This week (September 5th – 11th) is National Suicide Prevention Week.
This is a cause very close to my heart for many reasons. In the Chronic Pain world it is common knowledge that more often than not depressions goes hand in hand with chronic pain. Statistics would lead us to believe that those who suffer from chronic pain and/or chronic illness have a higher risk of attempting and completing one’s desire to end their life. It is sad…. and I believe it is needless. If those who suffer chronically were to be treated properly and with respect – both medically and personally, I believe that this risk would lessen.
When I first became ill and my life fell to pieces, I suffered from severe depression. It wasn’t the first time in my life that I had to fight the demons in my head – but it was the most all-encompassing and debilitating depression I have ever experienced. I completely lost myself… literally. I became a stranger to myself, and couldn’t find any resemblance of who I used to be. Every inch of my body became foreign to me… I doubted every reaction, every thought… And with a life-long diagnosis I lost all hope of ever finding myself again.
I can admit now that I was far more depressed than I ever let on… I was more depressed than I could admit to myself. The only way I could describe it is that it felt quite a bit similar to me as when my brother died. I don’t know if anyone one could understand that at the time, I don’t know if I truly understood it either. Looking back I now know that I was grieving – grieving over the loss of the ‘old’ me combined with an overwhelming anger that I shouldn’t have to. I didn’t want to let go of the ‘healthy’ me. I was scared to let go.
Although a lot of that time is now a blur to me – a foggy whirlwind…. a darkness that numbed my senses…. I do remember many internal conversations with myself that I truly thought my family would be better off without me. I remember feeling like the perpetrator, my family being the victim of my pain. I remember trying to convince myself that I could never be the mother I wanted to be… I felt all alone… I felt misunderstood… I felt overwhelmed… and I didn’t know if I could face life anymore… and that is when the thoughts of suicide came creeping in….
The thought of this now is so disturbing to me, it fills me with that feeling all over again. It makes me want to cry for the woman I used to be. Nobody should ever have to feel that way. Nobody should ever feel like suicide is a valid option or good solution to any problem. Our lives are worth so much more than that….
Our lives are worth so much more than we ever realize…..
YOUR life is worth more than YOU will ever realize….
- I am one of the lucky ones who had family that were constantly reaching out to help me, listen to me, and to love me unconditionally. When I couldn’t stand on my own two feet I had my parents to lift me up. I wasn’t judged for who I was or how I felt and I knew that, so it made it much easier to be truthful with how I was feeling. Between that and the guidance of some earthly angels who crossed my path at the time I was able to admit that I needed help. I spoke to my Doctor at the time, and got some help.
- I won’t say it was as easy as just making the decision to get help – because it wasn’t. But that was the hardest part for me – admitting to myself and to others than I just couldn’t carry this weight on my own any longer. I had always found pride conquering life on my own, but as ‘they’ say – No man is an island… me included.
- I spent close to two years on an anti-depressant medication while working closely with a Psychologist who specializes in Chronic Pain. Slowly I began to let go of the fear that was controlling my life at the time. I let myself grieve over the ‘body’ I once had, and learned to separate THAT from the ME I am inside… The real ME. Through the process I not only learned to accept who I am – I learned to love myself, something I don’t think I ever did before.
- There is a National Movement advertised on Facebook today that I wanted to share. It is asking that you use your forearm to send a message. the part of your body that is associated with ‘a way out’ in terms of suicide can become a canvas today to spread a message of hope…. simply…. LOVE.
- It symbolizes not only the compassion you have for others, but the compassion we all need to have for ourselves. LOVE – a simple 4-letter word that has a definition greater than the sum of its parts.
- It symbolizes hope….
- Hope that tomorrow won’t be as dark as today,
- Hope that the pain you feel, both physically and emotionally has a cure,
- Hope that one day guns, razor blades, ropes and pills will be used for
- what they were intended, and not instruments to bring the end to some,
- and to others a lifetime of excruciating pain.
Today please take the time to spread a little LOVE in your life. No matter how you do it, it is so much more powerful that you think.
And if you are someone who is suffering from depression, or you know someone who is -
Please know that Depression is a very valid and debilitating illness, an INVISIBLE ILLNESS…
And like Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Diabetes, or Cancer…
The first step is getting a proper diagnosis.
The second step…. is treatment.
Please know that you are not alone.
Pick up the phone, call a suicide hotline, your doctor, or a friend or family member you love and trust and ask for help.
Believe me, it will be the best decision you ever make for yourself.
There is hope. I know there is.
I am still here. And I am so thankful for second chances.
Millions of people suffer from Chronic Pain – some is housed in our bodies, but some is housed in our hearts.
And Suicide is NOT treatment for this pain,
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- suicide prevention (moritherapy.org)
- Sept. 10 is world suicide prevention day (globalnation.inquirer.net)
- New Book Helps Raise Awareness on World Suicide Prevention Day for Those Who Are Dealing with Traumatic Loss (prnewswire.com)
- Walk for Suicide Prevention | Psychology News (olemisspsychology.wordpress.com)
- Let’s Put a Stop to Suicide (psychologytoday.com)
- Suicide levels at highest ever recorded. (politics.ie)
- No Pain, Your Gain — September is Pain Awareness Month (prweb.com)