Thoughts on suicide from someone who's been there

On Self-Harm & Suicide

CW: suicidal ideation, self harm.

depressionNearly 2 weeks ago I self-harmed for the first time in over a year (I think, I don’t remember the last time I did it) because of the stress of my cours de code (driving theory). I found myself crying uncontrollably, emotional pain tearing me apart and with no way to deal with it. I felt much better afterwards, as is usual for me, and I’ve been more upbeat since. But it got me to thinking about self-harm and suicide.

Specifically it got me wondering if that is the key symptom that means I’m still ill; the fact that, to me, it is logical and sensible to self harm in those situations and, if that fails, to begin planning suicide. I know from my parents’ reactions that it’s not a ‘normal’ way to deal with emotion, that it’s in fact an extreme way to deal with it, but to me it still seems totally reasonable.

I wonder if the other symptoms; the overwhelming emotions, the fear of abandonment, the unstable self image, the anxiety, etc, are just a side issue really and something that maybe is more a part of me than a mental illness, or maybe I’ve just lived with it so long that I can’t tell me and it apart anymore.

I wonder how one changes that way of thinking, I’ve had CBT and while it eased many of my symptoms it obviously hasn’t changed the way I think. I’m on medication that helps me greatly but it doesn’t act on my thought processes. While the medication in general keeps the unbearable emotions away sometimes they are so great that nothing can stop them and that is when those self-harming and suicidal thoughts appear.

It worries me because I feel it shows that I haven’t come as far as I know I have. I have fought so hard to be more stable and I’m on track to live a ‘normal’ life, in time, but these thoughts make me feel as though I’ll always be different. I know I’ll have to deal with my mental illness for the rest of my life but I was hoping that the automatic leap to self-harm and suicidal ideation when in emotional trouble would be gone.

Sorry for the ramble, I needed to get it off my chest. Thoughts, as always, very welcome.


Also published on Medium.

20 comments

  1. HelpfulMum

    I’m not convinced there is any such thing as ‘normal’ especially when it comes to mental health. If you have always automatically leapt to self-harm and suicidal thoughts then that is going to take a long time to change. It’s a habit and they truly are hard to break. You are always going to be your toughest critic, so don’t be so hard on yourself.

    1. Mrs TeePot

      Thank you, you’re right, I suppose it’s a case of ‘old habits die hard’ so to speak, hopefully in time things will get easier.

  2. Hayley

    Hey, I was so sad to read this post. I wish there was a magic wand but, as with any mental issue, it’s a long hard journey that sometimes takes you in circles instead of straight lines. I’m sure you have tried many things, but just in case it helps…. What about a physical challenge? There are many running events that you can sign up for and not only will it give you a target for training but you can raise sponsorship for a good cause too. And don’t think you’re not the type, I always hated PE and sports but still managed to train for a marathon and a half-marathon. A lot of people do them with a run/walk strategy. Obviously the side benefit is a healthier body but also a healthier mind. Just an idea…….

    1. Mrs TeePot

      I’m not sure a physical challenge is the way to go for me, I’m really struggling with exercise at the moment, rather than giving me a mental boost it just makes me cry so am working on slowly building up to longer exercise with short 10 minute work outs, at least I will be when I get this driving sorted!
      Thanks for the suggestion though, once I deal better with exercise I’ll certainly think about it again!

  3. Sara

    Oh honey my heart hurts for you .
    I haven’t self harmed for many years yet this year I have been the closest I have ever been. My head is so full and my anxiety well let’s not go there.

    You have come a long way and though this may seem like a step backwards look upon the fact that you haven’t got lost in all the emotions. You are aware and trying to face them. Love to you honey xxx

    1. Mrs TeePot

      Thank you sweety. I’m so sorry that you’re struggling at the moment too. I’m sure you can get through this tough time, we both can.

  4. Jaime Oliver

    awww honey, i am so sad to see you so sad and so down, you really are far too hard on yourself my lovely. I am sending the biggest hugs in the whole world x

    1. Mrs TeePot

      Thank you sweety, hugs are most definitely welcome!

  5. Vegemitevix

    Sorry to hear you’re feeling so horrible and I do understand your confusion about where the real you finishes and the illness begins. I’m not a doctor but I don’t think those feelings you describe are ‘typical’ (don’t like the word normal), at least the intensity of those feelings isn’t so. We all do feel versions of desperation but typically not so intense as to consider suicide or self-harm. Stress is such a terrible trigger for bad bouts and I think that sometimes the only thing for it is to hang on until the storm pasts. Remind yourself kindly that you will feel good again, it will pass, and you will still float. Vix x

    1. Mrs TeePot

      Thank you, both for understanding and for reminding me where the line between me and the illness is.
      Stress is definitely my biggest trigger, even the smallest things can cause me stress though which is obviously a problem in itself, but I definitely need to work on better ways to deal with it.
      Thank you again, I will keep hanging on.

  6. Very Bored in Catalunya

    I am so sorry you’re feeling so anxious and feel that this is the only way you can deal with it. I don’t have any practical advice unfortunately, but couldn’t read without posting a comment.

    Hope you’re feeling stronger now and that you fly through your driving theory.

    1. Mrs TeePot

      Thank you for commenting, it means a lot. I know I sometimes leave comments in the same way; wanting to let the writer know that they have been heard but unsure of what to say.
      I am feeling ok at the moment, and am very slowly improving at my theory!

  7. Steve

    Sending loving and supporting thoughts your way Livi.

    1. Mrs TeePot

      Thank you so much huni

  8. sandra

    my counselor would say that the thoughts are there but, they are old habit patterns that come up from time to time. just a habit and it takes a bit to break those. i find that the thoughts never leave me, they just become less and less. under times of most stress or when someone is upset with me, it comes out in full force. remember, it is a constant, consistence process and not a destination. i would say for myself that the state of my mental health is a self awareness and not that i’ve been cured but, i am calling myself healthy because of that awareness. talking about it with someone who is neutral and writing about it may help you understand “your why”.

    1. Mrs TeePot

      That is no doubt exactly what those thoughts are; bad habits.
      I am glad that you feel able to call yourself healthy, that gives me hope that I will be able to say that also one day.
      I certainly find writing here helps me to get stuff out but I will definitely think about writing, maybe in a journal, to try to discover my why.
      Thank you.

  9. Sheri

    I can so relate to what you’re going through. It’s so frustrating when one thinks “I’ve got it under control now,” but really it’s all just waiting for the right trigger. In over 30 years of diagnosed mental illness (and another 18 before that undx’d), there have been so many times when years have gone by without those thoughts or actions, then all of a sudden one little thing triggers a huge setback. I can’t remember do you have Borderline? My daughter does, and fights with it daily. I think it’s even more difficult to deal with than bipolar disorder. Have you tried DBT? Or did we already have this discussion, sorry it’s early in the morning for me, but I just couldn’t leave this any longer. I think it’s much more intense than CBT, but too much to remember for me (I’m sure now we’ve had this convo). Anyway, I’ll keep you in my heart, know that you are understood and loved.

    1. Mrs TeePot

      *Hug* I’m sorry that you can relate, but also grateful knowing that you get it.
      Yes, I have Borderline, sadly, although my medication is aimed at Bipolar. I’m so sorry your daughter has to fight with it too, it’s a really awful illness.
      I haven’t had DBT, I have a book on it that I started working through and then, because I started feeling better, I put it aside and left it. It’s quite a complicated book too, I find it a struggle to read it and work from it, but I know I really should. I don’t think there’s any chance of my having DBT here in France any time soon; my French just isn’t good enough yet.
      Thank you so much for your comment, it means a lot.

  10. Charlotte

    Ah. I know it doesn’t feel like anyone else could feel the same way, but how you describe it is exactly the way I feel right now. Nearly 3 years without hurting myself and I blew it. Why does it help? Why does nothing else work instead? Why did it feel so amazing and why did I feel so much better afterwards, when ultimately I know it isn’t the right way to deal with emotions?! I started my blog last month after this. Hoping that maybe concentrating on my babies, and happy things would help distract me from the feelings. It kinda does at the moment, but I hope it lasts.

    I think even just having a period without hurting yourself is good. It shows strength and courage even if you don’t feel that it does. It shows you have done it, can do it… it may not be forever, there may always be lapses but long periods without it, which in my opinion is better than all the time.

    I don’t know you, so I don’t know the history, but even from this one post it seems like you have come miles from where you were and you just need to keep that in mind and focus on continuing x

    1. Mrs TeePot

      I’m so sorry you feel this way too *hugs* It’s so hard isn’t it, especially when you know it will help and can’t find anything else that eases that pain.
      I hope that you find blogging helps you focus on the positives. I certainly find writing about my problems and life helps me to make sense of my emotions and gets things off my chest.

      Thank you so much for your comment and I hope you are ok.

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