Tag Archives: suicidal thoughts

Spike in Crisis Line Phone Calls after Robin Williams Death

Since the death of Robin Williams, there has been a spike in calls to crisis lines around the US and Australia.  I am not sure about other parts of the world, as I simply saw articles pertaining to these two countries, however I am sure they probably went up as well.

Calls, chats, messages, and clicks on their websites to Lifeline in America, Lifeline in Australia, Beyond Blue in Australia,  the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) information line and Facebook page, and local crisis centers all around the US.

Many people were reaching out, seeking help for their depression, suicidal thoughts, and some were simply wondering how people can be depressed – how can someone look happy and yet feel so much pain and kill themselves.  Perhaps with that last question, people will begin to understand depression more and even see or help someone else around them who might present happy but really be very depressed.

While they do not really know how many people were reaching out for help due to their depression and suicidal thoughts prior to Robin Williams death versus those who were affected by his death and began to feel suicidal after in response to his death (example, when you have someone close to you die, you begin to feel like you want to die) — they are glad that more people know about the crisis lines and support systems and are using them.

While I do think Robin Williams death brought a great deal of attention to suicide and mental health, I also think it is going to die down soon as it usually does even though people seem to care very much about it after such a loss.  However, hopefully after all those posts of the suicide hotline numbers – this will not die down and people will remember these resources – and use them – and reach out for help when they need to.

Here are a few articles discussing the increases in spikes in crisis center calls — and there are quite a few more if you search on the internet.

Australian News Article Discussing the increase in spikes in crisis calls

American Aljazeera Article Discussing the increase in spikes in crisis line calls

Houston, TX News Article Discussing local crisis center call increase

Augusta, Maine Article – Discussing local crisis center call increase

Sam Kirkegaard – Sam Supports Mental Illness

These are some videos by Sam Kirkegaard.  He makes random videos on youtube, but he has a few called Sam Supports Mental Illness.  They are silly little videos that bring awareness to mental illness.  This is Day 5, which talks about 5 myths about mental illness.  I can’t share all the videos on here – so you should go to his youtube channel and check them out! His first one talks about his story though, which is about OCD and his intense anxiety, his 2nd one talks about why he is doing it and that he is raising money for Active Minds.  There are 31 days worth of them.  I haven’t watched them all, but I will check them out and see how they are, I am sure there is some good and interesting stuff on there.

 

Good Days and Bad Days, This Blog Has Helped and Will Help Me

I used to write all the time.  I had a journal on blogger and I wrote and wrote and wrote.  I wrote about my depression, my frustrations, how much I hated life.  I would write suicide notes and good bye letters.  I wrote about how I thought suicide was ok and how those who loved me should be happy I was gone because I wasn’t in pain anymore.  I had a physical, tangible journal too that my therapist gave me, and I wrote in that periodically as well – I would scribble down any thought that came to my head, over and over again, rambling on about everything – but it was always the bad stuff.  I never counteracted any of the negative thoughts with good things.  I never put any positive self talk in there or reminded myself about what was going on that was good.

I couldn’t see anything good around me – at all.  There was good stuff though.  My siblings cared a lot about me.  I live no where near them, we are all in different states.  We don’t even talk very much, but when we do, I can cry and let all my emotions out and they listen and understand.  Each day, I have food and an apartment to stay in.  Sure, I struggle to pay the bills and have food to eat — but I have it.  There was a time in my life, that I basically was kicked out of my apartment and had to move back home or be homeless, and I attempted suicide because of it.  I did not want to live with my mom.  Now, I have those things.  I have to think about that.  I have a mental health team, I am able to have my medicine.  I hate taking medicine, but it makes me stable.  There were times I couldn’t pay for my medicine – now I can and it is works fairly well.  I have struggled incredibly hard to find a good therapist and psychiatrist, but I have those now.  I have a team that wants me to get better.  There are good things in my life.  I may think that life is horrible and miserable, but not everything is working against me like it may seem.

I started this blog because I was so focused on the negatives in my other blog.  WordPress is a really active community and I wanted to be able to be involved with interacting with others.  I wanted to discuss mental health issues.  I wanted to be involved with reading about other interests of mine.  I wanted to focus on positives.

I still have horrible days.  Just two weeks ago (or something like that), I broke down.  I called the crisis line and then a day later called my dad and about went to the psych hospital.  I thought I was going to kill myself.  Life isn’t perfect for me.  My days can still get really shitty.  I still get super depressed.  But, I want to help people.  And writing on here has helped me feel better.  And talking with others on here has helped me feel better.  Connecting with others that are going through the same thing, knowing I am not alone.

I’m going to eventually have the posts where I am hating life again, but I am hoping that those are few and far between.  I’m sure starting grad school is going to make them happen a lot more frequently – bringing back memories related to my sexual abuse and rape.  My PTSD is going to be stirred up even more than it has been lately with therapy.   I hope to use this as a way to vent still, and get my frustration out, but in a more positive way than I was on my other online blog – which was quite negative as I was simply writing out my plans for death.  Here I can just write out my thoughts and even ask for advice.

I really think that writing on here and connecting with others on here and seeing this as a support has really helped though.  I hope that it continues to do that.

Contemplating Suicide? Don’t. Scream for help instead.

Excellent post about suicide, why it is horrible trying to commit suicide, and resources if you need to reach out for help (specifically in the UK)

Pets Can Benefit Your Mental Health, I know Mine Did!

I love my dog soooo much!! Hannah, I adopted her from another college student who was moving away.  A border collie mix black lab – a borador!.  Forty-five pounds, not too big, and not too small.

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She basically saved my life when I was living in Indiana.  She would cuddle up with me when I was sad, and she knew when I was sad.  I didn’t have to call her over, she could just see me sitting on my couch, or curled up on the futon, and she could come wag her tail in my face, or slowly climb her two front paws up next to me, or simply jump up next to me – pushing her whole weight against mine.  If I was crying, she was immediately there, no time wasted. 

I did attempt suicide, a lot.  I also didn’t attempt suicide a lot – because of her.  I didn’t want to leave her.  I didn’t trust anyone to take her.  I didn’t want the police to come hall her off to the pound. Every time I met with my case manager I begged her, if something happens to me, you have to promise me that you will make my mom take her home (my mom lived in another state).  My case manager refused to promise, cause of course she didn’t want me to kill myself. 

She kept me active.  We went to the parks in the area.  We played in the snow.  I had to get up, I had to take her out.  She gave me a reason to be alive. I slept all day for the most part for a long time.  There were some days I felt really bad that she lived with me.  She didn’t get to do much but lie on the couch with me.  I really think she understood though.  She was a breed of dog that needed lots of exercise, but she was also a breed of dog that was smart – and I think she knew how bad I felt. 

I don’t have Hannah anymore.  She is living with my mom.  When I was in the state hospital, I obviously couldn’t bring her with me, so my mom did take her.  And she is happy there, she has a big yard and another black lab to play with.  So I let her stay while I moved to Florida.  I get to visit her though when I visit Texas.  She remembers me of course, and whines and cries when she sees me.  I cry a bit when I see her too cause I miss her so much.  I wish I had her here sometimes because she helped me so much with my mental health, and one day I think I will get another dog, but I feel like if I get another one right now, I would be “cheating” on Hannah 😉

Animals can help our mental health so much.  In fact according to WebMD, they can help in the following ways:

  • They can provide unconditional love.  No matter how much we might get upset at them, they always love us.  Many times, when we have mental illness, our relationships with others can be complicated.  With animals though, our relationships are simple.  You can talk to them, you can love them, you don’t have to worry about hurting their feelings, you can just tell them how you feel and it is ok to feel the way you feel.
  • Having a pet gives you some responsibility.  Having some responsibility in your life makes you feel like you have value. You are helping to care for someone/something else.
  • You are being active!  When you are depressed, doing anything is a chore and you are rarely motivated to do anything.  Having a pet can really add to that motivation.  You have to take them out and play with them.  They keep you active and it is fun.
  • You get a routine, which is essential to one’s mental health.  You have to get up to feed your pet, take your out to the bathroom, play with it, or whatever daily tasks it might need.
  • You have a companion.  You aren’t alone.  You have someone else to talk to.  So what if it is a dog or a cat?  Or a hamster or guinea pig?  They listen.  You are never alone!
  • Some research even shows that having a pet (dogs specifically) lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, and increased the level of the feel-good hormones in the brain.

 

 

Daily Post – I Wanted To Feel Human, I wanted to Feel Alive. I Thought Suicide Could Do This

Word Press Post A Day – After an especially long and exhausting drive or flight, a grueling week at work, or a mind-numbing exam period — what’s the one thing you do to feel human again?

 

Feeling alive again, feeling human again.  How I long for those sometimes.  It is so easy for me to just feel numb and dead.  My depression can take over.  It can consume me.  Lifting a piece of paper, can feel like I just moved a boulder. 

Three years ago, I wouldn’t have done anything to feel alive.  After a grueling week, an exhausting week, a horrible exam, or anything that just overwhelmed me — I would have attempted suicide.  If I was alive, then I could die.  Bizarre thought process right?  That is how it was for me though.  Mental illness was lying to me, it was messing up my thoughts, my emotions, and really destroying my life.  Over and over again I attempted suicide, landed in the ER, the ICU, and in psych hospitals

Today, I don’t do that anymore.  I still have the suicidal thoughts, yes.  I reach out for help before anything happens though.  I also use my coping skills.  To feel alive, I paint, I juggle, I draw, I write, I spend time in nature, I do anything and everything to keep me from ruminating on whatever it was that made me have an exhausting or overwhelming situation.  I don’t do one thing to feel human again.  I can’t do one thing – for me, I have to do multiple things, I have to keep trying things and if one thing does work, I have to move on to another thing. If I don’t do that, then I might fall back into my old pattern – and I don’t want that.  If that happens, then I won’t even be able to be alive. 

Psych Hospitals – The Not So Scary Truth

Don’t take me!  I don’t want to go.  I’m not going!!!

Going to a psychiatric hospital can be incredibly scary.  There are a lot of horror stories about them.  And for the most part, in today’s society, the horror stories are not true.  I say “for the most part” because I know that for some people, they have had bad things happen to them.  But, in general, most facilities are safe places, where people can go and get the care they needed.  They are not strapped down for hours and hours, stabbed with needles, and/or drugged up and drooling on a couch.

As I have mentioned a few times on here before, I have a little bit of experience with psychiatric hospitalizations. 17 different hospitalizations to be exact – at 7 different facilities. 

  • 1 in Texas
  • 4 in Indiana
  • 2 in Florida

Out of all of these facilities, I would say I had bad experiences at 2 of them, and out of those 2, only one of those was a really horrible experience, and I would say I would absolutely never want to be admitted to that hospital again.  Despite that, I know people that have been admitted to that hospital, and have had completely different experiences than me – so I don’t know, perception of how I compared it to the other hospitals I went to maybe?

All of these hospitalizations ranged in time differences – from as short as 3 days to one as long as 6 months at a state hospital (that hospital was probably the best hospital I was ever at). 

The reason why I really am writing this, is because far to often people talk about their bad experiences at the psych hospital.  No one really talks about how much it might have helped them. This tends to scare people off from actually going and getting help when they need it.  They are scared they might lose their kids, or they will never get out, they will be restrained and tied to a bed, they will be treated bad. 

This isn’t true though.  I can’t promise every hospital is going to be amazing.  It isn’t a 5 star hotel, and some hospitals are newer and better than others.  But it is a safe place if you are in danger of hurting yourself or others.  It is a place for you to get help.  Unless there is abuse or neglect of your kids where they are in immediate danger, they wont take away your kids if you have someone to watch them while you are there – you will get them back (per every situation I have ever encountered with people that have had kids).  You might be there 1 day (unless you are under a 72 hour hold), or you might be there a month – but that is between you and the doctor and how you feel you are doing.  If you are not a danger to yourself or others though, they cannot keep you in there against your will. 

I know it might not seem like the hospitals helped me at all, considering I was in and out of them so much.  But they did!  They saved my life.  If it wasn’t for them, I would be dead.  I would go on and off my medication, I was non compliant.  I didn’t think I needed help.  I didn’t know how to accept the help.  Every time I went in I hated life and wanted to die – or had actually attempted suicide.  They would bring me back to reality, get me back on my meds.  Get me into the group therapy there, the techs would talk to me, the psychiatrist would talk to me.  I relearned how to use my coping skills.  I got stabilized.  For the time being anyway.  For me, it took more than an acute care hospital – it took the state hospital.  For most, it doesn’t take that though.  But for me, that state hospital literally saved me from destruction. 

I spent 6 months there and I was scared to go.  When they told me I was being committed I was scared.  Yet, I didn’t even think much of it at the same time.  I was so over hospitals and assumed I would kill myself no matter what it didn’t phase me.  In the end, after 6 months, I was a new person.  Yes, I still struggle, but I think about how much time and effort everyone put into teaching me how to live again, not just survive in life but actually live.  The psychiatrist, nurse, medical doctors, therapists, psychologists, techs, recreational therapists – it was amazing how much everyone cared. 

People at psych hospitals do care.  It is a not a gloomy place where patients are catatonic and drugged up, tied to chairs and beds.  Groups take place, patients make friends, support is given. I still have friends from some of my hospitalizations in the acute care hospitals and friends from the state hospital.  And we keep in touch more often than other friends because they understand me much better.

If you need help, reach out.  Take it.  It is there.  Don’t be scared.

I took a big step, I called a Crisis Line

Yesterday I broke down.  My anxiety consumed me.  I tried to use my copings skills – I went out, went to Michaels – bought some more canvas and paint to come home and paint. I couldn’t handle it though.  “Hurt yourself.” “Cut yourself” “Hit yourself” “Break a bone” My brain kept wanting to find a way out of this feeling of extreme dread and torture that was going on. 

The minute I got home I knew I couldn’t do what my brain was saying. I had done that before. I did that for two years and all it did was get me put in the hospital, in the ICU, the ER, and the psych hospital.  I couldn’t go back to that.  I cant go back to that.  I am trying to stay in recovery.  I am trying to get my life back and stay on track.

I called 211.  It connected me to the local crisis line.  It is easier than dialing the suicide hotline, all I have to remember is 211 rather than a bunch of numbers, plus the suicide crisis line would connect me to 211 anyway, since it just connects you to your local crisis line.  For those of you who don’t know what 211 is – it is a free and confidential informational and referral line available in most cities/counties in the United States.  They can connect you with resources to find help with food, housing, employment, health care, counseling and more – and in my area also provide the crisis/suicide line. 

Anyway, I spent 33 minutes talking to a wonderful volunteer.  Probably 15 minutes crying my eyes out.  Eventually we came up with a plan, had some laughs, and I am feeling better.  Thank goodness I got my mind set straight because I do not want to end up back in the hospital!

I was assured I could call back as many times as I needed, 24 hours a day, and they could help me. 

Today was a rough day, and I suspect it is going to be a rough week.  Honestly, I think it is going to be a rough few months.  I don’t think my meds are working right, or not well enough anyway – perhaps a dosage adjustment.  I don’t think my doctor is getting my anxiety under control at all – at least not quick enough.  I know that I can’t give up though.  I know not to go back to my old habit – which was just not thinking and just doing.  I know I cant be impulsive anymore.  Not that it is that easy, impulse is impulse, but I can still keep working on it.

 

If you are in a crisis reach out for help:

National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Lifeline Crisis Chat

IMAlive Crisis Chat

Veteran Crisis Online Chat

Call: 211

In the UK? Call the Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90

In Australia? Call Lifeline: 13 11 14  or chat with them

In New Zealand? Call Lifeline’s Warmline: 0508 927 654 or Suicide Crisis Line: 0508 828 865

Daily Post – Age, Not Just a Number, But an Achievement

Word Press Post A Day – “Age is just a number,” says the well-worn adage. But is it a number you care about, or one you tend (or try) to ignore?

 

I am not sure I pay attention to my age on a day to day basis, but with each birthday I have, I feel I have hit a milestone. I never expected to be this old. The fact that I have made it this far, I am quite impressed if I do say so myself.  I do not acknowledge my age everyday, I do not pay attention to age everyday, nor do I ruminate on my age or anyone else’s age.  But to me, living another year is a milestone.  It is an achievement.  I have defeated a battle that has been going on in my head.  The battle of suicidal thoughts and mental illness.  I have been conquering them thus far. 

When I look to others, I feel like I look at them the same way.  I do not look at it in a negative way, in the way that many people say, “ugh I am getting soooo old.” But I see strength.  We all have a story, and not everyone knows it.  We all have lived to overcome our struggles though, no matter how big or small they might have been.  So when I look at myself, and I look at others – that is what I see, as each year passes, I see someone who has conquered their battles, their struggles, and has lived another day, another week, another month, another year. My age, their age, it is not “just a number” but an achievement.

 

 

Dissociation and Staying in the Here and Now.

Dissociation.  It sucks.  It has been happening to me a lot I guess.

My anxiety medication was making things worse for me, so I was taken off of it.  But while I was on it, my dissociation was even worse than before.  But even off of it, I still dissociate. It is completely frustrating

So, some of you might not even know what dissociation is. 

Dissociation – It can be mild detachment from immediate surroundings to more severe detachment from physical and emotional experience.

It does not necessarily mean you have Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder).  Dissociation can simply mean you , somewhat zone out, detach yourself from what is around you, go off into your own world so you do not think what your mind wants you to think or feel. 

Dealing with my past history of abuse has been incredibly hard.  Thinking of that, the sexual abuse, the rape, everything – it has just made me incredibly anxious and depressed and quite honestly, the suicidal ideations have been running rampant in my head. 

Sometimes, I don’t even have to be thinking about any of it, and suddenly a memory will just pop into my brain and trigger me and I either have a flashback, a panic attack, or completely dissociate.  During therapy, the dissociation has happened more frequently.  It is really frustrating.  Sometimes I come out of it and just want to cry.  I feel horrible.  I don’t want to talk at all. 

It is really hard to deal with.  Staying in the here and now – I guess I just have to keep learning how to do that.  I guess I need to practice using my grounding techniques more frequently when my anxiety is high and the dissociation occurs.  As my therapist says, she is there to help me through it when it happens in her office, but when she is not around, I have to learn how to do it on my own.