Suicide. Tough discussion right?
Depression and BPD are potentially fatal. I don’t know the stats for suicide with depression but one in ten – that’s 10% of BPD sufferers successfully take their own lives. A frightening statistic eh? What’s scary with BPD is that you can be fine one moment, going about your daily business then something triggers you, and suddenly you’re there, so deep in that fetid swamp of depression that you try.
Knowing that you are frequently suicidal, it is probably advisable to make a plan on how not to.
Now most of us are prone to suicidal thoughts; some take it to suicidal ideation – fantasising, daydreaming about suicide. These words may sound horrific to non-sufferers, but sometimes the act of fantasising keeps us alive.
I am guilty of both of those at some point each day – usually mornings – but I take it one step further. I indulge in suicidal planning. Daily.
So how do you stop this plan from eventuating? Answer: Flip the coin in the moments you are NOT feeling suicidal and make a plan on how not to commit suicide. Write it down.
Tell someone how you are feeling
Deep inside each of us, even though sometimes it is hard to reach we do have a human survival mechanism, a safety switch as it were. That’s why people end up calling Lifeline https://www.lifeline.org.au/ or 13 11 44 in Australia.
Some part within each of us wants to make it out. So tell someone, anyone whether it is a health professional, a family member or a friend. It is vitally important that you say how you are feeling. And to everyone else, when we speak those frightening words it is essential that you take us seriously. It is not a cry for attention; it is an urgent call for help. Heed it!
Build a support network
This is hard to do, but you need to explain to those around you that sometimes you feel this way. You have to be honest. If you have BPD and are seemingly ok, chirpy and capable people around you may find this a struggle to comprehend. So be honest and tell them that your mood swings are intense and frequent and even though you may seem perfectly ok at this precise moment, let them know that if you do get really down and are struggling that they need to take it seriously.
It can be tough when you care about others – you don’t want to burden them. But from talking with my friends and family recently, they would rather me be honest with them so that they can help. You really are not the burden that you imagine yourself to be.
Cast your safety net as wide as you need to.
Leave out one final, vital last step in your suicide plan
For us organised suicidal people, having a plan is important. Researching, gathering supplies, updating your will, packing and labelling boxes so that there is less work to do for loved ones upon your death, writing farewell letters, making suicide videos, organising a new home for your pets, arranging a babysitter, putting an advance care directive and do not resuscitate order in place, or whatever you do. LEAVE OUT THE FINAL STEP. Tell yourself that you haven’t finalised things yet. Remind yourself you have to have all pieces in place before you go.
I was discussing this with my youngest a couple of days ago. Probably sounds kinda strange right? I would never have dreamed I would be having this conversation with my adult son, but there we were smiling away, blithely discussing our depression and anxiety issues. He too is a planner it turns out, and like me is leaving out the final stage. He has told me what his final phase is so that I, as his mum, know when he has had enough of life and is ready to shuffle off this mortal coil.
I want my son to get help for his issues. I have been trying since he was eight. He is twenty-six and still refusing. He will only talk to Mum. Strangely, that helps me. Mum needs to be here for him.
By this I mean list everyone you know, family members, friends, colleagues, anyone you do business with, where you shop, your neighbours and your local community. Then write how your death would impact on each of them. Think it all the way through. Down to employment level. How often do you go to a particular shop for instance? How much do you spend there? Does what you spend contribute the someone’s wages? Will it affect local employment? Yes, seriously. Do this.
Then once you have done this, sit down with one or two people on this list and show it to them.
It is likely to scare the living daylights out of them, but hopefully, they will tell you the truth about how your suicide will impact on them.
I did this with both of my sons and my third ex-husband. All corrected me and bluntly, brutally told me how it would affect them in reality. Actual reality instead of my warped by depression version.
Their responses surprised me enough to realise that I mattered a lot more than I thought. Although I don’t give a sh*t about myself, I do care about these people deeply. When your child tells you that losing you in this manner would utterly destroy him; or that even though they are adults and living their own lives, that they need you – well, that made enough of a difference for me. It gave me something to hang on to.
Write a list of code words or phrases that mean you are really struggling. You may find it hard to say, “I feel really bad and want to kill myself,” so find something that you do feel comfortable saying, i.e. “I’m not feeling that great”, “I’m tired”, “I’m a little down in the dumps”, ”I’m struggling a bit at the mo’”, “Yeah, I’m ok just …”, Whatever sits right with you; whatever is most natural for you to say.
Let those close to you know. Make sure the people around you understand that if you are using these phrases, you are drowning and need help.
Write a list of people you love
Write this on your fridge in brightly coloured markers if your fridge is white. If it’s metallic, then use fridge magnets to hold it in place. Write it on your bathroom mirror with markers or make up. Use sticky notes around the house. Make sure this is in your face in every room.
Affirmations: Use them
Again, when you are in a healthier place start writing affirmations. Pin them up everywhere, write on any surface you can. Make them ‘in your face’ so that no matter what room you are in, they are there front and centre. Try and make a habit of pausing to read them every time you walk into each room. It is hard at first, but you need to do this. Then you need to try and feel the truth in them. It is not an easy task, but it is essential.
Write yourself a love letter
When you are in a better place, step back and imagine yourself to be whatever you want to be. Then write to this person, tell them how much you love them, how important they are to you, you valued.
Read it and re-read it when you start to crash.
Seek professional help
This is vital. Please realise that you can be helped. I have included some key links on suicide prevention at the bottom of this page. Check them out. Familiarise yourself with the resources available to you.
Tell your GP. Your GP will have a network of health professionals behind them to guide you through this.
Don’t feel guilty about asking. You are just as important as anyone else. You may not realise it at the moment, but you are worth saving.
You do matter.
If all else fails, get yourself to hospital
Really. This is important. Even if hospital is scary, get yourself somewhere safe and tell someone.
Hold on tight. Like all feelings, this will pass.
Note: This is just what helps me – but I am not a professional. Seek professional help and support – please!
Important links and resources:
Lifeline Australia 13 11 44 https://www.lifeline.org.au/
Suicide Prevention Australia https://www.suicidepreventionaust.org/