Just One More Day

I had been suicidal off and on for years before my full attempt. I had a couple other almost attempts & many plans.

Unfortunately, my decisions such as resigning from my job, were so shortsighted because I didn’t think I’d be alive much longer. 

I also didn’t access a lot of the support available (eg LTDI) because since my problems were mental more than physical I didn’t feel I qualified. 

There are a lot of resources out there, if you’re struggling please explore these. Mental health issues are being taken more seriously now, so it’s getting easier to access help. 

Something that kept me going for a long time was every night when I hugged my son to sleep, I wanted to be there to hug him again just one more day. 

Procrastinating was good in this case. 

I wish so much I had waited to hug my son & daughter to sleep that night I jumped off a bridge. 

It happened just after dinner.

I was just too determined (impulsive) that night to follow through on what I somehow thought was best for everyone at the time. 

If you’re struggling like I was, please give yourself more time. Things will get better. Please tell someone what you’re thinking and let them help you.

Something else that kept me going for a while was looking ahead to my next doctor/therapist appointments. Thinking I can make it another week until my next appointment. 

It was similar to a strategy I used to use when running long distances. Setting my goal to make it just to the next stop sign, then doing that again & again until reaching the longer goal. 

I’m trying to focus on just one day at a time or one goal at a time now during my physical recovery so I don’t get overwhelmed & its helping. 

One of Alcoholics Anonymous’ helpful slogans is “One day at a time”. Sometimes just one hour at a time if one day is too much.

Kevin Hines, a suicide attempt survivor & suicide prevention advocate, says  “be here tomorrow”. 

If anyone reading this is struggling, please

“Be here tomorrow”, 

just one more day, 

“one day at a time.” 

If, like me, you want to follow through on something, follow through on being here tomorrow. 

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” Mary Anne Radmacher

Another helpful AA reading is:

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow…

————————————————

“There are two days in every week
about which we should not worry,
Two days which should be kept free of fear and apprehension.

One of these days is YESTERDAY,
With its mistakes and cares,
Its faults and blunders,
Its aches and pains.
YESTERDAY has passed forever beyond our control.

All the money in the world cannot bring back YESTERDAY.
We cannot undo a single act we performed;
We cannot erase a single word we said.
YESTERDAY is gone.

The other day we should not worry about is TOMORROW
With its possible adversities, its burdens, its larger promise.
TOMORROW is also beyond our immediate control.

TOMORROW, the sun will rise,
Either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds,
But it will rise.
Until it does, we have no stake in TOMORROW
For it is as yet unborn.

This leaves only one day – TODAY.
Any man can fight the battles of just one day.
It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities
– YESTERDAY and TOMORROW –
That we break down.

It is not the experience of TODAY that drives men mad.
It is remorse or bitterness for something which happened YESTERDAY
And the dread of what TOMORROW may bring.

Let us, therefore, live but ONE day at a time.”

Author Unknown

What was I thinking?

When I’m asked what happened, some people say “life was that bad?”, and I think to myself “no, for me, in a way, life was that good”. I had this crippling fear that something bad was going to happen to my family. While occassionally I felt I wanted to die. Mostly, I wanted to live, but felt I should die. It’s very hard to explain & understand. My mind really wasn’t working properly. 

I found it helpful to have someone not discuss whether my thoughts were right or wrong, but look at how the thoughts were affecting me & what I could do about them. 

It’s so confusing to me now, but it somehow made sense at the time. I was stuck in this anxious, depressed, deluded, isolated way of thinking and couldn’t get out. How could I possibly believe that ending my life that way would be good for anyone? That thinking is so distorted & I see that now. To catch a glimpse of what someone is thinking in the grips of some kind of mental illness, I love this quote by Susanna Kaysen from ‘Girl, Interrupted’: “Have you ever confused a dream with life? …Have you ever been blue? Or thought your train moving while sitting still?”. In that moment, I actually believed this was the best thing to do.

I was withdrawing too. I think helping people not isolate themselves is very important. Even if someone is not being honest with us about feeling suicidal or very depressed, we can help them with their symptoms such as withdrawal from socializing & other activities.

After my attempt, in the hospital, I was still suicidal for a couple weeks. I was so high on pain medication I unwillingly admitted this & was then supervised 24-7 for over a month. This constant companionship was uncomfortable at first, then ended up being very helpful & I missed it once I was well enough to not need it anymore. 

I also needed medication, talk therapy & CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). 

I had lowered the dose & stopped taking my medication for pregnancy & breastfeeding. I now take my medication regularly, even when I’m feeling well. There’s a great program/study  at Mount Sinai for women who are at risk for postpartum depression, but I didn’t sign up for it because I wanted to breast feed and they bottle feed your baby to let you sleep. I was very serious about “breast is best”, but now I’m an advocate for “fed is best”. There are pros & cons to both breast & bottle feeding. I had a postpartum doula for my first, but thought I didn’t need one for my second. I highly recommend postpartum doulas even for second, third… babies. I was cutting back on therapy appointments, exercise & self-care too. I thought I was doing ok.  I’m more aware now of what signs to watch for and what to do. Self-awareness & knowing the signs of being suicidal is crucial.

Like eating healthier if I had survived a heart attack, moving forward, I need to take care of my health, be more open & honest about what I’m thinking & feeling, watch for my early warning signs, and ask for & accept help.

Where I’m at now:

While Physically, things are challenging, Mentally, I’m feeling better than I’ve felt in years. I had a lot of counselling & time to read and think while in the hospital. I listed some good books at the end of this entry.  

The most helpful thing for me was talking to someone about my thoughts. 

I was in the hospital for four months. Being away from, & not being there for, my family for so long was the hardest part, but I feel so blessed that I got to see & spend time with them again. 

I keep reminding myself that at least I’m here now.

Thankfully, The kids are ok. Everyone involved has helped the kids stay ok through this. 

My husband has been super-dad; truly heroic in his ability to take care of his family. 

Our family, friends & neighbours have been so amazingly kind, understanding & helpful. 

Other helpful people were St. Mike’s Hospital, St. Joe’s hospital, West Park Rehabilitation hospital, CCAC, Mood disorders association of Ontario, Mother Matters at Women’s College hospital & TTC wheel trans. 

I’m so grateful that I live in Canada and have access to all these services. 

I’m home & mobile now, lucky to be able to walk, but have at least two more surgeries ahead. I’m still using two air casts, sometimes crutches, a walker or a wheelchair depending on what I’m doing. There was an infection in the bone which has cleared, I still have a blood clot in each leg, and there is a risk of amputation in both legs. I’m going to have two fused ankles after the next surgery  (both ankles won’t be able to move), so I’ll walk slowly with a limp and sadly won’t be able to run or dance or do yoga anymore. Stairs & hills are difficult. Physiotherapy has been very helpful. There’s a lot of hardware in my body now – it’s amazing what doctors can do! 

I remind myself often I’m lucky to be alive. 

I’m looking for new ways to get back in shape. Any ideas?

Books:

Cracked not broken 

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/aw/d/B00DWXG4GQ/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=&sr=

How I stayed alive when my brain was trying to kill me

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/aw/d/B000OI0E3G/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1538151196&sr=8-1

Depression the comedy

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/aw/d/B07BYVQX4X/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1538151246&sr=8-1

Mind over mood

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/aw/d/B01590MJNQ/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1538151299&sr=8-1

GAD workbook

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/aw/d/B018RSC3Z6/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1538151340&sr=8-1

What Happened:

It was October 19, 2017.

I jumped off a bridge. 

I broke many bones – leg, knee, ankles, heels, wrist. There was also a burst fracture in my spine, and a scar on my face. 

I don’t remember jumping, only the thoughts that lead me there.

I had packed a suitcase to check myself into the hospital and wish so so much that I had followed through with that instead. 

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please go to the hospital or call 911 or a distress centre immediately. I’ve listed some numbers at the end of this entry.

Part of why I didn’t follow through on going to the hospital was not wanting to admit to anyone what I was thinking. I think removing the stigma around mental health would help a great deal with suicide prevention. Not opening up was part of what lead to this, so now I’m trying to be more open.

I was not thinking clearly & wasn’t myself. I left my 4 month old baby, 8 year old son & husband. I left them alone at home, without a mom & wife. I lied to them about where I was going. The worst part for me is that I could have caused an accident – I jumped onto the highway. 

My thinking at the time was so narrow. 

All I could think of was ending my life. I actually thought that would be good for my family. The last thing I thought was how much I loved them. I lost sight of other options. Being able to see other options is so important. 

I have a lot of guilt and regret about what I did. My psychiatrist reminds me I was sick, that I wouldn’t feel guilty about having another illness like cancer & that if I had committed a crime I would have been found not criminally responsible. This helps. Mental illness really is an illness, and needs treatment like any other medical illness. Postpartum hormones can really affect the mind, and it is such a fragile time for women. 

Justin Willman, on that Netflix “Magic for Humans” show said “Maybe guilt is just the feeling of needing forgiveness”. 

Self-forgiveness is one of the things I’m working on now. 

Guilt can also be motivating. 

I’m very lucky to be alive. 

My heart breaks for people who didn’t survive suicide. Please forgive them. 

I’m very motivated to do anything I can to help stop someone else from taking, or trying to take, their own life or even thinking about it.

Some places to call:

911

416-408-help 

Gerstein centre: 416-929-5200

Local Hospitals & police stations

Progress place: 416-960-warm

MDAO: 1-866-363-mood

Why I’d like to share my story:

I met a man today who asked me what happened to my legs & when I told him, he told me his mother had committed suicide when he was five. After we spoke, I felt so lucky to be alive for my children & hopeful that his speaking to me helped him too.

My son doesn’t know what happened, I feel he’s too young yet to know, but I like to share my story with people in hopes it can help others & help raise awareness.