I’m 28 years old and for the last four years I haven’t had one suicidal thought or intention because one thing changed my whole perception on life in ways I never thought possible.
Around seven years ago I started having mania with depression systems so I decided to move 1,000 miles in hope of a better life. The move helped for a while due to a new adventure, but a while later the bipolar escalated beyond what I thought it could ever reach and the options were bleak at the time. I hated myself (hidden learning disabilities, also thought I had to fit into the extrovert world) already and I felt like I was somewhat cheated, so it was like pouring gasoline on fire when other people would say harsh judgments to me whether they were true or false. I was lost, trapped, hopeless, helpless, felt like a burden, felt worthless, and to sum up my manic systems – they were unbearably frightening especially at night time because I felt like I could run 100 miles an hour (this was not a good feeling) but at the same time I wanted to knock myself out cold because I knew that I was doomed.
The whole year I contemplated suicide (I’ll spare the graphic details), and had to be admitted to a hospital for a week and then another for two weeks. I remember when I left the last hospital I had a couple of good days (nothing like now though), but would go back to felling just as suicidal as before. I know this will not make anyone feel better that lost a loved one to suicide, but this is how sick my mental state got – I tried to go through the actions of offing myself, but I could not muster up the courage to go through with it; not because I was scared of dying, for I was scared of not doing it right and ending up paralyzed.
Four years ago on this month my hope (a music genre that I heard for the first time ever) came out of nowhere. The music (I listen on average 45 minutes a day) vs. a talk therapist (I know this helps a lot of people though) is: the talk therapist made me feel safe (because every time I thought I would be cured when I left) for the hour, but when I left the session I would feel just as miserable as ever. The new music genre makes me feel good when listening to it, but most importantly I feel safe (words cannot describe this for me) and at ease when I’m not listening to it.
I will admit the first two years out of my bad mental state were my favorite. I would have a blank look on my face with the biggest inside smile and broke down every so often; this was because the hope was new to me as well a shock and then combining it with thinking that I should be dead just manifested these emotions – mainly because I was drained of being suicidal every second of the days and never thought I would have so much joy for life and be at ease. I took advantage to just be one with nature and enjoyed doing different things that I never got the chance to before. One example would be in my miserable mental state I never enjoyed sunsets and rises; instead I would look off a five-story building trying to make myself jump off; right after the hope came I started to recognize with mindfulness on how peaceful sunsets and rises are as well as other unique scenery.
Some of the other things after the hope came: I no longer felt lonely, I loved waking up every morning, the best part was and still is having no suicidal intentions or thoughts (I never thought they would go away), harsh judgments bounce off better (90 percent of the time), I appreciate what I have, I no longer chase goals, dreams, and enjoy living in the present by living the life of journey vs. destination (this goes for everything in life) and not to be embarrassed, ashamed, disappointed, and frustrated in myself for not accomplishing certain things. Funny thing is some could have been a disaster after I got out of my bad mental state. My beliefs and what I wanted were altered kind of like I was reborn. I also never thought I would enjoy learning about science, sociology, history, politics, religions, cultures, art, and etc. As well as I finally enjoy independent movies (Into the Wild is one of them) that have life lessons and makes you think of life in someone else’s shoes.
The last two years I’ve incorporated some task in my life, so if and when I fail at something it’s not a big deal, because my hope makes me feel that failure (as long as I enjoy the task and try my hardest) is OK and that life (a joyful mental state and freedom) is much bigger than success.
Some of the things that I’ve learned, became more vigilant with, and developed some moxie:
- I’ve been able to make a bad day or a bad situation work every time — I don’t like stress but stress is a million times better than being manic. Simply put: stress when the mental state is normal is nothing compared to being manic, so I usually thrive on these situations now.
- In the four years out of it I’ve had one minor mania episode (not fun) last year and got rid of it fast (an experiment that was legal) due to no depression systems
- I can stand up for myself when called for, conquered most of my fears, and I don’t feel as bad when I miss out on things – this is due to remembering that I shouldn’t even be alive.
- I can be outside along with other things for hours on mindfulness – this is mainly because I went from such a scary state of mind to just being in the moment enjoying the smallest things, and it also reminds the new me that I’m not here to impress anyone and cannot be coerced into doing things that I know are potential triggers or I just don’t want to do.
- going to the ocean (one time only) I had inner peace in the first time in my adult life and thought how can anyone be judgmental, and materialistic when people are getting killed because they think their opinions and beliefs are right.
- I will have no regrets on how I live the rest of my life because I should have been dead in my mid-20s.
I know the last one might sound self-absorbed to some people, but without the hope I know that I would be dead; especially now that I know of effective ways to commit suicide without physical pain.
The biggest things that I’m most thankful for – getting to know my mom, dad and a brother better, not being so naïve (occasionally still having problems with this), forming two great friendships over the last year, having a better perception on who I am (introverted and proud of it), and lastly enjoying the smallest things in life.
Last year I got a little off track because I thought I was missing out on some things, but when I experienced them I remembered that what the mainstream news media perceives as having the good life is not so glamourous as they perceive it to be. One example is some people think the only way to be happy is to have money and a good job. Tell that to Owen Wilson (this is the last person that I thought would ever be suicidal), and many other millionaires that have attempted or succeeded at suicide. After my first two years out of my bad mental state I had a 35 percent pay decrease and it didn’t even faze me; quite laughable to me when thinking of how I felt when I was in my bad mental state.
I don’t regret any of my years living and I enjoyed most of my adolescent years, but sometimes I’m quite angered looking back. Some of the reasons are – I was very naive all those years, past friends are hard to be around now because my old self creeps its ugly head in some times and the other is I know that the new me would’ve been great friends with my grandpa who passed away three and a half years ago.
A couple of issues I still have, but not to the severity – looking back on how I was vs. now and comparing the two lives with different scenarios, sometimes this is a great feeling, and other times its quite frustrating. The other is sometimes my sensitivity gets the best of me and then I become a pushover and get manipulated into things that I know are only going to aggravate me and when I don’t I then feel guilty later.
When I was in my bad mental state, I never thought that suicide would hurt anyone and certainly was not going to do it out of revenge. I had a great, loving family, I was not a zombie, I did not take pills before going to the hospitals, and it was not a chemical imbalance. The help of my family members helped me a great deal but it did not matter at the time because I could not handle myself and saw nothing in the future that was going to make me feel good on a consistent daily basis. So give the person you care about a break if they’re suicidal, be understanding, especially if they see no hope in the future, and don’t be afraid to call 911 if necessary; they will thank you later when they find their way to a better mental state.
Henderson, B. (2011). From Suicidal To Being in Awe of Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 25, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/2011/from-suicidal-to-being-in-awe-of-life/
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.