Reflections on World Suicide Prevention Day

Once you have experienced suicidal thoughts, you approach the topic of suicide in a way you couldn’t before. And if you have made suicide attempts you come at the subject from an even more different perspective.

A few months ago at my work someone who was seeking services died by suicide in the building. The conversations that followed regarding the suicide made me squirm. From the words my coworkers spoke, it told me they have never experienced suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide.

Someone said, “Usually there are no signs that somebody is suicidal.”

Another coworker suggested to everyone that we should all smile at the clients more often so that they won’t feel depressed anymore.

I wanted to say, “Ummmm, no. That doesn’t prevent suicide.”

People may say that there are no signs if somebody is suicidal but I disagree (there are exceptions to this I’m sure). Somebody struggling with suicidal thoughts may be putting up a front that they are fine but those closest to them would potentially see their behaviors change, if they are the type of person to pay attention to those around them.

For me I lost a lot of weight, couldn’t eat/had no appetite, slept constantly, laid in bed for hours, cut myself on a daily basis and canceled the few plans that I made with people.

At the beginning of it all I reached out for help. I found a wonderful therapist who I still see today. My doctor always took what I said seriously, she never doubted me or how I was feeling. Both of them were two of the reasons I chose to live.

For a couple weeks I was going to a weekly doctor’s appointment plus two therapy sessions. I told myself that they were both genuinely concerned about me, they wanted to see me alive and get better. So that fueled me to wake up and start my day for weeks.

Suicide is complex. Each person experiences suicidal thoughts differently and needs different things to help them cope.

After dealing with suicidal thoughts and I hear about a suicide, I am sad for them but I also hope that they are now at peace. It makes me sad to know that they were struggling so badly that the only solution they saw was to die.

If you’re reading this and struggling with suicidal thoughts I hope you can talk to a family member, friend, therapist or someone at the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (I highly recommend this, I’ve used it a few times) at 1-800-273-8255.

Seeing My Past

Monday was the first time it was warm enough to be wearing shorts this year where I live in America. It is always exciting when it starts to feel like spring especially when it is around my birthday (which is this Saturday)!

I was sitting in my boyfriend’s car while he went to get us pizza for dinner. I looked down at my legs which were covered in scars. Sadly they have not faded like I hoped that they would.

*Before you go any further please check yourself because I’m going to talk about self-harm. If you are not in the place to read something like this please check out a different post of mine! Like this or this.*

They’re scars from 2016 when I was really struggling with self-harm during my episode of severe depression. During that time I didn’t care what my body looked like, I wanted the relief that cutting brought to me at my lowest point.

I don’t regret doing what I did to myself during those horrible months. I regret other times that I have self-harmed but not then.

“But Megan why?” you might ask.

A great question! I was having constant suicidal thoughts, wasn’t eating and wanted all of the pain I was in to end. My mind told me that the only way for me to escape my suicidal thoughts was to end my life.  So instead of doing that, I cut myself.

I had been struggling with self-harm for 5 years at that point so this negative coping skill was one that I was very familiar with.

I’m not encouraging anybody to self-harm as a way to cope with mental illness. But as I reflect back on that time in my life, I give myself a pass. I wasn’t myself, my mind wasn’t functioning properly at all.

Even though I am left with the scars on my body, I forgive myself for it all.

I don’t think forgiveness is spoken about much among people who struggle with self-harm. It really should be though! We have to forgive ourselves for what we did when we weren’t feeling mentally well. We forgive then try to find a different coping skill next time.

I still have scars from when I began cutting at 18 so I know these will not fade for a long time. I have to accept my past, love myself despite my challenges and be confident even though my past pain is carved onto my body.

If you struggle with self-harm, have you forgiven yourself? If not, what’s holding you back? Leave me a comment please!

A Burden

I don’t know if I will ever feel like an important person. Not important as in somebody with influence or fame. I mean someone whose purpose is a meaningful one, someone who matters.

I have felt this way for most of my life so it’s ingrained in my mind.

Other people I can see are important. Others do good in the world and make things better whether for people, animals or the environment. I see people make an impact that I don’t think I ever will be able to do.

I bring down the mood. I make those closest to me sad. I only add problems and hurdles into the lives of those around me.

I feel like a prickly sea urchin that nobody wants to touch. That my mental illness makes me undesirable. That it creates more issues than anything else. That it has made me rotten from the inside out.

I am a burden.

I take up space.

I don’t think anybody likes me.

The only person who actually loves me is my mom. Which of course she does, she’s my mom! She has to love me.

I think about myself in all aspects of life and how if I wasn’t there, there would be room for somebody better.

Like at work, if I quit that would make room for somebody with much more talent than me. In my relationship, he could find somebody 100 times better than me in an instant. It wouldn’t take much looking to do either of those tasks.

Same goes for being a daughter, friend and sister too.

I’m not perfect at all but I wish that I was. I wish I could write beautiful words and create stunning graphics at work. I wish I had no issues, triggers or problems to put on the shoulders of my boyfriend and family.

I’m not considering ending my life so don’t worry about that. I have that sorted out for the most part (thank you therapy and medicine!).

Is this a big shit session directed at myself? Absolutely.

Sorry this was so long and incredibly negative. I really needed to get this off my chest. I don’t have therapy until Thursday so I decided to toss my thoughts up on here.

A Letter to My Struggling Self

I am very inspired by Hunting Happiness who did this post on the Bipolar Writer Blog. She called it “A Letter to Myself on the Days I Feel I’m About to Drown.” I love that title and her idea to write up a letter to encourage herself when she’s struggling with her mental illness.

So I want to do the same! Sometimes the most encouraging person is yourself when you are feeling depressed or anxious.

Dear Megan,

Are you alright? Whatever horrible thoughts you’ve been ruminating on, press pause for a moment to read what I have to tell you.

Remember what your therapist said? Not every thought your brain generates is a fact. Your brain loves to lie and trick you, it loves to kick you when you’re down. It sucks to say but you can’t always believe your mind.

Because I am you, I know the dark thoughts that are buzzing around in your mind. Thoughts you’ve been battling since you were little. Just because you’ve been hearing them forever doesn’t mean that they hold any amount of truth.

Worthless? You’re absolutely worthy of existing. Everybody hates you? Also not true. Think about how much your mom, brother, dad, boyfriend and grandmother care about you. They would be deeply upset if you weren’t here.

Your writing has impacted so many people, even those who you don’t know! You have been able to positively impact other people’s lives with your words. Nobody else could have written those stories like you.

Your experiences matter. Your perspective is needed.

I love you and so do all of the important people in your life!

Love,
Megan

P.S. Pet your cats, watch “My Roommate is a Cat” and stretch.

 

Getting Back to “Normal”

My period is over so I’ve, for the most part, returned to my “normal” self. All of my emotions that were at a peak have calmed down.

I met with my therapist this past Thursday and I cried the entire time. It felt so good to have a safe place where I could discuss my fears and cry with somebody who knows me.

Sure I pay her to hear me sob but it is worth every penny.

She helped me to rationalize some of my worries and put everything that had been frantically flying around in my skull into some sort of order.

By the end of our session I felt relieved. I calmed down before I left and set a session earlier than I normally would have if I was doing fine.

Yesterday and today I have been productive enough to make up for last weekend when I couldn’t get out of bed or shower. My mood is up and I’ve been eating vegetables instead of solely carbs, ice cream and chocolate.

It is such a whirlwind to be feeling like I want to end my life in one moment to feeling relatively content the next. There are so many ups and downs that it gives me whiplash sometimes. And I’ve had whiplash and it’s not enjoyable!

I am hoping that I can keep my depression and anxiety in check this week despite work being busy. In my two weeks of hell from my PMDD and period, I have found some new coping mechanisms! I’ll share them with you in case you are looking for some fresh ideas.

  1. Keep Items with a Happy Memory Close — I don’t think I thought about this before but having something that has a positive memory attached to it can lift your spirits. For example I put on a bright blue nail polish that I bought in Florence, Italy when I was on coach tour across Europe. I look at my nails and think of the amazing time that I had which gives me a little boost.
  2. ASMR — When this whole ASMR thing got popular, I thought it was kind of bullshit. But what I found was that I enjoy ones where they are cooking especially if there are crunchy vegetables being chopped up. What I’ve been loving is Peaceful Cuisine, it’s a Japanese guy who makes vegan food. Since I’m learning Japanese, it also helps me to read the ingredients in the language.

I hope that two little tips can help if you’re in a pickle jar right now. I’ll keep you all updated on how I fair this week!

Stay strong, everybody!!

My Brain Hates Me

My suicidal thoughts and urges to self harm are back with a vengeance. I haven’t had these incredibly strong thoughts buzzing in my brain for a long time.

For months my mental health was really good, I truly felt like myself.

Don’t worry reading this, I don’t plan to act on any of my brain’s ideas. I’m doing my very best to rationalize everything. My therapist has told me to not believe every thought my brain creates because my brain tells me lies. I am seeing her tomorrow so we can talk about all of this.

My brain tells me that if I kill myself, I will make the rest of the world happier. That until I end my life, cutting is the only way that I can ease the pain of my depression.

Like wtf!?

To somebody who has never struggled with mental illness and has to fight their own brain every single day, those previous sentences probably make no sense. They make no sense to me as I read those words back to myself.

Mental illness puts us into this mindset where nothing makes any logical sense. Your brain bullies you into a corner shouting all sorts of stuff that it wants you to take as fact.

Right now, my brain is doing exactly that. I don’t know if it’s just a wave of depression or maybe my antidepressant isn’t working as well anymore.

It makes me sad knowing that this time last month I was happy. I was totally content with everything but now it has all gone to shit.

When I get into this state my therapist says to list some things that are going well and what I am looking forward to. So here it goes!

What’s going well?
– I ate 2 carrots today
– I got all my work done at work today
– I painted my nails blue

What am I looking forward to?
– Ariana Grande’s new album comes out on Feb. 8
– I think I’ll get to eat cake at work tomorrow
– Therapy tomorrow

That took me a little bit but I made it through!

Laying In Bed

I think I have come to the conclusion that my PMS is not just regular old PMS. I think that I have PMDD or something because this past week has been absolute hell for me.

I wrote earlier this week about how PMS amplifies my mental illness. This week has been way way way worse than normal. I can’t function at all!

I have been drowning in my depression for days. Today and yesterday I spent almost all day in bed. I haven’t showered since Friday and I have mostly lost my appetite. Today I am not crying every other minute like I was for the last few days so that is one positive thing!

Where I live we had a snow storm (that really wasn’t even that bad, we’ve totally had worse) so it’s been an excuse to stay inside and not do anything.

Today I keep saying, “I’ll get up at noon.” I stay in bed. “I’ll get up at 1.” I’m still in bed. “I’ll get up at 2.” I’m sitting up but I’m still in my bed.

While I’ve been in bed, negative thoughts keep buzzing in my mind. Stuff that I know I shouldn’t be thinking about but they don’t seem to want to leave me.

Thursday I have therapy so I’m going to talk with my therapist about this horrible week I’ve had. I don’t know if she will have any answers with how I can survive my next period but maybe she will have some ideas.

Online when I was looking for what people typically do for PMDD/severe PMS is to put them on birth control (I’m on it) or antidepressants (on that too). So right now I’m feeling that it’s all hopeless. That once a month I’m going to be losing my sanity and damaging my relationships and health.

I am not ok with that at all.

My mental health had been pretty good until Monday. I felt like I was on the top of a hill then pushed down into the fucking ocean to sink to the bottom where I’m wrapped up in seaweed.

Writing this is actually making me feel a little better. I might be able to get out of bed now, I’m not quite sure. I want to take a bubble bath but I can’t seem to find the energy.

Depression really drains me of all my energy. Doing the simplest task, like showering, seems nearly impossible. I hope I can survive this bullshit.