How do I stop these fleeting thoughts of suicide?
January 20th, 2013
Trigger Warning: Suicide
[What is a trigger warning?]
Over the last few months, I’ve had fleeting thoughts about suicide every two or three days. (I suspect a large part is from my parents’ lack of acceptance.) But each time such a thought enters my head, it may be around for no more than a second or two before I swat it away, not unlike a gnat in my mind.
I don’t mean to be flippant, but it’s almost as if one corner of my brain is saying, “Maybe all this would be easier if I was dead,” but with the rest of my brain soon chiming in with, “No, that would be a really bad idea.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I’ve come to realize I have depression (which I recognize from having had in the past). I haven’t yet sought medication for that, but might that be something that could help dispel these thoughts?
(I took Lexapro the last time I had depression and it seemed to work okay, but if you have depression and if there’s a particular medication that’s worked well for you, I’d like to hear about it.)
Either way, I have a psychotherapist who I can talk to about this kind of thing, and I plan on setting up an appointment with them soon.
P.S. To reiterate, I have no plans on killing myself, and I want to be around for a long time. I just have these thoughts that keep creeping in my head about this.
Updated Jan. 21: I have an appointment on Thursday.
Updated Jan. 24: I had a really good conversation with my psychotherapist and I have another appointment with them on Thursday.
Updated Jan. 25: My doc has given me a prescription for lithium to start.
First of all, if you ever get to the point where the thoughts aren’t easily swatted away, call someone. Anyone. Our minds sometimes get to the point where they decide they’re out to get us, and thoughts may grow stronger that you otherwise wouldn’t give a moment’s, well, thought to.
Depression is a highly individual disease, and once you’ve either had it or been with someone who has it, you come to realize pretty quickly that treatment is often just shooting into the dark. A drug that works amazingly well for one person does nothing for the other, or works for a long time and then suddenly decides to stop working.
(as an aside, this is what killed writer David Foster Wallace: he went off of the medication he had taken for years and years, hoping that he didn’t need it any more. He did, but when he tried to go back on it, it didn’t work.)
All of that said, if cognitive therapy, talk therapy, or other non-pharmaceutical treatments don’t work for you, it’s worth trying again. But I figured I’d throw in that caveat that it may be a hard road for a while switching between medications before you find one that works.
Good luck, and don’t hesitate to toss a virtual brick at my window if you need to talk to someone.
Make the appointment today.
Work the rest of your schedule around it.
Yes, this freakin’ sucks and is scary. So proud of you for heading right into the challenge and starting the work of fighting depression.
My experience is that focusing on managing my hormonal cycles and avoiding stress help hugely. Maintaining social contact and exercise when the glums strike has been absolutely vital to my happiness, as has having enough sleep and enough time alone.
Staying tuned into what’s going on and how I feel lets me see patterns across the months and has clued me into things to avoid and to increase. Currently playing with SuperBetter to help reinforce positive patterns.
Good luck with your process and remember I’m always glad to hear from you, even when times are tough!
I’m glad they’re fleeting, but I think seeing a professional is the right approach. They can help you find strategies for keeping the thoughts at bay and help you find the source and fix it.
Also, know that you are loved and accepted and your parents’ refusal to accept you is not your fault or problem. It’s their problem.
Glad to hear you’re looking to go back and chat with a professional. That’s twice in recent days this has come up on Twitter and it’s concerning. I think about you and all that you have done. No doubt, there is a lot swirling. However, there might be some things that a professional can help sort that friends or self can’t.
Much love from afar.
When you first went on HRT, I tossed off an offhand, “Hey, if you find you’re having odd thoughts, tell someone okay?” Hormones are powerful stuff; I’ve had these feelings, I’ve dealt with some wacky business when my mom started menopause treatment and her dosage was bad. So I’m glad you’re seeing someone Thursday, and if you haven’t had bloodwork lately to check your levels, that would also be a good thing to do. Has your weight or body fat distribution changed lately?
If you have some time to take a little inventory, are you having any other (probably more benign) compulsive or intrusive thoughts? Food-related, or cleaning or checking compulsions, a snatch of song (or phrase, or especially melodic name) you can’t stop repeating in your head? Repeated hand/head gesture or vocal tic? It’s worth jotting down a list to take in on Thursday, if anything like that jumps out at you. These are some of the things I use as my checklist for identifying an off-kilter phase.
If you haven’t already, during the 23.5 hours/day it’s not happening, please make yourself a list of numbers you can call if you need them. 911 goes on the top, 1-866-488-7386 (the Trevor hotline for GLBTQ), 1-800-273-TALK (8255) (National Suicide Prevention hotline). Jay and I sleep with our phones by the bed, though they are on vibrate and we are not trained professionals, you are still welcome to call if you need us. If you need someone to come stay with you, I will get a hold of somebody to do that.
I know a number of people who are very pleased with Lexapro, especially in terms of low side effects to high results, but everybody’s chemistry is different so YMMV. If it was tolerable before, it’s not a bad one to start with. You’re under a lot of stress, there’s no harm in trying to mitigate it.
We love you.
Your comment made me cry and I so appreciate that you care for me. I’ve put those numbers into my phone, although I dearly hope that I never need to use them.
I, too, want to let you know that if you ever need to talk, you’re welcome to call me. I’m glad you’re going to talk to a professional. You’re important and loved. I want you to be around a long, long time.
I am so glad you are speaking openly about your feelings & getting help from professionals.
You are valuable & matter.
Ashley: Don’t think about checking out, there are always better days to come. I had these thoughts, sought help, overcame them and successfully transitioned at the age of 59 with the blessing of my 87 year old mom and all of my family and friends. Hang in there and you’ll see those better days. Kaye
Thank you for your help!!!