Suicide Myths – #2 – Talking About It

Myth – People Who Are Talking About Suicide Never Commit It

Fact:

Those who are talking about it may well be on their way of actually committing suicide.

In 2004 after my grandmother died I entered the darkest and deepest depression that I have ever known. I just couldn’t cope, I started fixating on suicide. After a month or so I started to give away the frozen foods in my freezer. Also, was thinking about who I could give some of my other household items, such as; television, stereo, computer, etc., It took awhile for my best friend to realize what was happening. I remember standing in my living room with both of us having tears streaming down our faces. I am not sure how long we stood there before I relented and admitted that I needed help. I found that help in the Mental Health Ward of the hospital.

I wonder how many people who were talking about it that didn’t have a friend to talk them out of committing the act of suicide. Did that friend shrug it off believing the myth that they wouldn’t follow through with it?

How did the family and friends feel as they walked by the casket of the person who talked about suicide and then followed through? Do they wish that they should have intervene to get them somewhere to receive help?

On the NV state suicide prevention has this list to help you if someone you know is talking about taking their own life.

  • Encourage him/her to talk further and help them to find appropriate counseling assistance.
  • Ask if the person are thinking about making a suicide attempt.
  • Ask if the person has a plan.
  • Think about the completeness of the plan and how dangerous it is. Do not trivialize plans that seem less complete or less dangerous. All suicidal intentions are serious and must be acknowledged as such.
  • Encourage the young person to develop a personal safety plan. This can include time spent with others, check-in points with significant adults/ plans for the future.

So dear reader never assume that a person who is talking about suicide won’t commit suicide! Encourage them to seek professional help!

The Interview Moderated by Ashley L. Peterson – A Continuation

Once again I would like to say, “Thank You” to Ashley L. Peterson whose blog is Mental Health @ Home.

This is a continuation of the initial interview by Ashley , you can find it here.

As you read you will find I answer questions at great length, I truly did my best to pull back the curtain on my journey to great mental health.

After you have read the interview use the comment section to ask your own question. When I have enough I will gather them together using a post to answer them.


The Interview

Moderator: Ashley L. Peterson


Continuation

What’s the process been like of establishing views that diverged from the religious beliefs you’d been exposed to?

To put it bluntly, it’s been hell. I dropped all my relationships with fellow ministers, stopped contact with fellow musicians. There was a long time to where I wouldn’t even open the Bible.

I have, still do at times, second guess myself.  Then I read some of the comments that people have left lets me know I am basically on the correct direction.

For instance, the gay life style was preached against, it was taught as a no-no. I now view it this way, they are humans, they walk, talk, pee, poop, the same way all of us do. I started re-visiting this attitude about being against them, I started making friends with those in the LGBTQ community. I still have those friends regardless what some people believe about them.

As life has gone on, has your ability to trust others changed?  What prompted that?

In many ways my trust in people has changed. Here is how I view it, People needed to trust me, some who told me about their sexuality, yet they have not come out. I have kept that trust.

Things really did start changing when I began to change. When I started dealing with all the issues that were at the base of my depression. Feelings of inferiority, shame, loneliness, and a chest full of others. After the death of my grandmother I was fortunate to have a Psychiatrist who showed compassion, actually listened, and started me on a regimen of medications.  Now I consider her a friend, she stopped and talked with me when I had a slight scare that sent me to the hospital for four days.

How has your physical health impacted your mental health and vice versa?

My physical health has impacted my mental health severely. I face it every morning, getting out of bed is usually an exercise dealing with pain in my hip.

I have dealt with pain since my teenage years, it grew worse after a motorcycle accident. That messed up my back for life. It has only been better after two periods of have cortisone shots.

There was a time when I was on different pain killers where they became ineffective. I had to change doctors. He looked at my history, he then said we have to change your medications. He explained to me that many pain killers when taken over a long length of time actually work against the body causing pain. I have later read and heard that this is the case. I take for pain at this time Tylenol 4 and a small derivative of morphine. They basically along with a sleeping pill allow me to have a decent night of sleep.

There are days when I think I should start the process of going to an assisted living facility.  Let me explain, I now have to use a cane, or my walker. It has left me so that many things I would normally do for myself I cannot accomplish. Fear grips me every time I need to use the shower, thoughts about falling breaking a hip courses through my mind.

Also, I am truly thankful for my best friend for he is the one who has prepared my meals. I cannot move well enough to manage pots, pans, etc., I also fear I wouldn’t be able to respond if there would be a grease fire.

Some may have noticed that I read and comment on their blog posts sometimes eighteen hours or longer. It is usually because I cannot sit up at great lengths of time. I start my nighttime routine early. Most nights I am asleep before 9 p.m.

So, it is a back and forth with my physical effecting my mental health, mental health effecting my physical being.

Has your time as a preacher shaped the way you tell your own story now?

This is a great question, one I have never thought about. It probably has, and does shape how I tell my story.

There are parts of my story that at this time grapple with because it involves someone who has died, but, has living relatives. I do not want to cause them any embarrassment or pain. I just have not come to an answer about how to tell that. Even without mentioning names it would be obvious to many friends, colleagues, and relatives if they were to come across this blog.

Also, I must consider at this time my own daughter and grandchildren.

[b] I re-read the first answers of the interview where I can see that how I write seems guarded. I guess it has been a learned response from over many years.

How have your hospital stays influenced where you are now in terms of your mental health?

Before my major stay in a mental health ward I was fighting with being bi-polar without any awareness of the fact.

I am thankful for those times in treatment, the group sessions, the one on one with my Psychiatrist for it gave me tools to fight with. The recognition of the highs, lows, and all the rest that comes with being bi-polar. I also know that if needs arise that I have the ability to go back and voluntarily admit myself. There are so many ugly myths about mental health care, some I think come from the days of sanitariums, probably through the eighteenth and nineteenth century.


So dear reader more of a glimpse on what I call “a journey to great mental health”.

If you are facing battles to keep your mental health great, remember, you are not alone!

Find someone to talk to, whether it is a friend, a help line, or your doctor. Do not suffer alone, there is help available for you! I have located a website that you can access for phone numbers of helplines around the world. It is called Check Point

Breaking The News

“The advice I’d give to somebody that’s silently struggling is, you don’t have to live that way. You don’t have to struggle in silence. You can be un-silent. You can live well with a mental health condition, as long as you open up to somebody about it, because it’s really important you share your experience with people so that you can get the help that you need.” Demi Lovato


The other night I was talking with my daughter somewhere during the conversation it turned to mental health. She already knew I was bi-polar but what I was about to tell her was that I tried to commit suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills, Amitriptyline. I also told what led up to the mental health condition I was in.

I still know the city where I was living, Cambridge, Ontario, the street I lived on, Cedar Str. Down one block was a Tim Horton’s Donut store, going in the opposite direction was a Sobey’s Grocery Store.

I can remember vividly about my first night in the Mental Health Ward there. The reason being is that during a group session they had us watch the movie “Groundhog Day”. To me it made no sense of why we were watching. It was still back then that you could smoke in the hospital. They had a dedicated room for the smokers, it usually was filled with blue smoke, the smell of nicotine heavily filled the room.

After I was discharged I just couldn’t stay in Ontario for one simple reason I didn’t want my family to see me in the mental state I was in. It was probably more like I was ashamed of myself. Growing up going to church hearing all your life that suicide was sin.

Why did I wait so long to tell my daughter? Here is some reasons for that:

  • I wasn’t sure how she would react, I just wouldn’t be able to handle that she may rejected me.
  • I needed to create a safe place first. Through my best friend, then I started to tell my story here on WordPress.

Having those safe places allowed me to feel that I would not be shamed. What I found was support, people who understood exactly how I was feeling for they were there themselves.

The other safe place was on the Mental Health Ward in this city. There was no pressure to talk about your feelings, yet you could, that nobody would think less of you. Among that safe place was the nurses, the aids, and of course my psychiatrist. I also knew when I was discharged that if I hit a low spot I could return to that place.

I would hope that anyone who is struggling with mental health issues has a safe place. Someone they can talk with, a shoulder to cry on. Maybe a place they can go and feel safe to talk with others in a group setting.

So dear reader breaking the news the other night lifted the heavy weight off my shoulder. For the response that came back to me was, “do not beat yourself up for it”!

Some Positive Stuff That Happened While In The Hospital

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Photo by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash

My hospital stay wasn’t all negative, yet there is more to tell, there was some great positive things that happened.

  • Covid-19 test came back negative
  • Tests for any MRSA (superbug) also negative
  • On a truly lighter side, I am just as smart as Donald J. Trump.[maybe I am smarter. I like to read and also believe the science]. Aced the same cognitive test. It is a test to know if there is dementia, Alzheimer’s disease. Also to see if maybe any damage after a stroke.
  • My former Psychiatrist stopped in and had a great visit with her.  It was sort surreal, visiting with her as just a patient who was not under her care. When she went to leave I made a comment, “Dr. just considered me a student who graduated”. She loved to hear all the positive things that have happened since I left her.

So dear reader I just thought today would be a good day to share something uplifting for you to enjoy!

Teach Me, Let Me Learn – Part One

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“Mental illness is not something you misunderstand in this era. Get educated because bias is no different than racism.”
― Shannon L. Alder

Something that they told us when I was in treatment that everyone needs to become their own best advocate.  They really stressed that we needed to ask questions about medications, stand up when people use misinformation about those who are bi-polar.  

During that first admittance I was like a sponge trying to grasp all that was happening around me.  I would sit in the groups writing down everything I thought I needed to remember.  When I was released I read anything and everything about mental health challenges.

One thing I did was the best for myself and also my best friend.  I had him sit in with me while speaking to my Psychiatrist on the exit interview.  It prepared him of what I was going through and what to expect going forward.

When it came to pain medications, such as Oxycontin, I was double dosing without realizing it.  So, when I went in to break the addiction upon coming home I asked if it would be alright for my best friend to manage my medications.  He is still doing it to this day.

I still read as much as I can on the challenges of mental health.  I try to go to well known sources.  If by chance I read a blog that sounds credible I will research what the blogger wrote about.

I do not take it upon myself to self-diagnose for it can be detrimental.  I also do not try some remedies without first talking to my doctor.  There are many things that do not interact well with prescriptions, it can bring about some severe reactions.

So, when it comes to mental health correct information is important!

To be continued…