"Suicide is a major problem for those with mood disorders. It is estimated that as many as fifteen percent of individuals with untreated Bipolar Disorder commit suicide."
By submitting this admittedly subjective article, I wish to encourage those to whom it may apply to learn to speak openly in the matter of suicidal feelings. Bipolar disease and addiciton/alcholism have plagued me all my life, isolating me from rather than connecting me to others at the most critical and devastating moments.
Whether you have been afflicted with bipolar disease, addiction, alcoholism, or a combination (dual diagnosed), or whether you merely seek a better understanding, it often helps to hear someone's first hand experience.
This is MY experience....
Suicide, violent thoughts and behavior, self-deprecation, and critical comparisions between myself and others are often present in the profile of manic-depression or bipolar disease.
My addiction enhanced these aspects of my own disease.
What I am about to share has some very graphic aspects. If you find that reminders of your own state of mind trigger you into depression or mood swings, please skip this post. If the moods of others or the conversation of others pushes your buttons and forces you out of control, please consider carefully your frame of mind before you read this. It gives some details of my experience with suicide.
If the above cautionary statements apply to you and you have not sought help
please seek help--SOON!
As I put some symbolic distance between the pain of my past and the discoveries which today have made my life more manageable, I realize that I always must force myself to recognize the uniqueness of each individual's path to recovery, to admit finally that I really don't know what's in YOUR mind at the moment of personal crisis.
I came to face and accept my mental illness ironically through another program of therapy and recovery. The irony arises when I realize that alcoholism saved my life and set me on a course of self-discovery which has helped me in the matter of managing my extreme moods. So, in that respect, my experience has a "twist."
I have given more and more thought to the nature of my few attempts and many plans to end my life.
At the beginning of each suicidal episode, I believe desperation motivated me. I actually didn't see the first attempt coming, yet in a moment of unacceptable pain my mental state switched from stressful, to desperate, and finally to reckless indulgence. I had not, as I see it, planned that first attempt (1966).
And there I gather my first clue about the insidious nature of my thinking, the first insight into the destructive and delusional state which makes suicide a practical alternative for me.
I did not make that first attempt merely in desperation, for I had gone beyond desperation.
Today, I understand, however, that my first indicator is desperation or, perhaps, hopelessness. The first trigger for me is pain, pain of a kind which actually defies description. The pain however persuades me that I am somehow a mistake, a person who is in some tragic way ill fitted to the space I consume.
I become obsessed with the need to fix the mistake. I become desperate for a solution to the mistake. I "wall out" the well-reasoned alternatives given to me by others-friends, religion, doctors, therapists. I percieve that their suggestions are but temporary measures. I reason that I will get through this episode perhaps only to face it again and again. I feel hopeless knowing that I will never permanently get rid of the indescribable pain.
I shut myself off from the noisy world around me. I think about my love ones and how I have failed them. I think about my job and how I have become an embarrassment to those who have tried to support me. Here then is the point at which I proceed delusionally beyond desperation. In a moment, I see with clarity and, incredibly, with a feeling of peace that I can correct the mistake permanently, and, with the ultimate gesture of my willing death, I can bring relief to myself and to those around me. I see my death as the quintessential gesture of love.
The process of thinking and reaction I have just described demonstrates the profile of my own suicidal pattern. At first in my journey to mental health, I denied the whole experience. I cited that my attempts and my planning had been desperate flukes of circumstance; that no one in his right mind would consider suicide; that I was just selfishly looking for attention and an escape from responsibility; that I had never really intended to die; rather that I had intended merely to dramatize my pain.
Others in my life, including mental health professionals, conveniently accepted my explanation, anxious also to deny the reality of my state of mind and the evidence of my deep rooted illness.
Today, however, I have to acknowledge the truth about myself by reviewing and exploring myself. I have to face the truth about what I have just described to you and somehow to understand that my thinking was so-o-o-o wrong! ...That it was my disease that made my thinking seem right--thatwhen, frequently, my reasoning seems compelling to me, so compelling that I ignore all other directions, I am stepping into harm's way.
This is MY experience, and this is my insight into MY OWN nature. If it happens to line up with your experience, then perhaps my sharing has seeded a bond between us, the kind of bond I have found useful to strengthening my own healing. In any case, I have found that, for me, the courageous act of sharing that which has been too painful even to acknowledge, has set me on the path to a happier, more healthy life. The dialogue and the discovery of therapy is a critical and essential adjunct to medication.
In my suicidal mode, I had ignored the one effective remedy to my pain--that is to change and strengthen me. I have found some of that strength and change with the help, ironically, of others just like me--others who want to get better.
I feel as though we are all friends--friends of purpose. I believe sharing the truth about ourselves, among ourselves in a non-clinical fashion, provides the foundation for that friendship, and I invite you to summon your courage also and to share your truth with other like you.
I am always going to be bipolar and addicted by nature, but I know now that I don't have to die in order to be free from suffering.
Extract in the intro came from http://www.bipolarworld.net/Suicide/suicide.htm.
Other resources you might wish to view are as follows:
MY SUICIDE by James R