I survived suicide attempts

Posted by Jim, Alumni Mentor @jimhd, Oct 6, 2016

I haven’t attempted lately, though the idea lingers. I’ve taken overdoses a number of times, and spent time in a nice facility twice. At this point, I mostly don’t want to end my life, primarily because of concern for my wife. Sometimes, when I’m in a lot of physical and emotional pain, I wish I had died.

@tbaxter33

I am glad to find this group. My heart goes out to those who become convinced that ending their life is a better alternative than the pain of the hopeless darkness that lies ahead. I totally and unexpectedly lost a wonderful son at the age of 20 to suicide. I too have been affected by what I refer to as the “demons of darkness” (depression). I too have felt experienced the feelings of hopelessness. Following our son’s death, I question the entire meaning of life. My entire belief system was turned inside out. I don’t know what to believe, who to believe, etc. I live in constant fear that another son who has struggled for years with addiction and alcoholism will end his life over the guilt of his brother’s death. I simply ask anyone who has considered suicide or who has attempted it to please consider the impact it would have on so many people. Clearly, the mind convinces us that nobody would care, and people would be better off — but it simply is not true. I know. I am truly amazed to find out how many people contemplate the decision at points in their lives. We are not alone. If someone in that situation is reading this, please seek help. Please talk with someone. I know your pain is great, but consider for a moment the pain of the lives you leave behind. I have mixed feelings writing this, because I have know the hopelessness you feel. Hang on for the people in your life. We owe it to them.

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Hello @tbaxter33 and welcome to Mayo Connect

I am sorry to hear of the loss of your son. How very difficult for you and your family. Please accept my condolences. I appreciate your entering into this conversation. As we share our experiences, as difficult as they are, we can learn from each other.

If you care to share more about yourself, we would like to get to know you better. For example, how long ago did your son die? Have you found any helpful coping strategies that you could share with us?

Teresa

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@lisalucier

Hi all,
I’m just catching up on this discussion thread, and was touched by how frankly and honestly you share your experiences with depression and thoughts of suicide, and also how you’ve lifted each other up in times when things felt really dark. It’s been a while since anyone has posted. So I thought I’d check in. @jimhd @johnjames @overwhelmed @safetyshield @tomgrinley @elizabethbryant @kimsworld @iman_im : how are you doing? How has your summer been so far?

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Therapy is going well for me. I have established a good relationship with my therapist and she adjusts the frequency of how often we meet based on how well

I am doing.

 

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@overwhelmed

Hey Jim, Yes I am still up, though acting drunk because I am so tired. I have some of the latest information regarding SCS surgery for you :
http://www.neurologyadvisor.com/interventional-pain-management/outcomes-in-patients-with-chronic-pain-may-be-improved-with-early-spinal-cord-stimulation/article/634701/
As far as being at peace with the transition. I am not religious Jim, though I respect those who are and I do understand what you mean. No further explanation is necessary. My only worry is if I do not end up dying and end up like a vegetable or with serious cognitive impairment. I have a DNR however, I am never sure if it will be respected. Out of misery is better than living like this. eh?

I am so glad that your surgery is going forward for you Jim. I will be your biggest cheerleader!!!!

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Hi Jim, thanks for thinking of me. I have not been on in a while even in some of the other groups. My health has been deteriorating more & more lately. I also just finished getting the last three of my teeth removed ( a result of having severe dry mouth, a side effect of my medications). I have been told that dentures for me will be approximately $30k!!! This Once again is due to the medications giving me dry mouth. Since I barely have any saliva my mouth cannot hold in normal dentures!! I need bone graphs & almost snap like things that hold the dentures to the top & bottom of my mouth. I am not sure that I have that kind of money to spend, especially on myself. I have had to get a lot of work done around my house & that is not cheap. I am also trying to stay in my house as long as I can but unfortunately it is a two storey so I am going to need an electronic chair to get me up & down soon!! The stairs are the hardest thing for me! Before I can do that I need to redo all of my floors (more $$$) not just because my house is almost 20 years old and the carpet is really due. Plus I can’t use my scooter on carpet. So far it h as been difficult doing an

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@overwhelmed

Hey Jim, Yes I am still up, though acting drunk because I am so tired. I have some of the latest information regarding SCS surgery for you :
http://www.neurologyadvisor.com/interventional-pain-management/outcomes-in-patients-with-chronic-pain-may-be-improved-with-early-spinal-cord-stimulation/article/634701/
As far as being at peace with the transition. I am not religious Jim, though I respect those who are and I do understand what you mean. No further explanation is necessary. My only worry is if I do not end up dying and end up like a vegetable or with serious cognitive impairment. I have a DNR however, I am never sure if it will be respected. Out of misery is better than living like this. eh?

I am so glad that your surgery is going forward for you Jim. I will be your biggest cheerleader!!!!

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Hello@overwhelmed

Thank you for your response to Jim’s @jimhd post to you. I’m glad that you updated us. It sounds as if you have been experiencing a lot of problems, including many that require large expenditures of money. We all know how difficult those kinds of problems can be.

You say that you want to stay in your own home as long as you can and that is certainly understandable. Are there any options for you to move to a one story condo or house that could be more accessible for your current needs? Do you have family or friends who might be able to help you to transition to housing that would be more accessible?

Teresa

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@overwhelmed

Hey Jim, Yes I am still up, though acting drunk because I am so tired. I have some of the latest information regarding SCS surgery for you :
http://www.neurologyadvisor.com/interventional-pain-management/outcomes-in-patients-with-chronic-pain-may-be-improved-with-early-spinal-cord-stimulation/article/634701/
As far as being at peace with the transition. I am not religious Jim, though I respect those who are and I do understand what you mean. No further explanation is necessary. My only worry is if I do not end up dying and end up like a vegetable or with serious cognitive impairment. I have a DNR however, I am never sure if it will be respected. Out of misery is better than living like this. eh?

I am so glad that your surgery is going forward for you Jim. I will be your biggest cheerleader!!!!

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It can be hard to explain to someone who’s never been there, how things can become more and more difficult as they pile up on us. When we moved into our new house 11 years ago, we were just happy to have a place that we owned again, but it soon became apparent that some things needed attention. We signed up for a senior and disabled energy audit, and after their inspection, a crew showed up one day and super insulated the crawlspace and attic. For free! !!! Then they sent someone else to look at health and safety issues, and ended up doing a bunch of work. Carpet was replaced with Pergo flooring because previous owners had animals that soiled the carpet, and it wasn’t helping our allergies. The roof was rapidly deteriorating due to windy environment, doors and windows were old (aluminum) and inefficient, and we couldn’t afford to use the electric furnace. So, we have a new metal roof, new doors and windows, and an oil-fired stove in the family room that heats the whole house. We had enough roofing left to do the detached garage, as well. They also added a second set of stairs on the deck.

There was no way we could have afforded to do all of this, but they gave us a low income loan, with interest based on our income. (I think it’s 1%, to be repaid after 20 years, or if we sell the house. In the meantime, we don’t have to make any payments! ) I don’t know your financial situation, but senior services might help you with finding ways to do everything.

Habitat for Humanity came one day with a big crew of volunteers after I’d been in the hospital, and did a bunch of work that I wasn’t able to do at that time. They put up a fence around the garden to keep the deer out, built a shed that enclosed our pressure system for the well, and did some landscape projects around the place.

God has blessed us through some good people. If I lived near you, I’d work with a group of fellow volunteers to help you, and I know that I’m not the only person who’d be happy to do so.

I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that God does, and he’ll provide for you as he has us.

Jim

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@overwhelmed

Hey Jim, Yes I am still up, though acting drunk because I am so tired. I have some of the latest information regarding SCS surgery for you :
http://www.neurologyadvisor.com/interventional-pain-management/outcomes-in-patients-with-chronic-pain-may-be-improved-with-early-spinal-cord-stimulation/article/634701/
As far as being at peace with the transition. I am not religious Jim, though I respect those who are and I do understand what you mean. No further explanation is necessary. My only worry is if I do not end up dying and end up like a vegetable or with serious cognitive impairment. I have a DNR however, I am never sure if it will be respected. Out of misery is better than living like this. eh?

I am so glad that your surgery is going forward for you Jim. I will be your biggest cheerleader!!!!

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It seems there are still kind and caring people somewhere and I am thankful.

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I was curious where this discussion has gone since I started it last year. I guess you can tell from what I wrote in October and November that I was in a bad place and needing a therapist.

I was required to be approved for the spinal cord stimulator implant by a psychiatrist, and the soonest I could get an appointment was 3 months out. By the time I saw the therapist, I was close to suicide. I guess I pretty much spilled my guts that day, and it certainly made an impression on him. I was a mess. He told me that the new therapist was in town, but had to go through some training hoops before he’d be available. The psychiatrist told me that they had a short list of people waiting for the new guy, Robert, and he called Robert while I was there, and told him to put me at the top of the list. I finally had my first session sometime in March, and I told him that he had saved my life. He understands how grateful I am, and always has scheduled me at the end of the day, so I can have a more open ended session.

I turned 67 on the 10th of August. This has been a hard month because of uncertainty about a couple of diagnoses that doctors are trying to make. I think it would be easier to find out what’s going on, even if it’s not good, than to be waiting for one test, then another, and another. My fear is that I’m facing the terrible suffering that my sister went through for several years, until her body just became depleted, even with a feeding tube, and she died when she was just past 60. Her problems began with swallowing difficulties, very much like mine. It was so hard to watch her waste away. So, I’ve been pretty depressed and anxious for a while. I have two separate things going on with my swallowing, and I don’t yet know what it means. I also saw a hematologist yesterday because my hemoglobin has been low for some time, and the pcp hasn’t been able to figure out why.

I have to stop and go to bed. I’m going to meet the rep tomorrow, to adjust the stimulator. My feet and toes have been hurting more lately. I hope some adjusting will help.

Jim

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@tbaxter33

I am glad to find this group. My heart goes out to those who become convinced that ending their life is a better alternative than the pain of the hopeless darkness that lies ahead. I totally and unexpectedly lost a wonderful son at the age of 20 to suicide. I too have been affected by what I refer to as the “demons of darkness” (depression). I too have felt experienced the feelings of hopelessness. Following our son’s death, I question the entire meaning of life. My entire belief system was turned inside out. I don’t know what to believe, who to believe, etc. I live in constant fear that another son who has struggled for years with addiction and alcoholism will end his life over the guilt of his brother’s death. I simply ask anyone who has considered suicide or who has attempted it to please consider the impact it would have on so many people. Clearly, the mind convinces us that nobody would care, and people would be better off — but it simply is not true. I know. I am truly amazed to find out how many people contemplate the decision at points in their lives. We are not alone. If someone in that situation is reading this, please seek help. Please talk with someone. I know your pain is great, but consider for a moment the pain of the lives you leave behind. I have mixed feelings writing this, because I have know the hopelessness you feel. Hang on for the people in your life. We owe it to them.

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@tbaxter33 – I started this discussion awhile back to interact with others who have attempted suicide. In 2005 & 2006, when I was at my most suicidal, I was in a very deep, dark hole of depression, and from that place, perspective didn’t exist. A lot of things disappeared in that hole. Hope, self value, love for others, pleasure, joy, care, appetite, faith, appreciation, balance, to name a few. As you and anyone who has experienced depression know, it messes with the brain. We sometimes become people no one recognizes, including ourselves. Being told things that were obvious to us pre-depression has no preventive effect on us in the midst of a suicidal episode.

In my rational moments, I acknowledge the pain I would leave in the wake of my suicide. Those thoughts have kept me alive the past 12 years, along with some good therapy and treatment for depression and other mental health issues.

Of course, I don’t speak for everyone who attempts or commits suicide. My experience is mine alone. Other people have a million other reasons for their actions. Some people say there’s an epidemic of suicide in America today. My therapist told me recently that today, the most at risk group statistically is senior adult males. The news tends to report on the teen suicide.

I love my family, and truly don’t want to be the cause of anguish and grief by ending my life. We’ve been married for 45 years, have two adult children who are married, and each has a daughter. I have 4 siblings with whom I’ve always been close. That’s a pretty solid bunch of people whom I care about, and who would be devastated if I were to succeed at a suicide attempt. That’s a strong motivator to resist the suicidal urges. Will it continue to be strong enough to keep me going until I die of natural causes? I just can’t predict the future. I wish I could state for certain that I will never make another attempt. Right now, I hope not. I have no plans to. During this period of my life, my focus is on dealing with depression and anxiety and other mental illness issues and other physical health problems, both mine and my wife’s.

Jim

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@jimhd I am not sure I have the words to help but I’m gonna sure try with you anyway. I myself have attempted suicide twice. And now thinking back I am glad I didn’t succeed when I think about my kids and parents. They stood beside me all the way but reminded me how they would always be scared to leave me alone again which would impede on them ever having a normal life. It just wouldn’t be fair to any of them having to baby sit me forever. It has been about seven yrs now since my last attempt. But I didn’t become healed all the way. I switched suicide for cutting which scared them just as bad because they were just afraid I would end up cutting my wrist too deep and bleeding to death before I could get to the hospital. I have about 50 scars on both wrist so eventually I managed to kick that habit with a better psychiatrist, the right mixture of meds, and a caring neurologist, and God. Especially God. Now I’m not saying you have to believe in god but believe in something, somebody who can help you, it just to hard to do it alone. And don’t forget how bad that charcoal taste, that is if you had to drink it. I did and it was very unpleasant and then one time it was to late and they kept me in ICU for a week. But I hear you when the emotional and now more so the physical pain gets to be more than I can handle cutting, more so than suicide really, lirks around in my brain. It creeps close to the surface just begging me to cut ONE more time but I’ve learned to talk to someone and for me I pray also. Just remember you got all of us to talk too.

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Interesting…My family expects this of me since my father went out with a bang. Thing is, this choice, would not benefit anyone. Knowing how my father’s choice changed my life I do not want my own adult children to go through what I have for over 42 years. Being the survivor of someone else close is something that stays forever. Even though I believe my adult children would not care (my dad never said a word to another about his plan). I am able to care for myself and can still drive some. I would never want to be a burden on my family with nothing of value to leave them. Some happy memories is the best I can hope for.
@jimhd Thank you for sharing as it helps to know how others cope. I am 66 and still moving on. Time with my grandson is “my” greatest joy. Hurdles there. I am patient and anxiously await an invitation. I am capable of being alone with him and we have so much fun. Tells me there is still a reason to continue to try. When I get the time with him I don’t notice the pain. Sometimes love is not enough.

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@parus

What wonderful words from a real survivor! Thanks for being part of our community.

Teresa

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@parus

Perhaps we are too depressed to communicate anything helpful or positive…or, could be everyone is busy. If wishes were horses beggars would ride.

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OMG! “If wishes were horses beggars would ride”! My mom used that saying a lot and I have never heard it except from her. Do you know where it came from?

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@parus

Part of (I hope) what is going on for me is a new PCP playing around w/ my thyroid medication. Numbers don’t lie…bull twinkies!!! I only take one med-probably have mentioned this before-can’t change it, can’t fix it”. Forget trying to make any sense…be compliant and don’t ask questions. My thyroid was murdered when I was 28 saying I had hyperthyroidism…gained 20 lbs. In 2 wks and wondered why. I have no symptoms of hypothyroidism-yet.
Can’t say something good then say nothing, “NOTHING”!
Truly am sad so many of us are struggling. Going back to my bed and beat a pillow. Yes, the mind is our enemy at times.

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Thyroid dosage is very tricky. I had “Hashimoto’s Disease” back in the 90’s which virtually kill your thyroid. I’m taking Synthroid – and only as my doc doesn’t want me to take any generic. We had to try different dosages to see how my numbers moved BUT also how I felt. It’s a balancing act. Hope you feel better.

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@lilgrizz

@jimhd I am not sure I have the words to help but I’m gonna sure try with you anyway. I myself have attempted suicide twice. And now thinking back I am glad I didn’t succeed when I think about my kids and parents. They stood beside me all the way but reminded me how they would always be scared to leave me alone again which would impede on them ever having a normal life. It just wouldn’t be fair to any of them having to baby sit me forever. It has been about seven yrs now since my last attempt. But I didn’t become healed all the way. I switched suicide for cutting which scared them just as bad because they were just afraid I would end up cutting my wrist too deep and bleeding to death before I could get to the hospital. I have about 50 scars on both wrist so eventually I managed to kick that habit with a better psychiatrist, the right mixture of meds, and a caring neurologist, and God. Especially God. Now I’m not saying you have to believe in god but believe in something, somebody who can help you, it just to hard to do it alone. And don’t forget how bad that charcoal taste, that is if you had to drink it. I did and it was very unpleasant and then one time it was to late and they kept me in ICU for a week. But I hear you when the emotional and now more so the physical pain gets to be more than I can handle cutting, more so than suicide really, lirks around in my brain. It creeps close to the surface just begging me to cut ONE more time but I’ve learned to talk to someone and for me I pray also. Just remember you got all of us to talk too.

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Thank you for your words, @lilgrizz – it does help to be able to interact with others when I’m down, but not so far down that I want to isolate.

I have a strong faith in God. I was raised in a pastor’s home, and I was a minister until I retired in 2006, when I was 55.

Depression is an indiscriminate disease. When it’s at a dark place, thought becomes skewed, and suicide becomes a reasonable alternative. When a person is at the point of suicide, thoughts about the pain it would cause others are lost. Normally, I am deeply saddened by the pain I caused by attempting, and the thought of the pain my suicide would inflict on the ones I love keeps me from acting on the suicidal thoughts.

Right now, I’m relatively safe. The thoughts linger, but in the back of my mind. The main issue, I believe, is passive suicide. The wish that an illness or disease would take me. I think that’s a lot safer mindset than having a plan and actively putting it into place, at least for me.

Self harm is a very different issue than suicidal ideation. Self harm doesn’t usually have suicide as a goal, though I certainly can see that it could be an entry point for suicidal thoughts to begin. This is something I talked with my therapist about last week. The whole field of mental illness and where it can lead is a vast range of thought. I never thought it would become a personal issue. I’ve been fortunate to have had a number of good doctors, therapists and psychiatrists to work with. They may have had to do more than just hold my hand at times. I know I’ve hung on pretty tightly to them many times. My present pastor has been a great help to me, as well. He has cancer, and goes through periods of depression, especially when he begins a new treatment, so he understands what I live with every day.

How are you doing right now, with cutting? Are you at a place where you have the help and support you need to stay safe? I hope so.

Keep praying and meditating on God’s word.

Jim

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@babette Here's the discussion.

Jim

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