Trigger Warning: The following article contains reference to depression and suicide.
I know the title is not a popular statement. I know it’s something that is looked down upon. I know it hurts those left behind more than it hurts the person who took their own life. I know all this, yet… I have contemplated suicide, several times in my life. This article is not to suggest it’s *ever* the “right” answer, just that simply… some reach that point where it’s all they have left.
I was undiagnosed bipolar for most of my life. I had epilepsy as a child which surprisingly led to missing a lot of the signs. The only time I would have a seizure was when I was falling asleep, so at the young age of five I learned that if I didn’t fall asleep, I wouldn’t have a seizure. As I was outgrowing epilepsy (I was very fortunate, even though the seizures were severe, the type of epilepsy I had was not) and weaning off meds, I developed food allergies which also made me nauseous and anxious. So really the universe was against my poor parents ever figuring this one out. Taking into account this was also nearly thirty years ago and we’ve come a long way with mental health since then, I was undiagnosed for many years.
Only a few years back did my therapist think to check my symptoms against the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder. At her suggestion I had further neurological testing done and got checked out by my family physician. I tried meds for a little while. I hated them. I missed those manic highs that I would get.
Think of the most productive time in your life. Maybe you were up really late getting a paper done and you were on your tenth cup of coffee. Or maybe you had a big event the next day so you stayed up all night cleaning your house and living off of five hour energies. Now picture that feeling of awareness, being awake, and being productive, lasting for a few days straight. You’re not tired. You are accomplishing things. It’s a good feeling and there is nothing bad about bipolar when you are in a manic phase.
But then… oh then… your world comes crashing down. And the depression phase can last two weeks or more. There were days I didn’t want to get out of bed. I had three stepsons at this time, plus my own young son. I was exhausted from nothing on a daily basis. It wasn’t a matter of “just doing it” or “psyching” myself up. That was impossible. I felt physically unable to move some days.
The relationship I was in at the time of my diagnosis was not a healthy one. Also in that time I had experienced PTSD from some traumatic events and so my mental health was even more unstable. My son’s father and I eventually got divorced and both moved on with our lives, started to co-parent our son, and each met other people to date. When I met my anchor, so much of my life was settling down and I had myself convinced that I had a lot of my mental health issues under control. I was having fewer PTSD-related panic attacks and my depression episodes were down to a couple a month. I’d even “graduated” therapy, my therapist having said she believed I was doing well enough to handle things on my own.
Then a few months ago everything changed. I didn’t feel my usual self anymore and my depressive episodes became more frequent. There was stress in my life that was unusual, dealing with a squatter in the home I owned and was trying to move back into, some issues with my son, some stuff going on with my anchor’s ex wife as well… I wasn’t handling it as well as I would have a year ago. I started back to therapy. I heard the dreaded, “Maybe it’s time to start some medication…” from her. I saw the confirmation in my boyfriend’s eyes as he sat there with me, supporting me.
This was a defeat for me. I wanted to handle it on my own. I wanted to “be strong”, even though logically I knew meds didn’t make me weak. I took to my Facebook page, which I keep very private, and talked about it. I opened up about my therapist’s suggestion I try Prozac again. I discussed that she had suggested checking into a physician who was licensed for medical marijuana, something that is legal in my state. I hadn’t made up my mind about all these ideas, but I wanted to discuss them. I wanted to show others that it was okay to talk about these things.
Most of the feedback I got was very supportive. But then I got a call from a family member that devastated me. They were upset I had discussed such things on Facebook. I needed to think about “how things look to other people” and the fact that if I ever wanted to get a different job I would ruin it if potential employers saw that post, the post that was very private and was taken down the next day when the discussion died down.
It made me feel dirty and wrong and misunderstood. And I thought of all the people who can’t even discuss these things as much as I was able to. All the people whose family has no choice but to call the police on them when they are suicidal, people who are committed to institutions against their will, and all the people who are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed or without healthcare to seek help. My heart weeps for these people. By sharing my story among my small group of friends I hoped to help someone. And now I feel the need to share it here for the same reason.
You are not alone. Ever. There are other people just like you out there and if you don’t feel that then you just have not found your tribe yet. Don’t give up. Because even though suicide is sometimes the answer, those left behind never feel that way. People don’t die from suicide. They die from depression, anxiety, fear, worry, bipolar, PTSD, and being misunderstood, among many things. The only way to stop this is to bring awareness and for everyone to reach out to those who need it, whenever and wherever you can. Don’t let yourself be alone in this.
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at 60 years old and my life in total ruin on all fronts, i think suicide is a kind solution. i don’t have a time machine to go back and change or fix all the things that determined my fate. i’m not dumb enough to think i have 30 or 40 good years left to start over. maybe 5 to struggle through so i can be old, alone, miserable, and desolate for maybe 20 years. yeah, suicide is selfish, wrong, immoral, a coward’s solution. wanna trade places, but you have to play my cards.
Jim, I just turned 59…I’m right there with you. Made a mess of all my relationships, barely hanging on to my job…There is no pleasure at all to living anymore. I’m just waiting for the kids to leave home. I can’t give any advice to anyone except I know how it feels to have no one to talk to and nothing but misery every day. Suicide is a personal thing and we each have to decide what is best for us. I wish I could think of another solution myself.
i just got out of a really bad break up i try and be nice to her but she is off doing drugs and drinking shes 16 and im scared she is going to get hurt just because we aern”t together doesn’t mean i dont care i dont know why i cant let her go it so hard for me i feel like things aernt getting any better i tried to kill myself 2 3 days ago and am going to the hospital for a check up but i still feel the need to be dead is it going to get better or should i just end it im worried about her i love her i dated her for 11 months i love and care about her and dont want anything to happen to her but she hates me she wants me out of her life and i dont even know how to move on it feels wrong
Pray for her man . Connect with her and constantly check up with her . Its worth it in the end .
Thank you for the article Jessie, I like your writing style and the topic presented. But your bio! I could have written almost that exact bio about myself, and one of my partners is also writing a book on polyamory. Anyways, I would love to connect with you and chat about step-parenting, blended families, and polyamory! You know, if you’re in to it.
I think about suicide often. I’ve felt for almost a year now that I’m not destined to live a long and happy life. I struggle with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks often. I deal with chronic pain and nausea, and I have felt like a burden to those around me that I love the most. I’m mostly only still here because I can’t bare the thought of their pain in my absence. At this point, I’m more afraid of losing someone to old age or sickness than I am of dying myself. It’s what I think about when I’m stressed. Which is unfortunately far too often. I will be 25 this year. And I don’t really look forward to it. The only thing I want is to visit with my parents. Who are both currently in a different state and too sick for visits.