This is a tough one.
It’s not often I feel overwhelmed, but I’m definitely feeling anxious. I’m not an overly anxious person, so when I start feeling anxiety, I shut down somewhat. I’m sure people around me think I’m mad at them or avoiding them, but it’s not on purpose. I just want as little conflict as possible when I’m overwhelmed, so I tend to distance myself until my brain calms down. Part of the reason I’m overwhelmed is work. Now that I’ve gotten fully back to work, I have taken on more responsibility, but there aren’t enough hours in the day to complete my work. I am helping on 4 different active projects, and 3 warranty projects. Right now, that seems like a lot. I just need a day to catch up. I have a lot of emails in my inbox which completely stresses me out. I am orderly and neat and organized with my work, so I have every task accounted for, and instead of marking them off, new ones keep appearing! That also means I get stressed with personal emails, as well. I have far more emails in my mentallyunique email than I could handle, so without even looking at the messages, I deleted them all. I did the same with my other 2 personal emails. SO, if I missed something somewhere, I’ll never know. I just can’t handle a lot of emails at once when I’m overwhelmed. I would be impulsive and delete all my work emails, but I’d get fired, and I LOVE my job. It’s just taking some time to get back into the full swing of things. I’ve been working late every day for the past 2.5 weeks, and that’s OK, but I’m exhausted. My body is clearly still healing, and it’s getting in my way! I need to be all the way healed. Of course, it’s only 4 months since I had surgery, but I’m ready to not be tired all day long. I passed out the last 2 nights around 10pm. I am just so tired. I barely have enough energy to be present, much less engage with people around me that aren’t coworkers. Ya know?
I took a mild sleeping pill last night, and I FORGET every single time that it affects my mood in a negative way, so I feel like I’ve been frowning all day. I got more upset about a situation at work than I normally would. I’m pretty easy-going, but when I’m overwhelmed, and fatigued and took a med that makes me feel icky, I just can’t get it together. I feel stuck and can’t focus and the emails and notebooks for work are looming bigger than life over me. ANSWER your emails. UPDATE your notebooks. WRITE your contracts. TALK to your clients. Ugh. I do LOVE my job, but I’m tired and anxious today, and I gotta remember that this pill makes me feel icky and paranoid. I’ve continued to think about people taking their own lives. I’m torn between sadness and anger. Having been there myself, I am amazed at how I was willing to just take off. Had I been successful, my children would have been FOREVER changed. Ruined. Broken. It would have been MY fault. No one else would have been responsible. There would be those that agreed it was all my fault. There would be those who would blame whatever was making me sad. All 3 attempts were during very dark times in my life, and they revolved around 1 person. It stemmed from the age of 16 through the age of 34. So, if I had succeeded, my Mom would have blamed him. But, would it have been his fault or mine? Or both? Is there a right answer? We all think we have the answer. I don’t think the answer to why someone takes their own life is every easy or black and white. See, there isn’t always something or someone to blame. Some things just happen and they are sad and there is no one to blame. There aren’t clear answers. Even if there’s a suicide note, isn’t the heartache the same? What about when people still don’t believe the note? We all cope in different ways. Taking your own life means leaving a string of sadness, hopelessness, confusion, loneliness, anger, isolation, depression. These seem a lot like reasons people give for feeling suicidal. I feel incredibly thankful that my life was saved the 3rd time. The one clear thing I remember is saying out loud, as I was being rushed to the ER, that I was ready. I had never felt such peace in my LIFE. EVER. But, it was false and selfish peace. Had I given into that light, my children wouldn’t be who they are right. I would have changed their journey….and not for the better. Honestly, I have never really talked about that time or the other 2 times. There is shame associated with it. I was incredibly private about my tendencies. No one knew I was suicidal. I never spoke about it out loud. When I woke up in ICU the 3rd time, he was standing over me. I didn’t know WHY I was in the ICU. I didn’t know what day it was or time. I knew I was in the hospital. I immediately wondered where Jacob and Judy were. Were they home? Were they safe? Were they alone? I cared less about why I was there, and more about whether my children were OK. I couldn’t ask anyone because I had a tube down my throat. When they realized I was awake, they turned the light on. I had been watching in the dark. Watching him pace back and forth in my room. I saw the nurse come in, check my vitals and leave. It took me a while to realize I wasn’t dreaming. My eyes had to grow used to the light again. I looked at his face, and it was concerned, but blank, too. The nurse didn’t look phased at all. She’d probably seen this too many times before. Their faces didn’t give away what happened to me. Then the doctor walked in, and he asked if I knew why I was there? I couldn’t answer – tube down my throat. I shook my head no. He brought a bag of pill bottles up from his side. He had been carrying the bag, but I hadn’t noticed. I shook my head no, as to say – NO, I didn’t do that. No way! A loud voice inside my head said I would never do such a thing. The doctor went on to explain that my best friend had brought the bag of pills to the hospital and that my children were with her. I still didn’t believe him. He was looking at me with such disgust and disdain. He was angry at me. I could see it in his face and hear it in his tone. Then he left. I was relieved. I needed time to absorb my surroundings and what he had said. My abuser, who was my boyfriend at the time, just stood over me. I’m sure he said something soothing but all I can remember is that he saved my life and that I hoped he wasn’t mad at me. (seriously?) When it was clear to the nurse I was ready to get the tube out, she helped take it out. They had shoved a tube down my throat and pumped my stomach. They do that using coal. AND, it’s disgusting. They gave me an IV drip of Narcan. I didn’t call my Mom. I didn’t call my sister. I stayed overnight in the ER. I actually can’t remember how many days I was in the hospital. I just know I left the day after they pulled the tube out. I accepted that I did indeed take the pills. The doctor told me, with continued disgust, that all my medical records for that particular hospital would have notes of attempted suicide, opiate addiction (which I wasn’t at the time), and a “do not give pain meds” restriction and that if I came to the hospital again, he would call CPS and have my children take away. I wasn’t offered help or asked if I was OK. No one asked me why? NO HELP WAS OFFERED. None of that happened. I was judged, ridiculed and threatened. That happens more often than not – sadly. I’ve seen more people who struggle with depression get judged and ridiculed more than help. I WANT TO BE THE HELP.
I left the hospital on a Sunday, and I was at work at my desk at 8:00am Monday. Yes, the next day. 3 days later, I called my Mom. She was devastated that I didn’t tell her. She couldn’t understand why I was keep that from her. As a Mom myself, and now all these years later, I can’t imagine what that did to her. At the time, was utterly ashamed, and it still didn’t feel real to me. My abuser did his best to keep me away from my family, and my Mom was no exception. I was screaming on the inside, but no one could hear me. I had to just keep it together, and quiet and isolated from everyone. To this day, my Mom is still really hurt that I didn’t immediately call her when I woke up in the ICU. I had too much shame and fear.
I’m a lot like you. I never told anyone how I felt. I just kept it inside. I just hope that if you’re reading this and you feel the same way I did that you know you can make it. There are more people who struggle than we know. The stigma hasn’t gotten better. With all the mass shootings, the outlook on mental struggles is even worse. I am Bipolar, but I’m not a danger to others or myself. I was a danger to myself, and if you really think about it, if I had taken my life, doesn’t that make me a danger to others?
Life is worth it. It may not seem like it. I’m here to tell you that it can be. I’m 45 and I’m here. I am thankful and blessed to be here. I’m thankful I got to watch my children grow up and that I continue to get to watch them grow. Just remember that taking your own life means taking everyone else’s life with you. They will be left here. They will breathe, but it will be years before they may smile again.
A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that help isn’t wanted. People who take their lives don’t want to die—they just want to stop hurting. Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, you might be afraid to bring up the subject. But talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life.
The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 1 million people die each year from suicide. What drives so many individuals to take their own lives? To those not in the grips of suicidal depression and despair, it’s difficult to understand what drives so many individuals to take their own lives. But a suicidal person is in so much pain that he or she can see no other option.
Suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable. Blinded by feelings of self-loathing, hopelessness, and isolation, a suicidal person can’t see any way of finding relief except through death. But despite their desire for the pain to stop, most suicidal people are deeply conflicted about ending their own lives. They wish there was an alternative to suicide, but they just can’t see one.
If you have been in that place, be the bridge with me. I will tell my story every day if it means 1 person listens.