Thoughts on Suicide

I apologise in advance if this subject is upsetting or goes against some of my reader’s religious beliefs, but it’s a much under-discussed topic and one which is close to my heart having lost a childhood friend to suicide in 2012 (he was one of the lead officers in the mass killing which took place in Cumbria in 2010 and we think this triggered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  Some of my other friends have also lost chronically ill friends to suicide as their lives, and pain, had become intolerable.  Please don’t read this post if you think it might distress you because I am going to be honest about the situation.

I think about suicide a lot.  It’s my get-out clause.  There are days when my life seems so overwhelming, so difficult, so punishing that I don’t think I can bear it a second longer.  When I haven’t slept for days, when I’m sick to my stomach, when every part of my body hurts and when I know it’s never going to get any better.  When I’m so lonely and in need of physical contact and comfort I want to literally scream out loud.  When I’m absolutely overwhelmed with seeing to my home, paperwork, laundry, food, shopping and caring for my parents, despite being so ill and exhausted I can barely put one foot past the other, that just breathing is simply too much.

I’m not depressed.  I’m not lying here thinking irrational black thoughts or catastrophizing the situation.  I’m just at the end of my physical and emotional resources and need some peace.

For someone who is almost totally drug allergic there is no escape from the physical suffering which constitutes my daily life.  There is no popping a pain-killer, or dosing up on morphine, for a brief window of respite from the physical pain.  There are no sleeping pills to knock you out for 10 hours so you can get some rest.  There are no drugs to make you poop when you haven’t been to the loo for a week, or to stop you from feeling sick to your stomach and retching your guts up.  It’s gruelling beyond belief.  And no matter how ill I am I still have to do the laundry, buy and prepare food, bathe, pay the bills and deal with all the other problems life throws at you like my laptop conking out or the drains overflowing in all the recent rain.

There are three things that stop me from taking my own life.  At times these seem like a blessing, and at others like a heavy burden which keeps me bound to this life with no means of escape.  The first are my parents – they simply cannot manage without me and I couldn’t put them through the trauma of my death.  The second is my little rescue dog – his first owner died and he is incredibly emotionally fragile and clingy and I’ve no idea what losing me and ending up back in rescue would do to his psyche.  If I ever did kill myself I’m fairly sure I’d take my dog with me.  The third is hope: hope that tomorrow will be a better day, that I might not be quite so tired, or in quite as much pain, or feel quite so sick, or that Prince Charming will come a-knocking at my door.

I think about suicide quite rationally.  I think about methods, which are tricky when you can’t just down a bottle of vodka and take a handful of barbiturates – let’s face it, my method is going to have to be a bit more brutal than falling asleep high on drink and drugs.  I have a Will.  I have a file with details of all my finances, internet passwords, and details of my funeral all laid out so that my Executors and Solicitor will know my wishes and be able to see to my ‘estate’.  When I say I’ve thought about suicide, I mean I’ve really thought about it.

I rage against God that if he were a kind, compassionate Being he’d just let me die in my sleep one night.  So far he’s not been listening: I’ve found he doesn’t listen to me much, probably because I don’t actually believe He exists.  Some days I hate Him for not listening, and other days I think I’m lucky He doesn’t exist and isn’t listening because then what would happen to my parents and my dog? (yes, I know this is contradictory, but then I think the word Contradictory sums me up quite well and should be engraved on my headstone 😉 ).

Having already lived for 20 years with chronic illness I know, for sure, that I can’t live another 30 with this level of physical, mental and emotional pain and suffering.  And I know, for sure, that when my parents and little dog are dead there will be nothing keeping me here.  To have the choice of ending my life is comforting to me and something I hold on to, ironically, like a lifeline.

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22 thoughts on “Thoughts on Suicide

  1. vickie

    How honest and open, I thank you for this. I too am at your level with the severest form of this condition. Totally drug intolerant so no respite day or night. I have thought about many methods
    and have worked good one out. Like you,i just could not put my very loving family through the emotional trauma of this. I have never been a Christian, but now often pray to God (or whoever)to just let me go to sleep and never have to face another day of this horrific suffering.
    Sending special Love…….Vickie.x

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    1. bertieandme Post author

      I appreciate you taking the time to comment Vickie and am glad this post has given those who want to discuss this difficult topic the opportunity. Having discussed it with some of my very ill friends I know it’s something we’ve all thought about yet felt unable to discuss openly particularly with family and healthy friends. Hugs Jak x

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  2. Sherry

    These are indeed the toughest of topics. Despair is ugly and dark. The wretched, relentless heightened pain…the slow but potent spiral into full disability…the withdrawal from just about everything one used to do (and from very little possibility of doing something new or anything for anyone else despite the desire to be of service)…the loss of friendships and family relations…of human contact…the emotional tug of war…the persistent “bad acid trip”, or crappy hangover…the full body attack – anywhere – anytime – all of the time…the fatigue beyond any control…the brain fog (ha ha – that term, brain fog, doesn’t even cut it for me)…the vertigo and nausea…the inability to take pain medication or much of any medication to manage any symptoms…the misunderstandings…the analysing, the judgements…the having no site of a cure (ever)… active participation in one’s life at your finger tips but you just cant reach it…climbing the never ending mountain toward acceptance and sanity…rationalizing one’s situation as having manageability relative to much worse suffering in this world but failing at rising to where you might want to be…and so on and so on. I describe myself relative to this illness and resulting thoughts of suicide.

    Who, struggling with these challenges, somewhere along this trying experience, would not contemplate suicide? Well, albeit some would say arguably, there are folks obviously that would not but many of us, including myself, have certainly done so. I’ll likely never actually go through with it because darn it – I love life, I still feel that I have something to offer life, and I want to live! I also, like so many of us, do not want to inflict the kind of pain the consequence of my suicide might burden upon those in my life that, despite some of these “relationships” currently residing in painful estrangement, love me – and I believe my suicide could cause repercussions in ways I simply cannot tolerate the idea of – let alone ever understand. But I am choosing to live for me – not for anyone or anything else.

    I do believe in God. I lost my belief for a few years – it sort of faded away like morning fog and then one day I noticed it was gone. I couldn’t begin to explain how I got it back – I just did and with my renewed belief came an unexplainable feeling of a sort of universal love. I often pray and try to send my love out into the world for those in need – if I am doing this – I believe other folks are as well – so I mindfully open myself up to receive their love as often as I can remember to do so. And if the idea of God is too vague or uncomfortable, I find that learning about the Universe (or Multi-Universe) and the extraordinary mysteries within them – lifts me. I can’t explain why exactly but I think I just feel like my life experience can’t be worthless if I am part of all of that splendor and magic. But the dark is always lingering like a circling shark in open waters and I cannot say for absolute certainty that one day I won’t simply choose to stop fighting, stop treading water, and slip away. For now, I rely on love to keep me afloat.

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    1. bertieandme Post author

      Thanks Sherry. This path through chronic illness is so individual yet we all often share common threads. I’m glad you have love to keep you afloat. I feel I have duty which keeps me here, though obviously great love is a part of that. Jak x

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    2. luciduniverse

      I believe in God too but I have had Near Death Experiences. First one was when I was in a major car accident with my then pregnant mother who was less than month due to have my now first brother. I had anaphylaxis in major and minor surgeries and was shown, during recovery within a few months, my Life Purpose whereas I met all my Spirit Guides. We were all made of Light. In fact, before that, I had months of Life Reviews where I was shown every detail of wierd things that happened in my life. After that, for some years, I was show all the ways I could have died in various situtations. I have never been afraid of death. And, I too have nothing to live for after my four dogs are no longer living. They are all under five years old. So, I might reach 60. But people in my family live into their 90s. And, since my Spirit Guides will not allow me to choose when I die, I am not worried one way or another.

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  3. POTSNJ

    Yes, I think it’s natural to want to end one’s own suffering. It’s why we research, why we see so many Doctors, why we try so many different treatment options, whether it’s medication or lifestyle changes… or whatever. I’m also medication intolerant which makes the situation impossible. When all that trying and searching fails, the mind scrambles to think of a solution and sometimes it seems only one option remains. It does give me comfort too, in an odd way, to know that if I choose not to do this anymore, I don’t have to. However, I also would not impose this kind of devastation on my family so I guess it’s not really an option. I just wanted to say I and I’m sure many chronic illness sufferers can relate.

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    1. bertieandme Post author

      Thanks for the comment on this difficult subject POTSNJ. It’s something which isn’t discussed enough IMHO and just putting the feelers out there is freeing – knowing you’re not alone in these kinds of thoughts. Jak x

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  4. kneillbc

    I think anybody with a chronic illness that isn’t managed- especially with pain, can relate. Of course. I am fortunate to have two children and an amazing husband. They give me the comfort I need when nothing else works, and a reason to never, ever contemplate suicide. It simply isn’t an option.

    For some reason, I’ve managed (so far) to do quite well mentally. Perhaps it’s because there are still some medications I’m not allergic to, perhaps it’s because I’ve had chronic pain, and learned to live with it before I got too sick to continue. Whatever it is, I’m very glad it is so.

    I do hope that something comes along that gives you a reason to put it off- beyond the death of somebody else. Perhaps it will come from your blog- knowing that you are supporting others, perhaps it will come from faith, or love, as a previous commentor suggested.

    I do have one, more practical, question. I’m sure you have tried everything that is within the bounds of sanity, but, it have found that oral medications are much more likely to be allergic for me. I have to take anything out of a capsule- as it’s the gelatin I’m allergic to, not the meds. With narcotics, pills are useless- my body has no reaction to them. Same with patches. But, I can take injection narcotics, and they work. If you haven’t tried them, it might be something to consider. I have gradually increased my tolerance, which means it’s likely that they’re actually increasing my histamine levels. Right now I’m working hard at reducing them, which is awful, but do-able. (Down by a third so far).

    In any case. My thoughts are with you. I hope that you find some joy out of today.

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      1. kneillbc

        I re-read my comment, and I realized that I missed a very important thing that I wanted to say. I mentioned that I don’t have an option for suicide. Clearly, it is an option, but for me, I think I can still add value to the lives of my husband and children, and my suicide would be so much more detrimental to them than my ill health,MIT wouldn’t work. What I didn’t say was, in my quietest moments, I’m sometimes a little jealous of not having it as an option in my back pocket. I wish I did have something where I could say, “Well, if I really can’t take it anymore, there’s always…”. I can completely understand why that option is, ironically, comforting. But, I also, do hope that you keep finding reasons to live. It really is being between a rock and a hard place- and to top it off, it’s started sleeting!

        K

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        1. bertieandme Post author

          Everyone has such individual circumstances – I’m hoping to do a blog post about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs soon which discusses this very issue, ie. that how we deal with any given situation depends entirely on our current situation (it’ll make more sense when I do it I promise!) x

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  5. E. Milo

    Jak! I literally could have written this word for word. Besides the fact that you have been ill almost 10 times as long as I have (no words), the rest is identical. I’ve wanted to write a blog about this forever. I think very rationally about suicide, also. And often need to talk about it. My family cannot hear it, they’ve told me so, neither can my husband. One of my friends has been brilliant about it- when I’m crippled with pain and exhaustion and have no option of drug help and can’t find the hope for the future, she says “suicide IS an option, but not yet, so just put it in your back pocket and keep it there. It will always be there if you really, truly have exhausted all other options.” That get-out-of-jail card in my back pocket has brought me much comfort.

    I, too, have a will and I have thought about how I would commit suicide and I, too, don’t do it because of my parents, dogs and hope. I’m not depressed, either, but this disease more often than not makes the bad outweigh the good.

    Thank you x

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    1. E. Milo

      Also, I love life … and my family and nature and art… There is no conflict between loving life and contemplating suicide. We have so little control with chronic illness, that it would be nice to know end-of-life will be as peaceful and within our control as possible.

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      1. bertieandme Post author

        Absolutely, you’re so right. I love life too and, as I stated in a previous blog post, am probably the happiest I’ve ever been at the moment. The suicide thing has nothing to do with being depressed or unhappy, but about having choice in the face of an often unbearable, and never-ending, situation. I knew you’d get it xxx

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  6. vickie

    Good to hear from other “med intolerant” friends. It just makes things doubly difficult to deal with. Doctors seem very sceptical about the fact that we cant take ANYTHING. I have had many hurtful scathing comments. Big (gentle)Hugs. xx

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  7. Lindsay

    Great post. I wrote a post about suicide a while back and know how difficult of a topic it can be. I have a (chronically ill) friend who recently committed suicide, so your timing is certainly relevant.
    I have been interested in the topic of suicide for a long time, even before I became ill. I often read about the philosophy of being, of life, and of death. I’m one of those people who often contemplates the purpose of life (if there is one). And for me, especially now dealing with incurable chronic illnesses, I find the thought of suicide somewhat comforting. Not that I have any immediate plans, or even any distant plans, but sure, I’ve thought about it. In depth. From both a philosophical and practical point of view. It’s reassuring that it’s there if I ever need it, that there is an option to end this illness, if it comes to that.
    Anyway, just wanted to say that I can totally relate, and I really commend you for sharing such personal thoughts on a personal matter.

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  8. bertieandme Post author

    Sending hugs on the sad death of your friend Linds 😦

    It felt like a bit of a downer topic to bring up, but I knew I wasn’t the only chronically ill person who must think these thoughts. I have no immediate plans either, but like you say it’s reassuring to know there is an end in sight if it’s needed (and I’ve come close on a few occasions in the past I have to admit).

    I didn’t know you’d blogged about it too – will have a look for your post. Jak xxx

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