Turning Things Around, Part 1

Content note: discussion of mental health including suicidal ideation.

Yesterday was a crisis day. My post yesterday might have, well I’d say hinted at that, but it probably screamed that. In the evening I pulled up the suicide hotline on a tab on my phone, just in case I needed it. Then I got out on the road.

I wanted to get through the crisis on my own, if I could. I figured if I could get through on my own when I had the option of reaching out, that it would mean I’d be more likely to get myself through should a crisis ever happen when I was unable to reach out. Knowing I could get myself through if I had to would leave me feeling stronger.

Underpinning all of this, though, was a deep desire to avoid putting the burden of a mental health crisis on my friends, sister or dad on the first day of a new year. I wanted to be able to show that they wouldn’t have to worry about emotionally supporting me to this degree forever, that I would get better and become less reliant on the sort of support that can get very stressful for the person being supportive.

I think I’ve mentioned before that even when in severe emotional duress I tend to stay in control of my actions. That gives me a little bit of a safety net. I wouldn’t recommend, in general, that someone make the same choice I did last night re: getting through on their own. I had a reason to believe I might be strong enough now to handle it on my own. I had evidence that my mental health truly had improved to a considerable degree in the last six months.

First, of course, was the fact that I could now drive places and enjoy it. Arrange social activities with friends. Show up to social activities with strangers. Take workshops with strangers. Go to therapy. Get medical care. On top of that, I’d been reading entries from my blog earlier in the year and realized that I wasn’t catastrophizing the way I used to. I wasn’t getting locked into worst case scenarios over everything I wanted to do.

That is enormous, observable progress. I made changes and those changes were paying off in spite of being actively impeded the whole time.

For me, this kind of crisis has played out when I’m in a fragile state of mind and heart to begin with. The pain feels like it’s too much, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to stop. I lose hope. I look forward into the future and see a future where I continue to be denied everything I want and hope for. I see a future where I just keep suffering, and suffering, and suffering. At that point, it starts feeling like the only feasible way to escape / end the suffering is, well, death.

I wanted to fight that hopelessness, though. I didn’t want it to win. I told myself I just needed to get through the rest of the 1st and then I would be able to sleep, and after sleep the world might look like a different place.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s