Archive for the ‘suicide’ Category

i guess in light of a recent suicide in my community i’m looking at an issue near to my heart and life. suicide.  in the “against medical advice” blogg the author shared an all to common experience of people who’ve woken up in the ER after an incompleted suicide, http://agmedad.wordpress.com/2008/04/10/incompleters/#comment-6509

this is the response i wrote…i need to write about this because i really can’t talk with anyone around here. it would be to “self-absorbed” for me to become introspective…what i have to share couldn’t possibly help anyone i know. but i’ve been there and who can better tell you about the moon…the astronaut who walked on the moon or the man looking through a telescope.

funny how people react to suicide. we recently lost a member of our community to suicide. it’s been hard for me to be around everyone as they “mourn” and deal with the shock and all of the “what could we have dones…”. i’m a suicide survivor. my last go ’round was the most grave and was unknown to others for over a year. i never attempted to get attention except everyone seems to think that a “failed” attempt is an attention getting “gesture”. NOT! it was very personal and after my last attempt i shut down completely…not eating, not talking…just staring…i lay on my sofa for months and prayed for god to just let me stop breathing. i always hear from people around me that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. but my problem has been around my whole life. i began suicide attempts when i was a very young child. i’m sure there are several of us that did, but no one recognized eating poisons as a toddler as being anything other than the result of a lack of supervision or accidental. for me it was painfully intentional. in the process of being punished when i was about 5 my father told me what “dead” was. i knew that eating deadly nightshade berries would “make me dead”…so i did…often. and i never stopped trying. my last attempt was in june of ’05 and i’m almost 45. this was no temporary problem.
i have had numerous horrible experiences in the ERs over the years. believe me…i really didn’t want to wake up there either. but their cruel words went to the sticking place and echoed in an already angst ridden mind. this anger that the medical community and even mental health community has regarding suicide is more damaging to a suicidal person. in an ER they only see you that night and they have NO information about what brought you there. the suicide itself is only a small part of a much larger picture. and granted i know of people who threaten and gesture suicide as a manipulation and as a means of getting attention. it is those people who’ve given the rest of us a bad rap. they do not mean business. it’s non the less serious as even manipulative gestures can result in death. but all the more reason to treat anyone who is suicidal with compassion and concern. i know suicide is scary to face for all involved parties and i know there is a concern that giving too much attention to a suicide attempt may reinforce the attention seeking aspect for some patients…but that is not true for all of us.
perhaps if people were more willing to address my suicides (they were not attempts…parts of me died each time) as a serious issue i might have been able to come back…i am still not well in that area of my life. i think i might romance death until i pass over. i don’t feel suicidal now but i have to admit that i always romance the thought. i hold it private to me because i’m all to aware of the cold and stony hearts that turn on you when people know. i stay away from people sometimes just because of the “me and them” in this whole area…it does drive much of my life all the time. it never goes away. it’s like a homesickness of sorts. and while i do deal with life problems often in very healthy ways and i live life with seemingly more joy than some…it’s always there. i do treasure life and maybe i value the good times so much more because i know that they are gifts i shouldn’t be experiencing. i don’t wallow in self pity…i’m not a glum, depressive, brooding or self-absorbed person as many would identify a suicidal person to be. having a second chance is something i am grateful for. but i wish i didn’t feel such an outsider as this ER doctor would wish us to feel.
the pain is real. the pain is often a life long experience and there are suicides that aren’t for attention or solving a temporary problem. maybe it’s simply wanting put an end to having to try just to damn hard to live. and docs like this…they don’t help those who deal with sucidality as a lifelong issue. i stopped trying so hard to live. my attitude of “i don’t care” is often brutal and destroys most ambitions that dare to peak my interest. while i have “bursts” of ambition and hope…i honestly live my life at 10% most of the time. i can’t seem to die but i can’t live well either. i don’t see the point in trying to die anymore as i believe this decision has to be god’s. reading and hearing things like this article are sad. but i’m glad you’re posting this and i’m glad people are seeing and discussing this prevailing attitude because it is deadly.
thank you for the post.
this is an exerpt from an article about suicidal children:
Many people have thought that the main reason that children and adolescents try to kill themselves is to manipulate others or get attention or as a “cry for help”. However, when children and adolescents are actually asked right after their suicide attempts, their reasons for trying suicide are more like adults. For a third, their main reason for trying to kill themselves is they wanted to die. Another third wanted to escape from a hopeless situation or a horrible state of mind. Only about 10% were trying to get attention. Only 2% saw getting help as the chief reason for trying suicide. The children who truly wanted to die were more depressed, more angry, and were more perfectionistic. read more: http://www.healthyplace.com/communities/depression/children_9.asp

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 i was going to delete this, but then i pulled back and read the whole thing…i could see my thought process as i was having a “borderline melt down”. even though my focus, in this blog, is on my withdrawal from meds and fibromyalgia, i have lived as a recovering borderline amongst other things. boy can my thoughts bounce around and i spared the laundry list! but watch the process! the fear, resentment, paranoia, blaming…oh what an angry little girl i can still be! (description of BPD below)

feeling well seems to be a blessing and a curse. i haven’t been around to write on this blog for awhile now…and i’m sure, if i continue with the work i’m trying to do, that my time will continue to be restricted but, i’m having a day…well several by now…that is leaving me feeling horrible. i can’t seem to be able to talk with anyone about all that is going on but i’m feeling guilty for having tried to choose a better path for my daughter, surviving several sincere suicide attempts, recovering from alcoholism and getting off addicting meds! yes, sometimes i honestly wish my path had zigged instead of zagged at all of these points. i’m screaming at god and looking at people who i thought were my friends and wondering why there is so much resentment and anger…why does it have to be mine too.

i’m usually fairly good at dodging emotional bullets…my whole life has been made up of that. but when there are just too many bullets in the air…god i wish i were wonder woman with the large amulets. but i’m not. i’m just a person, alone, trying to go with the flow and make the best decisions i can. even best of intentions often seem to be thrown back in your face with added crap.

i can’t apologize for being born into a rich family. that was never the grace that so many people seem to think it was. i’m slowly trying to pull up my boot strings over the fact that my father died and i was the only one not mentioned in his will. (this just happened september of ’07.) he mentioned his dogs, home health aids, brother’s grandchildren, other family members and the remainder to my daughter. this was the end of a bitter, life long struggle for a father’s love. the manipulative act of leaving everything to my daughter just…doesn’t suprise me. he can continue to reach out from the grave and manipulate.  and he’s succeeded. there is nothing more i can ever do and my father’s last efforts on this planet were to let people know just how much he hated me. his decisions have left a continued destruction of what family remains as they take that as a final declaration to what a horrible person i am. loss, loss and more loss compounded with judgement…from friends and family. god can anyone just stop gossiping and talk to me. talk to me about the truth? this world is not fair and i won’t yell “not fair”. that is a law i accepted a long time ago. i never set out looking for justice or fairness…life is not just and redemption is rare. i have never set out to intentionally hurt anyone but my actions are constantly interpreted as having ulterior motives and i can honestly say that i never set out to do good to gain anything other than to set back and see good done. i never want my name attached and i try to do as much anonymously as i can. i flinch if people talk of my good deeds publicly. but i do glow when i see good things happen. why wouldn’t anyone. i guess i try extra hard to those ends. i think it is the effort that offends people. i think it is that, i use my free time and resources to help others when ever i have them…often though to the extent of over extending myself. i don’t do that to martyr or put others to shame…no, i love to share in the efforts when ever possible but if no one else picks up on the work i feel obligated to finish what i start. if i did harm it wasn’t intentional and believe me when i say i live with the consequences and constant, nagging, resurfacing painful reminders. i don’t say this as an excuse…i don’t believe in excuses…but i need to remember that i’ve been a very sick person for most of my life and i’ve been tossed out and alone in trying to manage a very messed up life.  i don’t expect others to carry that burden, but i do wish others could view my decisions with some compassion and a bit of respect. i tried to do the very best i could. this seems to have become some sort of battle cry and i don’t think life should be such a battle. a person needs a resting point…some forgiveness and “you did the best you could”. because…i have addressed my illness and i have worked so, so hard to recover from illnesses most people do not recover from. but when i get slammed from all sides i wish i could still hide behind my illness. but, i don’t want to be forced back into the darkness of borderline, bipolar, eating disorders, alcoholism, addiction…too much. i just want to be and at times i think i just want to be alone. people are too hard for me to navigate. but i’m human and i get lonely. i guess that’s why i turn to writing on here. every once in awhile i peek my head out into the world of the living only to do a hasty retreat from their games. i’m not that savvy…i don’t navigate the game playing world of soap operas. it’s too prevalent in the circles i frequent…and i need to frequent them because my continued recovery depends on it. but, the very help i need is equally capable of undoing and destroying the progress i make. it seems that people only want you around if you’re down and failing but the moment you’re doing well and having some small successes they make a world of controversy over what you’re trying to do. i avoid a lot of group activities because i don’t “play well with others”. i try to grow with this issue…. i may be so much healthier now, but i guess basic human skills continue to elude me. but i have to ask if i’m more plugged in now than i allow the feed back to tell me. maybe that i’m having friction around these sick people (who i thought were healthier people) is a sign that i’m better and maybe i’m swimming in the wrong pool. i’ve invested 11 years of my life trying to live up to certain principles. not perfectly, but consistently.  i get worn down like this often and maybe it’s my depression. no, it’s the borderline thoughts in my head.

god…i’m blabbering and unraveling here.

i haven’t been able to tend to myself and i’ve become caught up in “friendships”, not of my choosing, that are very sick. some people are seriously disturbed. i should know better than to help people who present as borderlines! yes, they can jump in to call me a “friend” but that’s not what i am…with newly recovering, sick people, that’s how it goes…as a person just beginning on the road, a borderline, isn’t really capable of being a friend to anyone…not even themslevles. when you are struggling with so many inside voices you can’t consider anything going on outside of your mind. i’ve heard it when i’ve suggested helping another as a way towards recovering: “why should i help her…she doesn’t have anything to offer me“. now…i can see what helping another person can do for me…but it’s still a difficult path for me to walk. shoot i know what i was like…and being one doesn’t always leave you better off in seeing one. my heart goes out to people in the throws of this disorder. i grew up in the midst of a borderline family, but i got out…i want to stay out.  borderlines will always try to pull you into that hole with them. while having been a deeply disturbed bpd, i still have to agree that borderlines are the most dangerous population in the mental health world to tangle with. besides my own recovery process, i have read extensively and if you have done your home work then you know that i’m not damning anyone…bpd means seriously sick…

but this disorder is like no other as it is an affliction of the personality and not a “chemical imbalance” or organic brain syndrome. most simply, it is learned and must be unlearned. if you know the difference and where that falls on the nosology…i needn’t say more. i’m not saying that borderlines don’t need help, but you have to be very skilled and armed…set up to do the job. not being able to handle the disorder well is just as destructive, if not maybe more, than not trying at all. what they write about borderlines is true…i lived it and i remember what i was like…

i see what the remnants of borderline are still like in my life. i may have had significant recovery but really, the volume is just turned down very low…i am still borderline, just to a lesser degree…much lesser. i never want to see that volume turned up again. when i get scared and unravel as i’m doing now…the volume seems to want to get louder…that is the process of that disorder. it is a cacophony of destructive voices going off in your head…fighting the whole world and your self.

damnit! busted! ok, i see what’s going on…i was sitting outside, frittering away over a laundry list of resentments and woes. wow can some people throw zingers at me if they want to hurt me…and then i throw in a few myself…that’s it! ok…nothing is really wrong”here. sitting down to write this out when i couldn’t find anyone to talk to, is helping here. my wonderful psychologist walked me down this path, kicking and screaming for over 7 years and now…if i remember her lead…i can, with in reason, navigate that path alone when i must. and…i must do it alone a lot. with borderline…sometimes you get hit with a big one and sometimes small, but the blows can come in rapid succession and the voices can become very athoritarian!LOL in my “down” times, when my reserves are low (and they come as a direct result of neglecting my personal care), i can feel like i’m driving down a road loaded with speed bumps at 50 mph and that is a lot to lay on other people.

that is how us borderlines suck the souls out of others. to compound that…i was trying to give a hand up to another borderline and she grabbed my hand and started the long sustained pull of the borderline. a little is never enough and enough is never enough. we are vacuous, black holes! i know! i need, need, need…and on a bad day i can become a whiny six year old in just moments. thank god i can usually detect that rush of borderline behavior when it begins to seep in. sometimes i can’t be objective and the behavior carries me away.

i have to watch “people, places and things” as they say in my support group. i have to check and recheck my intentions, because i can slide down that darn slippery slope of borderline behavior…which is so much more insidious than my alcoholism (but the two play darn well together). constantly, i have to ask myself “why are you doing this”. it can be exhausting, keeping the disorder in check, but i count my blessings that i was given the insight to do it. it was a lot of sacrifice on the part of my psychologist and a scary road of trust and surrender on mine. i continue to seek guidance from other qualified people. managing this disorder gets easier as we get older…perhaps wiser. life won’t be perfect…but is it for anyone? being honest and realistic are two qualities i try so hard to embrace every day. doubt and those darn voices can try to destroy my serenity but i am the final word on what happens with my thoughts. i don’t have to act on every thought and i can surely just release most of them.

so, thoughts, fly away now…

i should garden and play with my dogs for a bit.

peace out

what is BPD?:

Raising questions, finding answers

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness characterized by pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image, and behavior. This instability often disrupts family and work life, long-term planning, and the individual’s sense of self-identity. Originally thought to be at the “borderline” of psychosis, people with BPD suffer from a disorder of emotion regulation. While less well known than schizophrenia or bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), BPD is more common, affecting 2 percent of adults, mostly young women.1 There is a high rate of self-injury without suicide intent, as well as a significant rate of suicide attempts and completed suicide in severe cases.2,3 Patients often need extensive mental health services, and account for 20 percent of psychiatric hospitalizations.4 Yet, with help, many improve over time and are eventually able to lead productive lives.


While a person with depression or bipolar disorder typically endures the same mood for weeks, a person with BPD may experience intense bouts of anger, depression, and anxiety that may last only hours, or at most a day.5 These may be associated with episodes of impulsive aggression, self-injury, and drug or alcohol abuse. Distortions in cognition and sense of self can lead to frequent changes in long-term goals, career plans, jobs, friendships, gender identity, and values. Sometimes people with BPD view themselves as fundamentally bad, or unworthy. They may feel unfairly misunderstood or mistreated, bored, empty, and have little idea who they are. Such symptoms are most acute when people with BPD feel isolated and lacking in social support, and may result in frantic efforts to avoid being alone.

People with BPD often have highly unstable patterns of social relationships. While they can develop intense but stormy attachments, their attitudes towards family, friends, and loved ones may suddenly shift from idealization (great admiration and love) to devaluation (intense anger and dislike). Thus, they may form an immediate attachment and idealize the other person, but when a slight separation or conflict occurs, they switch unexpectedly to the other extreme and angrily accuse the other person of not caring for them at all. Even with family members, individuals with BPD are highly sensitive to rejection, reacting with anger and distress to such mild separations as a vacation, a business trip, or a sudden change in plans. These fears of abandonment seem to be related to difficulties feeling emotionally connected to important persons when they are physically absent, leaving the individual with BPD feeling lost and perhaps worthless. Suicide threats and attempts may occur along with anger at perceived abandonment and disappointments.

People with BPD exhibit other impulsive behaviors, such as excessive spending, binge eating and risky sex. BPD often occurs together with other psychiatric problems, particularly bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and other personality disorders.


Treatments for BPD have improved in recent years. Group and individual psychotherapy are at least partially effective for many patients. Within the past 15 years, a new psychosocial treatment termed dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) was developed specifically to treat BPD, and this technique has looked promising in treatment studies.6

read more:  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/borderline-personality-disorder.shtml

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     (input 3/23/08 start) jump back a bit. around ’97, the year i was introduced to my wonderful psychiatrist and psychologist…and they really were wonderful…they did help me make some wonderful changes in my life. i was diagnosed borderline personality disorder, bipolar, ADHD, PTSD.  i was put on, taken off, and swapped around on several medications including ritalin. i landed on a regime of neurontin, wellbutrin and klonopin (lamictal was added in about ’05). i pretty much stayed on those for about five years. some others may have been thrown and removed over the years, but my memory on that is not so great. but looking back now, on my suicidal behavior…


     i had my first attempt when i was 23, (’85). i was put in mental health facility for about 6 weeks.  i continued with suicidal ideation, but alcohol was my slow means of getting there and i didn’t have another attempt until i got sober in ’97 and started taking the meds. from ’97 until now (early ’08) i have had over 6 attempts that landed me on life support and admitted to the behavior health units.my last attempt, june, ’05,  was very well planned…i can’t believe i’m still here, (i didn’t feel like i was here for a long time and perhaps that was the 60mgs of klonopin i chased with alcohol and other things) and sometimes i still curse god for leaving me here. but…well i usually “bounced” after each attempt. always, in a day or two, every time, i was back and running as if nothing happened. i wouldn’t discuss what had happened. to everyone that did know….each attempt was just treated as a hiccup….just as i liked it never happened. i never liked getting attention for anything other than my accomplishments. i always tried to compartmentalize my mental health issues. the source of these suicide attempts eluded me and i felt that they struck me like a hit and run…no exact cause and no consequence. being suicidal…it just was a part of  “how i was”. it really felt that way, and no one ever reviewed this with me…not really.




     but, my first consequence came down on me (sept. ’03) when i’d been admitted to the emergency room of one of my hospitals that i’d been admitted to at least twice before. i think they were implementing a three strikes policy. at about midnight, a hospital psychologist and a lawyer entered my room with a nurse and some orderlies. they were drawing up the documents to commit me! “but wait, i want to call my psychologist and my lawyer….i will voluntarily go to marietta memorial.” it was conveniently timed (midnight) so that i couldn’t reach my own lawyer or psychologist. i was forced to sign away my freedom with out recourse and…committed. next, i remember laying in the back of a squad car, one cop driving and speeding about 100 mph down the highway for what felt like…oh i didn’t know where we were or where we were going. god i was in the middle of west virginia, laying in the back of a cop car with just one male cop driving me…the mental patient. i felt so vulnerable, violated and scared. this cop could pull over and do anything he wanted. at this time of night, in the middle of WV…he could do whatever he wanted with me and it would be the word of a “deeply disturbed” person against one WV’s finest. god, i’d heard stories like this, but it was happening to me…or was it…this is unreal.


     a week before, i had been a counselor in training, working with the criminally insane in a maximum security facility in CA. now, i was headed to be a civil commitment case myself. it was humbling. upon arriving (safely, thank god), i was handed stuff to go and wash the lice off of me….LICE! god,  i was not someone who would have lice….didn’t they know who i was…what i do?  but, alas here i was in the WV state mental hospital. how did this happen? another hit and run kind of thing, because i was fine…really. if they would let me go i would get right back to work on my graduate courses and not miss a beat as i’d so gracefully done before. but no one would budge and it was one of those experiences…i thought they wanted to “scare me straight”! but this meant nothing to the hit and run driver of my suicidal tendencies. there was no action or language for reasoning or dealing. it was just one of those things…but it happened. (alcohol and PMS were involved every time.) i stayed for two weeks and it was a typical state institution experience….but of course i counseled and uplifted as many a patient as i could. after all i was in the midst of my counseling intern hours…this was a great place to work on my skills. it’s not as if i was going to step on any one’s shoes doing this….yeah, like the place was crawling with docs and therapists to really help any one of these poor “frequent flier” lost souls i was surrounded by. but…i was one too. certainly this was some cosmic joke. i couldn’t see why i had to be in “that place”. a looney bin in the middle of west-by-god?! well, i don’t really remember too much of how that wound down.


     i do remember a year before, the morning after i returned from another visit to the behavioral health floor for the “suicidal hit-and-run girl”, the phone rang at 7am. it was my best friend and she said, “i have cancer.” my first response was “no way!” well, our conversations were never about something like cancer, so i only had a few responses in my repertoire. she didn’t seem upset and i guess at that point she didn’t know how seriousit was. but this is the twist…here i was wanting to die and the whole while, my best friend was fight for her life. how self-centered am i! she was a sponsee i’d “adopted” from the local recovery center and when she was diagnosed with the cancer,  her husband took off, and she had just moved here. she hardly knew anyone except me. and we…we knew about drinking and addictions and mental illness….but…cancer? well another story for another time. but she lost her battle to cancer around march of ’04. she is with me always and some days i still have the impulse to go to the phone and call her…it’s just still second nature. i’m glad she moved on from all of her pain and is perfectly perfect now. but i loved be perfectly imperfect with her and i really really miss her. (input 3/23/08, end) please forgive my editorial skills. i’m a designer and they always kept and editor one foot behind me at all times!

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      writing for the blog and keeping up with everyone has been doubly difficult to jump into right now.  just at a time when i need the support, experience, strength and hope of others as well as the need to put my own out there i’ve been confronted my an old “monster in the closet”.

     i’ll just mention again that i’ve been on pysch meds consistantly for the last ten years even though my diganosis of bipolar came thirty years ago. i am also diagnosed borderline personality disorder, ADHD and PTSD. i’m also a recovering alcoholic with eating disorders.

      it seems that detoxing off my psych meds has played a role in triggering a fribromyalgia/CFS crisis. i’ve gone nearly three years with out pain. the fatigue is almost a daily struggle but i had been having many good days and days that i could work my way through and have a good quality of life. shortly before i started going off my meds i was really noticing that i was having more problems with memory, concentration and managing my moods. that was what really prompted me to want to try at least a drug holiday, if not come completely off all my meds. i was very concerned that the Lamictal, Neurontin, Wellbutrin and Klonopin were to blame for my rather flat affect.

     i’m wondering if i wasn’t slipping into a crisis inspite of my meds or if the detoxing brought it on. when i initially started tapering off my meds i was having more difficulty with my mental functioning and i just chalked it up to withdrawal symptoms. but about two-three weeks into the process i began having pain in my left hand (similar to arthritis with heat and swelling). a couple more weeks and the pain i’d had in my neck for over six years but had lost after going through my six month course of Cipro (for osteomylitis) a few years back, returned. pretty soon the aches and pain and horrible fatigue and mind fog were full on!

     this is horribly depressing as i thought the chronic pain had left since i’d gone nearly three years with out experiencing any of it! it was my gastro. doc that told me the fibromyalgia was back after i went to him with severe digestive problems.

       well i was prescribed lyrica and a couple of days it seemed to take the edge off the pain and my mood lifted a bit but the last couple of days have been horrible again! i think the most distressing affect i’m dealing with is the mind fog! simple tasks and decisions are nearly impossible.  i get lost taking a shower for god’s sake.  so, i avoid doing anything. driving’s not safe.

   this is such a horrible time for this to happen because just prior to all of this i had really committed to getting back into my old career as a designer and was excited about that. i’ve been passing through my life in a low depression for the last couple of years and thought it was because i wasn’t following my heart. i was simply doing what i thought were the “right” things to do. i felt that if i lived a life that was true to “me” then maybe i’d have some more passion and thunder.

       well i’m just in a big knot now. it’s hard to find a doctor to deal with the fibromyalgia and believe in managing my pain. since i am a recovering alcoholic who’s tripped up once after being left on pain meds for a long period of time a few years back. that fact alone….docs seem to believe that we recovering people should suffer pain just because we’re at risk!  i have a fairly good track record with my recovery and am very honest about what i need and don’t need. if i ask for pain management then i really need it! i’m too familiar with all of the risks besides addiction with long term use of products like vicodone. but at this time, for as long as i’ve been sick with fibromyalgia/CFS and as much life as i’m missing out on, the benefits outweigh the risks in my eyes. if they can just stop the pain-spasm cycle sometimes that enough and it only recquires about 3-7 days of vicodone and a muscle relaxant to put me back on track and regulate my sleep again too.

     well i’m fussing today but i’m just the sick and tired of being sick and tired….again! i’m just angry, grumpy and bitchy right now…but who wouldn’t be. i try to laugh and have some good conversations becuase that lifts my spirits. i try not to put my bad attitude on others because that never helps anything…but i’m tired of having to “try” to be happy.

       for the most part i am a happy and positive person, but this time around is really trying me and i have to say that there are desparate hours when i wonder if suicide wouldn’t be the most humane thing…i mean these problems can just seem so insurmountable and when it’s not your first time going through it it’s still hard to imagine a light at the end of the tunnel even if there has been one there before.

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