Thoughts and feelings just passing through

Yesterday was World Suicide Prevention Day.  I didn’t know this till today, but looking back on yesterday, unknowingly, I was thinking a lot about the idea of suicide – something I don’t think a lot about.  It’s been an annual day on September 10, since 2003; this year’s theme is Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives.

I’ve been thinking about this book that Kate Bornstein wrote called, Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws.  I haven’t read this book in its entirety, but the gist is that there are so many things you can do other than suicide – some of them might be extreme, some might be unhealthy, some might be even self-destructive.  But if it gets you through the moment, and you’re still here, that is good enough for the the time being.  I think that’s a great message.  Sometimes when someone is in so much psychological pain, nothing sounds appealing.  But if you just try something different, something way out there, it might be enough to even just temporarily jump-start you out of the mode you’re in.

When I was in high school, one day I heard an after-school announcement for a “yellow ribbon club.”  I really wasn’t doing well, and I decided to see what it was about.  It was run by school psychologists, and there were maybe 5 students who showed up.  We went around the room stating why we came.  I basically said I came because I was worried I might attempt suicide; I came to get help.  The other students had come for other reasons – either they had been affected by the suicide of someone they knew, or they just wanted to help.  After I said why I was here, one of the psychologists reiterated what I had said.  I remember feeling embarrassed and selfish.  I didn’t go back to any more meetings.  No one ever followed up with me.  I did not end up attempting suicide, but things did get worse, and I ended up in the hospital not that much later on.  I partially blame the psychologists for never checking back in with me.

This is a hard post to write because suicide is such a loaded subject.  I’ve never attempted suicide or had an actual plan or had serious suicidal ideations.  But there’s another way to feel suicidal – just kind of vaguely feeling like you cannot go on.  Like you cannot keep living your life.  Like you want to just stop existing, or just sleep forever.  I’ve definitely felt that.  With all the rough mental health – related stuff I’ve been through lately, I’ve felt that even recently.  It’s a dull, nebulous, insidious, recurring, empty heavy veil, a lens to see the world through – a hindrance for sure, because there’s not much to be able to see, through all those layers.  I don’t really know how to address it, other than to hope it will pass.

I think that what I’m learning is that rather than fighting those types of thoughts and feelings or trying to distract or re-route, it is possible to just give them less emphasis, to live with them, and to just focus on doing what you want to do, despite them.  Just let them cycle through your brain, acknowledge them, but don’t give them any more power than what they are – just thoughts and feelings that come and go…

Kinda easier said than done, but I am trying to adopt this practice…


12 Comments on “Thoughts and feelings just passing through”

  1. Kasey Weird says:

    A thought I have had a lot recently is that the main difference for me between going through life during a bout of depression, during when I’m not depressed, is that when I am, literally every choice I make to do anything also involves making the specific choice not to commit suicide instead of doing that thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I did attempt suicide , twice in my life, once at 17 then again at 25 , it’s a deep dark very frightening mind space to be in when you attempt to carry out your darkest thoughts , I do not judge folks who do succeed , I do not think they are weak or cowards or selfish , my stance on it is simple , people, everyone, me, you, the kid down the street, the old man in the retirement home , everyone ….. has a breaking point , thankfully most folks never reach that point or if they do, they never go beyond that point, but when and if you do go beyond that breaking point, life becomes unbearable, chaotic, out of control and very frightening, life becomes pointless and futile and at that point there is no way back …except one , the permanent solution to all the pain and suffering the person is experiencing ….. every day I look for reasons to keep breathing , right now my sole reason for existing is “Hammy ” our 14 year old son , when my wife passed away my life ended , now I exist , just exist, but you know what? … I’ll take that existence, because at the end of the school day my reason to keep on keepin on walks through that door…. that’s good enough reason for me to keep existing, for now.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. alexforshaw says:

    I have had several severe bouts of depression and anxiety through my life, starting at the age of 13-14 and continuing to the present day, nearly 30 years later. I’ve attempted suicide twice, both times with an OD of painkillers and alcohol, and both times my body reacted by vomiting. I’ve had some times in my life when I’ve cut myself, and this has helped at the time: the focus of the pain restored some feeling of control over my life. I wouldn’t recommend self harm if there are alternatives, but the thing about it (for me) is that it was effective. More effective than therapy or medication (meds for depression took the edge off for a couple of months and then I got hit with bad side-effects and had to come off them).

    My view now is that my mental health problems are part of me and they’re not going away. I do what I can to understand what triggers them so I can try to change or avoid those causes, and when that’s not possible I just look after myself as best I can while the world carries on outside.

    Like

    • janitorqueer says:

      Yeah, I agree – I’m trying to accept that my mental health issues are a part of me, and to go easy on myself; not berate myself for feeling the way I do sometimes because that’ll just compound it…

      Like

  4. Kris says:

    Your medication maybe needs changing? Hang in there bud – there is a lot of support for you among your followers. Hugs from afar.

    Like

  5. Rachel says:

    Yes, before I had children I would go through periods of depression and anxiety which led to thoughts of suicide (but with no ‘easy’ method being obvious to me and a concerned family member pointing me in the right direction for help, I survived) without understanding fully why (but misogyny/ sexism was a big trigger for me). After I had kids, my mind didn’t move towards suicide (I believe that was because of my need to look after my children- I was needed) even though I had my most severe anxiety episodes then. Just recently, with politics being so depressing (here in Australia) and the ever present threat of climate change that we are responsible for, makes me lose faith in people and this is where I am most vulnerable to thinking that life’s not worth living. Even the products I buy might go through the hands of modern day slaves (so retail therapy is out). Being around children (mine and my nieces and nephews), their innocence, their love, their more progressive ideas and opinions helps me. Now, I worry that one of my sons might be vulnerable like me to mental illness because he is so sensitive to everything like me. It’s important to be aware and care but it’s a double edged sword. I can’t fix him because I can’t fix me. This just makes me feel scared. I am attempting to access psychology services for him just to have someone professional to talk to, which I hope will help. To cut a long story short, I read a book ‘The Happiness Trap’ (terrible title but valuable advice) that pretty much says the same thing as you do: allow the feelings and thoughts to be there but don’t pay them too much attention and just get on with doing things that you value. If I feel like I’m making a difference then my life feels less worthless/ more worthy. Sorry about the ramble / using you like a sounding board. Probably just could have written ‘ditto’ lol oh yes, humour helps too and kids are funny 🙂

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