Last February (2019) was rough. I wasn’t sleeping well; getting only five or six hours most nights.
I was constantly hypomanic.
Hypomania is great in moderation. It takes its toll when it is chronic, though. As I’ve written before, my hypomania is accompanied by nasty irritability. I was not a pleasant person.
I’m not sure what caused such a prolonged bout of hypomania. The hypomania was probably closer to a mixed-state because I simultaneously felt despondent. Suicidal thoughts were never far from my mind.
Little things set off fixations on death and dying. I prayed for death anytime I was driving. I never planned an attempt, but I thought about ways I could end everything. I’ve never been able to muster the strength to write a note, and I wouldn’t want to do anything without leaving something behind for friends and family.
That detail is moot, for now.
I haven’t had suicidal thoughts in months. Over a year later, I feel like a different person. Someone who can better able handle setbacks and unfortunate events. I had friends remind me my deepest desire wasn’t to die. That those thoughts were my mind lying to me.
I fell into the suicidal thoughts easily because they were my go-to coping mechanism for a long time. I’d think about how it’d affect other people, and developed a sick satisfaction thinking about the tragedy it would cause. I didn’t want to do it maliciously or out of some weird sense of vengeance. And my attitude towards the thoughts was probably more evidence that I didn’t actually want to go through with it.
The cessation of the thoughts is due work I did intentionally re-routing neuropaths in my brain. I learned how to distract myself when the thoughts threatened. I stopped using them as a coping mechanism and instead developed healthier ways of recovering emotionally.
I’m also learning to take responsibility for my emotions and actions, and that I’m not responsible for anyone else’s emotions or actions.
How freeing is this realization!
It took me long enough to figure out. I’ve had coaching in this area from my therapist, parents, and a few close friends. Even though I’ve had people telling me it’s better this way, I had to figure it out for myself, and understanding has recently fallen into place.
I do not know if this has anything to do with the suicidal thoughts; the thoughts were non-existent before I started reading books about self-differentiation and individuation. Learning how to recognize what I am responsible for—and what I have no business trying to be responsible for—has helped solidify my emotional health and resiliency.
Now, I reflect on the thoughts and how I overcame them, and I no longer see them as a viable or even hypothetical option. I do not think this means I will never have the thoughts again. But less than a year ago, I thought I would never be rid of them; I would always live with them.
Absolutes are silly things sometimes.
2 Replies to “Overcoming”
A powerful post. Praise God for resiliency, medication, health professionals, books, and good friends.
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This sounds really positive!