How Do I Know When to Ask For Help?

Discussion in 'Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings' started by pbcmom, Dec 15, 2014.

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  1. pbcmom

    pbcmom Member

    Background: I am bipolar. I have been dealing with severe depressive episodes and suicidal feelings for years. I made two reasonably serious attempts within a short time of each other when I was much younger...almost 20 years ago, when I was still in my early 20's. I have continued to struggle with suicidal feelings during my darkest of times since then but have not made an attempt since then. For the past 10 years the single largest factor keeping me alive has been my daughter. I don't want to hurt my daughter by making her feel abandoned and like I didn't love her enough to keep living and I worry about who would take care of her when I was gone. Even though I *know* I should continue to live for my daughter, sometimes the pain of living with bipolar depression is so great that it feels unbearable.

    I'm currently dealing with a very severe depression. It hurts too much. I want to die. I don't want to hurt and abandon my daughter. My doctor knows I've been feeling suicidal. Recently he said that he knows that I'm in a great deal of pain and believes that I want to die but also knows how much I love my daughter and that I don't want to hurt her and believes that desire to protect her is stronger than my desire to end my pain by killing myself. For that reason, he said that he didn't think I would ever go through with killing myself. There was a part of me that felt a relief that he has that much faith in me and thinks that I'm strong enough to fight this. There's a part of me that is embarrassed that he might really think I have no intention or desire to kill myself and I'm just looking for attention. There's a part of me that feels like if my need to kill myself ever does feel too strong and I get scared that I'm not completely in control of myself that I won't know how explain to him in a way that let's him know the feelings are too big and I do need help.

    Right now I'm playing that mind game with myself where I promise myself not to act on any suicidal desires for at least a certain amount of time. Currently it is a promise to myself that I will wait until after the Christmas holiday and then see how I feel before killing myself. I guess I think it's bad enough that I will hurt my daughter with my choice, there's no reason to make it even worse by ruining Christmas for her, too. And I know the drill, if I feel like I'm in crisis or in danger then I need to ask for help. But I'm not sure where that line is.

    Today was one of the worst days I've had in a while. I spent most of the day crying...that ugly, hard, sobbing kind of crying. I've had a couple of panic attacks. It's been so hard to keep the suicidal thoughts out of my head. My thoughts felt so scary and out of control that I really considered that maybe I needed to call my doctor and tell him I needed more help, that I wasn't sure I could stay safe. But here I am still alive, so obviously it wasn't more than I could handle on my own.

    How do I know where that line is? How can I tell when I'm feeling really scared, suicidal and out of control but I'm still capable of handling it on my own and staying safe? How can I tell when I'm feeling really scared, suicidal and out of control and I need help to stay alive for my daughter? Maybe I don't ever really need to ask for help because I won't kill myself no matter how much pain I'm in because I don't want to hurt my daughter. Maybe my doctor was right. But sometimes the thoughts and need to end my pain can feel so out of control that I am scared of myself and scared of acting impulsively. (Although I had been thinking about suicide for a long time before my previous attempts, the actual attempts were fairly impulsive.)

    Is there a point where I should know that I have to ask for help? How do I know when that point is? Even when it feels like I'm losing control over my own thoughts and actions, I know that if I tell the wrong person I can end up in a situation where definitely I lose control over any choices for myself.

    I guess the basic questions is..."they" say if you're in crisis ask for help; how do I know when I've crossed the line from being scared to being in crisis?
  2. SillyOldBear

    SillyOldBear Teddy Bear Fanatic Staff Alumni

    While I appreciate that your doctor trusts you not to kill yourself, I am not convinced that he is truly listening. He does not seem to understand how much pain you are really in. Certainly, when you are in such pain, it is appropriate to ask for help. Are you on any medications? Are you seeing a psychiatrist? If the answer is no, I would suggest seeing one and asking for some medications. They can be a big help to those dealing with bi-polar disorder. If you are already on meds, it sounds like it is time for a change as they don't appear to be working. That happens too. Medications that once worked no longer help. But again, when you are in such pain, it is certainly the time to ask for more help. Best wishes to you and please take care of yourself.
  3. pbcmom

    pbcmom Member

    The doctor that I was speaking of is my psychiatrist. I've had this same psychiatrist for over 12 years. He has helped me through many dark times and he does know me pretty well. Sometimes it seems as if he knows me better than I know myself but other times it feels like he's just not getting it. There have been a few times that I've tried seeking treatment from a different psychiatrist (looking for someone closer to where I now live or encouraged by psychiatrist to seek out second opinions) but it never lasts more than a few visits before I remember why I usually trust and work so well with my current psychiatrist.

    I am on medication. It doesn't work great but I've tried countless medications and combinations and this is the best option we currently have for me. There are times, like now, that things can get so bad that it doesn't seem to be helping at all. There is an argument to be made that perhaps my symptoms are at least less severe than they would be if I wasn't on any medication but I'm not sure I'm totally convinced on that one. Times like now my doctor can offer help and support but to some degree I just have to hang in there until things improve. Easier said than done. And I know that even if/when things do improve I will end up in this same dark, painful place again. I just feel so worn down and don't know how much more I can really endure. I'm afraid of asking for help because I'm not sure that there is really anything else to be done right now other than hospitalization and I don't want that. That is the ultimate in losing all of my control. And certainly if I am still able to stay safe and in control of my suicidal thoughts I don't want to say the wrong thing to someone and end up in a hospital. I just don't know how to tell how in control I still am.
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