Today was a big day for me. It may not be considered a big day for most people but for me, for someone who has struggled for decades with passive suicidal ideation, it is a big deal what I accomplished in these last few minutes.
See this line of pills bottles:
I’ve been holding onto these for months because they were my insurance. I knew that if the suicidal ideation became more than passing thoughts and intrusive images, I needed a fallback plan. Something that seemed full-proof. And, I thought, surely with this many bottles and the anti-nausea pills on hands, I could make something happen. That’s been me these last few months.
But, I got tired of that me. I want to be fully invested in my mental health journey. I don’t want to hold onto those mementos of the past, or of that possible future. I want to hold onto the healthy plan I’ve made with my mental health care providers. That’s why, today, my Talkspace therapist and I had a video call. I threw out every last pill in these bottles. Believe me, it was not easy. I got to the 3 month supply of Cyproheptadine and the 60 pill bottle of depakote and I paused. I contemplated, “is this really what I want? Can I actually do this?” My TS therapist talked me through it; she was wonderfully encouraging, as she always is. So, one bottle at a time, I let them go. And then we made the Trek out to the dumpster where they’d be safely out of my grasp.
This has been my journey: years of thinking maybe I’d be better off dead. Years of thinking I deserve to be punished. Years of thinking only a few people would even care if I died and they’d move on quickly. Years of thinking this life is full of pain and sometimes I can’t see the purpose through the dark haze of hurting. Years of feeling unsafe. Years of never knowing who to trust. Years of feeling like I’ll never be understood or have a place in this world. Years of intrusive thoughts: driving off a bridge, driving in front of a bus, driving into a barricade, taking all the pills, starving to death, stalling in front of an oncoming train, letting an 18-wheeler come over on top of me. There are so many ways of dying. I’ve probably read about or thought about them all. And there has been comfort in that. I think, for some of us, this is a necessary stage in the process. Allowing ourself to indulge in these thoughts and images. I also think, I hope, that the next step is being able to make life safer, despite those thoughts. Of course, I can’t stop driving, so many of those are still things that will haunt my mind. But the pills, those I could control. I’m letting go of one crutch at a time.
I don’t expect the passive suicidal ideation to just go away because I’ve made this grand gesture of really 100% committing myself to my treatment, but I have hope that I can keep moving in the right direction. I have hope that over time the thoughts will lessen.
I know I’m not alone in living like this. Feel free to share your story or an accomplishment of your own in the comments.