How to Prevent (Your Own) Suicide

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

IMG_9712I have never known anyone who committed suicide, nor have I attempted to commit suicide myself.

But I’ve thought about it for a very, very long time. I’ve thought about it seriously. I’ve thought about how – but mostly I’ve obsessed about why, why it would make everything better for everyone.

I have considered suicide the best solution.

But not today.

Today I know that suicide as a solution is one of the lies that depression tells me. I don’t know why there is a part of my brain that hates me enough to whisper such evil, but I know that it is there. I know it can’t be trusted. And I know, now, how to recognize that voice from the voice of truth.

I know how to prevent my own suicide.

I know that it takes work. Constant vigilance. And help.

I cannot fight off the lies by myself. I don’t believe anyone who has depression can hold it off alone.

Connection is not an option. It’s a requirement.

I know now that when suicide comes up as a possible solution, I’m not well. Suicide is not a logical option for a healthy brain. But even with that knowledge, I can’t shut that cycle down alone.

I have to tell someone.

It is not an easy thing to admit to someone that you are trying to decide if your children would benefit more from your life insurance or your continued physical presence. It is worse than embarrassing. It is both humiliating and hurtful. It means opening yourself up to the judgment that you are selfish or begging for attention. It means saying out loud that you are not like everyone else. It means saying to someone you care about that you’ve thought about leaving them.

But as hard as it is to say the words out loud, it’s the only way I’ve found to shut the little voice up and shut the plan down.

In order to do that, I have to be connected with someone who can hear those words. I have to have trust in the bank with them. I have to have practiced showing up so that I have the guts to do it when it means the most.

Connecting doesn’t just stop me from being lonely. It keeps me alive.

Taking my medicine keeps me alive, too.

I’ve been taking an anti-depressant since 2007. I’ve had to make adjustments to the type and the dosage, but the need for medication has remained constant. I believe it always will.

People ask me sometimes if, now that I’ve learned so much about how to be happy, I will stop taking my medicine. But my medicine doesn’t make me happy. My medicine brings me up to ground zero so that I have the chance to be happy. My medicine stops me from thinking suicide makes sense.

I’ve learned in the last year or so just how important my medicine is. I take two pills a day (because I am too cheap to spring for the time-release version), and sometimes I forget to take the afternoon pill. I tell myself it will be fine, that one or two pills won’t make a difference. And then it does.

I can’t screw around with my health. I may not like that I’m a fragile flower, but I am. I have to take care of me in exactly the way that my mind and body demand.

Mental and physical health is essential to preventing my own suicide.

It also helps that I know the signs.

I know what depression looks like for me, and I’ve accepted that depression is part of my normal. I can skip past denial and anger and get to taking care of myself when I notice that I’m sleeping too much, watching too much TV, and avoiding work. If I pay attention, I can stop the voices long before suicide is brought to the table.

This is how I am preventing suicide, this week and every week. Through connection, medication, awareness and acceptance. This is what keeps me alive.

Do you need help figuring out how to prevent your own suicide? Reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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  1. Fabulous. I have lost someone to suicide. If more people were willing to openly discuss their mental health, like you have above, I believe it would make a world of difference. Thank you for this!
    Carrie Monroe O’Keefe’s most recent post: My. Happy. Place.

  2. Erika says:

    “My medicine brings me up to ground zero so that I have the chance to be happy.”

    So true! This article is as honest as I hope I am.

  3. Sarah K. says:

    Although I read a lot of blogs I have never ever felt compelled to comment on a post…until this one. Thank you so much for opening your heart and sharing. As a healthcare provider who works with people who are depressed these words rang so true. I feel like you put to words the feelings that so many people might not be able to articulate. May you continue to find strength in your struggles and keep the dialogue open. Thank you.

    • Miss Britt says:

      I’ve been living with depression for a long time, and I am lucky to have a supportive family. That makes it easier to be open about it. It was a lot harder when it was new.

  4. Perfect, Britt.

    I have depression, too, and I haven’t attempted suicide either, but that little voice used to hang around constantly. Now it’s only once in a while. I now know how to turn it around, and you’re right: reaching out to someone is the best way. It’s hard—every time I have to tell someone that I’m struggling is harder than the last (it must be a pride thing)—but I do it, and it helps.

    Thank you for writing this.
    Elizabeth Barone’s most recent post: Suicide Prevention Week 2013

    • Miss Britt says:

      I think you’re right that pride is a a factor. For me, it’s hard because I constantly feel like I *should* have my shit together now!

  5. Christina L says:

    Thank you for being so bravely honest. I have lost a family member to suicide. Shortly afterwards I got a ying and yang tattoo to remind myself that life is balanced by happy moments along with sad moments. I needed a physical reminder to never forget what happened to him.

  6. e says:

    I’ve struggled for a long time, and have been so conflicted about trying antidepressants or not. All the studies that show them basically indistinguishable in effectiveness from placebos make me think that I would feel like an idiot for taking one and imagining that it helped me, but then I consider to myself that even IF something did have only a placebo effect, at least it would be helping me. I have spent far more money over the years on psychotherapy than I would have if I’d tried out some meds. It’s hard to know what to do. Thanks so much for this post.

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