Over the rest of the week, I’m going to talk about both my own state and the fallout of me talking candidly about my suicidal feelings.
First, let me say that there’s one big “positive”: my weight has plummeted. The graph very clearly starts dropping with the initial stimulus of my depression, and the two peaks are when I thought (wrongly) that things were going better.
It’s a “positive” in that I’m still simply nauseated by the whole thought of things most of the time. I force myself to eat – and since I now only manage that once a day, it means I eat high-calorie-density items (because I’m not entirely stupid). But hey, unlike most people, I lost weight over the holidays.
Yeah, not worth it.
By and large, the way that I have dealt with (and continue to deal with) my suicidal thoughts and feelings have been to approach it the way that you successfully approach any other chronic medical condition. You recognize its impact on your life, try to minimize high-risk situations, and make sure you have backup plans if something falls through.
For example, I’ve been making sure that I’m getting out every day, and definitely on weekends. I took a weekend trip to visit old friends I hadn’t seen in a decade or more. I make sure that I have plenty of things to do at home so that I stay busy.
And when I know that there’s something that is going to be high-risk, I make sure I’m in a safe place. The last story I sold has, as its emotional core, the situation I am currently going through. I know that I’m going to have to eventually read it aloud, so I did so – but after making sure I was with a good friend who understood that I might not make it through, and would be there for support if needed.
But the biggest help has really been making sure that I have obligations and things to do. For example, I’m investing a lot of energy into helping with a family whose house burnt down. I’ve helped a co-worker with her resume, and actually helped other people with their own relationship advice.
Helping people is something that actively gives me a reason to go on. And so I keep doing it in ways that work for me.
The key, when you find yourself in this kind of situation, is to change your focus to the short term, and focus on what works for you. I first focused on things that I would feel guilty if I left them undone. And that, along with knowing how devastating it would be for my son if I killed myself just before (or while) he was here (much like this Moth story) got me from day to day.
When you’ve found yourself with an imaginary number of spoons, what have you found to be good coping mechanisms?
And if you haven’t already, see if you can contribute anything to
help a Navy Vet and his family who recently lost everything in a fire: