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I Have Been Suicidal Most Of My Life

Today I want to talk to you about suicide and how you can live with the thoughts of it. I wish I had known as a younger woman I could become friends with the feeling and we could travel through life side by side!

Trigger Warning – Talk Of Attempted Suicide

I am not sure why you are here. Maybe you are interested in other people's thoughts like I am. Or maybe you are just curious for a friend.

But please, if you are actively suicidal, please call the National Suicide Hotline… it is free and confidential 800-273-8255.

I would make me super sad if something I said made you even worse and I wasn't there to help and talk you through it… it is not wrong to get help! Even if you are not feeling worthy of it!

My Suicidal Story

I have always, for as long as I can remember, had a pretty tenuous hold on living.

As a child of 9 or 10 years old I read a poem about suicide and was thrilled to know that other people had these deep, dark thoughts sometimes. (more about that sometimes part later!)

In my teens I was definitely teetering on the edge of un-becoming. I spent most of those years actively in anorexia and trying to starve myself to death. Maybe not deliberately, but it didn't seem like a terrible outcome or something to be avoided.

In my 20s… Not Good

I lived very dangerously, without a lot of regard to whether I would grow old. I drank a fair amount and drove, and yes, I had a DUI. I had a casual relationship with an abusive man who was definitely on the spectrum of “maybe could be one of those guys that kills their girlfriend in a fit of rage.” I lived with an active drug addict who stole my money and later went on to rob banks.

Stuff like that…maybe not slashing your wrists (I never tried that), but definitely putting myself in harms way.

In My 30s… It Got Better-ish

In my early 30s I got a bit better. I found a career I loved (marketing is my first love), dated some pretty great guys and got married to one of them!

But still there were times when I was desperately unhappy. Not, “my life sucks” unhappy, just soul crushingly sure that nothing would ever be truly okay and that I still wasn't really meant to live in this world at this time.

I can remember a deep-deep depression when George Bush got re-elected and I thought that would be the depths of depravity that the world would see… boy did I have another thing coming.

My life was great. I had a great family, a good many friends, good pets, and plenty of money…. still, not great.

In My 40s… The Kids

My husband and I had tried to have kids until I was about 38 and then figured that kids weren't in our cards and we would be “single” our whole lives. (I know single means not attached, but we felt free to be absolutely selfish and do what we wanted… single-like!)

Then in my mid-forties I asked my husband if he would like to adopt a child from foster care. He said, “nope, that ship has sailed”, and I thought, YAY!

But then the next day he said we should do it… BOO… and we spent the next three years trying to adopt a child… we wound up with 3… from 0 to 3 adopted foster kids is A LOT!

And for me that was the absolute end of thinking I could kill myself…. sigh.

There was NO WAY I would do that to my kids (and now my granddaughter too!)

I was stuck sticking around.

In My 50s… There Is Depression Medicine?!?!

Okay, since suicide is off the table, I had to find a way to live with the my suicidal feelings.

In my early 50s something terrible happened… my dog bit a lady and we thought we might have to put him down. I felt responsible for how she got bit and then also for knowing that I might be the one that would have to KILL MY DOG.

Now, I KNOW, there are terrible things in the world, but having pets is one of the few things that brings actual happiness and peace to my life. So to me personally, that would have been a big T trauma. Just considering it was a little T trauma that had me in depression for weeks.

And I realized, hey, I have had these depressive episodes my whole life.

Wait, I have depression? I went and got diagnosed and am taking medication for it now… and do you know what? It is better!

Not perfect. I still get depressed, but when I am not clinically depressed I am less unhappy… yay!

What I Want You To Know About Suicidal Thoughts

So I was sitting around thinking about whether I should write this post, and I thought, yes! Maybe I can help someone else find out how to LIVE with these kinds of thoughts.

So here are my best tips for living with horrible thoughts!

Wait Until You Grow Up

Okay, something to know is that your cerebral cortex doesn't fully develop until you are like 25, so shit you do when you are young or how you feel then is not going to define the rest of your life!

I was MISERABLE during high school, college and my early adulthood.

I don't have those pretty, “I want to go back to high school and relive the old days”. The old days pretty much sucked.

Now, you may think I was a loner, but nope, I was the captain of the football cheerleaders in high school, popular enough not to be picked on and had a great boyfriends and good friends over the years.

But in my head, from time to time, I was not okay. Everything was gray, I didn't feel like I belonged in the human race and I was majorly unhappy and not able to tell anyone about it… sigh.

Find Out If It Is Medical

I never knew that my lifelong suicidal journey could be the result of being clinically depressed… not sure how that slipped my radar, but it did!

My physiology is such that I become deeply depressed from time to time.

From the inside this looks like the world becoming dimmer with fewer colors to it. Eventually it becomes totally gray and lifeless and I feel like there will never be joy in the world again.

Learning that I am medically depressed and that there is medicine that I can take to help regulate it is AMAZING!

Which leads me to..

That Terrible Feeling/Situation Will Not Last Forever

One of the worst parts of feeling depressed is that I deeply believe that it will be my state forever.

The best thing about being older and having gone through many bouts of this is that I can now, at least, tell myself that it will not last forever and sorta-kinda believe it even when I am in the depths of depression.

Now, your suicidal thoughts might be situational instead of depression based. Maybe you are in an abusive relationship or just can't get out debt, or are homeless or any other number of terrible things and think this will never change.

Or maybe your situation isn't that bad, or your depression isn't that bad and you are still suicidal. Please don't judge yourself on whether your life is “bad enough” to feel this way… that is just being mean to you!

One thing I can promise you is that things will change (and yes, sometimes they get worse not better).

But you will not feel suicidal for the rest of your life, all day, every day, I PROMISE.

Which leads me to…

I Didn't ALWAYS Want To Kill Myself

If you were to ask me, I would say (somewhat dramatically) that I have been suicidal MY WHOLE LIFE… but that is not really true.

There isn't really a time where I am like, “I LOVE LIFE” and spin around on hilltops, I am just not made that way.

But if I am honest with myself, there are long stretches of my life where I was just me. When I didn't think regularly about killing myself.

They are just not as easy to remember as the times when I was seriously down… those were scary times and memorable! The times when I was just “normal” aren't something that I took note of at the time.

Other Good Suicidal Resources

I learned a new term, “suicidal ideation” from this podcast with Jenny Lawson (The Blogess)… in laymans terms, as I understood her saying it, it is when you are thinking about killing yourself actively, but really don't have any plans to functionally carry it out. Yup, that about covers it!

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Wednesday 8th of June 2022

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