Tag Archive: suicidal ideation


Gratitude Attitude

I’ve had a piss poor attitude lately. And it’s still lingering and may strike again… but at the same time, through all the murky, painful things I feel–I can feel and recognize the many blessings I have in my life. If I listed all the blessings and things I’m grateful for, perhaps I’d climb out of the smog…. but I’d also be here developing carpal tunnel syndrome (which I must say I know entirely too much about, thank you professor…) and I’d never accomplish any of the adult responsibilities I have to take care of and never get to school, nevermind think of opening a book. (Hmm… but living in peace and gratitude sound mighty appealing at the moment)

First of all:

I am grateful that I can open a book. Yes, I’m grateful I have all my fingers and they work properly, but I mean I can open and I can read. Not only am I literate–but I am slowly but surely better able to concentrate on my textbooks and course material a little more with every passing day. Reading a post-it was hard not all that long ago, and I am grateful to be attached enough to what I’m doing that I can read and slowly take things in.

I am also grateful for the slow lift of my depression. I’m still depressed. I studied and sulked today. But I don’t hurt so badly that I’m on the brink of harming myself. In fact, I haven’t even thought of it today. Nor has it come up frequently in weeks. I’ve had a lot of crap go on, but I’ve been given strength, willpower, and courage to get through it. Even when I feel like a mouse, I am actually making a lion’s roar by standing up for myself, not quitting (holding him accountable, school, or life), and not falling back into the pit.

I am also grateful for the friends I’ve had for years, and the new ones I’ve made since school started. A few of them, I truly believe are true. Or… they likely wouldn’t tolerate me. 😉 You know who your friends are when it’s 4am and they’re dealing with you being a hot mess after you went to socialize with your classmates at a post-exam party and *he* was there and you drank your feelings away. (<—admittedly, one of my less bright decisions, however, they were there–and they stayed)

I am grateful for learning how to sip thanks to a friend from school. I’m still working on this process, but evidently I chug everything from water, to milk, to juice, to beer. I can now sip a martini. I’ve never been one of those people who gets wasted at clubs, etc. but I have definitely been engaging in binge drinking at several social events where my classmates were partying.

I know that drinking til I only feel sparkly silly happiness is not a healthy way to cope with school, the assault, seeing him everyday. And for that wisdom, I am grateful.

I am grateful that I have enough money to pay the rent in the coming week. I know so many people are struggling with their housing–and if I could, I would be running a free hotel at the castle (what my friends call my apt. lol) for anyone I knew who was safe and in need of a warm place to stay. It hurts me that my aunt and my mom are struggling to make their mortgages, but I am also grateful that even if it’s tough and a scramble, they can make it. I learned everything I know about getting by with whatever you’ve got, and being a tough cookie from them.

Baby… it’s cold outside. And I am grateful that I have great roommates, a lovely place, and more importantly than it being pretty… I have a place to rest my head every night. That hasn’t always been the case during my recovery. But, my pillow is in a bed, in my room… and I am ever so grateful for that.

Advertisements

*May trigger: Inpatient discussion, as well as mention of suicidality.*

I view inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations as mental health vacations (on the best of days) and holding cells for safety (when I’m not in such a pleasant mood). For some people, going “inpatient” is a whole different experience and is really therapeutic. But, with me, they never really know what to do with a suicidal trauma patient, so on gen. psych., they tend not to bother. I actually, at this point, prefer it that way.

“Don’t want your hand this time. I’ll save myself.” ~Evanescence

I’m not viewing an inpatient hospitalization as a poor experience for me. I go when I need to maintain safety and can’t do it with my skills and outside supports. I’d rather do that than be dead (as much pain as I’m in at that time & as much as I see that as the ONLY option, logically, somewhere–I know it’s not). By doing so, I have committed to safety, removed myself from my triggering environment, and have given myself a few days to figure out why I was downward spiraling. I do know why now, and it has mostly to do with fear of failure (aka going back to school, maintaining a real life, etc.) and interpersonal hurts. I had been downward spiraling for about 8 weeks and in a pit for about 3 weeks. At some point in time, I was going to have to do what was in my best interest, and continue with self-care. Now the fears to me felt like absolute terror, suffocation, and the hurts felt like the size of Texas because G-d forbid I have a feeling that isn’t at least as big as the county (this after reality checks, radical acceptance, mindfulness, and everything else up the wazoo). My flashbacks had increased, and they hurt like hell. I wasn’t able to contain them as well as usual, my skills were not working as well as they had been. I know why now, but at the time I couldn’t figure out why I was in some aspects doing very well, and in others falling apart (several times a day). My symptoms were huge, my flashbacks were huge, my urges were huge, and my progress was huge. It was oxymoronic to me.

Regardless, I am glad to have gotten a better grip on things. Self-care means more to me than do the old patterns of self-harm that are dying a slow painful death.

I’d like to thank the people closest to me for supporting me through another bump in the road. I’d especially like to thank my Mom, for stepping up to the plate now that I’m an adult (hey–better late than never!!!) and need her even more than when I was a kid now that I’m healing. And I’d like to say an exceptionally huge thank you to my best friend, Hope, for driving a 100 miles just to spend a little bit of time with me, and being my unbiological sister.

I hope you are all doing well and look forward to catching up on what I’ve missed while I was inpatient (and um, the week after I got out lol).

Peace and serenity to you,

Joy (and another who really wanted to put her 2 10 cents in lol)

**Although I’m pretty sure this is a pretty non-triggering post, it does mention trauma, parts, flashbacks and eating issues. So if you are particularly sensitive at this time, please do not read this until you are safe and supported enough to. Ty.**

Upon returning from my Mom’s a few weeks ago (no NEW triggers there, same old, dealt w them well, etc.)… I seem to have fallen off my recovery path a bit, or maybe found a new direction. I’m not sure. All I know is that since I’ve come home, I’ve gone to my psychiatric rehabilitation program increasingly as the two weeks have gone by, gone to every DBT session, and stayed s/h free. It has not been easy. Outside of PTSD stuff, there’s been a LOT going on for me in my personal life, be they interpersonal problems, financial difficulties, pending homelessness, and eating issues.

I have made a lot of mistakes the past few weeks, but nothing too detrimental. I may have said the wrong thing, even though I meant it to be so gentle, yet not so subtle that someone didn’t get the boundaries I asserted, I may have shared too much or too little at times… but, I am doing my best. I have also embarked on a little bit of late teenager silliness… and then the following does not include any mistakes I’ve made: but I’ve let my parts play. It’s been phenomenal for all of us, including me, as the host. However, what I’ve come to know for myself is, as I’ve learned how to better communicate w my internal system, and become more stable… now the traumatized parts are coming out more. And if I’m not going to care for them, they’ll be in the same boat they were when they fragmented off. So, I choose to be a good parts mom & nurture, love them, and keep them safe. I don’t have a DID nor a trauma therapist. I am essentially winging it, and doing what I know works in other situations, other safe skills, and I am riding the wave and seeing it through to the end of the pain. I am also consulting w two trauma tx’ists soon bc this is becoming much too much for me to manage on my own. I know when to reach out for help. And I’m pleased that my clinician at my program, though she is a very emotionally boundaried person, and truly barely knows me–knows that I REACH out (even from the pits in the past) when I need more help than what I can currently do by myself and with my current supports.

I also called Renfrew yesterday bc the not-eating thing was not something I was managing well. I have no idea why this is going on. I am a little chubby, but I am a curvy, cute lil thing according to most–so I am a teensy weensy bit insecure. And some of my more protective parts have eating issues (namely 15, she was ballsy and would eat in the middle of the night, not caring if she got caught bc we needed nourishment), but nothing like this. And it’s not just lack of appetite. I refuse to eat. I will eat socially. And not in a disordered manner w lots of rules, but I can only will myself to eat socially. I am a very strong-willed individual. I figured going to the supermarket and getting Carnation Instant Breakfasts, baby food in flavors I’d consider, and other similar things I could will myself to consume those. But, I couldn’t. All week. So I called Renfrew. But, I have decided, I don’t want to go back to the hospital. I WILL manage this on my own. And if it does become so incredibly unmanageable, I will go. But–I am willing to work my tush off so I don’t have to go back inpatient for any reason right now. I am safe, I am not suicidal, I am dealing w my symptoms as best as I can. And that’s THAT.

So that’s where I’ve been hiding these last two weeks. I even let my fb games peter off. I have been working on me. And experiencing the absolute joy and serenity, when I’ve gotten through the pain. It’s so oxymoronic. It has been such an ugly and yet beautiful, self-actualization, phenomenal time for me. And if you have any suggestions on the nurturing and keeping the traumatized, little (and sometimes a little older) ones safe and protected, please by ALL means share. I would be forever indebted to you bc I have no idea what I’m doing. I hope you are all doing well. ❤

Wishing you peace, safety, and serenity,

Joy

Today is Self Injury Awareness Day. Therefore, I’m using today as an impetus to share with you my own experience with self-injury (aka self-harm=s/h). Please do not read this if it will trigger you. Also, I want to make it explicitly clear that I do not condone self-harm as a coping skill, however do not judge myself or others for resorting to it when we feel as though nothing else will assuage our pain (or whatever other things trigger an urge to self-harm).

My first incident of s/h was when I was 7. I had no idea why I was doing what I was doing. All I recall is that I explained (and lied) to my step-mother and told her I was trying to shave just like she did. Needless to say, when it did come time to shave in my early adolescence I was not permitted to do so. I have no idea why. Especially since I was apparently very convincing when I told her it wasn’t on purpose.

I then began sneaking hard liquor (and refilling what I had consumed in the most brilliant way an elementary-aged child could) from the liquor cabinet until my parents gave up drinking quite as much. Then, since their liquor required less space, they relocated it to a cabinet that was well out of my reach (then and almost now).

As I look back on these experiences I can recognize that they were ways for me to drown out something, what? At the time I had NO idea.

I achieved my first degree black belt when I was 16. I used these skills to s/h in a way that I was pretty sure no one would know about and no one would question. I continued this from middle school through college. I was in an incredible amount of emotional pain; that I couldn’t get rid of. All I knew is that my parents didn’t love me and it made me feel like my heart was slowly dying. Nothing I did won their approval. No amount of good deeds at home, the meticulous attention to my chores (which included EVERYTHING while my brother, of course, had none), my excellent grades, my involvement in the community in various ways… nothing. So my Catholic school girl self abused herself in the only way I knew how without getting caught. I had such enormous pain, and severely repressed anger, hostility, shame; I could go all day with what I had stuffed in my “little box”. I was a breakdown waiting to happen. I believed I had to be perfect in every aspect of my life, stuff all the pain away, and put on my (apparently slightly scary) fake-smile.

The year before I started medical school I had an extremely abusive relationship with my first girlfriend. I had previously been treated like gold by my boyfriend of 5 years. We had some major PTSD-related issues in our relationship now that I can look at it in hindsight, but he was the least abusive partner I’ve dated.

I slowly descended into madness during and after this relationship. I ended it, I simply couldn’t take the tumultuousness of our relationship anymore–I knew I was about to snap. And I did. But, I apparently was still able to put on a fascade that I was “just fine”. I did well in medical school while the symptoms of complex-PTSD continued to ravage my life. I was finally diagnosed with C-PTSD in medical school after a litany of misdiagnoses. I continued in the s/h behaviors I had long used, and introduced more. These new ones I was terrified by, these new ones had to be so minor that no one could see them or “everyone would know”. Que dira de la gente… what will people say? That was my only concern and the only reason why I kept my s/h superficial.

I took three weeks after the summer of my first year to seek out trauma-specific treatment. Every summer since I was a sophomore in college I had spent doing research to bolster my resume. I took a little bit of time from this for my treatment. I figured three weeks was plenty of time to figure out what the hell was really wrong and how to quickly fix it. I was adept at most everything else I did, therefore I approached intensive trauma tx with the same tenacity.

Apparently, my PTSD didn’t give a crap about my timeframe. Beginning trauma tx was like ripping off a bandaid on my fullbodied wound. My flashbacks got worse, my s/h urges became totally unmanageable. I tried using some of the skills I had learned and they were ineffective. I resorted to the only thing I knew would help alleviate some of my pain.

I used to (and still do) restrict access to certain rooms in my apartment in order to avoid s/h and to see if I could tolerate the pain until it ended. Sometimes, some days I was successful. Others I was not. Going to the ER with a self-inflicted wound got me nowhere. I did a good enough job tending to my wound that it was not necessary for the ER to intervene medically. And since I was no longer suicidal, my psychiatrist who happened to be on call that night, told me to “step up the individual tx and step up the DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy)”; and I was sent home. That was the first time I had actually scared myself by what I had done to my body.

After almost two years of therapy programs, I have come to realize that I no longer need to physically abuse myself. However, that did not stop my s/h. I would do it in the same place so that no one would question it should they see. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t rock my skills which I knew and practiced like it was my job. As I explained to my mother yesterday, the pain of my flashbacks or other PTSD-related pain is about a million times worse than any physical pain I’ve ever had. The other day she saw me, and I was barely able to walk because of undiagnosed rheumatological problems (I have been to the doctor several times to try to pin down why one day I can run a mile and others I have to army crawl to the bathroom).

I have used s/h when I saw no other options to reduce my pain/suicidality, or when after going through the most effective coping skills (for me), several times, I was still in intolerable pain. I am in no way glorifying my s/h behaviors, but as I said before, nor do I judge them. It was all I had at times when I was emotionally grasping at straws and knew that I didn’t want to permanently terminate my existence (even if it hurt so bad that I obsessed about it). Everyone who s/h’s does it for their own personal reason. This was mine.

I have not purposely taken any action against my body in 50 days as of today. It has not been easy or pretty as I have said several times elsewhere today. Am I proud? Yes. Has it been hell not resorting to self-abusive behaviors? Absolutely. I will gladly share some of my favorite coping skills in the next few days. But for today, I wanted to share a part of my journey to recovering from child abuse. And I also want a keychain, coin, or gold star to recognize my efforts to end my addiction to s/h. 😉 I cannot for certain say I will be able to continue to abstain from s/h as I continue in my recovery. But, I never thought I’d be able to abstain for a significant amount of time any time in the near future, and the 50 day mark is a pretty damned promising start.

Wishing you peace and safety this evening,

Joy

Hello my loves

I just got out of inpatient gen. psych a few days ago. I couldn’t stand the lack of safety post flashbacks anymore. I waited 8 weeks. I don’t know how I maintained safety those weeks, sometimes. I made it through Christmas and then decided my health and safety was worth way more than New Year’s Eve. I’ve also had a rough couple of days following my ip stay. I did really well the first day, and then descended. I start the acute partial hospitalization program tomorrow. I have a lot to share with you (updated safety triangles, new plans for tx and life, in general) right now, but I wanted you to know I’m thinking of you, and will have to share later. Yesterday was also a trauma anniversary for me. And I made it through safely and feel very empowered. I will touch on that when I get a chance (I can’t really go there right now). Distraction and spending time with friends are my safety tools this evening. Gotta jet! But as always, wishing you safety and peace, Joy

Provocation of PTSD and Suicidality?

**Possible trigger: If you are not in a safe place emotionally, please do not read this at the moment.**

I ardently work like it’s my job to maintain safety, find hope in the hopeless moments, use coping skills to drag me out of my pit. I utilize my DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) and CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) as needed (often). If I’m not mistaken my TRUE personality is pleasant, compassionate, sweet, thoughtful, humorous, sarcastic, etc. I know who I AM now. I am not just a post-trauma personality.

However, there is a very angry aspect of me. Of course there is a very pained aspect of me, as well, several of my DID parts are traumatized parts. But, some of my parts are extremely angry, as does quite a bit of moi, the host self that has a lot of repressed anger. I’ve had several beautiful, lovely days in a row. However, some of my parts are suicidal despite that because the pain is absolutely unbearable. Some are so angry, and as my day program tx (not my primary tx) said on Friday, provocative. I was incredibly disconcerted that she believed I was provoking my suicidality. However, apparently her witnessing my “dissociative trance” as she mentioned when I was discussing my true feelings (and the many plans I have made for my demise) for once… was cause for her to say I was being provocative. I was highly insulted. I hate being shoved into a borderline personality disorder corner before someone even gets to know me clinically. I told her I was not manipulating her, not screaming for attention to assuage my emptiness. I don’t self-harm to gain attention. It is my addiction, just like alcoholism, that reduces the incredibly high threshold of pain (esp. following a long flashback). She essentially said I was feeding my suicidality. I cannot, in words, describe how angry that made me. I finally tell her how I feel, and she says I’m arousing my own suicidality, as though that is supposed to somehow help me therapeutically. I am medication compliant, I am not treatment resistant nor difficult. I am so very active in my recovery. I have just hit a really ugly bump in the road, and she continually invalidates me. I’m too clinically difficult for her and the psychiatrist in the program to handle because I won’t be recovered in the 3 weeks of their program. I want a different clinician. I have never requested a different clinician in any program I’ve been in. I want respect of my pain, my anger, my incredible strides towards recovery. I get none from her.

How is it that I’m getting invalidated by my own therapist? The program director has witnessed the behavior and spoke with me about it twice on Friday. I told him I was willing to give her a few more days chance, because he wanted to know if I immediately wanted to switch therapists. If she were simply challenging me, I’d welcome that. Challenge the hell out of me if it will help me get to a safer place in my feelings and thoughts. But, do NOT invalidate me.

And today she’s correct in saying I’m provoking certain feelings. I’m listening to very choleric music to see if I can stay on the healthy anger spectrum and direct it where it belongs and not at myself. Do I think I’m provoking my suicidality? No.

To anyone who is concerned, I am blessed (and cursed?) to have the self-awareness of knowing when I need to be hospitalized. If you are having a difficult time, please see the widget on the left side of my blog, call that hotline, or a hotline, call Psychiatric Emergency Services at your nearest hospital, or 911. Do anything to maintain your safety. We work too hard to let our pain rob us of our life.

Wishing you peace and safety, Joy

Hope from Hope

I am going through an incredibly difficult time right now. I am suffering from a lot of flashbacks, intrusive thoughts of self-harm, suicidal ideations, and a lovely letter from Social Services that says that they will no longer be helping me with my rent as of 12/17/09 (for an unspecified reason). I thought I was hospital-bound before I got that letter, but I kinda lost it (though remained safe) after I opened it. I’ve been proactive and called my housing worker and since she’s not in today, her supervisor. No one has gotten back to me as of yet. If it gets to the point that I become impulsive, or feel that I really cannot maintain my own safety, I will go to the hospital. However, at this current moment, I am safe. I try to practice good self-care daily, and when in major distress, recognize when I am no longer able to keep myself safe. In spite of all these challenges, I am blessed to have some wonderful friends who are very supportive. My best friend, Hope, (see Hopefortrauma in my blogroll) sent this video to me. It is very sweet, and uplifting. So I wanted to share it with you.

Keep on keeping on, I think that’s all I and others can do in difficult times. Wishing you peace and safety, Joy

**You’re invited to be part of a photo shoot this Friday in NYC.**

As per the TWLOHA twitter account: Due to weather, NYC photo shoot has been moved to Friday (11/13). The plan is 1:30pm at Washington Square Park. Meet at the Arch!! You must contact TWLOHA in order to get the release form (nyc@twloha.com).

n180283055427_274

Photo courtesy of TWLOHA Day 2009 via Facebook

To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

To Write Love On Her Arms Day (a week from today, Friday, November 13, 2009)  is a day where anyone can write the words love on their arms, to support those who are fighting against depression and those who are trying to recovering. I participated in this movement last year and it had some phenomenal results. Please join in the fight, whether it’s for your own life, or a loved one’s. As for me, I do it for both.
Jamie Talks Woodie Awards from To Write Love on Her Arms. on Vimeo.

 

 

 

 

 

ForeverLove

I’m gonna keep this light

And start with a med update:
-Lexapro 20mg
-Seroquel 75mg, 25 mg-AM, 50mg-PM
-Mini-press 1mg
-Klonopin 1 mg, 3xs/day (usually prn=as needed)

*The last three of which have been really helping with flashbacks, body memories, night terrors, self-harm urges, and suicidal ideations.* ::Coughs:: Thank god for Seroquel. It’s the drug of choice for me. It’s the first time in 13 years I haven’t been actively suicidal and fighting it every moment. Therefore, I ❤ Seroquel. 😉

Today is an anniversary. I’ve been triggered all evening. I was oblivious to the anniversary despite the fact that I knew what the date was all day until I walked from Dunkin Donuts to the car. I have no idea what triggered me to remember, but that triggered the visual flashbacks to start and I spent like 40% of the evening crying, the rest of it trying to live my life–watch movies, scrapbook, talk to friends. I had really strong self-harm urges, but they went away quickly after talking to my friends about what was going on for me. Then I called my step-mom crying. And I told her, “it’s just a date. I’m trying to remember that it is JUST A DATE.” It’s not happening now, etc. I’ve cried in like 3 more little spurts. But my 13 year old part was really hurting and mourning before. So I let her cry. And I let myself cry. My innocence was robbed of me–AGAIN. Acceptance isn’t pretty, but pushing the feelings away and stuffing it clearly didn’t serve me well either. So that’s it for now. There’s lots more, but it’s late and I don’t want to open up anything that I can’t contain and put to rest until another day so I can sleep tonight.

Wishing you safety and peace.