#7… What If??…by Terri Lucher

These thoughts are mine, I am not a Psychiatrist, Psychologist or Counselor, I am a Nurse, but that really does not apply here.  What I am is a survivor of an unsurvivable suicide attempt.  My medications really did try to kill me.

The recent deaths of Chris Cornell & Chester Bennington have opened up a lot of discussion about suicide.  In both cases friends and family have said that suicide just didn’t make sense.  Suicide certainly did not make sense in my case either.  What if stress, grief, depression, medication, anger, hurt, obsession or any combination of negative feelings could cause you to completely lose your mind and kill yourself?  What if there are people out there that may harm or kill themselves and have no idea what they are doing?  I believe that happens, it happened to me and I’ve talked to others who suspect it happened to their loved one.  It may only happen in a few cases.  It may happen in every case.  Absolutely everyone is different.  Some may purposefully kill or attempt to kill themselves.  I can’t speak to that.  What if even a small percentage of those who attempt or succeed at suicide are doing it without any knowledge of it?  That should be a national health crisis?? Right??  What if the side effect “may cause suicidal thoughts or actions” those thoughts or actions are not known or realized by the person?  If even just a small number of suicides or attempts fit this description, shouldn’t we be doing something about it?

I know my story of suicide, because I’ve been told and have written so much about it.  I still don’t have one memory of any of it.  I really had no idea what I was doing.  When talking about my story, I have never had an “oh yeah” moment where I would have a memory or connection to it.  My suicide attempt was not purposeful or intentional.  Since my survival, hearing or talking about suicide seems like speaking a foreign language.  When the topic comes up, I have no sadness, fear or guilt, it’s like it didn’t happen to me.      

These are things I Know.

I’m going to say what is true about my story and what may be true for others as well.  Yes, EVERYONE is different, but there are some similarities in all of us, especially depressed people.

Everyone gets depressed from time to time, most people can experience it, process it and move on.  Then there are people like me who couldn’t let it go.  I was obsessed with my depression and a lifetime of wrongs handed down by my mother.  I fed it and I refused to listen to logical thought about it or let it go and it tried to kill me.  Whatever the wrongs in your past they are in the past and can’t be changed.  Your obsession with the wrongs or injustices are only harming you.  The person or persons who wronged you are not concerned about your unhappiness,  They wouldn’t have wronged you in the first place if it bothered them.  Don’t let your negative thoughts rule your life.  You will not be able to be happy if you carry the resentment, anger and hurt around with you and those feeling may just try to kill you someday.

I had a long-time depression that became worse and worse over many years, culminating in a medication induced psychosis that caused me to unknowingly swallow 800+ pills in a serious attempt to kill myself.  As I found out more and more of the horrible things my mom lied to me about., anger and shock planted a seed in my head I could not get rid of it.  That seed grew and grew, took over my life and sensibilities and eventually tried to kill me.  Over  many years I gained a ridiculous amount of weight.  Sadness became my normal and I didn’t take care of myself.

Depression is to some people is like drugs and alcohol are to addicts, it becomes comfortable.  Before the “situation” (this is what my husband calls what happened to me in October 2016) I was obviously depressed and I was not receptive to any talk that I may be on the wrong track, that I might need to reduce my medications and try to get off them or that my thoughts were not normal.   I know people who are still stuck in the awful storm of depression and many of them are not interested at all in my thoughts about it.  I was that person too.  I pray for them daily.

Before the situation.  I was sad, often agitated, unreasonable, irrational and a challenge to be around.  After my recovery, I am a whole new, healed person.  I am happy, thankful, grateful and striving for improvement every day.  There is no trace of the depressed person I was.  I find it difficult to even remember what depression feels like.  I do know I never want to return there.  I thank God for delivering me from it.  Maybe I went thru it to help others.   I am completely depression and negative thought free.  I believe God removed my depression during the times he was saving me during the hospitalization.  I am still on a very small dose of Zoloft and that’s all.  My new Psychiatrist is slowly tapering me off completely.  She agrees I am doing GREAT, but the fact that I nearly died from a suicide attempt such a short time ago prevents her from stopping the Zoloft all together so soon.  My recovery and new life is a daily effort.  It is work that I love to do.  It’s like sobriety, I can never take it for granted, or think my work is finished, NEVER.  

All the medications, hospitalizations and counseling in the world couldn’t help me, in fact the medications caused the psychosis that led to my suicide attempt.  If you are depressed there are natural ways to improve.  Meditation, exercise, walking, yoga, art, crafts, music, reading, observing the beauty in life, watching an aquarium, growing food or flowers, anything you can do on a regular basis to change the negative thoughts.  For depressed people who may start an activity, it is very difficult to keep doing it.  Keep trying.

My replacement for medications is physical activity.  I walk every day the weather permits as well as Pilates and resistance exercises.  I do these things to continue to improve the strength that I lost during the hospitalization.  Physical activity improves the chemicals in your brain, just like medications do but without potentially lethal side effects. 

I believe in God and his unwavering love for me and that he saved me for a purpose.  I have given myself to him and try to live as he wants me to every day.  If you don’t believe in God, find another higher power or something to believe in.   Without God’s Grace, I would absolutely be dead, gone, not here anymore, just a memory.  What an absolute tragedy it would have been for me to die from something I had no idea I did.  I believe it is an absolute tragedy that others may be in the same situation.  I just can’t believe how close I came to death.