September is National Suicide Prevention Month.
I have a very personal connection to suicide. So this month, I’ve decided that I will share my story in connection to suicide here on Zealous Zebra.
Where It Started
I attempted to take my own life in the spring of 2007. I was a depressed 12 year old 6th grader. Why was I depressed? Not that there has to be a reason for someone to be depressed, but I had been being bullied consistently all year. The girl who was bullying me had been my best friend for the prior 3 years. I didn’t know what to do.
I didn’t feel like I was being heard. Acting out at home was getting me nowhere and I felt as though the world would be better off without me, and me without it. I felt hopeless, discouraged, left-out, alone, and as though no one would ever understand me. The night of my attempt, I called a crisis line, who’s number I’d somehow managed to find online in the midst of my suicidality in the weeks before. They helped to calm me down.
What Happened Next
A few days later in therapy, I told my therapist about everything that had happened. In accordance with the laws, she told my parents and I was taken to a psychiatrist. At that point, my psychiatrist diagnosed me with depression, and eventually with treatment-resistant depression. My psychiatrist put me on meds. Unfortunately, we kept having to switch meds or cocktails/groupings of meds every 6-9 months, because rarely would any one regime work for long with me.
The Next Several Years
For the next several years, I remained pretty consistently suicidal. I wasn’t necessarily always actively suicidal, meaning that I didn’t always have a plan that I wanted and was prepared to go through with right that minute. Rather, I was regularly passively suicidal, which means that I wanted to die, but didn’t plan on trying to end my life right that minute.
I was mostly depressed during those years, with some breakthrough hypomania that wasn’t diagnosed until later. I was also severely entrenched in an eating disorder during the years I was in high school and early college. This only fed the depression, anxiety, and suicidality. I was lonely, isolated, sad, and very much entrenched in my own world. I felt that no one understood me, so I festered and wallowed in my own depression. Being a loner, I had very few friends and didn’t really care much to make new ones. It was a very dark and scary time for me.
Here Comes 20
I was 20 years old when I admitted myself to an acute inpatient psychiatric hospital. While I was there, I would be diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder type 1. I was “full” manic when I went inpatient (vs. hypomanic or “lesser” manic). When I was manic, I physically felt like there was electricity running through my veins. I had grandiose thinking, and mentally couldn’t stop entertaining the thought of skydiving without a parachute off the top of a skyscraper. The thought of flying sounded fun to me. I was also suicidal during this time. The fear of never being able to escape the feelings, both mental and physical that I was experiencing, was absolutely horrifying to me. I feared that maybe no one would be able to help me or that I wouldn’t be taken seriously.
Treating The Bipolar Helped So Much!
There are several things that have helped my suicidal ideations the most. Getting the proper diagnosis of Bipolar 1 Disorder after 11 years, and therefore being put on the correct medications, has been one of the biggest and most positive influences for me. The opportunity to receive treatment in centers for both my bipolar and my eating disorder was another positive influence. Finally, having my family and friends understand my Bipolar and having them to be able to talk to really has been wonderful as well.