Let’s trade in all our judging for appreciating. Let’s lay down our righteousness and just be together. – Ram Dass
The news is full of difficulty these days, and it’s unlikely to become easier in the very near future.
In good times and in bad times, my first priority is my recovery. In difficult times, I must concentrate on the steps I take to maintain my stability.
- I take my meds as prescribed, because they work for me.
- I have increased the frequency of my visits to my therapist to weekly. Talking to my therapist is a valuable tool for me to use to keep my mind clear.
- My meditation has become more important than ever. I use it to clear negativity, and I meditate multiple times each day.
- I exercise. I speed walk 2.5 miles a minimum of 3 times each week. I am convinced exercise helps me stay stable.
- I eat food that is good for me. A year ago, I drastically cut the amount of processed sugar I eat on a daily basis. It has made a wonderful change in my mood, and I’ve lost 45 pounds (20 kg). I eat a lot of vegetables.
- Finally, I do my best to get good sleep. It’s the only time my whole body is shut down in order to refresh itself.
When the news is full of difficulty, my most important response is to maintain my own recovery. I cannot be an effective advocate for my mental health peers if I’m out of sorts. I am my #1 priority.
I have a very vivid imagination. It has served me well through my life and given me lots of good insight into many varied circumstances. I prize it.
Sometimes I get carried away, however. That came to a head yesterday.
I’ve had a fantasy for about 4 years that I fed and nurtured. At times, it preoccupied me.
In therapy yesterday, I realized it’s too big and taking up too much of my dreams. I meditated when I got home and did a bit of a release of it. I had some reservations about the release.
In this morning’s meditation, I concentrated on accepting the reality of my life, which is sort of a release. It felt good.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with fantasizing. I feel no shame. I’m grateful for the entertainment it gave me.
But it’s time to move on.
I’m moving on.
I am glad there’s a lot of attention being paid to suicide right now. It’s a topic I understand intimately.
Here’s what I know.
Getting to a place where suicide seems like a reasonable option is a complex process. It’s not simple like breathing in a virus and catching a cold. It takes time and a series of events that overwhelm an individual’s ability to cope. The individual struggles through somehow. He/She manages to just make it from one day to the next.
Then one day, something happens that seems insurmountable to the individual. It just seems like too much. The pain is too great.
I did not write those words, but I understand them. In 2003, I was in great pain. Life hurt. Each day brought new pain. I struggled through, until an event added that extra pain that made the whole pile of pain too much to bear. I was in a black pit. The pit’s walls were made of slick mud. There was nothing to grasp to pull myself up and out. All was blackness. There was no light. I made a plan, and I was on the verge of carrying it out when the phone rang.
Miraculously, I answered the phone, and I sobbed to the person on the other end of the line what was going on. Like the majority of suicidal people, I did not want to die. I wanted help. I wanted the pain to end. My sobbing words to the other person opened the possibility of getting help. I called my sister who came and took me to the hospital. I got help there.
Slowly, over a period of years, I healed. That bears repeating: I healed. Today, I do not have suicidal thoughts. Today, I live in recovery from mental illness. I practice a regimen to maintain my stability. I take medicine, I talk to a therapist regularly, I exercise, I eat healthy food, and I try to get good sleep. It takes discipline. I am not perfect, but I’m damn good at making sure I do what’s necessary to stay stable.
I’ll continue to take the necessary steps to be well. I like being well. That’s a good indicator of recovery: I like being well.
If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, I want you to know that I understand.
Here are some resources for getting help with suicidal thoughts.
Here are more resources for mental illness.
I wish you well.
This morning, it was reported that Anthony Bourdain died by suicide. Earlier this week, Kate Spade also died by suicide. Yesterday, there was a new report that suicide rates in the US have risen more than 30%. It’s a national health crisis.
All this weighs on me.
I came very close to attempting suicide many years ago. I am so grateful the phone rang at the right moment, and I chose to answer it. I told the caller what was happening, and I got help.
I have been in the pit where no light shines. I know the interminable blackness. I am not going to sit here in my chair and preach to you.
I am going to tell you the truth.
It got better for me. It was sheer hell at times on the journey, but I kept putting one foot in front of the other. I kept walking. Some days, I took one single solitary step, but I took that step. Some days, that step was simply breathing. I could not accomplish more.
My recovery took a long time. I don’t know what your recovery is going to be like. Yours might be quicker. There is no right way or wrong way to do this thing called recovery.
For today, I’m walking. These days, I can walk a lot. I recovered.
Please, stay with me on the walk.
Courage is not the absence of fear. It is walking forward despite the fear.
Edit to add: We have talked. We have both acknowledged our mistakes, and we are moving forward. I am not blameless, and I took responsibility for my part.
I went away on a trip, and my boyfriend took care of some things at my house for me while I was gone. When I got home, I discovered he had not done a good job, and there are problems because of it. The damage done to some things at my home is not the issue. It’s the broken trust. I relied on him, and he let me down.
We have not had a chance to talk face to face about the issue, but we may be able to meet tonight.
The remarkable thing about this whole situation is that I feel okay. I have no idea what’s going to happen. In the past, not knowing would cause my anxiety to skyrocket.
At least for today, I’m okay not knowing. I’ve been using a lot of meditation. I’ve used anti-anxiety medicine twice in the last week, which is very little. My therapist is on vacation, so I have to wait to talk to him until next week. Instead, I’ve been chatting with a very good friend a lot, and he helps me. I’m using the tools to stay stable.
That’s a victory. Using tools to stay stable is a great triumph.
I live with a chronic mental illness, and I use tools to manage it. A number of years ago, it managed me. Now, it’s reversed.
I’m walking through the not knowing.