How To Avoid Being Part Of The Epidemic of Suicide
Have you ever felt like life is not worth living? That no one understands your pain? That you are a burden to others and your family? And maybe you feel as though no one will miss you when you’re gone?
I’ve been there. I suffer from bipolar I disorder it can be described as having two polar extremes or shifts in moods. On one end you can have a low mood or depression, and on the other end you can have a high or manic mood – which is like having an overly excited and hyper mood. You can also have both manic and depression which is called having a mixed episode. Depression can lead to suicidal thoughts and attempts. I would like to share with you a little bit of my story and how I deal with suicidal thoughts.
You’re not alone…
Almost everyone has thought of or contemplated suicide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately one million people commit suicide each year worldwide. It has become an epidemic more so today, in the day and age of social media. The rates of suicides have increased especially among teens. Research has shown that the more time you spend on social media, the more you are prone to mental illness and have depression or anxiety. This blog post is dedicated to those who felt like me, or feel like they didn’t belong on this earth. I may not know exactly how you feel, but I share similar feelings with you; I have had those feelings of not belonging, and not wanting to inhabit this earth anymore.
In my childhood…
I often felt sad as a child. I can remember at seven, I had low self-esteem mainly because of how I looked with my dark skin. When I was twelve years old and heard that someone had committed suicide, I thought I would never do that. I thought suicide was a sin. I would think, what about their families? What about the people they are leaving behind? How can they think like that? Then I found myself in a similar boat, where I could not stop the sad feelings inside. I could not stop the tears from falling down my face. At twelve, I heard about depression, but didn’t think that applied to me or was related to the way I was feeling. I used to feel suicidal at times, especially when I had a lot of depression, but I had a team that would not let me down, they did not give up on me. They helped me eat well and exercise, take supplements, and they also taught me how to recognize my triggers. Knowing that you’re not alone is a good feeling to have.
Fast-forward seven years later I had more suicidal thoughts, more dark thoughts of feeling stuck and alone, even though I had great people around me. It was an internal mask I wore. At nineteen, I had my first bipolar manic episode. I had so much stress taking on two jobs during the summer following my freshman year at the University of Washington. I was extremely tired and taking on too much and in turn, I had a manic breakdown.
My experience with suicide was scary…
I was taken to the hospital after my manic attack, and I was sent home in tears that same day. After a few days, my parents and I went to see a psychiatrist, then, came the words that forever shifted the paradigm in my life forever. I heard these words that changed my life and started my suicidal journey spiraling down hill. The doctor told me I had bipolar I disorder. I sat there fighting with my tears and with my saturated deep dark thoughts. I thought to myself, I would never be the same, no one would want to be with me, and that I would be by myself for the rest of my life.
After my manic episode, it took years of sitting on the sofa feeling sorry for myself. I felt somber and sad all day long. I would not move from the couch. One day when the hurt was too much, I thought, my life would never change and attempted suicide, by pushing pills down my throat. The next thing I know I was being transported to the hospital.
But after years of multiple hospitalizations, and being tired of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to take action. I got tired of seeing the world move while I sat there motionless. I started to research more on bipolar, the symptoms, medication management, and I started attending NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) support groups. I talk about this in my book Strengthening Your Identity While the Shadow Is in Front of You, available on Amazon and on this website at this link. I found out that my life doesn’t have to be the way it was, that lots of people suffer from bipolar, and many are managing it and living happy lives. I started to research how to live and manage the illness.
We all deserve to live…
Throughout the years, I have learned that I deserve to live. I deserve a second chance. I learned this after my last suicidal attempt in 2016. In August of 2016, I decided to attempt to end my life for the third time by taking pills. I decided it would be the end of my 31 years of living on this earth, I would have to abandon my family and friends, I didn’t even think twice. The thing about suicidal thoughts is that the pain overrides any rational thinking, it’s like you can’t think of anything else but wanting to die. You only think about the hurt that consumes you. I looked in the mirror and started taking the pills. I started to feel tired, lethargic and nauseous. The next thing I knew, I woke up in the hospital bed with cords hooked up to me. At first, I thought to myself, I made it. But it wasn’t my time; someone, God or the universe still wanted me here on earth.
At that point, I had an epiphany, I thought to myself, “Let me do what my mom has been doing, let me try God.” She told me that God had saved her from so many negative events in her life. So I tried trusting God for help. I decided to turn to someone else for assistance with my life. I began reading the word, and as I stated earlier I joined bipolar support groups, listening to others; doctors, natural paths, and other survivors for answers, healing and comfort. Reading inspirational books and the Bible, and then the truth began to speak to me, literally like off the page. For example, as I am typing this blog right now and I hear about this verse on TV from the bible that speaks volumes, “for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (Bible: New King James Version 2 Timothy 1:7). This verse has so many meanings, it’s one of the strongest verses. One meaning that sticks out to me most is that, you are born with a sound mind. God, the universe has granted you that. You don’t have to fear. He has equipped you with the tools you need to fight. The power of my divine faith is what has saved me. I know that something greater than myself is the reason I am still breathing today. That reason alone, is enough to humble me, and know that we are all worthy to live here on earth. You must hold on to that word, the inspiration, and the person that you are living for.
One thing I know for sure is that, I had to adjust my lifestyle…
- I know for me, sugar has been the enemy for my bipolar, depression and anxiety. So I try to eliminate or reduce eating processed sugar. Notice I said, “TRY” meaning I still struggle, but I’m more aware that if I feel sad or even suicidal, I have to evaluate what I ate. It may seem small or you may think, “I never thought about that,” but it’s true. Many people; doctors and other sufferers as well as articles I’ve read, have mentioned the negative effects of sugar on the brain. Sugar affects the neurotransmitters – dopamine and serotonin the transmitters responsible for emotions and feelings. So that mocha latte is not good for your mood.
- Another thing I noticed was that if I didn’t get enough sleep, at least eight hours, I would be off and irritable the next morning.
- Exercise is huge, I try to exercise at least three days a week, I do cardio at the gym and I usually incorporate walking. With exercise, you exhibit the release of the endorphins or “feel good” chemicals in your brain, that give you a natural high that is good for you.
- I also have affirmations that I made and put on my mirror to look at every morning. I’ll share a few with you: “I AM a dark and lovely Cleopatra Queen of hearts” and “He loves me abundantly and exclusively.” They make me feel worthy and included in this earthly realm.
- I also meditate and read the word. This has revived me tremendously.
With these few adjustments, my life has been great…I haven’t attempted suicide in over three years and I am living my life as intended. Now with that said I am not perfect, I do slip up, but now, I know when something is wrong I have a “Wellness Recovery Action Plan” or “WRAP.” This is something I learned from a NAMI seminar class. WRAP is used when you feel like you are having an episode or relapse whether it is with bipolar or depression. Make sure you have a plan to do something, take action…maybe it can be something you like to do like listen to
music, take a bath, meditate, write in a journal, take a walk, exercise, or talk to someone. Call the suicide hotline: (1800-273-8255) you can remain anonymous. Recognize and know your triggers or what starts the deep depressed thinking of dark emotions. Do something, the worst thing you can do is sit there and let the emotions just soak in.
There is a devoted love waiting for you from the universe. There are angels out there waiting to listen to you. I’m here to tell you Mother Earth still loves you dearly, and wants you here, present, in the now! As Christine Caine an author and speaker says:
Pain and suffering coexist with victory.”
In this world you are going to have pain and the lows, that’s just how the universe balances things out. Without the lows you won’t know how to handle tough times that make you stronger and tenacious with a resilient mind (Christine Caine, 2018). I’ll leave you with a scripture from the bible that Christine Caine mentioned on her show on TBN that spoke deep to my soul.
When my heart is overwhelmed lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (Psalms 61: 2)
When I read this verse I think…in life there is strife, but you need to depend on a higher power or something bigger than you for solace and understanding, in order to achieve victory!
Please Click here if you would like to Contact Me.