A therapist and a psychologist walk into a room …

No, I shouldn’t be joking; or perhaps I should. Thing is, it’s Wednesday morning as I type this. I saw my therapist on Monday, and he suggested hospitalization. I saw my psychologist on Tuesday, and he suggested hospitalization. So – you might be asking – why on earth am I still at home?

Yes, I’m surfing waves of suicidal urges – but I’m surfing them, not succumbing to them. Yes, it’s a bit of a battle not to harm myself – but I’m fighting the good fight, and managing not to do those things.

It’s quite exhausting, managing all these things at the moment, but I am managing them, and while hospital is a wonderful place to be when you need to be there, I don’t feel that I absolutely need to be there right now. So I’m still at home.

I love my professionals, and I’m also completely honest with them, so if I’m having suicidal thoughts I talk about them. Thing is, I’ve been living with this stuff for a long time. Perhaps that’s part of my problem! My capacity to tolerate psychic pain without succumbing is quite high. They must take a conservative approach; it’s part of their code of ethics. I know that if they believed I was definitely going to harm myself, they would take action to prevent that. I love that they trust me and my self-knowledge enough that if I say: “It’s tough, but I believe I can manage it” they believe me.

For me, urges to suicide or self-harm are indicators that my mind cannot cope with what’s going on for me. At present, I am facing a whole heap of horrible psycho-social stressors, most of which are out of my control. This means that the best thing I can do for myself right now is focus on controlling those things I can control, and actively put the other things out of my mind, for the time being. In other words, I need to be taking positive, proactive steps to reduce my stress levels, doing nurturing things to bolster my sense of self, and constantly monitoring my thoughts and mood for negative trends. For instance, last night I had the stray thought: “What on earth will my next job be, and how on earth will I get it?” which instantly started a cascade of negative thoughts and feelings and urges. I’m proud to say that I noted the thought and feeling, noted that it was a valid concern, but also pointed out to myself that it wasn’t a problem I could solve last night, and deliberately started a new task – cleansing my face and then reading a book – to distract myself. I won’t lie, it took about twenty minutes to calm down, but I managed it. Yay me!

See? I can handle this.

Having said that, if you’re in my situation – experiencing waves of suicidal or harmful thoughts – I trust that you will seek out some help. You’ll notice that I’ve made the decision that I’ve made with the support of two professionals, and (although I haven’t mentioned this already) I’ll be speaking with them both today, and I have another appointment already made for Friday. Even though I am feeling terrible, I also feel supported and believe I have the skills to get me through. I have my crisis list drawn up, with phone numbers written down of the local CAT team and Lifeline and other people I can call to talk to.

It’s not so much that I’ve ignored the advice of my professionals, but more that I’ve worked with them to create a survival plan. If you’re having suicidal or other destructive thoughts, I’d suggest you do the same, and follow it – even if it means doing something you don’t want to 🙂 Yes, I am prepared to go into hospital later this week, if that’s what it takes!

Stay well, sweetlings.

xx DB

20 Comments

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20 responses to “A therapist and a psychologist walk into a room …

  1. Keep surfing that wave! You have an incredible strength, the likes of which I can’t fully comprehend, and it’s so great to see how strong you are–but that you’re also wise enough to accept help when you need it. Keep on fighting 🙂

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    • Thank you so much, Valourborn. I have just deleted my third attempt at writing this sentence! I wanted to say something about learning to acknowledge my strengths, but it kept coming out all conceited 🙂 Thank you for your kind words. They’re really appreciated. I promise I will keep on fighting.

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  2. “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you until it seems that you cannot hold on for a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time when the tide will turn.”
    ― Harriet Beecher Stowe
    This quote has often helped me in my darkest times. I hope things smooth out for you soon, you will be in my thoughts.

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    • Thank you, so much. It really is “tie a knot and hang on time” but I also like to think of these times like Vygotsky’s ‘zone of proximal development’ – this is where the learning and growing can happen. (Yes, I’m laughing at me, too!)
      Seriously, I do very much appreciate your comment. Thank you.

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  3. I don’t have anything profound to say – just know that I’ll stay tuned in to hear the end of your therapist/psychologist joke. 🙂

    Whether you’re writing from the hospital (can you do that?) or from home with a cup of tea, I’ll look forward to hearing how you’re doing.

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  4. Tried to comment earlier but I was away and on my ipad, didn’t have my WP password. You are really strong and I’m so happy to see you take charge of your recovery, with your team. You go girl. Thanks too for your encouragement of others, so thoughtful. We’re your cheerleaders, no matter where you spend your weekend. Healing hugs to you.

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  5. surfing right along with you my friend! Have you ever tried using a form to help you when you are suicidal? I only ask because not too many therapists use assessment forms in therapy with clients and think hospitalization is the “cure” all. If you can afford it, I would suggest getting “Managing suicidal Risk” by David Jobes. It’s an awesome book and i use it in therapy to help when I am suicidal. I hope it helps you.

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  6. eddieredvine

    Keep surfing! Well done on recognising the negative thoughts and deliberately and proactively stopping them.

    I’m behind you all the way. And we are all here for you.

    X

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  7. You know where to reach me if you need to 😀 Keep surfing babe.

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  8. Thinking of you DB. take care

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  9. Ellie

    I so admire your strength and may the surf be with you – take care of you!!!

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  10. Thank you for writing this. It’s like from my brain too. Isn’t it crazy how we deal with suicidal and self harm tendencies so much we have a hard time judging them. sometimes I worry my professionals will think im the boy that cried wolf but it’s just like, I’ve been like this for so long I don’t know if I am anymore.

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