“I Could have Been A Better Friend” ~ The Mantra of Survivor Guilt

Survivor guilt; a visceral animal that silently gnaws at a survivor after a loved one has committed suicide.

After the fact, the survivor looks back and agonizes over what they could have done to help;

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Photo Credit: Sandi Yee

“I could’ve been a better friend,

I could’ve been a better sister (brother, mother, father…)

I could’ve done more to show that I cared,

I could’ve done more to help if I had known.”

As someone who has attempted suicide, who has been immersed in darkness and doom, there is really nothing that anyone can do once the decision has been made.

Suicide prevention and intervention are at best temporary measures to stall a tidal wave.  It’s a strip of bandage on a gushing wound.

There is really nothing that can be done to prevent a determined suicide short of putting the person under suicide watch.

When the Depression comes, it is all consuming.   There is no logic, no love, no light, no sense of right or wrong, and no sense of up or down, there is only abysmal pain and despair.  Nothing anyone does is going to make any difference to that mental state of mind.  All those promises and contracts made in therapy not to hurt yourself, or to call someone when you feel that you will hurt yourself, those are the farthest things from the mind in the grips of mental anguish.

My attempts to commit suicide were not successful (else I would be dead and not writing this article), not because of what someone else did to stop me or to help me.  They were feeble and ineffectual attempts because I was young and ignorant.  I didn’t know any better.  I didn’t know how to kill myself properly, and I bungled it.  How totally inadequate of me.

The next time will be the last time, because now I know what to do.  Now I am older and wiser.  I know my plan is fail-proof.  It is lethal.  I am not young nor am I ignorant anymore.  Suicide is no longer my cry for help, it is because I want to die.  My plan can be executed regardless of external intervention or prevention.  It’s just a matter of when.  My husband knows this, he knows my plan.

So when I see all the awareness on Suicide Prevention the powers that be are propagating,

I am not convinced.

I applaud the good intentions, the efforts, commitment and desire to help.

But I see reality a little differently.

Image Credit: afsp.org

Honestly, do you really think that removing potential poisons, ropes and sharp objects are going be effective in preventing anything, if the person has made their decision to commit suicide?

Delusion!

I see this as merely a coping tool for friends and family to feel less helpless, to have something they can do, anything they can do, to help.

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Photo Credit: Sandi Yee

A dear friend of mine was completely ignorant that her beloved teenage daughter was hiding a razor blade in her room.

For a $1.50 at Walmart, anyone can buy a blade knife, complete with small plastic handle so no need to worry it will become too slippery to handle when drenched in blood.

This tormented teenager cut herself for months, and no one had any idea that she had been doing it.

To this day, the parents do not know.

I am the only one she trusted enough to tell.

That razor could have easily sliced through vital blood vessels if she was so inclined.  She would have had privacy to do so, because in our society, we give our teenagers the right to close their bedroom door and shut out the world.

Robin Williams hung himself, while his wife was in the house.  It takes at least 5 to 15 minutes of asphyxiation to die by hanging, unless the neck is broken immediately.  He had not been on suicide watch.  He was found dead.

The suicidal mind just wants the pain and suffering to end.  No one would know unless they had cried out for help, unless the warning signs were so obvious that they could not be ignored (for instance; stumbling out of their bedroom and announcing to a house full of family and friends that they have taken a bottle of pills; this actually happened with a family member).

Even then, everyone has their own lives to live, their own burdens to bear.  They cannot be expected to sit on suicide watch for their mentally unstable sister, daughter, friend…

My doctor told me to go to the hospital if I feel like I am going to kill myself.

I just have to shake my head at that.

I have lived with this condition long enough to know that feeling like I want to kill myself is part of my daily life.

If I am going to kill myself, I probably will.  And it’s not going to be with sharp objects, or poisonous substances, or the ghastly rope.

Would my friends and family have survivor guilt?

Probably.

Would they regret that they didn’t do more to prevent it?

Probably.

Could they have done anything to prevent it?

Probably not.

And no.  I am not going to kill myself today.

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Is Hope Enough?

“Every happy ending begins with hope.” 

~ Snow White / Mary Margaret in Once Upon A Time.

What is hope?

Is hope the feeling that something better is just around the corner?   Is it the thought that tomorrow is a new day, an opportunity for a new beginning?  Is it the belief that things are going to get better?

Is this what makes the beaten and battered continue to get up?  Because of the hopeful belief that eventually the beatings they’re getting are going to get lighter?  Or that their batterer is going to stop hitting, never again to lift a fist against them, and they live blissfully in love for the rest of their days?

Really?  Is hope really enough?   Does it really work that way?

The man, who hopes to get that great job but does not apply for the job, just keeps on hoping as he watches his neighbor celebrate one promotion after another.

The battered woman who keeps hoping that her partner will change, eventually passively dies at the hand of her batterer.

The woman, who cannot swim falls overboard from a cruise ship, hopes desperately that she will be saved, but drowns passively with her face down and her limbs unmoved.

Hope is useless without action.

Life is not a fairy tale.  We are not Sleeping Beauty whose prince will someday come to kiss away our curse and dance happily ever after, whirling us around in a ball gown spiced with magic.   We cannot lie passively waiting on our hope to change our life, to bring us happiness.

We are citizens of the 21st century.  We can do more than hope.

We can do.

We are able.

We can enable ourselves to define our day, our week.  (That is enough for me, for now.  Next week is another story).

Yes, every happy ending begins with hope.   But that is only a beginning.

Let that hope spark action, to do more than believe that everything is going to get better.

Grow that hope by taking action.  We must do for our self, for our health, for our mental and emotional well-being.

We must not give away the only real power we have, the power over our own body, our own mind.

We must not give that power away, to our doctor, to our therapist, to our psychiatrist…

We must not merely ask for, “Please heal me,” and leave it to our healthcare provider, or anybody else to heal us.  We must take an active role in our well-being.  They can only give us the tools with which to heal.  We must then take those tools and utilize them as they ought to be used.  The doctor can give us the prescription, but it is up to us to put that pill into our mouths, and keep on taking it.

We must manage our own health, our own bodies, and our own minds.

Where to start?  

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  Lao-Tzu 

My first step was making the decision to heal, to take control of my body, my mind, and my thoughts.

Mourning My Gal Pal, Libida

There are many side effects of antidepressants, from excessive sweating, to dry mouth to libido death.
Everyone responds differently, to different doses of different medications.  There is no one size fits all, all the time.  But if your doctor has you on your prescription, then hopefully, it’s because they believe the cons of the side effects are a far lesser evil than the symptoms you are exhibiting.

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Book Cover: A Lady’s Guide To Improper Behavior by Suzanne Enoch

Tell that to my dead libido!

I am a woman who has always had a healthy appetite for sex and more importantly, the elusive female orgasm (yes, please!).  Imagine my frustration, upon the realization one day that it just was not going to happen for me! It didn’t happen the next day either, or the next, or the next…

Orgasm was not going to come for me.

Everything physical was the same as it has always been. My man’s performance and stamina has never been in question, in fact he’s the Type A – overachiever sort, you know. 😉

After a few weeks of consistent lack of orgasmic results, I began to suspect that my gal pal “Libida” was dying. The “perp” that was killing my her had to be the meds I was taking.  Sadly, my doctor confirmed it.

What!?

This was the trade off?

I gave up the sensuous spasms of carnal delight for the ability to smile? What’s there to smile about without that! (Of course there are lots to be grateful for, this is merely an exaggeration to emphasize the grief of my loss.)

If I had never had an orgasm, I wouldn’t know what I was missing. But alas, the bliss of ignorance is not to be mine. I know exactly what I’m missing, and the multiple times that I’m missing it!

There was no way I was going to take this lying down! (Well, only if the situation was right. 😉 )

I deserve my God given entitlement of my share of erotic bliss!

So, being the adventurous sprite that I am, I packed my gear and went exploring to look for Libida in every sweet spot, using every method, and trying every trigger I could think of. Sometimes my man accompanied me.

Libida couldn’t be dead, I refuse to accept it.

Then…Success!

Ahhhh… I knew Libida wasn’t dead.  I felt it in my bones. Teeheehee.  🙂

“You’d Also Be An Anchor To Her”

My Response to A Reader Comment

I would like to take this opportunity to respond to a reader, by the name of “James”, who made a comment on the previous blog article, A Mom Soldiers On,  October 19, 2014;

“You’d also be an anchor for her if you can’t provide for her.” ~James

I felt that this comment warranted a comprehensive response, and deserving of a dedicated post.

This comment would be true enough if you are referring to financial provisions.  I can say with confidence and gratitude that we are blessed to be financially stable.  She has everything she needs for food, education, shelter, and material goods.  Her physical and financial welfare will never be in jeopardy.

The point of A Mom Soldiers On is about the challenge of motherhood while living with the daily struggles of chronic depression.  It is about the psychological and emotional impact that this condition has on me and my children.

This blog Managing Depression is dedicated to the entire experience of chronic depression.  I express clearly, that this mental health condition is most definitely an anchor, in fact, it is a ginormous burden to my family, day in and day out.

Yes, I would be anchor for her, if all I did was wallow in self-pity. Yes, I would be an anchor to her if she had to take care of me, instead of me taking care of her.

Yes, I would be an anchor if I was never able to get out of my own head and be emotionally available and present when she comes home crying from teenage high school drama.

Yes, I would be an anchor if I did not get up or do anything that a mom does, like buy groceries, make nutritious meals, oversee homework, maintain the house, pay the bills, and the never-ever ending loads of laundry.

Yes I would be an anchor.

But that is what the article A Mom Soldiers on is about.

It is about NOT allowing the depression to be an anchor, despite having to drag along the enormous weight of chronic depression.

It’s about finding the strength and will to get up and do what a mother has to do, and be present as mother should be for her child.

My first reaction to James’ comment was hurt, and then I feared that it might be true, that I would be an anchor.  But after a few minutes of reflection, my valuable contributions as a mother came to mind, vivid and clear.

I have not allowed my chronic condition of Depression to anchor me.  Despite it, I have reared strong-willed, intelligent, conscientious, well adjusted, young ladies who are full of love and compassion for the world around them.  I am proud of the job I have done as a mother, and foresee myself continuing on the same road.

I have come a long way in recovery, in understanding the nuances of my emotional fluctuations, and the best methods of how to manage them.  Yes, my children have seen me down and they have seen me fall, but they have also seen me fight against it.  They have seen me get up, they have seen me show up, and they have seen me rise despite the darkness I tow.

Thank you James, for making this an opportunity for me to candidly remind us moms who cope daily with depression, that we are still able to make significant positive impacts, despite our demons.

We do what we do as mothers because we draw our strength from that special well deep inside us, fed by the eternal spring of divine love, a mother’s love.

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Image courtesy: youwall.com

A Mom Soldiers On

Image Courtesy: toysoldiers.com

Image Courtesy: toysoldiers.com

My kids are my everything.  They are my hopes, my fears, my joy, my tears.  Being a parent is the most challenging and probably the most difficult job I will ever have.  It’s even more so, when my depression decides that today is the day it’s going to manifest, and my teenager is doing her best to push my every button, and every boundary ever set in this household.

My kid is a great kid; intelligent, creative, fun loving, full of love and compassion.  But there are times, good lord, when it’s impossible to keep my head up, to hold on to my patience, and be a good mom.  When I am faced with raging pubescent hormones, with all the drama and passions that come with teen angst, and I am emotionally raw hyper-sensitive, and every word said to me are like hot iron arrows shot straight into my chest, burning up my little reservoir of love and light.

So I will walk away.  So I will lock myself in my room and cry my heart out at the words that break my heart into a thousand little pieces.  I will allow myself this time to wallow in self-pity, to curl into a ball and sob out every sliver of toxicity in my head. Just for a little while.

But I cannot stay in this space, this place of negativity and anguish.

I will get up.  I will ask the powers that be for the strength and will to move my body, stand on my feet and hold my head up. I will go out and soldier on.  Because whatever the difficulties, whatever the challenges, my kid still needs her mom, and will need her mom in the future to come.

I know the demons that plague me, I can keep them from consuming my future, keep them from affecting my kid’s future.  She will have me in her life.  I will be here for her.  I will continue to take my medication to keep my darkness at bay.  I will attend my counselling and continue my therapy.  I will express gratitude for my beautiful daughter, because I am grateful that I have her in my life.

This is just a bump in my road, the long road that is the reality of living with my chronic sadness.

I shall not let the darkness overcome.

One Lovely Blog Award

image lovely blog award

A big heartfelt thank you to Cay X from The Rabbit Hole for this lovely nomination.  

The “One Lovely Blog Award” are chosen by fellow bloggers, for the newer up coming bloggers.

The goal is to help give recognition and to also help newer bloggers reach a wider audience.

It also recognises blogs considered to be “Lovely” by fellow bloggers that choose them, and to celebrate bloggers who share their story/thoughts in a lovely manner, that connects with their readers.

In order to accept the award, first you must thank the person who nominated you

Add the “Lovely Blog logo to your post

Share 7 facts about yourself

Nominate the bloggers of your choice up to 15, but the number doesn’t matter.

Inform the nominees by commenting on their blog

Seven facts about myself:

  1. I am child #9 in my family, with 8 siblings who are all older than myself.
  2. I am a huge dog lover.
  3. I have a zillion allergies, including food, environmental and animals.
  4. I believe in Love.
  5. I can not watch scary movies.  The last one I saw was The Sixth Sense, and for months afterward I felt like there were ghosts following everywhere!
  6. Going to the dentist makes me cringe.
  7. I love to write!

I would like to nominate the following people for this lovely award:

Motivating Giraffe – Penny is a wonderful artist who created this site and the two main characters.  She always has something to inspire or motivate with her drawings.  I look forward to each and every post.

Real Christianity – Melissa writes beautifully about her relationship with Jesus and finding salvation.  Her poems resonate with me as a woman and working mom.  She eloquently expresses the feelings of the contemporary woman who does it all.

Send Sunshine – Is all about light and inspiration.  Truly lovely.

These are the top three blogs that I enjoy on a regular basis.  They are consistently wonderful, and brings light and inspiration into my day whenever I need it.