Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Because Heather asked

Over at my sister-in-law's blog, she weighed in on the suicide topic that is so prevalent on the Internet these days.  You can read her post here:

I wanted to answer her question.  "Tell us how to love you." Actually, I didn't want to answer her question because all I know is what has helped me, and I'm just one person, and I'd hate for anyone to think that there was something wrong with them if what works, or worked, or might work again in the future for me didn't work for them.

Here's the thing.  I have a mental illness.  I've probably had it most of my life, if I understand the way this particular illness works, but I've only known about it for a year and a half or so.  It's been quite the ride, learning how to live with who I now know myself to be. 

Mental illness is isolating.

The particular brand of mental illness that I live with is even more isolating. 

There have been many days when I am convinced the world would be a much better place without me in it.

I have learned to sit with the feeling.  There have been days where I sit in one spot for literally hours because I know beyond the shadow of a doubt, if I move from where I am, I will hurt myself.  But here's the thing:  EVERYTHING IS ALWAYS CHANGING.  I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that if  I sit with the despair long enough, it will lift.

1.   I need to be reminded of that, on the worst days. Everything is always changing.  A really bad day doesn't mean the good days are all gone.  A really bad week doesn't mean the good days are all over with for the rest of my life.  It's just a bad week.  And it doesn't negate the good that came before, and will come after.  (The flip side of this is that I need to remember that a good day doesn't mean the bad days are all gone, either.  There's going to be a combination of both good and bad for the rest of my life.)

2.  I have a list of people to call when things are bad.  I signed a contract with my psychologist agreeing to ask for help if I need it, and to call the people on my list until I get a live voice, or the crisis passes.
One of the nicest things anyone has done for me, in recent memory, is to put herself on my list of people to call.  It's one thing to have a list - it's quite another to have the courage to use it, especially when I'm already sure everyone I've ever met is tired of my issues.  Having someone on the list who has volunteered to be there is such a blessing.

3. Force me interact with you, especially if you think or suspect things are hard, or if God is nagging you to call me.  Don't ask me what I need - I probably don't know.   Just hang out in my space., all matter of fact and stuff.  Having you sitting on my couch staring at me just might derail the train of thought that is currently winning the battle in my brain.

So those are my answers.  They won't work for everyone, but one of the things that I am learning is that I am far less unique (and therefore alone) than I think am, and there just might be something here that benefits someone else.

And now, because today is a good day, I'm going to go read in bed until I fall asleep.


Sheri said...

I can relate to everything you said, Susan. I've walked that very same path for years....strange we haven't met before along that dark path! Beautifully said in every way. Thanks so much for your openness . Blessings to you as you walk through the darkness and the light.

Katharine said...

I found your post via my friend, Heather Plett. I read and shared a wise and compassionate FaceBook posting actor, Zen priest Peter Coyote on his response to his friend, Robin William's suicide. His words echo yours about learning to sit with the thoughts and not act. Thank you for sharing your own hard-won wisdom.

Ruth L. Snyder said...

Thanks for sharing. I appreciate your honesty and also your sharing what is helpful for you. May you continue to find God's grace sufficient for each day, bad or good.

Tracy Krauss said...

Thanks for opening up and making yourself vulnerable. I think attitudes are changing toward mental illness, but perhaps not fast enough

Bobbi said...

Brave, Brave, Brave! Your observation that a bad day/week is just that, and it will pass is so important. The longer we live in this state of being (I, too, know this path), the more experience we have of that truth. May those newly walking this path learn of it's temporary ups and downs as soon as possible. Trusting in that is a life saver!

Cheryl Sh said...

sue,I'm pretty sure I've lived with depression all my life too but it became very apparent after a car accident in 1999. my doctor prescribe me aunty depressants and they helped me get back to what normal was at the time. I think I've always had depression at some level and had dealt with a lot of the emotional issues and family of origin issues but there was the reality of the neurotransmitters in my brain not working the way they needed tomost days now are pretty good and I suspect that I will still have some dark days thoughts and prayers are with you Sue and if nothing else works perhaps a hamster on your head! Lol--,both meanings apply here.

Brenda @ Its A Beautiful Life said...


I'm so glad you shared this.

What caught my eye especially was the idea of waiting out the despair, knowing it will eventually lift.

Although I don't deal with mental illness personally, I remember a time when I had a similar insight that our moods and frames of mind are always shifting. And because they are always changing, I can trust that the bad ones shall pass and to also recognize that the good ones will fade but not forever either. I found a certain 'rest' in that revelation.

I appreciate hearing your own experiences and the things that work for you. It helps me understand more about what people are going through.


CC said...

Sue...IN the midst of those good n' bad days is YOU! The one God made, for His purposes...the ones that bring you closer to Him, and the ones that help others, just like your posting is doing! Marvelous. I'm here too my friend, a listening ear and heart. Much love to you.