I think life is very unfair for people who suffer with suicide ideation. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the world, yet its one of the most stigmatised. If people don't seem to understand something, they will face it with ignorance and arrogance. They wont want to hear the truth of the situation, or the facts because that then proves them wrong and then they have to got through the process of learning and challenging the thinking they normally would have.
People usually listen to reply, instead of listening to understand. I know there are some people who have lost their life to suicide and haven't been able to speak out about it, even to the people closest to them as they feel like they wouldn't 'understand'. I have had that experience, speaking to people who just don't get it, or don't want to listen to understand. They are right and wrong ways to support the mentally ill, or people in general for that matter.
Today I woke up after a very disturbed sleep feeling my usual feeling of chronic emptiness. My BPD mind wanted to go seek ways to feel again, but using my mindfulness skills I took my mind back to concentrating on my day ahead so I didn't end up in a sea of dark thoughts. I brushed my teeth, looked at myself in the mirror, took a deep breath and reminded myself I was on the right path to getting help today. I had a doctors appointment at 11 15 this morning, with a heart full of hope that I was going to be okay, and that help was just an arms reach away.
No one has checked in on me today. That is okay, as people who are suffering like me every day have learnt to cope on their own. I think back to the times people have gone really out of their way and put my health above their own in that moment in time. I don't view that as unhealthy support as they all know I would go out on a limb for any of them. So I get dressed, tie my shoes and walk in the pouring rain to the train station.
My mind is doing the usual routine of what it does. A lot of fear goes on in there, but I put on my brave face and go about my day, even though internally my body feels like it has 3 degree burns in every internal place of the body. I think of all the people closest to me and that is where the paranoid thinking starts. Who have I upset today, who is going to abandon me, who is rejecting me, who is fed up with me. This is my BPD mind taking. Then rational mind starts speaking me out of it. No Carissa, such and such is busy today. No Carissa, this is the reason why this person may abandon you. No Carissa, everyone else has their own life and don't have to cater to your needs, you can do this on our own. After those thoughts surface, I start to then try find the quick way to ease the pain of thinking like that, and that is where the methods of Suicide and how I would die would surface. That is when everything starts to become a hazard.
I come back down to my rational mind and then think of my loved ones and the people closest to me. I continue walking on the brick path on the way to the doctors, controlling my breathing and telling myself I am about to walk in to the door to get help. That is positive me speaking. But then there is the negative talk, which comes with the experience I have had in the mental health system. The fact, that 10 years down the track, I am yet again walking into a doctors practice again to get another referral to see a psychologist. Then there is the fear of the doctor not understanding, the stigma surrounding my illness, the exhaustion of having to answer the questions of the sheet which determines how unwell you are, you know the one where you have to answer if its never, a little of the time, sometimes, most of the time and always. I found myself in the office with the doctor, already my intuition was giving me the answers of how this was going to go down.
The doctor was a female, she was very abrupt and fast in her approach. I don't respond very well to abrupt, abrupt responses to me is almost like a I can't be bothered approach. I had my notes in my hand, and I placed them on the table. She started to ask what bought me here. I explained my diagnosis to her, my needs and what I wanted in order to get help. She wasn't very attentive in my experience, but I patiently waited to see if maybe I could get some sort of help out of what was beginning to feel like a helpless situation.
After explaining my mental illness background, she did what usually most doctors do, go to the medication talk. She was convinced I needed meds, and that would fix me more than speaking to someone one on one. She did say something useful though, that I needed a team of professionals around me for the right treatment. I told her she was correct in that, but I didn't want to consider taking medication as I have been on so many different types which has either heightened my ideation, I have over dosed on or has made me have manic highs, and extreme lows. I wanted to reduce my ideation and urges of self harm, not heighten them. I explained to her I self harmed with a belt on Monday and she then asked if I had any injury. I just said no, but I have developed quinsy over the weekend. Disregarding the talk of self harm, she then when to check the psychical symptom I had.
I challenged her and told her I am self aware, and if I could please just get a referral. She finally started to listen, and listen to what I needed. At this stage I had become agitated. She then said I cannot start treatment until April 2017, as thats a year from my care plan. I said no, it refreshes each New Year. She then started to type a referral sheet for me. She then said she has referred me to the Juty Officer in the mental health team in the city. She said I would have to go there myself and sort out some plan with them. Then she told me to leave.
I left the office feeling angry and in a lot of despair. I am starting to give up, and this is coming from someone who has never given up, even when death seemed like the only option. I then started to think I am not the only one in this situation, that a lot of other people are out there in the same boat feeling like there is nothing they can do to get the right treatment. I then thought about writing this, in kind of a desperate plea, for everyone who knows me to read this and tell them how they can help not only me, but other people around them feel accepted in a time where they think its never going to get better.
What has kept me around for 27 years is knowing, even though I have been dealt more negative experiences then positive ones, that out of the countless referrals, doctors, medications, nurses and psychiatrists/psychologists I have seen, that there are people out there who have helped me stay alive. That have, instead of replying straight away and telling me what to do, have listened attentively, supported me, loved me and cared about me when I have felt my utter most unloveable. They have comforted me by showing me small gestures of compassion, love and support. I know the ignorant think that people who have a mental illness need to 'suck it up' because they 'ask for too much' and 'they are a burden'. This is where they need to change their thinking by reading this, and actually realising how much strength it takes a servilely suicidal and mentally ill person to function in todays society with little to no resources.
Send that 'how are you today' message, ask to see them, invite them to that place you know you are going on the weekend, spend time reading personal blogs and stories others share on social media about all the different types of mental illness, ask them if they need anything and just be supportive. Learn about their disorder and also cater to your needs. Supporting one another is about communicating, if you believe you lack communication skills then ask people how you could improve them. Just by doing these small steps, it helps someone who is suicidal and mentally ill feel part of everyones word, instead of feeling in isolation in their dark world. Everyone has a little bit of something in them, but that doesn't define who they are. Reading up on diagnosis is helpful, but understand why they are reacting the way that they do to pain, or the way they react when something seems to be 'too much'. Each human is individual and have different experiences, don't think just because you can't understand what they have been through, that your pain isn't valid. Just remember the time you have been in the most pain and take yourself back to that feeling, and then you can relate back to the present moment what is going on for that person suffering.