Written by: Kelley McElreath, The Survivor Coach
Looking back on my life prior to my attempted suicide, I now see the spiral so clearly. I was so, so sad. I knew something was wrong with me but I really and truly thought it was just what happens to a person after finishing their treatment for cancer.
I mean, that is what all the doctor’s said would happen. While I do in fact believe chemotherapy is the reason I went into a severe depression, I know there were other factors as well. You can read the whole story here if you are interested. I know that a big part of the problem was that as my thoughts grew darker, I knew I couldn’t tell anyone about it. I just knew they wouldn’t know what to do for me.
I had been going to counseling each and every single week for two years and I sure as hell wasn’t going to tell him. He had completely sided with my ex-husband. Unfortunately, I have never had a good experience with a counselor or therapist. I used “thinking” about suicide as my way of coping. When life was caving in, I would find peace in those thoughts. I know it may sound crazy to a lot of you, but it will definitely not to those who have been there.
When I was finding myself thinking about it more and more, it started to consume me. As my marriage continued to crumble right before my eyes and the man I had been married to for so many years was now acting like a complete stranger, those thoughts turned into planning. The thoughts no longer worked to cope. I had to have more. Keep in mind that I did not realize any of this until AFTER working with psychiatrists. I didn’t even realize that I was forming a plan. I had no idea that in my brain, in my thought patterns, I was creating my plan. I believe it was at this point that it was no longer “If” I committed suicide, but when.
Looking back, at this turning point, I do not think anyone could have helped me. I know my thinking was irrational. I was not well but honestly, I didn’t know it. Oh, I knew I was a complete wreck but that was because of all the other shit that had went down in my life on top of this, or so I thought.
As I started talking to people who are currently in the situation I was back then, trying to help them, it breaks my heart at what I have discovered. I have discovered that there is more help and readily available help for the people who have lost a loved one to suicide rather than for the suicidal person. I mean seriously, could you even begin to imagine if all money raised for cancer was used to help people who have lost someone to cancer but they never tried trying to find a cure for cancer?
So, while on this journey, I found many things that worked for me. I created my own tools to keep me alive and to where I have very few of “those” days. I started thinking about what would be some things I could say to someone who was having those awful, terrible, dark thoughts. Then I started thinking about what people do to take their lives. I remembered after getting out of the hospital and things were even worse than before, that I would be driving down the highway alone and I would think how much I wished I could just stop my car and jump off a bridge.
As I remember back to those times, I asked myself, at that moment “what” exactly was the bridge? If I could put a name on it or an event or some sort of label, what would I call it? I knew exactly what the answer was. For this particular time, it was my ex-husband, my depression, hospital bills, still being suicidal, being so engulfed and trapped in this hell I was living. Instead of overwhelming me, it helped me. I realized all the true reasons I was upset. Had I not discovered this, I would have imagined it much worse than it really was. I started to imagine what is the worst thing that could happen in each of those things I listed and then I told myself that very rarely does the absolute worst ever really happen. Then, it was like I was free for that particular episode.
So that is my advice to you. Are you thinking about overdosing? Do you have a gun you aren’t afraid to use? Do you too sometimes feel like jumping off a bridge? Ask yourself, “I am here and over there is the other side. What is between me and the other side?” Put a name on it, a label, an event or events. Talk about it out loud to yourself. Hearing yourself say these thoughts helps bring clarity to what is really going on. Besides, they say that people who talk to themselves are actually geniuses.
If you still aren’t feeling like you’ve moved past this episode, write about those things. OR, reach out to someone who will listen and not have you committed OR…CONTACT ME!!Love you all, right where you are at.
Kelley, The Survivor Coach