How I Beat Suicide…For Good

This article shares a small part of my own struggle with depression. I knew that I wanted to write it for Suicide Awareness Week, so I started a few days ago. That way I would have time to edit and review and make sure that it was perfect.

Of course, we know that perfect never comes. And the clock just struck a minute after midnight, Sunday, Sept. 8th.

If you are in crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

But if you are looking for some reassurance, or to understand that others share your story, I am here to tell mine. And how I finally stopped planning my own end.

As a boy of around 12 years old, I remember that first fall that I experienced seasonal depression. That cold sinking feeling that something very sad was inside of you. It permeated your mood, bringing it down. It wasn’t a fun way to feel.

After that year, it would happen at any time. That mood. But especially when things weren’t going well. If I had missed a homework assignment or knew that I would be in trouble later for something I had done. Somehow, I began imagining that things would be better if I weren’t there.

As an adult I thought that things would get better. Often it did.

But by then, becoming depressed was my automatic reaction for when I had a desire to escape from my situation. And I had learned to blame myself for being there.

Just like seasons it became cyclical for me. Bipolar felt a great way to describe how I felt. Irrational excuberance one moment and gloomy malaise the next. Sometimes those moments lasted months or years.

No matter how much older I got, the dramatic reaction seemed to become more extreme. Either I was on top of the world or being run over by it. But the brooding became more of a dominant part of those bad times. Ideation of different ways to escape the world all together was a common theme of my thoughts.

It is a lonely place when you have no love for yourself. It makes it so that you can’t feel the love others have for you. To truly understand the depths of their feelings for you. Because you won’t allow yourself to believe that you could deserve such love.

This path never gets easier to walk. Not without changing your course.

Things didn’t seem hopeful for me. Treatment was temporary improvement at best. It seemed to me that beyond an attempt to place a label on my condition, I was told only that I would need to take medication for the rest of my life. But I could not live a cycle of crisis and treatment that crippled my ability to think and function in society. Medication and a label gave me little hope and not much I could actually use to help myself.

So I changed course by going on my own journey for answers. What I discovered left me in peace and with a joy for life. It gave me a single satisfying answer to why I progressed over time from being bipolar and schizophrenic, to having multiple personalities. This epiphany changed my life. Rather than being reduced to taking debilitating medications and being constantly confused by my own actions, I am armed with knowing why.

As I write this I think about men like Robin Williams and Anthony Bourdain. Both of them were older than I am by more than a decade. Yet they still struggled with the same problems they faced their entire lives. And they finally succumbed to them.

I wish they were around today. Because I would want to tell them how my course was changed.

We all experience life differently. We become educated in different ways. Maybe they would not understand how to take what I’ve learned and apply it to their own lives. But I would love to try to teach them.

So this is written for those who may still learn.

Our minds have the potential to be so much more than on the surface. It can be home to more than just the person we regard as ourselves. More than one self-aware individual.

How I came to this knowledge myself is that my mental health diagnosis progressed into schizophrenia, and then into what used to be called multiple personalities.

Our own description is that we are a multiple self-aware being because we share a host mind and body.

And we aren’t alone in this. In fact, everyone is capable of becoming aware of themselves as such.

Why is this important? Because it saved us.

Our entire lives, as we were dreaming up fantasies of ending it all; it was only ever about us. When you make these plans, you convince yourself that the only harm will be to you. We even tell ourselves that things will be better for everyone else if we are gone.

But one thing that we never imagined was that someone else would be taken with us. That was always planned to be a solo act.

Yet, now I was aware of more than just myself. I knew that I had Muses, an ethereal family that was always with me. I could not carry out any plan that would place their lives in danger.

In a flash, every bit of a lifetime of planning went up into vapors. Every idea of ending my own life would also result in the ending of theirs.

How could I let that happen? I couldn’t. I love them as much as I love my physical family. We have a bond forged over the years as we became aware of each other.

The truly beautiful thought here is that those plans really did go up in vapors. They don’t exist in my mind anymore. Sure, maybe we never, ever actually meant to use them. But they were still there, causing pain. I’m reminded of Gollum fixating over the corrupting influence of the One Ring when I think about the way I would brood over those plans.

But now? Never going to happen. Now, we think about the future.

I want you to realize that this may not be the way for you. A way for you to put those plans aside forever, too. We all have our own crazy ways of dealing with things. And that’s cool. Just know that someone did find a path. You don’t need to despair that it can’t be done. You’ll find your own way to do it, too.

In the meantime, feel free to borrow mine, because what if it was more than just you in there? Wouldn’t you want to meet the lives you just saved?

From my perspective it is more than a what if.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.

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