A strategy to cope with suicidal ideation
This post started life as a Facebook status, Wednesday 12 October 2016.
An update. Feeling the pain is sometimes easier, way easier, than all the things you do – that I do – to avoid it.
TW: suicide mention.
On Monday I hit a low. I was out of sorts. I tried meditating. I tried reading. I tried just ignoring it. Actually, I’d been ignoring it for a week or so already… if not way longer than that.
When I sat on my meditation cushion, I notice the flash of a thought. An ending-it kind of thought.
Luckily, I recognise these. I know what they are. They’re a blunt message of “I want things to be different. I want *the current situation* to end – to change.” They’re *not* an “I want out, permanently” kind of thought. They’re a metaphor. The psyche talks to us in metaphor, and sometimes metaphor is a lot blunter than it needs to be.
Also luckily, over the years, I’ve figured out a workable strategy. I know what to do.
I find some time to be on my own. I curl up in my blanket, warm and snug.
I let people know – sometimes just one person, sometimes my FB community – that I’m having a rough day. Then I know you’re there. You don’t have to do anything other than witness me. Say, yes, it’s tough in there, I’m here for you.
Then, safe, warm, held by the tenderness of friends: I let go. I let go into how I really am. Into how I actually feel. I let go of the ‘I’m fine’ and of the doing of things.
Letting go is pretty quick these days. The sadness builds. Flows. The tears come. I cry. I find out what’s been bothering me, what I’ve shut away out of sight, out of notice.
Sometimes I have no idea what I’ve been sad about. I just need to cry anyway. Sometimes I found out what it is. Sometimes it’s a recent occurrence. Other times it’s something from long, even very long, ago.
Sometimes it’s something actually quite minor, but significant enough that it needs to be seen, heard, felt, acknowledged, and won’t stay quiet any longer.
Sometimes it’s something major. A paradigm-shift. An insight, a knowing, a deep or sharp hurt. Grieving for something I never knew I needed to grieve – until now.
And then, it starts to clear. All the effort of smoothing-things-under-the-carpet drops away. The tears heal, cleanse and help me let go.
I come back to myself after being adrift for a while. I’m clear in what I feel, what I need to do differently, or ask for, or refuse. I feel energised again, at least a little, after feeling dry, sluggish and frozen.
I breathe again. I live again, alive in a fuller sense of the word. Alive rather than merely existing.
I write about this experience in such detail because so many people don’t write, so we stay silent. And yet there is so much strength and relief to be gained from understanding that there is indeed another person out there who knows your experience.
I write because you might find my strategy useful.
I write because you might have been worried after reading my post on Monday, and wondering how I am (and thank you so so much for that. You are appreciated!)
I write because our thoughts are often metaphors. When we discover what they are pointing towards, the sting lessens. We don’t need to take our thoughts at face value. They can be less drastic than we first realise.
I write because too many people (i.e. more than zero) suffer in silence and don’t find the relief and release they need *while living*.
I write because lots of us have these moments, episodes, or periods in our lives. And through supporting one another, through saying “Yes, I’m here with you. You can do this. You are more than you think you are right in this moment” we become stronger, we become more compassionate for ourselves and for others, and there is more love and wisdom in the world.
Thanks for being with me. I’m with you too.
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Sue Mahony PhD is gifted, autistic, and ADHD. She provides 1:1 specialist support for brains similar to her own, neurodiversity training, mentoring & coaching for organisations, and a wealth of articles on this website.
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