Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Suicidal Ideation


Last night my boyfriend looked at me and said, "don't go to the hospital. You are not that depressed". A few days back I told him I was thinking of having ECT done again. He was adamant that I not do this.

If I try to express how depressed I am he has a tendency to say, "You are okay", "You aren't depressed", "Your not that depressed". I have tried to explain what it feels like to be inside my head. It never seems to register with him. Either he does not understand how desperate I feel, or he does not want to understand.

I know some of it might be that I try hard to be as okay as possible around him. Two reason drive this: my fear he will leave me if he knows how messed up I am, and my respect and support for his own difficulties with mental illness.

He has attempted suicide before, years ago, and I see the external and internal scars from his internal pain, his sadness, the scars on his arms from cutting. This, and my knowledge that his father committed suicide, stop me from openly and honestly expressing how I feel. I also know he was hospitalized against his will; so I recognize his distrust of the system. I do not want to add to his stress in these areas.

Our relationship feels strong and intensely beautiful in so many ways, but it is new for both of us. I do not want to risk losing him by exposing myself as fully as I need to for him to see how desperate and depressed I feel, for him to understand what I am fighting against, for him to know I need to get better than I am to survive my illness.

He kept saying over and over last night..."you are okay", "You are not that depressed", "We are all depressed", "Just get more exercise", "Push yourself, you just need to force yourself to exercise and it will be better". I found myself sobbing silently beside him, looking the other way, feeling completely misunderstood; my symptoms and their power over me dismissed outright.

Last night, as I sat beside him, I could not say "I am so depressed I want to hang myself". I did not express how my wanting to hang myself is a desire gaining so much power I am afraid I will succumb to it. I did not say these things because his father hanged himself to death, and he attempted suicide in this manner. I was afraid the information would be too much for him to deal with.

I want him to think I am strong and powerful. I want him to feel attracted to me, not repulsed by me...so I cover my true feelings up, and then cry and feel isolated when he does not understand me.

In my life talking about wanting to commit suicide is so taboo that I feel intensely alone in my thoughts. This divide, this avoidance of the awful suicidal ideation I deal with on a regular basis, creates a cavern between myself and the people I love. It makes me feel intensely alone in my struggle to survive my depression. It makes me pull away and isolate myself from those I love.

Today my mood is crashing again, after lifting for a few days. In part I think the fall is a reaction to feeling misunderstood and isolated from my boyfriend and family. When I crashed a few weeks ago, and as I was crashing last night, I tried to reach out or support. Both times I hit a brick wall with my family.

I rarely mention my suicidal urges to my sisters, or my boyfriend. If I do try to be open out of fear and desperation for myself , I sometimes try to explain how depressed I am; "so depressed I don't want to be here" might be what I say to my sisters. Instantaneously they brush my feelings off with an, "Oh, don't say that. How do you think we would feel if you did that?" I know it would hurt them if I commited suicide, but what about me? I hurt all the time.

My sisters do not want to hear how sad I am, and my Dad, he has never once ever asked me if I am okay...not once. He has phoned me to say my stepsister was depressed and needed help. He has told me how crazy he thought my going in for ECT was...4 years after the fact. He has never asked if I was okay, or if I needed help, or if I was having any success with my treatment. He has certainly never asked me if I was at risk of committing suicide. I am.

When my Mom wasalive she was a nurse. She used to talk openly with me about suicide. She would even ask me if I was having suicidal thoughts or urges. With her I would always leave the phone call feeling heard and relieved that someone knew, someone wanted to know. Someone loved me enough to ask and actually listen to my answer. Why is it so important to me that others understand how depressed I am, and how hard it is to be this depressed? I have no idea why.

I wish my family (and my boyfriend) understood how desperate I feel; how much I need and want them to understand me. I want so badly to be able to tell them my truth, for them to talk openly with me even if it is difficult to do, and for them to acknowledge that I am ill. I want them to say this is not my fault. I want them to say, "I AM trying hard enough". I don't want them to feel hurt by me and my awful thoughts, but I need help with them or I am not going to survive.

Whatever...I don't know why I need so desperately to be understood; maybe because I don't understand either. Last night my boyfriend kept saying, "you need to address what is making you depressed. Nothing will get better if you don't change those things".

At that point I began sobbing so hard I had to leave the room. I have been in therapy for years a fact that screams to others and to myself, "things" are causing my depression, and I need to change those things." Despite a sense that there must be things that are making me depressed...I honestly feel like all the things I want to change, would fall into place if I was not depressed.

I would get a job, clean my house, do more things, isolate less, stop obsessing about suicide, dance, play music, ski, eat well, sleep less etc...if only I weren't so severely depressed.

No one wants to acknowledge this raging rhinoceros, named "Suicide", rocketing towards me and racing after me every where I go. So I write here, because at least I can say how I feel.

8 comments:

The girl with the flour in her hair said...

I'm so glad that you write here and that you have this outlet. There are people out here who do understand what you are going through, who do understand how hard it is and that there isn't any one "thing" that makes depression. I hit the same wall with my husband who just doesn't understand it. Is it possible for your boyfriend to attend a therapy session with you? Would that help anything? Or make it worse?

I wish I had those magic words to help you...I don't actually know you, but I feel like I know you, if that makes sense. Here's to getting through another day...

Harriet said...

Oh Aqua, I feel your pain. I understand that you want to take care of everyone else, because that is what we do. But you need to take of yourself.

I also don't understand when people say they would be hurt if their loved one commits suicide, or self-injures, or any other self destructive behavior. If my mom, or sister, committed suicide the last thing I would feel is hurt. I would be deeply affected of course, but I would never think they committed such an act against me. How selfish to have that attitude! I really am confused that anyone could think that way.

I admire your ability to reach out to others in order for them to understand you and help you and support you. It makes me sad that you are not getting what you need from your loved ones. It sounds very frustrating, and aggravating, and it minimizes your feelings and your entire being.

I never, never, never tell anyone how I feel. Ever. I know I would get the same reaction as you are getting, and I don't want to put myself out there and get minimized. I put on a great show for the world - I am competent, and confident, and happy. That's what everyone thinks.

I know that if I end my life, not one person would say that there was a warning signal. Everyone would think that my act came as a total surprise. Everyone, even my closest loved ones and friends.

I don't know, is it better for those around you to have those warning signs, or for them to wonder why you would do such a thing?

I'm just rambling now, I'm sorry. But as you know I think about suicide every day, and I refine my plan all the time. I just don't think I'll ever have the courage that you have to ask for help.

Polar Bear said...

Aqua
i know it can be very hard when people you love around you don't seem to get how badly you feel. I also know what it's like to TRY to be Ok in front of other people.

I don't know what to say, or how to advise you. But do hang in there. Feel free to write here in your blog. There are people who get how depressed you can feel. I've been there, and won't be surprised if I find myself back there every now and then.

platensimycin said...

Hello again!

After read your post i applaud you for your courage to share your thoughts with us even (and especially) during such darkest hours.

If it's of any consolation, i/we would like to know that you are not alone, even though at time it might seen like it. Depression (based on my own experience) is like a perpetual fog that gets better and worse at times. Please keep writing/blogging your thoughts down and sharing with us; such companionship, combined with your own intuition, will gradually lead you out of the dense fog.

Please keep writing, keep fighting & keep trying. We look forward to reading your next post :)

Eliza Jane said...

Aqua,

If you think that you need to go to the hospital, maybe you DO need to go to the hospital. It seems to me that you do not usually think about seeking care at the hospital. If you are thinking about this right now, maybe it is a sign that this is something that you really need right now in order to protect yourself. It is a lot of work to do battle with those thoughts 24 hours a day. Maybe you would feel betetr if you were in a place where you did not have to be completely responsible for keeping yourself safe...?

You have said before that hospitalization was really helpful for you. I know that people have different experiences with this, but maybe for you this is the kind of safe place that you need right now.

I think that Dr. X. is away this week, so I don't think that you will be seeing him tomorrow. Are you able to call his office to see if you can book an appointment with someone else? I don't know if that would be helpful, but maybe it would help you to figure out if you need an admission right now. I If you are feeling like this it just seems like a very long time between appointments...

It just sounds like you really need some relief right
now. You said in an earlier post that you wished that there was some kind of immediate relief for this kind of mental pain....but maybe a hospitalization would provide that kind of relief, or at least SOME relief.

I wish that there were people in your life who would listen to you and give you support right now.

I am really hoping that this low is temporary for you. I know that you say that your mood swings....and it has been shifting a lot lately. I really hope that you feel some relief soon. (Even though I know that it is very very very stressful for your mood to be cycling so much).

Please take care of yourself--I wish that someone was able to take good care of you right now.

findingmecrazy said...

It's really hard feeling like no-one understands, feeling misunderstood constantly and as if no-one is really listening to what you're saying, because they don't want to hear it. I think no-one really wants to listen because they don't want to have to admit to themselves how unhappy someone can be, that someone they love wants to die.

The only place I have to say how I really feel is my blog and even then, it's hard. I admire how you write, the way you openly express how you feel, I suppose at least you have your blog to express your feelings and other bloggers to listen, maybe sometime in the future your boyfriend will let you talk. Have you ever told him how this makes you feel?

Please take care, hope things somehow get better.

findingmecrazy said...

It's really hard feeling like no-one understands, feeling misunderstood constantly and as if no-one is really listening to what you're saying, because they don't want to hear it. I think no-one really wants to listen because they don't want to have to admit to themselves how unhappy someone can be, that someone they love wants to die.

The only place I have to say how I really feel is my blog and even then, it's hard. I admire how you write, the way you openly express how you feel, I suppose at least you have your blog to express your feelings and other bloggers to listen, maybe sometime in the future your boyfriend will let you talk. Have you ever told him how this makes you feel?

Please take care, hope things somehow get better.

Drew said...

Hey Aqua,
I am praying for you. I want u to feel comfortable in your mind, body, and spirit. And more importantly, happy.
I have felt what u are feeling and I know it hurts. The pain is real and immovable.
Again Aqua, I offer my prayers and an empathetic ear.
Love Drew