Tag Archives: suicide

A-boingggg!

I wasn’t quite sure how to write that bouncing sound, but “a-boingggg” seemed close enough!

After the vicissitudes of the last half week, it is so good to be able to report that I am indeed feeling far better: my mood has improved, self-destructive thoughts and urges have diminished, and energy levels have risen.

Boing

It’s great to look back on these events and figure out what happened, and why. My mood tends to plummet quickly; I think this is a relic of being taught to “stay strong” when younger – we cannot “stay strong” forever, and inevitably our apparent competence crumbles. Some people say depression is the curse of the strong! I’d modify that to say “those who were taught they have to be strong and then are thrown too many curveballs to cope with”, which is just a tad less catchy. Anyway, I had been feeling increasingly frail from about a week ago, then a few things triggered a plummet on Sunday evening.

During the worst of the crisis – the long dark night of Sunday, when those urges were strongest – I wrote a letter to my therapist (i.e. externalized my feelings and urges, rather than acting on them); kept myself distracted, and reached out for help. Over the next few days I continued to do more of the same, acting in ways which were congruent with focussing on things I can control, self-soothing, and nurturing my ‘self’. The word ‘acting’ is important here, because I did indeed take action – I chose to engage in behaviours which met these criteria. 

Following this regime, the darkness lifted. A pivotal point came yesterday when I was suddenly sick and tired of the fallen leaves in the driveway and went out to rake them up. I don’t know why this action in particular was so cathartic,  because I had been outside exercising beforehand, but it shifted the last cobwebs of murk and cleared my head. Yay!

I had to see my GP today for some prescriptions. He likes to deliver discourses on subjects of interest (to him). Today, he seems to believe he’s discovered the magical cure-all for psychiatric woes: writing a letter to your unwell self while you are well, and vice versa. I promised him I would. He is so funny – he didn’t seem to believe me! I’ll mail him a copy of the letter. (Between you and me, I’m just glad today’s lecture actually related to my medical condition. I’m less interested in basketball or his former lecturing career.)

Well, folks, that’s how I came through this crisis – focussing on the things I can control, distress tolerance techniques, and nurturing my ‘self’. I checked in with my professionals and had an escalation of care plan drawn up, including numbers to call at different stages, should it become necessary. I’ve read some other really interesting posts about crisis management. I’d love to hear your strategies, if you’d like to post them below!

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I love the WordPress Mental Health Community

Thank you, dear readers, for your kind comments and messages over the last few days. Your open-hearted, generous support during times of crisis never ceases to amaze me.

Often, when things are quite dark, I write for catharsis – to get the darkness out of my heart and onto the screen. It might sound stupid, but I sometimes forget other people might come across those words and read them.

This sense of community is why I love blogging on WordPress.

Have said it before, no doubt will say it again – ❤ you all; you rock.

xx DB

thanks heart

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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

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Fingernail Days

Some days you’re just hanging on by your fingernails…

…but what’s important is that you keep hanging on.

Here’s to everyone who’s “fingernailing” it today. We’ll get through, and there will eventually come a day which is less awful.

Fingernail days

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Hello world! I’m back

Hello sweetlings!

I’m back after a self-imposed “time out” from WordPress and the world in general. Don’t worry, my withdrawal was in a good cause; I was becoming extremely stressed about my financial situation, and about the outcome of an insurance claim – stressed to the point of my hair coming out in handfuls (ugh!). I couldn’t do anything about either of those situations until yesterday, so I gave myself permission to veg out and distract myself from those situations until 9:00 Thursday 24 April rolled around.

My visiting psychologist came on Wednesday. Gee, it was nice to see him! Not only that, but he was full of praise for my distracting technique for dealing with these stressors. It had been hard for me to feel good about them, because I come from a family in which values such as “usefulness”, “hard work” and “facing reality” are highly regarded, and words like “relaxation”, “self-care” and “watching hours and hours of TV” are looked down upon. As we were talking, it suddenly dawned on me that I was proud of taking such good care of myself. He made me write those words down. Boy, that was difficult! But it felt good 🙂

Thursday dawned. The fateful hour rolled round. I called my contact at the insurance company at 9:00 and was told he’d be out of a meeting “within half an hour or so”. I immediately emailed him, explaining that a four weeks had passed since he told me it would take about a month for him to give me further news about my claim, and also explaining how stressed I was, and that I wanted to speak to him before the long weekend. After that, I kept phoning on the hour until I finally caught him at midday.

Sadly, he still did not have all the information he required to complete the assessment of my claim, despite all my hard work supporting his queries (and, believe me, days have been devoted to these tasks). That was quite difficult to hear. Then he told me that as of Monday he was moving to another team, so my ‘case’ would be given to another worker. Why does this keep happening to me, I wondered? It’s as though there’s a universal law which states that anyone good or useful who comes into my life will be moved out of it by powers beyond my control!

The good news was that everything he had received so far supported my claim, and that he had come across nothing which did not support it. I guess this was the best possible news I could receive, under the circumstances; however, he went on to say that even if the new case manager receives all required information early next week, there will still be a wait of “a few weeks” before the claim could be paid out. Given my current financial state, this was bad news.

After the phone call, I felt overwhelmed by anxiety and depression and that voracious, hopeless helplessness which many of us know so well. I felt suicidal and the urge to self-harm was very strong. I am proud that I was able to surf those urges and just cry it all out.

Later on, I was able to see the positives: that the claim is progressing, that there are no hiccups yet, that it may still be paid out … hopefully in time to avoid having to move out of our home.

There’s just one more thing I want to say.

I was surprised at my decision to stay off WordPress for a few days. For the past few months, this has become a real haven to me, a place of community and support. I think I felt the need to distance myself for a little while because I am honest here, and I was taking care of myself by not feeling the intolerable anxiety and stress which I felt was lurking in the shadows, waiting to grab me.

It’s good to be back. It will take me a couple of days to catch up on posts, and I might take it easy, but I can’t wait to read about what’s going on in your world!

xx DB

 

Tulips

 

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