Thursday, March 4, 2010

When my world was warped

When I read on Facebook about Marie Osmond's teenage son committing suicide, it brought knowing tears to my eyes. Of the 19 comments, not one of them mentioned compassion for the son. While my heart certainly does go out to those left behind, I immediately empathized with the excruciating pain and utter hopelessness he must have felt.

Having committed what is termed a "serious" suicide attempt - like some are just joking around?? - I have been in that terrifying place. While I cannot know what he or anyone else felt exactly, I have my ideas. Very surprisingly to me, no one has really asked me specifically about my feelings at that time. I think this is a big part of the ongoing problem. Such an act carries a huge, black cloud of shame and is hush hushed. It makes people squirm. I believe that only by sharing honestly can I heal fully and help others no matter how uncomfortable it makes some people.

I have heard many times that suicide is a selfish act. Let me tell you that I did not see it that way at all. I saw at as a selfless act. I know now how terribly skewed that sounds, but, then, I honestly thought that the world...especially my kids... would be better off without me.

When I tried to commit suicide, of course, I had a lot of what I considered then to be hellish, mitigating factors in my life. I had this blur of a movie running non-stop in my head. It played out in intricate, garish detail all the worst "what if" scenarios possible in the future. It replayed all the most horrible scenes of my past in full color. Over and over. I could not find the pause button. I hadn't slept for any amount of time in weeks. I really desperately wanted some peace and just to rest.

My brother, who was my best friend in the world, died 10 years earlier. I don't really know where I thought he was, but I wanted to go be with him wherever that was. I have had several close relatives commit suicide. The power of suggestion. I saw it as a viable option. I had just started a new antidepressant. For me, all of these and more were factors.

The bottom line is that I did not have the faith or the hope to see a way out nor did I have the tools or the forward energy to even begin to know how to get there. Almost three years later, I just want to scream at anyone who is suicidal and tell them that they will not always feel this way even if I know they probably won't believe me right then and would tell me to shut up. I know I did not want to hear it.

Life is a lot like the story of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. It is a journey which is gonna have good witches, skipping on the yellow brick road, and emerald castles, but it is also going to be filled constantly with tornadoes, bad witches and flying monkeys. Expect them. They are part of it.

The problem comes when we buy into the illusion of finding something out there that magically makes everything perfect, in this case, a wizard. He turns out to be nothing much behind a big, elaborate front. If you will remember, he high tails it in a balloon, leaving Dorothy once again to solve her own problems.

With the help of the ruby slippers which are a symbol of the power Dorothy has within herself all along, Dorothy makes her own wish come true in the end. Like Dorothy, we have the power to make our own wishes come true and transform our own realities. It is in our brain.

We each have to find what works for us. Whether it is changing the nuerochemical balance in the brain with other chemicals; whether it is consciously directing mental processes, which, in turn, alter the physical brain, such as meditating, practicing positive affirmations or keeping a gratitude journal; whether it is making behavioral, lifestyle changes such as exercising, eating healthier and not partaking in drugs and alcohol, and most likely a combination of some of these, we each have the power to change our lives for the better. We are already wearing the ruby slippers.

When someone is suicidal, they cannot fathom this. They will hate you for even suggesting it. That is OK. They will get over it. They are not thinking clearly. They do need someone to extend a hand, intervene with force if necessary, and keep them safe until they can do so themselves and begin to take the necessary steps.

I did not like it one bit and was mad as hell at those who had saved me and continued to ensure my life. I thought "How dare they?! This is my life! Why don't they mind their own business!?" Thank you immensely to the people who did so for me. I am forever grateful. So, be a bother. Butt in!

My advice to those in the dark place is to quit running and stop all the struggle. Exhale. Give up. Have a break down. Sink into the pain and despair. Feel it. Allow it to move through you. And it will. That is the first step in healing. Actually experiencing the feelings won't kill anybody. Suicide will. Seek help and then actually allow it. If the first thing doesn't work, and it probably won't, keep searching. And, if the fifth or the fifteenth thing doesn't work, keep at it. Before a hand ever grasps a gun or some pills, suicide first occurs in the brain and has to be addressed in the brain.

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