding for a very long time.
But Brother called last night and everything came crashing down. He has had a lot of legal problems recently. He had gotten help from someone with his business and then this unscrupulous person sued my brother, saying that my brother was stealing and took him to court. Legal fees ran high but the case was thrown out this week with prejudice (so this person cannot sue again). Mother and Father said “oh..cool” when told about this victory. Brother had received a check from some job he had done and used it to pay a variety of bills he was behind with. He went to my parent’s house last night to help them with something and he asked my father for advice. Apparently assuming that Brother had blown his paycheck on crap, Father told Brother that he “didn’t know, maybe you should have just killed yourself.”
Brother called me immediately to let me know what happened from his point of view. Because he wanted me to know the truth. I don’t know what mangled version of this I’m going to receive from parents, but I’m devastated. How dare ANYONE say that to another human being. And to say it to your child???? I don’t even know what to do or to think. And I know that the conversation I end up having with my parents is going to be this completely messed up version of the events making my brother out to be a crazy lunatic.
And I don’t know if I’m strong enough to have the conversation in the first place. I’m already in the depression slump of bipolar, but I only slept about 2 hours last night and I’ve got some kind of manic energy behind the tears right now. It’s like I’m getting everything straightened up around the house so that when I’m forced to my bed, everything is done. I’ve never experienced the nesting urge that pregnant women get, but I’d bet it feels something like this.
So, if you are still reading, I thank you. I don’t think I’ve ever done a post this long. And there is so much more to say. The floodgates are open and I don’t know where this flood is going to carry me.
About once a month I wake up in the morning feeling sick. My stomach hurts, I have a headache, I can’t quite wake up, I can’t nap. I stay in bed or lay on the couch. I tell everyone that I feel like I’m getting sick so they should stay away from me.
And the next day I feel fine.
It’s my depression.
It happened yesterday. I postponed my trip to see my Mommom. She’s 97 and I don’t want to take anything near her. But, I also knew it was possible that I didn’t feel well because of the depression.
And this morning I woke up feeling fine. I’m a little drowsy, but that’s because of the Trazadone I took last night to help me sleep. Most of the time the Ambien and Klonopin is enough, but sometimes I have to put the Trazadone in there.
Part of my relief came from a phone call from hubby last night. He called A to find out what the mother was talking about with her little Facebook rant about me. Apparently, A doesn’t even know. She’s confused as well. Her response on the page had been to the way the post originally read, but it had been changed from a post arguing with A to a post ripping me apart. It’s still on my mind, but the tone has changed.
The depression isn’t gone though. I’m in the midst of a bipolar depression event with a heavy helping of situational depression thrown in.
And I hate it.
I’m in the middle of a unique opportunity right now. I’m just over the half-way point of a two week trip to spend time with my grandmother. My parents are away, so I’m caring for their dogs as well.
And I’m dragging.
And I’m isolating. I have friends here. I could be socializing, but I’m not.
Before I knew I had bipolar and all my other diagnoses, I didn’t understand why I was so down so often. I didn’t recognize the mania for what it was. And I was confused.
When I was diagnosed, I was relieved. I knew what was happening. I had names to put to conditions. And there was medication out there that could make me feel better.
Now, I’m afraid all the time. I’m medication resistant. Nothing works for long. I go to therapy twice a week, but it’s really just a place for me to vent. We try to work on coping skills but since the meds don’t ever work for long, we never really have time to work out issues. Of course, even if I work out an issue, it only changes situational depression, not bipolar depression. And the mania frightens me. As I rise out of the depression towards happiness there is the constant thought of “what if it’s mania” running through my brain. I try to enjoy the happiness, I do, but I worry.
I’m also moving towards a place where I’m starting to feel like I’m going to need a hospital stay. The last time I felt like this I was in the hospital within two months. The depression just goes lower and lower and I worry more and more. And I start to think about suicide in dribs and drabs. Then more. I think about it now. I have no plan, I just think about it sometimes. Peace. No more agonizing over every single thing.
I’m safe. I’m not going to do anything.
But, I think about it.
How does your bipolar affect your daily living?
anxiety, bipolar, Celexa, Cymbalta, depression, disability, dry mouth, klonopin, lamictal, latuda, Lexapro, medication cost, medications, Mental Health, Mental Illness, prozac, psychiatrist, saphris, side effects, stigma, suicidal thoughts, suicide, Trazodone, zyprexa
Christmas is over and bipolar is still here.
I’m starting to come back around to my baseline of constant low level anxiety. I got a couple weeks out of my med changes and now they are slowly failing me yet again. I will go to next pdoc appt and request an increase of klonopin, which she will give me. That will hold for a couple weeks and then I’ll need more. So we’ll change to something else. She loves messing around with my prozac dosage, so I’m sure we’ll do some of that as well. Can’t increase lamictal or I’ll lose my memory again. Can’t increase Seroquel XR or I’ll stop losing weight and start gaining again. Latuda? Immediate fail. Zyprexa? Immediate fail. Lexapro? Been there, done that. Cymbalta? Couldn’t pay me enough. Celexa? Eventual fail. Trazodone? Eventual fail. Saphris? Immediate fail. There are more. I’ve been through all the sleeping pills and all the anxiety rescue meds more than once. We just keep cycling through them as their effectiveness wears off.
It’s an exhausting cycle which many people go through when confronted with mental illness. There just isn’t a good enough solution. We’re the guinea pigs of our own treatment. We get fat from our meds. We get dry mouth and horrible breath. The depression meds make us manic, but if we don’t take them we move towards suicidal. Some of the meds take away our personalities. We become emotionless robots, plodding through our days, enjoying little to none of it. We lose our memory. We lose our creativity. Many of us don’t regain the ability to rejoin the workforce. But, obtaining disability is a multi-year odyssey in humiliation and poverty during which we struggle to pay our doctors and purchase our ridiculously expensive meds.
And, as if all of that was not enough, we are told to suck it up. We are told that if we exercise we won’t need those meds. We are told that suicide is selfish. We are told we are lazy. We are told we are a drain on the system.
If we are fortunate enough to eventually obtain disability, we live in poverty. And disability can be taken away, regardless of our doctors reports, leaving us to wean ourselves off dangerous medications without medical supervision.
The stigma of mental illness will keep many of us from getting the treatment we need. We will endeavor to keep our families and friends in the dark about our conditions for fear of losing them. We berate ourselves for being so weak and crazy. Because our illness can’t be seen, it is hard to accept.
We remain anonymous, even to each other. Being known, speaking or writing publically could make the government decide that we are, after all, capable of doing the things our doctors say we can’t. It wouldn’t matter that it is taking me hours to write this. I would never be able to commit to speaking anywhere, as there are days I can’t bring myself to get out of bed. Or shower. Or eat. Or hear loud noises. Or have conversations with others. Or see the sun. And there are rarely warnings that those days are coming. So, we don’t trust even the people who live with the same problems as ourselves, with our real identity. Which I believe hurts us in the long run.
I wish I knew how to make it all stop. A med that will help everyone with a minimum of side effects. A removal of stigma so that our condition can be openly dealt with, as it would if we had cancer. And a government that would listen to the opinions of our doctors and help us when we are no longer able to help ourselves without a helping hand. After all, I paid into that system for 25 years. Instead they are forcing us to fight battles we don’t have the strength to fight to get the money we are were told we were entitled to when we were forced to pay into the system.
It would be so wonderful if we could all speak in unison of the trials and tribulations of mental illness. But those of us with the most need are those whose suffering prevents them from doing much else but suffer.
Trigger Warning…I’m discussing my car accident yesterday and how it has tied into my suicidal ideation
If this is something that may bother you, please change the channel. I don’t want to make anyone’s day harder than it has to be.
The car accident I had yesterday would not have killed me. It was rough, but I was wearing my seatbelt and I had lots of airbags. I had never been in an accident with airbag deployment before and I was terrified. But, I was glad to be alive. I took stock of my physical self, decided what hurt and what didn’t and tried to decide what to do. Call the cops. Call hubby. Get someone to help me decide how hurt I actually am. The 911 operator insisted on knowing if I was hurt. I was just as insistent that I didn’t know. Yes I was in pain, but I have no idea if it’s serious. Finally I just told her to send the ambulance. Better safe than sorry I suppose. Plus, it shut her up. Don’t get me wrong. I’m extremely grateful for her assistance. But, I have a hard time when people ask me the same questions over and over and over and I don’t have the answer.
The police showed, the fire departments showed (I couldn’t answer whether there were fluids leaking from the car) and my ambulance. Into a C-collar and onto a gurney. Finally being able to see that there was no blood anywhere and being able to stand meant nothing was broken in my legs.
As I was wheeled into the ambulance, I got my first look at my car from the outside. It didn’t look too bad. Passenger side headlight was broken, but not too bad, considering. Until I talked to my husband.
He had to pass the accident site on the way to the hospital. He said the passenger side of the car is destroyed. He said that it’s pushed over into the driver’s side somewhat. I’m so glad I didn’t have a passenger.
Last year at this time, I was trying to figure out how to use my car to kill myself. Had to look like an accident, I needed the life insurance to pay out.
Now, I’ve been in a serious accident and I’m so glad I wasn’t seriously hurt. This was not a touch and go life threatening situation that has made me see the light. This was a regular accident that people go through every single day. But for me it was also an emotional enlightenment.
I don’t want to die…..
I don’t know what I was thinking, when I thought that suicide by car would be a good plan. Hell, I don’t know why I thought suicide would be a good plan period. But, that’s really the rub isn’t it? Whatever it is that we are thinking when we are suicidal is false thinking. For me, it is a combination of not knowing how I am going to survive through the next minute because the mental anguish is so pronounced and a desire to have my family not have to suffer through more of my uselessness any more than absolutely necessary.
Right now, things are good enough that I do not have suicidal ideation. My moods have been up and down, but I have been lucky enough that suicide hasn’t entered into the constant conversation I have with myself.
I’m grateful that I wasn’t hurt more then I was. I’m grateful that I’m not dead.
I’m grateful that this experience has made me take notice of, and be happy about, not wishing myself dead.