The Night I Tried to Kill Myself

I don’t quite know how to put this experience into words. I haven’t written for some time again, due to feelings of inadequacy, depression, and general brain fog. I can’t seem to form coherent sentences as quickly as I used to, nor can I focus for long periods of time on something that I have a deep love for.

Thursday, 10.25.18 I remember walking into the outpatient center I attend for a therapy session. I remember the feelings of utter hopelessness attending with me, like a sack lunch I was carrying to school. I had made the decision to give up. I was tired of fighting, I was tired of trying to fight, and I was tired of the only option being fighting. I was tired of fighting myself, I was tired of, for the millionth time in my mental health career, coming off of medication, and I was tired of hearing I needed medication to thrive.

I was taking 10 milligrams of Abilify and 10 milligrams of Trintellix and I couldn’t find the energy to finish homework, or get out of bed, and I didn’t have the luxury of feeling any emotion at all: happiness, sadness, inquisitiveness, passion–nothing. And so I did what I always do: stopped the medication.

This usually happens without consequence. For the most part, I’ll stop cold turkey after a couple of months, struggle through a few physical withdrawal symptoms, and get on with my lifestyle. The last time I stopped these two meds, I regained my energy quickly, breezed through four classes, and managed happiness until the opinions of those I care about convinced me to try the medication again.

So I tried again, For maybe two and a half weeks. Then I stopped. I stopped and I noticed my energy did not come back. My mood was stable until it wasn’t. It plummeted. I focused a lot on what was wrong with me, the disappointment of my relationship ending (yes, I’m still stuck on that), and the worries of the future regarding my education, where I’m going to live after December, and the simple fact that I struggle taking care of myself. Those are the surface issues. There are deeper issues I don’t think I’m in touch with yet.

I’ve struggled with depression since I was ten years old. A low mood was nothing new to me, in fact I welcomed it because the darkness was comforting. It was an old friend, a sinister reminder that life is suffering and suffering reminds us that we’re alive. I was thankful for this friend to return because on the medication I didn’t feel alive.

I started planning fun things to do to keep me from falling further: A concert, an overnight trip to San Francisco, Halloween plans and costumes. I got excited: the week of the 21st would be marvelous.

But I started separating from myself.  I don’t remember when, and I don’t remember how, but part of me blacked out. I know I was around and talking to people because I went to work, had laughs, made plans. I don’t remember much of it, but I know I was there.

By Thursday, the 25th, I was moving slowly, not comprehending where I was, no hope or vision for the future, and I’d even lost interest in Halloween, my favorite holiday. I confessed to the therapist that I didn’t have energy to care much about my life, nor could I answer her questions. I didn’t tell her I’d made a plan to (somehow) kill myself after Halloween. It wasn’t fully developed yet, an undercooked chicken in the oven.

I don’t remember much about the session other than the ending: a mindful meditation seeking to locate my inner child. I remember a lot of pain resurfacing, so deep and profound I had never felt it before, and I snapped. I was gone. She asked me how I felt, and I told her dissociated, separated from myself. I remember that. She made me do some grounding activities to bring me back into my body. I don’t think they worked.
That night I went to a concert. It put me in a seemingly better mood.

Friday and Saturday I spent the days in San Francisco at the Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, Six Flags, and around town. Saturday evening, on the drive back, a sinister part of me reminded me of my plan.

I’m not a stranger to hearing voices. I don’t hear them every day, and I haven’t had a bad episode in a while, not since my last hospitalization last year, but this time was different. This time I heard nothing external, and everything internal.

We all have an inner voice that reads to us, thinks for us, and we are in control of that voice, we dictate it. I’m dictating it now as I read back what I wrote, and as I write. But what I listened to that Saturday evening was not of my own doing. A different voice, a male voice, one inside of my head that I had no control of, which directly told me I needed to kill myself. He instructed me to open the door of the car and jump out in traffic–on the highway–and end it. He addressed me as “you” and I addressed me as “I”. That’s the only difference I can pinpoint right now. When I had a thought of my own, I said to myself “I need to calm down”. When I didn’t, he said “you need to do this. There’s no reason for you to live, you don’t deserve life.”

Was this a demonic entity interfering with my thoughts? I didn’t know. I sat paralyzed in the rental car my Ex drove, crying consistently for an hour and a half. The torment wouldn’t stop. “You don’t deserve to live. There’s nothing good about you. Jump out of the car. End it. When you get home, kill yourself. Hang yourself in the closet, no one will even find you.”

I had plans that evening with another friend, so I did not act on those commands. I did, however, drink quite a bit of whiskey and wander around the downtown city. When I got home, I drank more whiskey and fell asleep.

In the morning I awoke instantly crying. The day was Sunday, 10.28.18. I turned on Breaking Bad: I’ve never seen it before. I don’t remember much of the episodes because my head was so loud: “hang yourself in the closet. Take a knife, slit your wrists. You will never amount to anything. You don’t deserve to be on this earth, you don’t contribute to anything.” I joined in: “I can’t write anymore. I can’t enjoy things anymore. I don’t see this getting any better”.

It was 6pm that night when I finally stood up and searched my apartment for something, anything to hang myself with. I didn’t feel in control of my body, I was just going along with the motions.

“Fill up the tub, get in the water, slit your wrists.”

I grabbed a kitchen knife from the drawer and filled up the tub. I remember this part more clearly than other parts because my heart was beating out of my chest, my hands were clammy, and I couldn’t get a grip on myself, I felt like I was losing myself to someone else.

I got in the water with my clothes on and fought the noise in my head. I tried to give myself reasons to live–family, my cat, work–but it was always overpowered by that other voice. I spent a half an hour sawing at my wrists with a dull blade that could barely cut a tomato. I pressed as hard as I could and my skin barely broke. Eventually, I threw the knife. I remember a lot of crying and banging my head on the wall and hitting myself. The noise wouldn’t stop. I ripped out the string from my leggings I had on and wrapped it around my neck and pulled and pulled and pulled. Thinking back on it, I would probably pass out before I die, given my hands are the one pulling the strings, but in the moment I just needed to cause some sort of harm to myself. I kept trying the knife in between strangling myself and I sent one text message that I don’t remember.

It was a couple hours before I stopped. My neck was sore and I had stopped crying, but I wasn’t back in my body yet. The water was cold and I heard the front door open and footsteps running in.

We spent a couple hours talking, and I was gone completely. I don’t remember an ounce of the conversation. I remember seeing through my eyes my body stand up and go for the knife, go for the string, and my ex preventing me from doing so. I remember telling him I didn’t want to traumatize him.

There’s a block on my memory of the conversation, what I said, what he said. I remember being on the couch wrapped in blankets, soaking wet, distraught, eating pizza. I didn’t remember the last time I had food. It couldn’t have been too long. I took a Seroquel. I only had three or four left. It’s a shame I didn’t have a full bottle, or I would have just swallowed them all and called it a night.

The next day I didn’t awake until 1pm. I could barely move, my mind was paralyzingly loud, and I turned on more Breaking Bad. The urge to die was so strong. People took turns watching after me, texting me, calling me. I refused to let anyone call 911. The hospital is not a place to be when you’re in a crisis.

Today is Halloween. My head isn’t loud. I came back into my body and have trouble remembering what the depression felt like because I feel I wasn’t the one to feel it–this entity within me, whether it’s paranormal or just a fractured part of my self, is hell bent on destroying me.  I haven’t experienced a dissociative experience so destructive since high school.

Am I still depressed? I think. Mildly. Or it’s so severe that I’m incapable of comprehending the severity of it.

I didn’t learn to love life from this attempt. I didn’t learn to appreciate the little things or find new meaning or purpose. I still feel lost and confused. A hospital visit isn’t going to change that. What I did learn is that I’m more committed than ever to never taking psychiatric medication again in my life. After 7 years of being a guinea pig, I’m done.

My outpatient group counselor asked me why I despised medication so much. I told her it’s poison. She asked in what way. I told everyone in that room that long term treatment results in heart issues, liver issues, physical ailments that permanently scar your internal body and shorten your life span.

She said okay,  well, then would you rather kill yourself now and not have a life to live, or have some little problems a little later?

I said that was a dumb question, and that heart arrhythmia’s aren’t little problems. I said I’d rather kill myself than subject my body to synthetic chemicals.

And through this experience, if it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the only two ways I will die is by my own hand or nature’s hand. I will not slowly die at the hands of greedy monsters making a profit off my death. If anyone is going to shorten my life span, it’s going to be me.

Should 911 have been called on me? Probably. I’m worried what I will do after Halloween–my original plan–and where my mindset will go. I’m worried I won’t be able to receive the support people are offering because I don’t know how. I’m convinced there is nothing left for me and that the only thing keeping me alive right now is fear of the unknown and a low threshold for pain. I’m worried this depression will slide past, unnoticed, and sky rocket into something more. I’m worried I’m not going to find a purpose again, that I’m not going to find a reason to live. I’m worried I’ll never feel passionate about anything again, or optimistic. I’m worried I’m shutting down, like the last stages of liver cancer. I’m worried I’ll pass as functional and be in misery for the rest of my life, however short or long that is. I’m worried someone will convince me to go back on medication. I’m worried that the only thought in my head right now is that I give up.

I’m worried that, recently, every time someone offers their help, my response now is “I don’t want it.”

How Sick Are You, Pt 2

Another long stretch since I’ve written. I spent some days adjusting to medication, some days hating myself for taking medication, and other days deciding to come off of medication.

Experiment number 2984719374:

Hypothesis: I will have a burst of energy and feel-good neurotransmitters flooding the gates of my synaptic terminals, followed by an immediate and harrowing decline which will, therefore, push me inevitably towards reuniting with the medication I so despise.

Methods: I will stop both the Abilify and Trintellix and monitor my moods and/or whatever aspects of psychosis that may rear its ugly head.

Results: TBD

Discussion: TBD.

Now that we have that settled, let’s talk a bit about mental health and awareness. There are so many great people out there doing great advocacy online and in person. There are so many great Non-Profit organizations doing the same. There are even clubs dedicated to such a thing at my college campus. And yet, there are still people wary and ashamed of their mental health. Let me give an example of how this thought process is still prevalent.

Today, while sitting in my Cognitive Psychology class, we were going over, for the umpteenth time in my life, neurotransmission, synaptic terminals, receptors, antagonists and agonists, Dopamine, Gaba, Norepinephrine, and Serotonin, some of the main receptors you learn in an introduction class. It follows that we should then speak about the dis-regulation of some of those neurotransmitters, and discuss the THEORY of chemical imbalances: regarding primarily dopamine and schizophrenia, serotonin and anxiety/depression.

Again, the idea of a chemical imbalance is a (repeat after me kids):

situation-clipart-theory-5

which means it can never be proven, only dis-proven.

Anyway, that brought up the topic of SSRI’s, their side effects, and their withdrawal symptoms.

One young woman, who was probably younger than I am, raised her hand and said this:

“I was wondering about the withdrawal symptoms, because I take an SSRI, and I noticed that–well, I don’t have depression, it’s for some nerve problems–but I noticed that when I didn’t take it even for just a couple days, I was sleeping a lot, I couldn’t focus in this class . . .” and yada yada yada, personal life bullshit.

But what struck me is that she immediately discounted the experience of depression. She wouldn’t want her classmates thinking she’s “mentally ill” now would she?

And this is why I advocate for changing the culture around this term “mentally ill”. Because people are ashamed of that, of “being ill”. But what if we weren’t “ill”? What if we were perfectly well humans with a variation of neurons (a very, very, very large variation of neurons) that just so happened to result in different experiences? What if believing we are “ill” is keeping us, well, “ill-er”?

What if the perception of those experiences changed from unpleasant to being perceived as unique, variable, malleable, valuable, curious, and wonderful?

That’s not to say the struggle isn’t hard, because it’s very hard. But the harder we believe it is, the harder it will get.

Now, this could all be the feel-good neurotransmitters talking, because I started my little experiment about two weeks ago, and that is about the amount of time it takes for this poison to slowly remove itself from my body. Although, if you know anything about half-lifes, it never really goes away.

But whether or not this is me being euphoric and grandiose, I think we need to expand the discussion around neurotransmitters, and inform the public of just how wrong it is to think that the pathway of ONE SINGLE neurotransmitter leads to something as complex as what we call schizophrenia or what we call anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, any of it.

neurotransmitters-5-638

You’ll read in a lot of studies released to the public–or at least glorified in the media–that they’ve found another link of dopamine to this, another one of serotonin to that, and it’s just not feasible that with 30-100 different molecule versions of neurotransmitters (granted there are a few that do a lot of the work) and 100 Trillion estimated neural connections plus constant variation of cell death/growth, neural connection death/growth, as well as environmental and genetic influences that dictate those neural connection and sell growths and deaths, that ONE neurotransmitter is going to be responsible for making or breaking our mental health.

Now, we can say that they are correlated. We can say we see increased dopamine in people who experience what we label as schizophrenia. But you cannot, and I repeat, CANNOT use that as CAUSATION.

Fuck I can’t stress it ENOUGH.

Psychology 101 folks: CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION. 

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Dopamine may be high during what we call psychosis, but that does not mean that the high dopamine CAUSED the psychosis, or that the psychosis CAUSED the high dopamine. We haven’t learned what “causes” mental health struggles yet, that’s why chemical imbalance is a THEORY.

See how much you’ve learned already today.

And that’s what happens in a lot of these articles that are debriefed by media or science magazines online with writers who don’t know a single thing about psychology. They get hung up on correlations.

It’s also a result of research publications being manipulated to suit the needs of pharmaceutical companies.

It’s a fact that if you give someone a drug that decreases dopamine, you’ll likely see a decrease in what we call psychosis. You’ll see a decrease in a lot of other things too, and those are what we cal side-effects. But are those drugs really doing anything to the thing we call psychosis, or is it just blunting some aspects of the self? Because often “psychotic symptoms” continue during the usage of said drug.

These are all questions I can’t answer, and neither can the magazines that publish articles on published research. It’s important to read these things carefully and really take a moment to look inside of yourself and ask yourself if you want to consider yourself broken, sick, ill, and helpless.

And that’s today’s Mental Truth.

 

How Do You Feel About Safety?

What’s your experience with this? With suicide hotlines, or being interviewed about it with a mental health professional?

Because I feel there’s a major flaw in this system, and I’ve thought about different ways it could be fixed, I’ve thought about ways it could be improved, internally and externally if that makes sense–everything is internal and external with me–, but what I’ve yet to do is ask others who have similar experiences to me how they feel about this.

The last time I used a suicide hotline or service thing, I don’t know what to call them, I was halfway going to do it. I pretty much led the entire county and hotline on a wild goose chase. I was teasing them about trying to find me before I die, while simultaneously trying to find a place to either jump off and break my neck or jump down far enough to die on impact. That’s hard to do when you’re avoiding overpopulated places like bridges. Maybe I picked a hard way to go for a reason. All I knew was 1) the trees weren’t talking to me anymore 2) I didn’t see any point in anything and 3) there were no more butterflies, and that’s a problem.

Eventually some county social worker and a sheriff got me. My boyfriend had got to me first, because I told him where I was. I’d told the hotline people where I was too, but in cryptic language and they must have decoded my message.

Anyway, my point is the whole reason I fucked with those hotline people, and pretty much myself, was because I hate, hate, hate when I get asked “can I help you get safe tonight?”

What the fuck does that mean. What does it mean? Can someone tell me? I don’t know what it means and I don’t know how to answer it. If I say I have a plan, they freak out. If I say I don’t have a plan, they say well, let’s keep you safe tonight and then suggest I listen to music or write.

I have different reasons for suicidality. Sometimes I’m just overwhelmed and can’t handle my emotions because I don’t know how to do that efficiently, so I say I’m going to kill myself. Sometimes I half-mean it, like when I sent them on a wild goose chase, and when I really mean it I tell no one, I just try. TRY. Because I’m shit at killing myself too. People say that’s a good thing, and being in my right mind right now I say it’s a good thing too. The creepy thing is I got the same treatment in the hospital, I got the same run around.

I also got a lecture. Remember? Remember that LCSW I posted about? My God, 45 minutes of fucking her repeating what depression is and ignoring the fact that I’d said several times I didn’t feel depressed, just overwhelmed, e.t.c and then at the end of it all, after I stopped talking for thirty minutes, she got concerned and said “I hope some of this resonated with you”.

3ru9d

Who knows, it could have been more than 45 fucking minutes, THERE’S NO CLOCKS, HOW THE HELL SHOULD I KNOW.

Whatever. The point is, nothing got resolved because everyone just wanted me safe and I didn’t know what that meant, and they seemed to feel that means leaving me alone for two days and I don’t know if that’s what keeps me safe or not, I don’t know. Because when they asked me in front of the entire room if I still wanted to kill myself, I lied very angrily, pretty much through clenched teeth, “no.”

So is the goal to just stop people from killing themselves, or to actually resolve the feelings of wanting to die? I didn’t want to say yes and get my rights taken away. I saw it coming from a mile away, I didn’t trust them an ounce. I don’t trust anyone. I was pretty much convinced the two women who were talking to me actually wanted me to kill myself, legitimately, like they were working together, which is partly why I didn’t sleep on top of the last week and a half of me not sleeping, and why I refused the “sleeping medication” they wanted to give me. Sleeping medication my ass. Fucking cyanide. And I wouldn’t have dared to mention that or anything about the trees, magic, or voices.

So my question is, since different people have different experiences, what do think about your “safety”?

Does helping you stay safe do anything for you?

Do you find yourself giving answers as empty as their questions?

*Some food for thought. Or thoughts for food.*

 

Suicide Awareness

I know it’s towards the end of the month and all, but honestly I’d feel like a complete douche if I didn’t make an attempt at a post about Suicide Awareness Month.

I find it ironic; September is a pretty depressing month with school starting and summer being over. I guess if you work in a tourist town, the ending of summer signifies less stress on you, but in my opinion September just sucks. It sucks. That should be a name of a band: September Sucks.

If someone uses that, I get a portion of your earnings, remember that. I will hunt you down, don’t think I wont. I’m fucking crazy.

On a more serious note, we’ve lost many people to suicide and a lot of families will forever hurt because of it. The good news is, suicide is highly preventable, it just takes patience, understanding, and the ability to recognize possible signs. There are classic signs–someone giving away valuable belongings, talking often about wanting to die even in a joking manner and especially if they’ve got a history of depression/depressive symptoms, withdrawing into isolation, or talking about being trapped in a situation without any sign of hope for the future–and then there are not so obvious signs. Those aren’t easy to spot because, well, they aren’t in your face. You’d have to be a trained professional for about thirty years to recognize them and even then you might not.

I don’t know how many of you are into “Let’s Play’s” on YouTube or whatever, but I learned of them through my boyfriend when we first started dating. He, his brother, and his sister watch a guy called Markiplier. I didn’t really get it at first, I mean it’s some dude playing a video game and making comments while he’s doing it. Couldn’t I just play the game for myself? But he was funny some times. I mean, I guess I was aware of PewDiePie, I remember when he started his channel, but I’d never watched him as obsessively as they watched this guy. Eventually I subscribed just because he entertained me sometimes, especially when I wasn’t feeling my best. I also didn’t know my subscription helps pay his salary.

I think as a subscriber I should get a portion of that money. I mean, it’s a lot of work searching the name on YouTube and having to put my aching hand on the mouse and click the button and . . . ugh, it’s so much work that I’d like a little compensation for my labor.

Anyway, I was shocked and devastated to find out last week one of the members of the group Cyndago that worked closely with Markiplier committed suicide. Last night before class I got a text from my boyfriend saying his uncle was contemplating suicide. So it’s all around us, every day, every hour, across the globe, and it hurts to think we’re losing so many to an invisible fight. I don’t think anyone has captured the depth depression plagues people’s souls better than this man on Facebook:

Alex Sunny Hur On Daniel Kyre of Cyndago: I’ve experienced suicide in my life and battle with major clinical depression personally, and have helped with many support groups over the years. Your burning question is “Why”. Why, when everything seems so great or promising in the individual’s life? Why, when they were loved? Why didn’t they feel happy, glad or grateful? Listen. Depression does not mean feeling sad all the time. 90% of the time, they feel nothing at all, a blank void where other emotions should be. The remaining 10%, the rough parts healthy people would brush off as inconsequential, are devastating to someone with depression. They have no buffers, no barriers to protect their soul from the day-to-day ills of life. It’s as if they have no immune system, so a common cold can be deadly. That’s what depression really is.

I also have brain cancer. When I die, it will be from cardiovascular failure or pulmonary failure or shock, but when people talk about it they will say the truth: I died of cancer. This young man, Daniel, did not die of suicide. Suicide by definition blames the victim. He died of depression, and don’t you forget it. There is your “why”. There is no greater truth. He had a physical disease, and though he battled it no doubt for years, he eventually succumbed, just like many cancer victims. Those who succumb are not at fault and are not to blame. They are not weak. There was no lack of love. After all, they’ve been fighting an invisible war all while smiling for you, and wanting to see you smile.

My heart goes out to all affected, most especially his friends and family who loved him. May you find strength and peace to your souls, and comfort envelop you like a warm quilt on a cold day.

He died of depression, and don’t you forget it.

A man with a terminal illness he knows will kill him, confirms that yes, those of us suffering through/with our mentality day after day are fighting for our lives just the same as those with Cancer are fighting for theirs. We’re all fighting together, there’s no need to stigmatize either fight.

It seems unless something horrible has happened, we don’t address how dangerous depression is. No one talks about it, we just shove you some drugs and say yo, you got this. Telling someone “they got this” when they’re gripping on the edge of a hundred foot cliff with their finger tips is not exactly helpful.

I won’t even get into the discussion of how much harder it is for men in western society to express their feelings against our psychotic requirements of masculinity. All I’ll say is admitting you need help is not a weakness in the eyes of reality like it is in the eyes of society, it’s a survival tactic.

I’ve spent half of my life battling depression demons . I’ve talked myself out of suicide multiple times because no one else would, and my first thoughts always go towards my parents, my boyfriend, his siblings, and even the people in my classes I never speak to. It’s a traumatizing experience to know the person you sat next to everyday just blew their brains all over the wall. I couldn’t knowingly induce that sense of guilt on anyone. In reality, it’s an issue I can’t think of one reason not to kill myself besides everyone else, and I know I need to learn to care more for myself, but right now it’s the only way I can think of keeping myself in this world. Sometimes that’s just enough.

Sometimes it’s helpful to contact crisis intervention services. If you have severe depression, and other disorders that cause this kind of thinking, and you also have social anxiety, try the chat websites and texting websites, I’ve used them more than once. If you’re not in the U.S, I’m sure google will have similar things in your country.

Learn to recognize the signs and be someone’s reason to live. Be your own reason to live. Every moment of eye contact is a moment you’ve made an impact on someone’s life and they’ve made an impact on yours. Remember, we’re all fighting this war for this odd thing we call life and your existence on this planet thus far is worth just as much as the rest of us. Not only are you loved, but you’re needed and wanted. We can’t fight this war without you.

And to all those who have lost the fight, they were not weak, they may have been the strongest out of us all. I don’t hear about even a thousandth of the people who commit suicide and yet I feel connected to them. I know their pain and I know how much courage it must have taken to lose every ounce of hope. They are our bothers and sisters and they died in the name of depression, hopelessness, active psychosis, and agony. And they will never be forgotten.