Tag Archives: mental illness

Suicide


Hopeless-4fd5b14b0d0f2

So. You’re reading this because you googled suicide or something similar. Maybe you’re thinking about it. Maybe you know someone thinking about it. Maybe you’re just trying to understand why people do it.

First of all, since this is a touchy subject in the extreme, let me introduce myself. My name is Arthur. I am diagnosed Bipolar 1 with psychotic features. To make that understandable, I have physical and emotional experiences that don’t necessarily relate to current events in my life, and I always see and hear things that aren’t there. It makes life… interesting, to say the least.

I have attempted suicide multiple times, and I still think about it. Every day. The question that doctors and such like to ask: “Do you have a plan?” is almost meaningless. Potential means for suicide surround us constantly, so the plan is always available. I haven’t successfully done it yet(obviously… 😛 ), and while I make no guarantees for ‘never’, I haven’t actively attempted in quite a long time.

I still remember the sensation of every attempt, from the sawing sensation as the blade bit through my flesh, to the taste of gunmetal and blood as I scratched the roof of my mouth with it, to the fear I hadn’t taken enough pills and the ensuing chocolatey yet dirty taste of the quart and a half of charcoal I had to drink afterwards.(You poop it all out, by the way.  It’s bad.)

Sorry about that.

Sorry about that.

But why? That’s the question I want to answer. Why do I, and maybe other people, think about, attempt, and sometimes succeed at, suicide?

In some cases, I was just so tired. Every breath was an effort, all food tasted the same, and all I could think was that it just never gets better. No matter what happens, the joy is always short lived and the grinding way that life goes always brings you down.

In others, my brain just wouldn’t shut up. Nothing made sense and I couldn’t grab one of the bits of thought that was racing around in my head and tie it to another one in a way that made any kind of sense. Tons of energy and no motivation to do anything with it.

But that’s me. What about other people? (Maybe you?)

There are a million situational reasons. Maybe the person doesn’t feel loved. Maybe they suffer from an uncurable illness. Maybe they feel guilty. Maybe they’re just tired of fighting, grinding their way through life. In the end, though, it all boils down to one thing.

A lack of hope.

The thought process goes something like this: This sucks. Tomorrow, this will suck, therefore tomorrow will suck. The day after that will suck. The next week, the next month, and I just don’t think it’s worth experiencing the amount of suck that is going to occur in order to experience that potential joy that I’m told exists but that is so far removed from me that it may as well be a fairy tale.

As far as hope goes, when it’s there you never notice it. It just is. It’s part of the way you think and the way you are. When it’s gone, you don’t generally know that that’s what’s missing. You only know that everything is intolerable and you are simply done with it. That’s when the thought first shows up, for many.
That first thought is terrifying for some, and they run directly to get help. For many, it isn’t terrifying. It’s a comfort, even beautiful. It’s the most soothing siren song in the world, and if you’ll only do this one tiny little, simple thing, all the pain goes away.

It doesn’t tend to mention that it’s all a lie.

Suicide is not an easy thing. Your body, your mind, fights you even as it encourages you to do it. Pulling a blade across your skin is easy, pushing down hard enough to hit an artery is beyond hard. Overdosing and ‘just going to sleep’ is beyond difficult as well, as the dosages required to kill you are far greater than those that will just destroy your body, shortening your life span but making you live under constant watch and care as your destroyed organs fail. Putting a gun in your mouth and pulling the trigger requires you to mentally overcome every survival urge your body has, and it is in that moment that your mind tends to flounder about, reaching for any hope that it can call up to keep you from squeezing the trigger.

The main thing that I have lacked, as far as successfully committing suicide goes, is enough anger to accept that I will hurt people simply by no longer being there. Anger is as irrational and powerful as lust, I think. That emotion is what makes a person do whatever it takes to die, and is probably at the heart of these public suicides that take the lives of others in the process.

So. Hopeless anger is what causes suicide by cop, suicide by shooting people, suicide in public or with a manifesto attached. Even that quiet end where someone manages to overdose and die in their sleep, they were tired, hopeless and angry enough to take enough pills or whatever to make sure they wouldn’t wake up.

How do you fight it?

I have some survival questions and rules that have kept me from attempting for a long time. Here they are:

1: Is my pain of greater value than the potential pain this will cause others?

Generally, no.  Your death will probably cause pain to at least one other person, even if that person is just trying to bury you.  More than likely, people will grieve, probably for years, and be sad, depressed, and angry, much like you’re feeling now.

This falls apart when delusion takes over, though. If you aren’t angry, then this should be a big deal, and your empathy should kick in to some degree. In my case, I tend to fall into this place where I believe that a lack of having to deal with me would be a good thing to those that this choice would otherwise cause. That’s when I move onto the next rule…

2: Wait 24 hours, and sleep for no more than 8 of them, and no less than 6 of them.

Sleep does some amazing things, including allowing your brain to take a break. If you can’t sleep at all during those 24 hours, go to a hospital and tell them the situation. Yes, they will admit you. Yes, it will suck. Take a bag, something to read, and a notebook and pen so that you can write down all of the crap in your head.

I limit it to 8, because past that amount, I tend to feel worse. I will want to make sleep my escape, and it will turn into a situation where that’s all I do. This will hurt others just as bad, and if I don’t commit suicide, I’ll have to apologize to those it hurts, which sucks, which feeds into the thought process I mentioned above with some self-hatred and anger thrown in.

3: Do that thing you like, that you have access to, one last time.

Let’s say you like milkshakes. Go to the store, and buy one. Think about the fact this may be the last one you ever have. Love the sound of crashing waves? Go to a beach. Let yourself experience that, and think about the fact that this may very well be the very last time you do it.

You may find that you’d like to be able to do it again, enough to go to the hospital or police or whomever and tell them about it.

4: Once it’s done, it’s done. Did you do everything else possible?

Suicide, if successful, is the very last thing you will ever do. That’s it. No takebacks. Heaven, hell, reincarnation, none of that is guaranteed beyond your own personal belief. As far as you know, you are hitting the off switch on life with a hammer. There’s no turning it back on. Did you try quitting that job, leaving that relationship, moving away and starting over from scratch? People do those things, and are successful. Did you try them? Maybe you should.

I’m not going to lie to you. Life is hard. We fuck up. Other people hurt us. We hurt ourselves. We dream of comfort and stability, we imagine joy, but none of those things are guaranteed. We try to get help and the system we have has long waiting periods for appointments, and no real concept of fixing anything, only mitigating symptoms and making us manageable by society. (Seriously, world, what are you people doing? You say you care, but all you do is say it and encourage people to take the pills when we have all of this marvelous technology and money to throw at all of these other things… but I digress.)

Even then, suicide is probably not the best answer.

I know, if you’re here because you’re thinking about doing it, you’re still thinking about it. So, make a plan. Plan your death, the whole shebang, including your obituary and funeral arrangements.  Think about who will react to it, how they’ll react, and what you want them to take away from it.

At the same time, make another plan. This one is to leave the situation and just go somewhere else. Plan on being broke, homeless, jobless, and without a friend in the world when you go. It’s the same thing as suicide, but you’re giving yourself one more chance to find something tolerable. Plan it all the way out, to include what paperwork you need to take, how much you can reasonably carry, and where you’ll go.

Now. I want you to consider this: the end goal is to make the old situation go away, right? Both plans do this. Both plans hurt people emotionally, but you’ll be either dead or away from those it hurts, so you don’t have to deal with that unless you want to alleviate the pain.  One way means that perhaps you’ll find joy in a starlit night or be able to dance in the snow.  Maybe try that one?

Final Thoughts

I’ve been in there, in that space. I know. I care. I’m not the only one, but none of us are psychic. You have to talk to us, and not just the people that blow it off or don’t listen or freak out. Everyone’s not like that. Use your words. The smallest words you have are enough. If you do decide to go, though, and there’s no changing your mind, know that you will be missed. You might have been that person who I’d run into someday and we’d be become best of friends. You might be the one who saves someone else from something horrible. You might be just a comfort to the people around you, just knowing you’re there, you’ve been through hell, and you’re still here, and that’s enough to make them keep going. If you still go, know that I hope that you find it’s better on the other side.

If you comment something personal, it will remain private unless you say in the comment that it’s okay to share.
Feel free to share this out there into the world, too. Maybe it’ll help somebody.

1 (800) 273-8255 Suicide prevention hotline

http://hopeline.com/ (This one is all a chat)

Dandelions are called names, killed, and generally despised. They keep trying anyway, with everything they have. That's hope, to me, and I love them for it.

Dandelions are called names, killed, and generally despised. They keep trying anyway, with everything they have. That’s hope, to me, and I love them for it.

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Internal Computing of Morality(for me)-or why I hate my brain sometimes…


mammalian-brain-computer-inside

(image credit: http://www.voodish.co.uk/articles/human-brain-simulated-on-super-computer/)

Morality. Noun. Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.

I always wonder how people develop their morality, how they make “moral” choices, and what they mean when they describe a person as a “moral” person. It’s honestly something of a curiosity to me.

Let’s take a look at the definition, first. “the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad”

Think about that for a minute. Does right equal good? Does wrong equal bad? Who is it that decides these things, exactly?

For some, the answer is simple. They point to a deity of one sort or another, look at their sacred texts, and come back with an answer to what is right or wrong based on that. The problem with this, is that there are several to choose from, and while societies can form that support these ideals, those societies tend to be at odds. In general, within these societies, there are also conflicts within them about the interpretation of the sacred text and what it is the society itself should be doing, causing splinters within the society.

For others, they go with instinct. The problem I have with instinct is that instinct seems lot flipping a coin or rolling dice to decide on the outcome of a given situation. There’s no real thought put into it, you just go forth and do, and hope for the best. Some of these people do well, some do not. Instinct alone is all about survival, and while you may survive and even thrive on it, it makes you a bit random. The only thing that is apparent to me that those who follow instinct first and foremost can be depended upon for is to look out for their own interests first in any given situation. Whether this is good or bad is a question that I’m not convinced even applies.

So, morality is still an enigma, as far as how other people come to their decisions and whatnot. This is how my mental computer works, as far as I can understand.

1:Input: Something is Happening.

2:Choice: Is the input signifying something that must be decided on now? If yes, continue, if no, return to input.

3:Choice: Is the input enjoyable? If yes, continue. If no, continue to step 7

4:Choice: Is the input good? If yes, continue. If no, continue to step 7

5:Choice: Is the input right, wrong, or neutral? If right, continue, if wrong, continue to step 7 if neutral return to step 2

6:Return to Input and continue

7:Cease activity and return to Input.

*****************************************************

Pretty basic, right? The problem here is defining the variables “enjoyable”, “good”, “right”, “wrong, “bad”, and “neutral”.

Looking a little bit deeper at myself, I find that I have quick lists in my head. Like bookmarks. Each variable has a tab, and each seems to have a list of experienced activities and sensations attached.

The problem is this, though. I can’t figure out what subroutine in my head places things in the tabs as they are. I know that some were learned, whether by parents, society, school, or religion. Those things are all also marked as things told, not experienced.

I have another tab, though, marked experienced. This is another list of things, some of which are in the not experienced tab. These two tabs seem to be outside of my decision making process, though, as I look at my internal “program” above, I see no place where the use of either tab fits.

:internal examination:

On further examination, I find that somewhere along the way I placed in my “good” and “enjoyable” tabs the concept of increasing the number of things under my “experienced” tab. Further, this seems to be reinforced by something that affects the way I receive input. It’s sort of like this:

1: Input: Something is Happening. If input is not currently in experienced tab, check told tab for variable reference, but force continue once. If input is in neither tab, force continue once.

The problem here is that it suggests there is more to the program than I have seen so far. It appears that it actually goes more like this:

1: Input: Something is Happening. If input is not currently in experienced tab, check told tab for variable reference, but force continue once. If input is in neither tab, force continue once.

2:Choice: Is the input signifying something that must be decided on now? If yes, continue, if no, return to input.

3:Choice: Is the input enjoyable? If yes, continue. If no, continue to step 7 If no reference, go to enjoyable subroutine.

4:Choice: Is the input good? If yes, continue. If no, continue to step 7 If no reference, go to good subroutine.

5:Choice: Is the input right, wrong, or neutral? If right, continue, if wrong, continue to step 7 if neutral return to step 2 If no reference, go to right/wrong subroutine.

6:Return to Input and continue

7:Cease activity and return to Input.

************************************************

So-I have subroutines to examine.

*************************************************

Enjoyable subroutine

1: Input: Something is happening.

2: Choice: Does the enjoyable tab have anything similar to this, but different enough to be considered a unique experience? If no, continue. If yes, mark enjoyable and return to decision making process at step 3.

3: Choice: Does this cause me some kind of pain? If no, continue. If yes, mark as “painful” and continue.

4: Choice: Does this cause anyone else any kind of pain? If yes, cease activity and reboot system. If no, continue.

5: Choice: Does this give me pleasure? If yes, mark “pleasurable” and continue. If no, force check to decision making process at step 4.

6: Choice: Does this give anyone else pleasure? If yes, mark pleasurable. If no, force check to decision making process at step 4.

7: For each pleasure, add one point. For each painful, subtract one point.

8: If points is greater than zero, mark experience “enjoyable” and return to decision making process.

******************************************************

Good seems to be similar, but different. It includes a couple of extra steps.

1: Input: Something is happening.

2: Choice: Does the good tab have anything similar to this, but different enough to be considered a unique experience? If no, continue. If yes, mark good and continue.

3: Choice: Does this cause me some kind of pain? If no, continue. If yes, mark as “painful” and continue.

4: Choice: Does this cause anyone else any kind of pain? If yes, mark as painful and continue. If no, continue.

5: Choice: Does this give me pleasure? If yes, mark “pleasurable” and continue. If no, continue

6: Choice: Does this give anyone else pleasure? If yes, mark “pleasurable”. If no, continue.

7: For each pleasure, add one point. For each painful, subtract one point.

8: If points is greater than zero, mark experience “good”

9: If points is zero or less, but activity is marked “good”, then remove “good” marking and remove “good” marking from similar experiences.

10: Return to decision making process at step 5.

***********************************************

One more subroutine… Right, wrong, neutral.

Right/Wrong subroutine:

1: Input: Something is Happening

2: Choice: If input is not marked experienced, check learned tab and continue.

3: Choice: If input is marked learned and marked right within tab, mark right and continue, if not, continue.

4: Choice: If input is marked enjoyable, mark right and continue, if not mark wrong and continue.

5: Choice: If input is marked good, mark right and continue, if not mark wrong and continue.

6: For each right mark, score one point.

7: For each wrong mark, subtract one point.

8: If points is greater than 0, mark right and continue if not, cease activity and mark wrong.

9: Choice: Does this cause anyone harm? If yes, mark wrong and return to decision making process at step 3 for reevaluation.

10: Return to decision making process at step 6.

************************************************

Whew! That’s pretty involved.

Well, for me, the good news is that I can now examine these processes, and if I can examine them, I can tweak them. The bad news-this is just how I sort things out internally as to morality and decision making. It tells me nothing of what to expect from others, unless everyone works off of something similar.

So… how about you tell me? How similar is your own process? If it’s completely different, how is it different? Can you edit this process in ways that will make it more efficient, or line up more to the way society works?

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Filed under For followers, Mental Health, People with interesting ideas, Philosophical Q&A, Social ideas, Things I like, Thoughts

Where having a mental illness and writing for publication come into wild conflict…


:sigh:

55,000 words.  I have reached a critical point for the protagonist.  Hit by bad news a couple of months ago, with which she ‘rolled with the punches’, she is hit by another hit.

Having Bipolar and its connected weirdness when it comes to emotional response in a time of crisis makes this REALLY difficult to write about.  I forced out a chapter, but it doesn’t work.  It’s not who she is, to be basically, “Well, what do we do?”.

For me-I would shut down.  My brain would stop working for awhile.  My thoughts would be completely disjointed and unreasoned, and my outward emotion would become completely flat.  I would be like that until my brain ‘rebooted in safe mode’ (I have no idea what goes on in there or how it happens, but that’s my experience).  I would be intensely logical in dealing with the situation, almost inhumanly so.  All options would be on the table for consideration, and I would want to weigh them all.  I would want to get alone for awhile to think through it, then possibly seek some kind of assistance/advice.

The bad thing is…  I am not the person my protagonist is, nor have I experienced what she is experiencing.

She’s 18 years old.  Her parents were killed in a house fire which she thinks was caused by some nefarious entity.  She did her best to get through it, with the help of her best frioend and her best friend’s family.  She went ahead and began college, attending a few days/couple of weeks of classes.  She escorted a guy that sparked her interest home after he injured herself, but then got freaked out by unfamiliar things in the evening in the city, fell in a fountain that turned out to be a portal to another world, and while there, found out that she is somehow connected to the fae beings that live there.

She made it back to this world, reunited with the friend, went to a party with her friend, and they were drugged.  The friend has been kidnapped and taken through a portal.

Now she wakes up.  She’s a strong person, but good grief, she’s under a LOT of strain.  Does she shut down?  For how long?  What does she do with the guy who rescued her before she wound up through the portal as well?

I wrote a draft chapter.  It works, kind of.  If she is an emotionless robot.  Anyone  have any thing that might help?  Links to expressions of emotion, especially interior experience wourld really help me here. 

Thanks in advance!

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A popular public figure changes his position on Marijuana.


What is there to say?  It’s time to legalize, at least for medical use.  Are you going to argue that it’s worse than vicodin?  Be real.

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