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Still Here

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Hi Everyone

This is my first post so please excuse the length. I joined SF a couple of months ago. I'd forgotten I'd joined till I arrived back home from hospital after a failed attempt but clearly I was looking for something, I'm not sure what.

I've probably had Clinical Depression for about 10 years. Looking back, with the help of various mental health staff, I have a combination of genetic and child hood "issues" that put me at higher risk for depression. They also give me some personality traits that, while mostly have a positive effect on my life, mean I am not good at recognising my limits, enforcing boundaries, asking for help or generally looking after myself. I'm aware of these issues and, most of the time, I manage them fine. I don't spend a lot of time "looking back" and generally don't have a lot of "sad" thoughts. When I experience depression, it's generally as deep weariness. Like every movement I make takes a huge effort. It's as if I live my life in a jar of honey and every movement I make I have to fight against it's resistance. One of those character traits is I'm very strong willed. Often this is a blessing because I can generally make myself carry on. But, that gets me into trouble too because sometimes I think I can force my way through a crisis when I can't.

I've had periods of depression before (especially in childhood/adolescence) and made my first "flirt" with suicide when I was 10. But about ten years ago I started to seriously use the possibility suicide as a coping mechanism. Outwardly, everything was great in my life (stable marriage, kids doing well, secure well paid job) but I was exhausted from long hours trying to be the best at work and home and I felt like my family didn't care about me or even "see" me. I always knew it wasn't a health way of thinking but it is very powerful in helping me cope with the way I feel. I guess when things are hard, knowing there will be an end, can help you to endure and feel a bit better. I think I believed I was fooling myself and, when it came to it, I'd probably chicken out or feel differently. And, in fact, that did happen a couple of times.

Six years ago, I was really struggling. I'd decided I would definitely kill myself but repeatedly delayed doing so until various events in our family life were passed. E.G. a child's exams, my partner getting a job, not too near someone's birthday etc. I probably did that 20-30 times. Anhd countless more times I wanted to but whouldn't because of the hurt I'd causee my family. One day there was a sudden change in my relationship with one of my kids. (I felt) my partner "took sides" against me. I felt discarded and that what mattered to me, and even my very self, was unimportant to my family even though they were all that matter to me. I felt I couldn't manage living with them any more and decided I'd leave home and start a new life. I threw some things in the car and let. About 10 min later, I knew I couldn't leave them because I loved them and felt I had nothing without them. So, I put my suicide plan into action. Once I'd made the decision, there was no going back. I felt like my body had become a machine, my actions were pre-programmed and I was watching it happen with a cold detachment.

There was short period between when I'd acted and when I knew I was going to die. I was surprised, even shocked, by the deep sense of peace I felt. I knew my struggle was done and it was such a relief. I believe in God and I'd expected I would lose my faith at that moment because I belie killing myself is wrong. But I didn't, instead I knew I believed deeply and while what I was doing was wrong I'd genuinely done the best I could. Into that space, I became aware of my family and how much what I'd done would hurt them. I hadn't even left a note. So I called my partner to say sorry. At about that point, I lost awareness but, apparently, I kept talking and my son eventually found me.

I was hospitalised for a week. The doctors told me I had depression and I said I didn't, I was just worn out. They actually laughed at me. I followed up with a psychiatrist and a psychologist. Over the next few months I made two more attempts and both "failed". I probably didn't have the sense of mind to make a plan that was likely to succeed. Eventually, on my 5th ant-depressant (a tri-cycleic) and third "augmenting" medication, (a stimulant) and after a year of psychologist "talk" therapy I became reasonably stable and had about 4 years like that.

I wasn't well, but I was managing. I didn't let go of suicide but I didn't take any significant action either. The medication side effects were troubling but I was managing and I hung in there with them until I developed serious bruxism (teeth grinding). from the stimulant medication. I broke two teeth and often couldn't eat at night because my jaw was so tired it hurt. I tried to live without the medication but my mood plummeted and I became seriously suicidal again with a well formed plan and the materials needed. I was aware that I was in trouble and I sought medical help. I changed medications but couldn't manage without the stimulant. I started not taking it on weekends to reduce the side effects.

At the same time, my workload went through the roof. I was working all the hours I could (probably > 70/week) and still not managing. I should have called for help with that but I thought I'd get through it and I pretty much did. Things had just started to settle at work and I thought I'd got through it. I'd decided to give myself a three day break from the stimulant. That Friday, I found out a college and friend had lost their job. I was deeply upset. Not only did I feel for him, I knew this could only mean more work for me and there was no way I could cope. Then, on Saturday, I had a minor upset with my partner.

I made my fourth serious attempt. I was pretty sure I'd got it right this time. I had a whole new method that was known to be effective. I disconnected the phone so I couldn't make that mistake. I was alone with no one expecting me to be anywhere for the rest of the day. It should have worked but I made a small misjudgement. The next thing I remember was two days later. Again, I'd put my son through finding me. I was in hospital again. I'd failed again. This time, people at work and some friends knew. Again, I was "putting my family through hell" and the quicker I stopped that, the better. I knew suicide would get me eventually and I was determined to correct my mistake first chance I got. But, buy the time I was off "constant observation" a very good psychiatrist had "connected" with me and planted the smallest seed of hope that a new medication or ECT would help me. For the sake of my family, I felt I had to give that hope a chance.

So, four weeks later, I'm out of hospital and back at work. I'm holding onto the hope that things can change but it mostly feels like I'm trying to fool myself. The new medication (Mirtazapine) doesn't seem to be giving me other side effects, which is a relief. People at work are being friendly and I'm coping with the shift in perception about me. I've made some commitments to myself. I'm eating 3 meals a day even when I don't feel like it, I'm limiting work to 30 hours this week, 40 next and 45 after that for at least 3 months. I'm being more disciplined about sleep hygiene. I'm being more disciplined that usual (and I'm usually pretty good) about exercise. I'm reading again about depression and managing it and reviewing what I already do (e.g. CBT) for it's effectiveness and whether I'm missing something. I'm keeping a journal of risk factors (sleep, work hours, work backlog, exercise, recreation). Most of all, I'm refusing to think long term (and that includes ending my life) for 6 months.

It all feels like deja vu but I've delayed my death for years before and I think I can do it. I wish I'd been "successful" and I often feel like I can't be bothered but I won't let myself go there. To all intents and purposes, I'm doing well. On the outside. But nothing fundamental has changed. The teeth grinding is back. If I don't get better, and try again I know, I won't fail. Next time, I'll die, probably painfully. But, maybe, this doctor is right and there really is hope. Perhaps I'll be here in 7 months. Perhaps, there'll be a bit more hope then rather than none. Who knows.

(not yet) "mytime"

total eclipse

SF Friend
Staff Alumni
But, maybe, this doctor is right and there really is hope. Perhaps I'll be here in 7 months. Perhaps, there'll be a bit more hope then rather than none. Who knows.

Good to see you back here reaching out for support hun I do think your doctor is right as there is always hope hun always just sometimes the depression is so dark we just cant see it. Keep postingokay let us know how you are doing hugs
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