“We Did The Thing!” – Self Doubt and Self Care

I wrote the title for this blog enthusiastically and with happy tears in my eyes because I have recently experienced something I want to share with the world. Then, I stared at the screen, started typing, hit the backspace key, typed something else, and stared some more. The truth is that I don’t know how to talk about this in an articulate way. I have expressed parts of the feeling to individuals as I have deemed it necessary, but, ultimately, the emotion is too huge to pin down in a few words.

I am, however, going to try. I think it is necessary for me to talk about it as a human. I think it is necessary for me to talk about it as a woman. I think it is necessary for me to talk about it as an individual with autism. I think it is necessary for me to talk about it as an individual with chronic pain. I will do my best, and I will ramble, but I will be as sincere as I damned well can be.

I don’t trust easily. I’ve never had close humans whom I’ve felt I could tell anything to or whom I felt I could call if I needed support. I’ve never felt comfortable asking for help. I have always stringently avoided inconveniencing people. I have kept up appearances as much as I possibly can. I have forever tried my best to deal with me… myself.

Over the past few years, I have learned the importance of self care, the benefits of therapy, and how to speak to myself more positively. I had not learned, though, how to rely on others for support (or trust others to support) until two weeks ago.

I like to consider myself a fully-formed emotional being who is self-aware and capable of doing grown-up things. Unfortunately, life, which is complicated and often ugly, can sometimes smack a person around and you don’t always behave as gracefully as you should. Sometimes you break the fuck down. Sometimes the world ends. Sometimes things are just bad. Sometimes you end up in a parking lot somewhere and you don’t want to exist. Sometimes you are in such personal crisis that everything seems dark and dreary and hopeless.

It was in such a moment that I learned that other people are more than just social outlets. Apparently, and this is still new so bear with me, other people who are not family or in romantic relationships with me are capable of caring about me enough to want to help me. Other people do things like show up in parking lots with water and chocolate and hugs. Other people offer to meet for ice cream just to talk without wanting anything in return. Other people check in to see how things are. Other people offer beds and coffee and make dinner and out-of-season Christmas happen. Other people share their ups and downs and feel happy when they hear about ups and sad when they hear about downs in return.

These other people are called “friends.”

It isn’t as if I haven’t had friends all my life, but I don’t think I’ve allowed myself to have this level of friendship with other people before. I had to reach one of the lowest points in my life to finally be able to look up and see all of the hands being reached down to lift me up. And there were so many hands, and they all glowed with unconditional love and compassion.

This is where typing becomes tricky, for the tears, they are a’flowing. It has been a long thirty-five years of striving to feel accepted and loved for who I am by ME, let alone other people. I am trying very hard to let the love that I feel for humanity extend to myself. I know that I am a lovable, likable person. What I have never really believed or understood was that other people see me this way, and I am overwhelmed by how truly cared for and supported an uplifted I feel. I genuinely hope that other human beings have felt this feeling at some point in their lives. I want this feeling for everyone.

I am spending this week engaging in radical self care to eliminate some of the disquiet of self doubt that eats away at me moment by moment. I know that to move forward in a positive way with my life, my relationship with my self, and my relationship with others… I have to regain some of the self esteem that has been lost to years of pain.

I will leave you with this. One of my lovely friends, with whom I discuss aforementioned ups and downs and with whom I celebrate and commiserate, and I have a saying. It is silly and motivational and it puts our intention into the world:

“We did the thing!”

It means that what ever it is that we want or need to do is already done and we were successful. We aren’t going to do it. It is done. We aren’t doing it presently. It is done. We did the thing. The thing is accomplished. Wipe of the hands. Be it difficult and stressful or fun, we did it.

Whatever you have to do, it is already done. You did the thing. But you aren’t alone…

We did the thing.

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Suicide, Depression, T-Shirts, & Deadly Rashes with My Brain Hates Me

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Suicide & Depression Hotlines

United States Hotlines

Depression Hotline: 1-630-482-9696

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-8433 FREE

LifeLine: 1-800-273-8255 FREE

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Sexuality Support: 1-800-246-7743 FREE

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Exhale: After Abortion Hotline/Pro-Voice: 1-866-439-4253 FREE

National Alliance on Mental Illness www.nami.org

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention www.afsp.org

SAVE www.save.org

International Bipolar Foundation www.ibpf.org

No Stigmas www.nostigmas.org

Active Minds www.activeminds.org

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The Abyss Looks Back Into Me

There is this metaphorical canyon that I stand on the edge of when I’m depressed. It’s that feeling, you know the feeling, where you’re way up high and for some reason you just want to jump. But you don’t really want to jump. And, goodness, you’re terrified of falling. Yet something in you wants to take a step, bend at the knees, and push off and fly.

You just want to fly.

I refer to that feeling as escape. Escape, freedom… it’s all the same. It feels like weightlessness. It feels like driving somewhere without a plan. Just driving in your car with your phone turned off. No one can get to you and you’re free of all responsibilities. You can’t pay bills in a car. You can’t fight with your spouse because they aren’t in the car. You’re flying in your little capsule of freedom down the highway toward the rocky floor of the canyon. You’ll hit eventually… but for that time between jumping/pulling out of the driveway and hitting the ground…

You’re free.

You’re free and you’re not sad and you just are. You can be an entirely different person.

Photo Courtesy of Silver Hammer Lightgraph feat My Brain Hates Me (c)2010

Photo Courtesy of Silver Hammer Lightgraph feat My Brain Hates Me (c)2010

However, I’m not talking about flying or freedom. I’m talking about escapism and we all know it. Any shrink will tell you that this is all classic escapism. My suicidal thoughts are escapist. My constant fleeing to my girl cave is escapist. My immersions into shows on Netflix are escapist.

The bottom line is that I don’t want to be here, or anywhere. I don’t feel like I have family who knows me or cares about me. But then it’s not as if I reach out to them. I’ve successfully honed my mother’s skill for alienating everyone around me. It’s not as if my son, in his throws of teenaged-hormonal chaos can express genuine affection for me for more than a few fleeting moments. And my spouse, well. He likes me when things are going well. The problem is that clinical depression isn’t conducive to things going well. And the less I feel like he likes me, the more depressed I get. Then the worse we get along.

Therefore the desire to jump is strong. If I just left and became someone else for a few days and sat on a beach in dark glasses and a sarong and 8 layers of other clothing to protect my sun-sensitive everything…

I’m sorry I’m not uplifting today. Sometimes I feel like it’s more important to be honest than uplifting. I think it’s normal to want to be elsewhere. I think that’s truly what my suicidal thoughts are about… I just don’t want to exist as things are. I want to have another existence where people like me and where I feel happy and I don’t hurt.

Although, I’ll still back away from the edge and sit.

Suicidal Thoughts aren’t About Death

I’ve had some stress over the past few days that has triggered my very familiar cycle of suicidal thoughts. In my last post I discussed negative self talk, and this ties in with my suicidal cycle.

Let me first say that I am not going to kill myself.

When I have episodes such as these, I work through them by determining why I’m having the episode and going from there. I know what the stressor is. Now I’m going through the steps of determining how this particular stressor triggered this particular set of thoughts. Let’s start with the thoughts that I have:

  • I am horrible partner because I am not healthy and I am often grumpy. Basically, I’m not fun anymore, so why should my husband want to be around me?
  • I make everyone around me miserable and contribute nothing positive to my family, society, or the world
  • I am a bad person because I can’t control my negative thoughts
  • I don’t deserve to be loved
  • I don’t deserve to be helped
  • I hurt so much and I am so terrible that dying is the only option
  • I am so tired of being in pain
  • My family will be better off without the burden of caring for me

Obviously, those thoughts aren’t true. I know they aren’t true. I know they aren’t true when I’m reading them right now, and I know they aren’t true when I’m sobbing and telling my husband these things. I recognize that this is a chemical spiral that happens when I am overwhelmed. It’s similar to my autistic meltdowns. Once that emotional train leaves the station, I’m just a passenger looking out the window at the very ugly scenery.

My next step in working through these thoughts is to think about the science. How are suicidal thoughts triggered? Breaking things down into their biological components not only makes it easier for me to cope and mentally stabilize, but I occasionally learn something and then feel the urge to write about what I have learned. Doing that gives me purpose and makes me feel productive. That crosses off one of those negative thoughts listed above. Science!

But today when I searched the following phrase in Google, “triggered suicidal thoughts,” an alarming trend became apparent. Information about suicide and suicidal thoughts treats people who have these thoughts as if they are single-minded. The recurrent theme? They see death as the only option.

Correction, we see death as the only option. Below is the first paragraph from the first article that came up in my Google search:

“In overly simplistic terms, suicidal thoughts and behaviors start when vulnerable individuals encounter stressful events, become overwhelmed, and conclude that suicide is the only reasonable way (given their very likely biased way of thinking) to stop the pain they are experiencing.” – NATALIE STAATS REISS, PH.D., AND MARK DOMBECK, PH.D. via Suicide Triggers – Suicide, Depression, Anxiety Disorders

Right out of the gates these Ph.D.s state that, “suicide is the only reasonable way… to stop the pain,” and that people who are suicidal have a, “very likely biased way of thinking.” As someone with both emotional and physical pain I can tell you that I don’t view suicide as reasonable. Even when I’m calm and I’ve decided that death is a welcome solution, the process isn’t PAIN PAIN PAIN – WELL MIGHT AS WELL END IT. And my thinking isn’t biased, it’s twisted, it’s skewed, it’s chemically altered by the things that make one feel depression and guilt and despair.

Being told by psychological professionals that I think that death is the only solution doesn’t make me feel better. It makes me feel worse. And it makes me feel stupid. Apparently, I am so misguided in my thinking that I just believe suicide will solve it all and I can’t see anything else. No. Not at all. It’s more complicated than that, and it would be really nice to feel more respected. If this article were written with an audience of suicidal people and non-suicidal people alike in mind instead of just to a non-suicidal audience, it wouldn’t sound so condescending.

However, that is merely one article and one set of authors. Surely in my search for answers about how suicidal thoughts are triggered I would be able to find a credible source. I turned to the second search result, Mayo Clinic. Here is what Mayo Clinic has to say about suicidal thoughts:

“Suicidal thoughts have many causes. Most often, suicidal thoughts are the result of feeling like you can’t cope when you’re faced with what seems to be an overwhelming life situation. If you don’t have hope for the future, you may mistakenly think suicide is a solution.” via Suicide and suicidal thoughts Causes – Mayo Clinic.

Yes! Information I could use! I do feel overwhelmed! I don’t have hope for the future! I do list suicide as a solution… but then Mayo Clinic went on to say this:

“You may experience a sort of tunnel vision, where in the middle of a crisis you believe suicide is the only way out.” via Suicide and suicidal thoughts Causes – Mayo Clinic.

Tunnel vision. I, the suicidal person, might experience tunnel vision in which I think death is the only answer. I don’t disagree that I become focused on the idea that I don’t want to go on. But it’s not a desire to be dead.

It’s a desire to not be alive.

I know those sound very much like the same thing, but they aren’t. Biologically, our bodies want to live. Psychologically, our minds want painful things to stop. Suicide is an acute desire for pain in any form to stop permanently. Death becomes involved because the only true way to stop any physiological or psychological process is to stop living. I don’t want to be dead. I don’t want to die. I don’t want my family to grieve.

I want to stop hurting. I want to stop being a burden on my family. I want to stop making the people I love miserable. I want to stop existing. If there were a way to do any of that without ending my life, surely I’d be on board. But there isn’t.

I staunchly state that my suicidal thoughts are not about death, they are about not being able to cope with the things that are happening in my life, so I want that life to stop. I believe that it’s demeaning to essentially say that someone who is suicidal can’t cope so they decided to die.

A person who is suicidal can’t cope, so they decided to stop trying to cope.

If we change the way that we view suicide, we can change how suicidal people are treated by professionals and their family. Suicide is not stupid or selfish or weak. Suicide is about hopelessness. And that’s stating it simply.

Therefore, I am left to deal with my negative thoughts myself. I shall treat my physical pain as best I can, and I shall try to convince myself that the negative thoughts I have are not true by engaging in encouraging self talk.

Need help? United States:

1 (800) 273-8255 FREE

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Website: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

World Suicide Prevention Day, and this is a reminder that bisexuals are at higher risk for suicide.

nonmono-perspective:

“When controlled for potentially confounding factors, bisexual men were 6.3 times more likely and gay men 4.1 times more likely than heterosexual men to report lifetime suicidality. Among women, bisexuals were 5.9 times more likely and lesbians 3.5 times more likely to report lifetime…

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, and this is a reminder that bisexuals are at higher risk for suicide.

National Suicide Prevention Week

ilostmy30s:

National Suicide Prevention Week begins today, September 7, 2014 to September 13, 2014.

To find information about suicide prevention, suicide attempt support and/or suicide survivor support, mental health education and local offices in your area, and how you can get involved – visit:

National Alliance on Mental Illness
www.nami.org

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
www.afsp.org

SAVE
www.save.org

International Bipolar Foundation
www.ibpf.org

No Stigmas
www.nostigmas.org

Active Minds
www.activeminds.org

These are just a few of the many notable organizations working to prevent suicide and educate about mental health disorders.

For a larger list of mental health resources and suggested reading, please visit

www.ilostmy30s.tumblr.com

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Help spread the word by sharing this post. Suicide prevention starts with education and support.

In good health!

Jess