I missed the national suicide prevention week, which ended on September 15, but this whole month is suicide prevention month I think. I feel like I needed to say something on this topic given that I have lost a few friends to suicide, and given my own history of suicide attempts. I am grateful for all of the efforts of support for suicide prevention and awareness from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention walks and events and all other local efforts in between. To be honest, though, I don’t have any kind of big statement to make on the subject. I don’t think I will ever be finished dealing with being in a place where being dead felt like a better option than being alive. I still don’t feel like I’m ever going to feel safe from finding myself back in that place again.
I believe it is important to raise awareness of how sadly frequent suicide and near-suicide is among people who can outwardly appear normal and functional. People often cannot let on that they are struggling so deeply because they’ve been trained not to. We get rewarded for pushing through, denying our feelings, pushing our own self care to the back burner. So it’s important to spread an understanding that people can appear happy but also be struggling.
Then some of us don’t appear happy when we’re struggling. We cry a lot, sleep a lot, eat a lot, withdraw from things that make us happy, stop talking to the people who love us, and find ourselves trapped in a prison where the black depression is all we can see and feel. We believe it’s the only thing we will feel if we stay alive, so our only productive option is…
I’m about a third of the way into TMS treatment and I am in the “gets worse” part of the “it gets worse before it gets better” warning. I am in a severe depression downswing, and I’m afraid to believe that these treatments will make me feel better in case they don’t. So far it feels like I’ve gotten worse, and even though I was fully warned that this may happen, it doesn’t help me feel any better. It feels like I’ve found myself here close to the bottom again after I’ve tried meds, exercise, vitamins, more meds, therapy, diet changes, self care including the ubiquitous mani pedis and bubble baths that everyone seems so quick to prescribe, and now TMS treatment. So why am I still trying things?
I am not suicidal, I am just in a bad place mentally and emotionally. Still, this is why we need more awareness of how serious mental illness can be so that one day people can feel safe getting help before we reach rock bottom. I’m not at rock bottom, but I think if I wasn’t getting the psychiatric professional help that I have now I’d be a lot closer.