A month ago, I posted about Self-Care and Suicide Prevention after the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. So what has gone on in the past month? Well, the conversation around suicide prevention has gotten stronger. The tragic events spurred activity like the CNN Town Hall which was a most welcome sight to behold, getting national attention like this subject so desperately deserves. So what now? Now, we keep the conversation going. I want to keep up the theme of self-care, since it is so critical to our own well-being, emotionally and physically. I wanted to dedicate 30 days to self-care and report back on my result. There are a handful of things I have tried to do over the past month to help regulate my state. Please leave comments below on how you practice self-care. I’d love to compare notes!
Note, this article contains discussion of suicide. If this may be triggering for you, please consider not reading.
If you or someone you know is in need of help, please call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
You may have noticed that we have taken a bit of a hiatus from posting articles on Challenge the Storm. If you want to know why, the reason is quite simple: I have been taking time to focus on myself. See, I have been working through some events of my past in therapy, and it has been very difficult. See, feelings and emotions which I had suppressed for 30 years began bubbling to the surface about three years ago. This, in addition to a number of ill-timed events, aided in the manifestation of dark thoughts, destructive actions, and an utter disregard for my own health, both physical and mental. It was not only challenging on me, but on those who loved me, as well.
The moth is drawn to the flame. A short life lived, though moths are always searching for the light. I find myself thinking about the way a moth lives and wonder if the metaphor is something to strive for.
Like the moth, in the grand scheme of time, we live short lives. And just as the moth spends a short time on Earth searching for and following the light, we as human beings should spend our gift of time on the planet searching for the light, or rather, the positive.
Negativity Turned Positive
Picture a younger version of yourself on one end of a seesaw. Now pretend there is a baby elephant on the other side. Let’s assume you are about the same size (you guessed it, the seesaw represents your state of mental health). The seesaw can go back and forth because you are relatively balanced. As you grew, so did the elephant, and things were pretty equal for some time, for 25 years to be exact. And then WHAM! The elephant hits a growth spurt and overnight, you’re stuck at the top of the seesaw with this giant elephant weighing the other side down, totally out of balance.
“It was good talking to you. I look forward to the meeting” his text said after my phone call with a potential support group participant. “This is really happening,” I said to myself. I was so grateful to [Nick] who had referred him. We just had our first evening support group the Thursday prior. After wrestling with my own mental illness, I am finally at a place in my life where I am able to constructively help other people. These days I often say to myself, “It’s a beginning.”
A lot of people with mental illness are looking for a safe place and having trouble finding it. This is a series about building a safe place from the ground up.
My sister’s wedding was soon approaching, and I was the maid of honor. I helped her plan and celebrate with a bachelorette party that I did not attend because I was in the hospital for a psychotic break. I hosted her bridal shower, but it was a struggle with my continued mental health treatment, and so our mother helped me out. As the month of the wedding came, I noticed my depression associated with my schizoaffective disorder had been progressively worsening. The happiest time of my family’s life became overshadowed by a suicide attempt. And the most unhappy moment for me was waking up in the ICU at the hospital, realizing I was missing my sister’s wedding. Suicidal thoughts are frightening, and my depression mixed with abuse of alcohol led me to act on them. I am choosing to take this failed suicide attempt as a blessing for my life to be fully lived. Not just for my family and loved ones, but for me.