I am a suicide attempt survivor. Two attempts. One last year in August in fact.
The first attempt I didn’t ask for help. I thought with chronic pain suicidal ideation was normal. When it got worse and more intense. And the depression worse and more intense I just kept it to myself due to the stigma of depression and suicidal ideation. Since I joke, smile and laugh off my pain all the time and am stoic the rest there was no tell I was even depressed. No way anyone would know until that night. Then everyone knew. And that was a good thing because I wouldn’t have told them. I am more the suffer in silence sort of person.
The second time I had been seeing a psychologist. Had recently switched to a new one in fact. He told me I should call 911 if I was suicidal. Or I should wake up my spouse and talk to him… because clearly, my life is more important than his sleep, right? He would say something like that and I would say but he has to work the next day and I don’t want to bother him and I want to deal with the thoughts myself. He also pointed out how my spouse would feel finding me dead… that hit home. So at that moment, I decided the third attempt would be outside of the home. I literally thought that right then. And planned it after. I wasn’t on medication yet at the time.
Anyway, with my second attempt, I did try talking online not that I made much sense at that point. But a friend heard me and tried to get a hold of me and did eventually. She talked to me, I do not, in fact, remember this due to retrograde amnesia from all the pills I took. But she did. And she told me to call 911. Which reminded me of what the psychologist told me. And I must have realized this was important because I did. I remember doing it. I remember the cops showing up and thinking that was weird. And saying I was pretty fine and didn’t need to go to the hospital. I hadn’t at that point done anything that would have actually killed me yet, in my mind, so I didn’t see why I needed to do anything. But of course, I obviously had started the process with the pills and then sloppily sawed at my wrists so the intent was there. I did need to be observed for the night. Nevertheless, this story shows that someone helped me in my time of need. That I did call 911. And I was taken to the hospital for observation.
It demonstrates I cannot trust myself in that state of mind. That second attempt was extremely spontaneous. After a first attempt, the chances of another are about 15% in the first year. About 1% will kill themselves in the first year and 3% in the five years following the attempt. I was at the five-year point for my second attempt. I think once you cross that mental line it is easier to do and that is why it was far more spontaneous, which makes it very dangerous.
My depression is associated with my chronic pain. The two go hand in hand. If I were not in pain, I would not be depressed. Or so I am told. I wonder about that at times. Either way, pain is its own risk factor for suicide. Depression another. My depression was only treated recently. Because it was a depression associated with chronic pain it was never seen as needing treatment of its own, but rather the pain needed treatment. Up until the second attempt. I cannot take anti-depressants because they actually worsen my depression and make me suicidal. So I was instead put on Abilify and was astonished at the difference it makes in me mood wise and certainly in the lack of suicidal ideation. So effective treatment, I can’t express how important that is. Both in managing the pain and managing the depression. I still get deeper depressive states when in a lot of pain, just not as deep. Or intense or consuming. I still do indeed get suicidal ideation, just not as often or Intent.
I am prepared for it though. I have a call a friend policy now. Because I don’t trust my brain at that particular time.
Here are some posts I have made on the subject: