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Recovery [ri-kuhv-uh-ree] (Noun) An Active change in one’s Attitude, Thinking and Behavior.
So, yes, you can recover from suicidality. Or no, you can’t. Depending on how you want to play it. Recovery takes work and you have to be willing to do it. The work is hard – excruciating at times – but you must do it if you want to succeed. So, I can’t guarantee that you will recover. That is up to you. But I was suicidal most of my life and have now been free of suicidal thoughts for about two years. Not too shabby for a person who was miserable for most of her 40 years. I can tell you what I did and what the professionals I sought told me to do and maybe it will help you kick start your own incredible recovery. However you decide you want to work a recovery plan, the problem will inevitably be being able to change your attitude, thinking, and behavior and to summon the energy and courage to face your fears and work this damn thing out.
Do you have an addiction of any kind? If no, it’s okay for you to read this as well – you could find out something you didn’t know that can help you. If yes, have you found or been going to regular meetings? A lot of people don’t go to their meetings for myriad reasons, one being that they’d just rather die than go. Can you relate? It could be a clash of personalities that’s stopping them or maybe they find the readings to be laborious. Finding a reason not to go to a meeting is way easier than actually going. But here’s the deal: meetings offer a way to get in touch with others, communicate feelings, and learn to live spiritually. Often, you have to go to several in a row, or mix up the plan with different kinds of meetings. You can’t go one time and make a decision about whether you want to go again based on that. If you think about how much pain you’re in right now and then think that all you have to do is sit in a chair for one hour and you might feel better, the prospect becomes a bit more enticing.
Are you suffering from PTSD? Are you like me and struggle with bipolar disorder? Is there anything in the past that has disturbed you? There is a self-help group out there for you. Even if you live in a tiny little town that has few groups, you can start one yourself. Like a suicidality group! Similar to the 12-Step programs, self-help groups thrive on service (and so do the suicidal). It’s called getting out of your self, and it works. But I digress. Finding a good self-help and support group could unlock your door to recovery. There are friends to be made and people to be annoyed by (I gotta be real), but the experience can be a very healing one. Also like the 12-Step groups, it is easy to find excuses not to go. I’ve made up many excuses why I shouldn’t go to my groups, but I try to have a willing attitude in my recovery overall. I also try to change my behavioral patterns that would lead me to sit in my house rather than try to help myself.
Have you seen a psychiatrist? If not, (ahem, excuse me) WHY THE HELL NOT? If you have, then ignore what I just said. Here’s news to those who don’t know: suicidality is a mental disorder – one that can be treated with medication, mostly. It can take what seems like forever for medications to start working and that’s why people give up before it takes effect, or before they and their doctors can find the right one. I worked with doctors for many, many years before we came up with a solution that was right for me. A snippet about me is that when the medications finally started taking the right effect, I slipped into another depression because I realized that I was 38 years old with only a college degree to show for the past 20 years. I had struggled throughout my life to the extent that I could not keep a job, had no family besides my husband and father (everyone else had cut me out of their lives due to my psychosis, suicidality, and drinking), and few close friends. I realized that I would have to start building my life almost from scratch. But I changed my attitude, thinking, and behavior and before long I knew that rebuilding my life would be a challenging, but beautiful, experience.
Getting to that point is hard. Doctors don’t know everything – they make mistakes and the process can take longer than expected. However, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain if you see your doctor regularly. Maybe you want recovery without any drugs at all. This is gallant of you, but that thought is crap. If you are considering killing yourself, you are a person who needs to be under a doctor’s care. If you don’t like your doctor, get another one.
As with hiring any professional (doctors included), finding a counselor can be a hit or miss situation. It takes time to develop a relationship with a person, and a counselor is no different. It’s easy to quit when you don’t see results right away, or maybe you will suspect that you picked the wrong professional. In any case, in order for it to work on your attitude, thinking, and behavior, you must have the right attitude, thinking, and behavior going in to therapy. If this sounds hard, you’d better believe your sweet bippy that it is. However, counseling can be very rewarding if you are willing to put the effort into it. You must be honest with your counselor, and I don’t mean halfway honest. When you dig inside for those raw feelings and it’s uncomfortable and you want to stop but you have to keep going, you know you are making great progress. If you don’t already have a counselor in mind, I suggest going to your local mental health department and asking if they can refer someone, or ask a friend or your doctor. Other than that, just open those yellow pages and dive in!
A Good Friend
When you pick a friend to talk to about your suicidal ideations, don’t get the one who will speak to you with religious overtones or “guilt” you into staying alive. Mostly what you need to hear when you are really suffering is “I understand” and “It’s okay” and “I love you”. Those are the three things I would like you to imagine me saying to you right now, in fact. Your friends love you, but they might not know how to say it well. Pick wisely. Or visit a pastor or reverend or whatever. But pick these wisely too. There are some real jack wagons out there.
Really getting suicidal? GO TO THE HOSPITAL. The hospital will keep you safe and doctors will see you around the clock. It will at least give you a respite from having to make the decision if you are going to die by your own hand right now or not.
God, Buddha, I used to call mine Billie Joe Armstrong after the Green Day lead singer. Who cares what your higher power looks like – it’s a freaking higher power. I know some people who would pooh-pooh this section of the blog. If you have that urge to too, I now urge you to take another look at forging a relationship with a higher power. If you have no idea how to do this, take a look at some Emmet Fox books or something a little more Buddha- mystical like Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach. I don’t have to tell you all the books there are on spirituality because you can find anything you want out there. I just suggest that you work on your spirituality while you are in recovery. It makes all the difference.
And keep your eyes on the prize.