Suicide Myths – #3

Trigger Warning: This post contains subjects and issues that may be upsetting to some.

Being suicidal isn’t about wanting to die. It’s about quieting the pain inside. –Unknown


Source: Psychology Today

People often commit suicide for rational reasons. – False!

I write this post with some ache in my heart. It is about a young first nation man. I had begun to know the family and also him. I had him come to my home to spend a weekend together. Then I went to his apartment to visit. We had fun talking about things concerning his culture.

Several months passed since seeing him. I then received the news that the young man had committed suicide. They found him hanging from the shower rod in his bathroom.

Back on that day when I swallowed a bottle full of sleeping pills it wasn’t for anything that was rational. I attempted suicide because I felt like I just couldn’t hold onto things that I was told to believe. The attempt wasn’t planned, I hadn’t given much thought prior in doing so. I was upset and angry because of an argument I was having with a certain friend. I grabbed the pills, ran into the bathroom, took the top of the pill bottle off, and then swallowed all of them in one quick gulp. It was not a rational thing, trying to commit suicide over an argument.

One time not so long ago I had to call an ambulance. While in the ambulance I asked about the new drug, new at that time, Naloxone. The ambulance attendant told me that they had used it six times just that morning.

When I was about eight or nine there was a death of a great uncle of mine. The adults were speaking in hushed tones. Eventually, I found out what happened that day. My great uncle was found in the garage with the car running and laying under the exhaust pipe. I don’t believe my great aunt had any idea why he did that. I truly feel the family still has no real answer.

So dear reader, when it comes to have a reason about why people commit suicide, they are no rational reasons.

Suicide Myths, Selfishness

“Did you really want to die?”
“No one commits suicide because they want to die.”
“Then why do they do it?”
“Because they want to stop the pain.”
― Tiffanie DeBartolo, How to Kill a Rock Star


***Warning, could cause triggers! This post has taken the better part of three days to write. I had to stop many times because of how certain emotions came to the top.***


Mention the subject of “suicide” and the room grows quiet. I really do not understand why, could it be that it is part of “death” that makes people uncomfortable. Or maybe they just do not know how to approach it without sounding ill-informed.

I cannot tell you how old I was, I guess enough to understand what people were talking about in very hush tones. It was about a great uncle who had died. I gathered enough of the conversation to understand that he committed suicide. It was years before I was told how it happened. He was found in the garage, doors closed, car running, he was laying under the exhaust pipe of the car.

When I abruptly ran into my bathroom with a bottle of sleeping pills, I turned on the tap, placed the whole bottle of pills in my mouth and drank some water. I really cannot tell you what all happened after that, except I woke up in the hospital, placed in the mental health ward.

This attempt was not pre-meditated, the only way I can describe the moment was that something inside me snapped. All sanely thought left my mind. I had no thought about what would my family and friends would think. All I knew was I just wanted this battle of hell that was raging with my emotions to stop, for the screaming to stop! Just to have some silent time! Thoughts of an after life were far from my thoughts, maybe I had reached the point where I just didn’t care one way or the other.


I wrote that part of my life for a purpose, to show that people don’t always experience suicide ideation. Mine, it seemed like it. came on me without warning. Now maybe in my subconscious the thought of suicide was brewing. I really just don’t know!


Myths About Suicide

Throughout the rest of the year I would like to explore the myths about the subject of suicide.

People Who Attempt or Commit Suicide Are Selfish

Here is my answer to that myth. When I attempted suicide it was not out of selfishness, but, rather it was that I just wanted the breath taking pain to stop. I was an emotional train wreck. At that time I did not know that there were avenues that I could access to get help.

Thoughts about my family and friends that I would put them through a hellish nightmare. They would have been wondering if there was any signs about the emotional state I was in. Leaving them to question if they were failures for not seeing those signs.

So, dear reader that those who attempt or succeed in the act of suicide is selfish is just a big myth!

A Re-blog: Suicide Prevention Awareness Month 2020 — My Brain’s Not Broken

*** I have tried several times to write a post about the subject of “suicide” but I deleted them because of the affects it was doing to my mental health. Below is an excellent article, timely, and informative.***


Suicide is a public health issue, and we’re here to talk about education, prevention and resources.

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month 2020 — My Brain’s Not Broken

Advocate, The Best Person For The Job

Webster’s defines an advocate as a person who pleads another’s cause, or who speaks or writes in support of something. A lawyer is an advocate when he represents his client in a courtroom. … A good advocate does his or her homework, and follows through on what they say they’re going to do.Jul 31, 2010

Have you ever listened to a child who is going through cancer treatment?  I have and it breaks my heart.  That child when he/she talks speaks as what an adult would say.  Their knowledge about the cancer and treatment is deep.  The disease demands for a child to grow up too fast.

When I attemted suicide with a bottle of sleeping pills caused me to have to learn about depression, being bipolar and a myriad of other things.  I still am learning about the issue of being bi-polar, the medications that my psychiatrist prescribes.  I quickly learned that I could not be passive about the issue I was dealing with.

I learned that I am my own best advocate!

Old Habits

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Have you ever had a pair of jeans that you just hate to put in the trash bin.  I mean you have them broke in, comfortable, soft, and yes, almost down to nothing but white thread.  Holes in the knees and other places that your mom says is disgraceful.  Habits are like those pair of jeans.

I remember hearing someone talk about you can tell how an adult was raised by watching what they do after a meal.  If they are full of energy, it probably means after a meal their mother more than likely sent them outside to play.  The other scenario is after a meal the adult wants to lay down and take a nap.  It goes without saying that their mother probably had them take a nap after their meal.

With my dealing of being bi-polar I have had to deal with some of my old habits.  Negative thinking, procrastination, thinking about what it is like to be dead, all those and a multitude of more.  I am the first to admit I am a fifty-seven year old man who is set in his ways and I do not like change.

To deal with those old nasty, musty smelling habits you must commit yourself to change.  Change should mean progression, new attitude and outlook on life around you.  Not holding onto the pass, but trying to look ahead with the effort of moving forward.

The best place to start with old habits is taking those old pair of jeans and placing them in the trash can!

The Other Side Of Healthy

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It was early part of  the nineties where I found myself out of work living in a bachelor apartment where I just was totally burned out.

I was trying my level best to put on a brave face, inwardly though I was in total turmoil. Conflicted about the very things I had been taught within a Christian family, at least on my mother’s side.  My paternal grandmother was a died in the cloth Roman Catholic.

A friend I had allowed to get close to me was smothering me day and night.  I do not know what is to experience drowning, yet that is how I would describe my mental health.

It is funny, no one wakes up in the morning and places on their to-do list that they will allow depression to enter their life.  It sneaks up on you, probably for years.  Mornings when you just wake up in a bad mood, the sudden outbursts of anger without any just cause, causing hurt to family and friends.

Then one afternoon everything just boiled over.  In a moment of total anger at this friend I grabbed my prescription bottle of sleeping pills, went to the bathroom and downed the entire bottle which had basically been filled.

I woke up in the mental health ward the next morning.  My memories of it all were spotty at best.  Most of the details filled in from hospital staff and my friend.  I was told while in emergency they gave me a charcoal drink and was not combative like most are in the same situation.  So began over twenty-five years of battling depression, being dianosed as bi-polar.

That is the short version of the other side of healthy!

What’s In A Name?

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“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”  William Shakespeare

I have been thinking about this post for several days.  I hope I can put it in writing like I am hearing it in my mind.

There are names that when they are mentioned you have a distinct definition of what they are.  Cancer, Diabetes, Arthritis, Blindness, all these we at least have a general knowledge about them.  All of them can be shown in x-rays, bloodwork, and other detection methods.

However, mention the term ‘bi-polar’ most are not sure exactly what it is.  For others they seem to have an image that is totally wrong.  Bi-polar is a distinct as the person who is suffering with it.  It is a disease that as of this moment does not show on a x-ray, or under a microscope in a blood test.

Bi-polar does not define who I am.  I am more than the disease, I am male, fifty-seven years old, and has various interests ranging from Gospel Music to Sherlock Holmes.  I am a father of a daughter, a grandfather to three grandchildren.

It does not determine my future, nor keep me trapped in the past, for I determine my day by placing my feet on the floor each and every morning when I awake.

I would like to challenge every reader to define yourself, do not let the disease difine you!

Overcoming Grief

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2 Samuel 1:17-18  (NCV)
17 David sang a funeral song about Saul and his son Jonathan,

18 and he ordered that the people of Judah be taught this song. It is called “The Bow,” and it is written in the Book of Jashar:

 

In 1999 I received a phone call with news that my mother was gravely ill.  It was the Christmas season and had just lost all of the joyous attitude that was in me.  Hanging up the phone I started making plans for a long bus ride from my home in Saskatchewan, Canada to Ontario.

Mom had suffered a stroke in the fall of that year with only minor effects afterwards, basically she lost some of her hearing in one ear.  Now she laid in a hospital in a induced coma.  Her diagnosis was her heart and her lungs.  The worst of the two being her lungs.  The specialist described her lungs like the plastic wrap with all of those little air pockets that we love to pop.  Her lungs were pressing against her heart.  They tried several times to move her to perform a CRT scan.  While in the progress of moving her, she would suffer cardiac arrest.

I finally reached Ontario and I rested for a couple of days before heading to the hospital in London, Ontario.  The nurses showed me to her room, I went in and had to turn around and leave due to the fact of how she looked.  She was three times her size due to swelling.  As I left her room and started to walk in the hall I felt someone push a chair against the back of my knees causing me to fall back into the chair.  I asked why the nurse did that.  The response was ‘I could tell you were ready to faint’.  I told that nurse he was correct.  He said that is a common reaction when relatives see their love ones in intensive care unit.  

That was around the second week of January.  We kept a vigil around her.  Finally the specialist called us together in a conferance room, showed us some x-rays of her lungs and said there was nothing more they could do.  Mom passed away February 11, 2000.  Her celebration of life was held February 14, 2000, I conducted it.

Jump forward four years and the news reaches me that my maternal grandmother had passed away.  Granny was there in attendance concerning my mother.  A mother she never have to outlive a child of their.  She was never the same those four years following the death of her oldest child.

This was the overflow for me realising my grandmother was gone.  I was very close to her.  My summer holidays usually was spent there.  Not sure why, there was no television, video games, really nothing that a child would want to do, yet, I loved being there.

Now, I am at the pinnacle of my depression, and more suicidal thoughts.  I withrew from activities that I loved.  Reading, working on my computer, even cooking and eating.  I would cry at the oddest times, anger would erupt over the minor words.

Thus, my journey of many admissions to the mental health unit to deal with depression and all of it’s tenacles such as, grief, anger, and much more.

I learned everyone reacts differently to all of the above.  It really takes working with the professioanls God has given us to begin resolving all of our issues in life.  For every issue God has spoken about it in the Scriptures.

The following verse now holds a greater meaning to me looking back on these past nineteen years.

Psa 30:5 MSG
5 [The] nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter.

I now look back at the passing of my mother and grandmother and I smile.  All the things they taught me, the joys I had spending time with both of them.

Reader, do not allow grief to paralyze you.  Seek help, talk to someone, on the other side you will be much stronger as a person.

 

It Is The Mind & It Matters

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 Php 2:5 KJV
5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Col 3:1-3 KJV
1  If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

I want to tackle a subject that I have strong feelings about, for me it is personal.  This subject among Christians is the elephant in the room.  At one time some preachers would have called it “demon possession” .  I do not!

For those who at one time followed me on social media know that I have spoken about mental health many times.  You see, I am bi-polar.  In the early nineties I fell into deep depression and I tried to overdose on sleeping pills.  If someone around me when I was a teenager/young adult that had some knowledge about this disease they would have recognized that I needed help.  For those years I went through manic swings of emotions. I could be feeling tremendously great and within minutes almost raging mad.

Pastors need to aquaint themselves with this subject, it would benefit them greatly in counselling parishioners.

In the King James Bible if you have access to the Strong’s Concordance you will notice that the words ‘mind’ and ‘your affections’ are exactly the same word

God created us in His image, thus like Him we are a triune being.  Body, Soul, and Spirit.

1Th 5:23 KJV
23  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now let me say, I am not a professional counsellor, or an educated psychiatrist, or a psychologist.  However, I am speaking out of experience and hope that maybe someone who is experiencing mental health issues will take a step and seek out professional help.

These mental health issues are treatable.  I take prescriptions and they have done a world of good for me.  Gone are the extreme mood swings, days of not talking to anyone, to feeling like a could conquer the world.  Those around me never knew which I would be.  

Also, I suffered with panic attacks.  One instance a supermarket opened just one block from where I lived and was opened twenty four hours a day.  I was having panic attacks so I decided I would wait until after midnight to do my grocery shopping.  A very good friend accompanied me.  I was almost done my shopping, cart full of food, I had a panic attack so bad that I left the cart and my friend running all the way home. 

Panic attacks feels like everything and everyone are closing in on you.  I still have mild ones, usually it is when I am slightly tired.  I sought help and was admitted to the mental health ward in the local hospital here.  Now, I realize for those living in America that this option is not available to you because of costs.  While in the hospital over several stays for several years I learned from the doctors and counsellors things I can do to get me through these attacks.  One other area that sometimes makes me panic is just riding in a car as a passenger.  I know that there are those who think these things are imaginary. Friend, I am saying here, they are very real and they need to be treated.

Maybe you are reading this and you know someone who is having difficulties with depression, panic attacks, suicidal, do everything within you first to understand this problem, give them your support, and if at all possible encourage them to seek help.  Maybe, offer to go with them for moral support.

Now, there is a myth out there about suicide that if the person is talking about it they won’t do it.  That is so far from the truth that I have no words to bring it home to you.

It is not sinful to seek professional help.  Some preachers have not helped the cause with their rhetoric.  They talk about faith and that if we have enough faith God will do it for us.  Yes, God did it for us by giving some the desire to become physicians, psychiatrist, etc., and they are placed here on earth for our benefit. I have heard some rail against even taking an aspirin that it is a sign that we have weak faith.  If you are listening to those, you need to run in the opposite direction.  There is no need to suffer needlessly! When we are saved and filled with His Spirit no where in Scripture did God command us to check our brains at the door.

It is a spiritual battle also and the Scripture gives us wisdom and knowledge about these Spiritual laws.  Here is what the prophet Isaiah wrote:

Isa 26:3 KJV
3  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Please, this is mind and it matters!

I know someone with more training than myself, a high school drop out, could go into the meta-physical about how are minds have chemical balance.  When it becomes unbalanced then we start to have our problems.

So, lets kick out the elephant in the room and let’s have a conversation about our mind!