If you are experiencing suicidal pain, you can take heart from the fact that others have survived in the face of similar pain. Below is one of a series of stories of people who have survived their suicidal crises.
I first met Laura in an educational peer support group that I facilitated. I was so struck with how she managed to find creative ways to find social support, which was, and continues to be, the major factor in her recovery.
I was a caregiver for both my younger brother and my mother from 2006-2015. Peter had cancer and my mother had dementia. I also had a very demanding job and was in a lonely and unhappy marriage. During that period I had many losses: Peter passed away, my mom and dad passed away, my dog passed away. I then became severely depressed. The final trigger was when my husband emotionally withdrew from me and our marriage fell apart.
One morning in August 2015 after a sleepless night, I woke up crying and unable to stop. I told my husband that I had pills and was going to kill myself. I was very adamant, because I saw no way out of the nightmare I was in.
I was admitted to the hospital for my depression. While I was there, a sweet nurse sat on my bed and told me that people from all walks of life have psychiatric crises like mine and that I am not alone. I had so much shame about my depression, and her words were reassuring. She also told me that I was fairly lucid, I had good eye contact and that I would be alright.
After I was released from the hospital, I would force myself to reach out to friends and family and connect; even when I didn’t feel like it. I joined some hiking groups, also Meetup groups for movies, breakfast, dance, and singing. I often would go kicking and screaming to these events because I was so scared to meet new people and try new things.
One day I went to my local grocery store and found a local magazine with an ad for a depression support group. I jumped on it and went faithfully every Monday evening for over a year. I met some wonderful broken people just like me who helped me immensely by telling their stories and sharing resources and information. Some of us got together socially which was way fun. I let go of my shame about being a depressive and really came out of my shell at that point.
I also prayed, which gave me comfort. Psalm 23 helped me as did the Memorare, a prayer for the very desperate to Blessed Virgin Mary. I would literally pray to God asking to please just get me through this next hour, and then the next hour and then the next. And soon the hours passed, and – guess what? The subsequent hours weren’t as awful as the hours before. And then the next day, and then the next week, and month and year all got better and better.
On a metaphysical level, I went to a wonderful Tarot reader who looked at my cards, laughed lightheartedly, and also told me I was going to be alright. This also gave me hope. My self defeating thoughts were my greatest obstacle to getting better. I really had to watch them carefully and change my negative self talk to affirmations.
I still have depressive episodes now and then, but they are mild to moderate and do not last long. I am susceptible to seasonal affect disorder and use a light therapy box in the winter. I exercise one hour each day. I try to meditate every day for 30-45 minutes. I also have a meditation group every Tuesday night. I use various amino acids to keep my moods on an even keel. I have a book The Mood Cure by Julia Ross which I reference for alternatives to pharmaceuticals. I stay socially involved as much as possible. Dance is also great therapy for me. I am so joyful when I dance. Now I breath, I relax, I allow, I enjoy.