****WARNING – THOUGHTS about SUICIDE**********
If discussion of suicide is triggering for you, skip today’s post and enjoy something fun: http://brainden.com/optical-illusions.htm
I am slowly commenting on each part of an article by Lily Hope Lucario. She is a blogger that lives with C-PTSD. Her work is copyrighted which I deeply respect. I share the link to her article 12 Life Impacting Symptoms. New readers sometimes wonder what are the symptoms. This is the link to her original article https://themighty.com/2017/08/life-impacting-symptoms-of-complex-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/
I tackle each topic with my perspective and how I view things. My last post was about depression and feeling sad. In most people’s mind depression and suicidal thoughts and actions are linked to this symptom. I agree that deeply depressed people may think about suicide as a means to stop their pain. However, with C-PTSD and PTSD this is only one of the threats. I experienced thoughts of suicide often as early as my pre-teens. Those thoughts nagged at me like a tooth ache. When I was depressed the thoughts deepened to actual plans. But eventually my depression would lessen but not always the suicidal thoughts. Over years of experience and my own research I learned that depression is only one of what I call the triple threats of suicide.
This next part I am going to reference a movie called Groundhogs Day. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107048/ The basics of the story is the weatherman does the same day over and over and over until he finally gets it right. Now imagine a horror film that plays your worst day over and over and over only you can’t change the out come. I learned many techniques to cope with intrusive thoughts during the day but the nightmare returns every night. I was terrified of sleeping. I feel the same emotions of terror, fresh and unchanged. Every night it comes back. For years, I used extreme sleep deprivation to cope with nights. Aggravated my anxiety and lack of sleep and this becomes the second threat, becoming willing to do anything, including taking your own life to stop the nightmare from returning. For me, sleep is not an escape but plunging me right back into the worse moments of my life. On bad nights, I now sleep with the light on and fully dressed to lessen my sense of helplessness. When I wake up, I know exactly where I am and ready to run. A doctor once asked me the last time I woke up feeling rested from a night sleep. My answer: Never. Sometimes I can sleep during the day without nightmares. My counselor recommended sleeping pills. I asked if they would stop the nightmares….nope. To me, there was no point being stuck in a nightmare. Worn down by exhaustion with no end in sight is dangerous physically and emotionally.
I am going to share a conversation with my counselor to explain the third threat. To me, this was is by far the most potential for a negative outcome. My counselor was taking the approach that pain and suffering from depression was the source of my suicidal thoughts and he went on and on about how depression would lessen and I could endure and blah blah blah. (Please, bear with me, you are delving into my very unhealthy state of mind…proceed with caution.) I finally interrupted him, “I can take pain. I straightened out my broken arm for X-rays. The technician was horrified. I can take pain.” He sat back and contemplated my words. This was something I liked about him. He would listen completely then sit back and ponder and think about his reply. He actively listened. He slowly sorted out what I said and past conversations. He proceeded cautiously, “This isn’t a suicide, you are contemplating an execution.” EXACTLY. I would choose death over becoming like my abusers. I noticed a dramatic shift in his focus. From lectures on “you can endure” to “you deserve to live.” However, I pointed out, should I become like my abusers I would choose death first. He pointed out carefully that I made hundreds of choices different than my abusers choices. He reassured me that I would not become like my abusers because I made different choices along the way. The third and to me most lethal threat is I am becoming a monster like my abusers and I deserve to die. I am thankful for the belief that I am capable of changing my destiny by changing the choices I make every day.
People are dying at an alarming rate every day due to suicide. Believing there is no way to escape their suffering, repeated nightmares from their past and fear of becoming the monsters that abused us is the triple threat of suicidal thoughts. I learned there is a way to change through hard work and making different choices everyday. Suicidal thoughts still intrude but the grip those thoughts have on my mind lessens more and more as time passes. I deserve to live and looking forward to it.