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Archive for the ‘Suicidal Urges’ Category

*******trigger warning – suicide & religion*******

From the perspective of Faye, after my father died, I went from sleeping all the time to having terrible insomnia. I would be awake until the wee hours of the morning and barely able to function at school. I also started having severe suicidal urges.

Feelings of suicide were not new, but this was different. The feelings were much more intense, and I knew that I had to die in a very particular way. When I dabbled with suicidal urges before, I thought about swallowing pills. However, this time I wanted to use a knife or razor blade and “watch the lifeblood flow out of me.” I also knew that I wanted to die in my mother’s bathroom.

I waited until I had the house to myself. I took my mother’s razor and locked myself in her bathroom. She had a large sunken bathtub in the middle of the bathroom that I could walk around, and I paced around it for a long time, crying and begging God to give me one reason not to go through with it. The suicidal urges were overwhelming, and I just wanted the pain to stop and to be with my dead father.

Something deep inside of me (God?? An alter part??) fought back. I had “loud thoughts” that said, if I could just hold on a little bit longer, I would be okay. In my head, I knew that I only had to survive a few more months, and then I would leave for college. However, the urges were so strong. I could see myself slashing up my arm and watching the lifeblood flow out of me until I died. Somehow, I found the courage to fight my way out of that bathroom, and I made a life decision that, no matter what, I would not end my life that way.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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On my blog entry entitled Effects of “Mirroring” Others in Relationships after Child Abuse, a reader posted the following comment:

I read on your blog somewhere once about how you don’t think suicide is a sin or something like that. I’m sorry if this is wrong…i have difficulty with memories that never occurred (yay me! makes thing so much easier ::sarcasm::) Something about how it would be wrong to make someone go through all that…I wanted to thank you for that. ~ Tawny

Tawny is correct. I did say that.

My understanding about suicide being considered a “sin” is that it is a murder (murdering yourself), and you did not get the opportunity to repent of the sin of murder because you (obviously) died. I vehemently disagree with this labeling of suicide as a sin.

Suicide is not murder. People who attempt and/or commit suicide do it to escape very deep emotional pain. The pain and despair run so deep that anything, even suicide, seems preferable to living even one more minute in this deep, dark place. The thought of God condemning a person to hell in this situation makes absolutely no sense to me. I believe that God views this situation with deep compassion, not condemnation.

That being said, I do not “support” suicide. I have struggled with suicidal urges many times in my life. To this day, I will sometimes wrestle with very deep and dark despair. Suicidal thoughts might run through my mind, but I choose to dismiss suicide as an option for one very important reason – I refuse to let my abusers win. I owe it to the little girl inside who fought so hard to survive the abuse to survive the healing.

This is not always easy for me. Those dark clouds will loom over me, and I question whether I will ever feel okay again. If it were possibly to “will” myself to leave my body, I would have done so many times over. However, I will not succumb to the suicidal urges when they strike because I refuse to give up. I absolutely refuse.

The other, very important thing to remember is that the despair does not last. Yes, in the moment, it feels like you will never see the sun again. I experience this myself sometimes. I even scare myself sometimes with just how dark I can feel inside. I try to remind myself to feed the right wolf, but even this does not always work fast enough for me. Sometimes I have to commit to staying on this earth one minute at a time. The thought of committing any longer is simply too overwhelming.

And yet, no matter how dark the despair or how long it lasts, it always passes. It might take days or weeks, but it does pass. Suicide would be a permanent solution to a temporary problem. If you can hold on just a little bit longer, the clouds will part, and the sun will shine again.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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One of the most difficult parts of healing from child abuse is struggling with suicidal urges. As I moved through the child abuse healing process, I would feel suicidal urges from time to time. The pain ran so deep that I was willing to do anything – A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G – to make the pain stop. Even death seemed preferable to continuing one more minute experiencing such a deep level of pain.

Also, my suicidal urges would come with very deep despair. No matter how much progress I had made along my child abuse healing journey, I could not see any of it. It felt as if I was enveloped in a dark cloud, and I could not see past my immediate pain.

If you are in this place, keep holding on. Sometimes that is all you can do when the suicidal urges wash over you. The most important thing to remember is not to act on those suicidal urges. No matter how intense they are in the moment, those feelings will pass.

For those of you who are Harry Potter fans, suicidal urges feel kind of like coming into contact with dementors. They suck all of the hope and joy out of your life, and you are left with the deepest pain that you ever experienced. Also like with dementors, eating chocolate afterward always did wonders for me in recovering from the encounter. :0)

I made a life decision that I would never attempt to take my own life. No matter how bad it got, I would use all of my coping tools to fight back. I refused to end my life in that manner, if for no other reason than to prevent my child abusers from winning. As long as I am still alive and not an abuser myself, I win. If I kill myself because of the pain that they inflicted, then they win.

If you are struggling with suicidal urges, this is a normal part of healing from child abuse. What you are feeling is not about today – you are feeling the echoes of your past. You are releasing the despair that you could not face while you were being abused. You need to pour those painful emotions out of your spirit so you can heal.

Whenever you feel suicidal urges, remove giving into them from your list of possibilities. From there, do whatever you can to ride them out. Rest assured that suicidal urges always end. It might seem like you will be miserable forever, but you won’t. Emotions, even extremely painful ones, always end.

Related Topic:

Aftereffects of Childhood Abuse: Suicidal Urges

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Busted Bumper

I was in a car accident yesterday, and it really scared me. Someone who is not familiar with the downtown area turned the wrong way down a one-way street. I was in the far left lane, which is the same lane that he was in. All I know is that I saw a vehicle coming in my lane straight at me, and I could hear my husband’s voice telling me that any type of collision, even into a telephone pole, is better than a head-on collision.

I blew my horn several times, but I did not see him slowing down or pulling over, so I tried to change into the lane beside me. Unfortunately, there was another car in that lane. He saw what was going on and did his best to avoid hitting me, but he wound up rear-ending me.

Nobody was hurt. My kid was not in the car, thank goodness, and things could have been so much worse. My bumper and the other car’s bumper look rough, but otherwise everything was okay. I am still shaken up by the accident – not the part where I was actually hit but the thought of seeing somebody coming at me the wrong way in my lane. I would not be surprised to relive that experience in my dreams tonight.

What’s funny about this is that I had a “death wish” for a very long time. I did not necessarily want to die, but I preferred the thought of ceasing to live to the thought of working through the very painful emotions from my history of child abuse. I have been saying for years that I am ready to die whenever. I am not suicidal, and I am not eager to die today or anything, but I do not fear death and see it as a natural part of life. However, those were not the thoughts going through my head as I saw a vehicle heading toward me today.

So, I guess I am not ready for my existence on earth to end quite yet. I must still have unfinished business left.

Photo credit: Faith Allen

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(c) Lynda Bernhardt

Suicidal urges are common for abuse survivors. What makes these urges so perplexing is that they are echoes of the past rather than about today, but they feel so ever-present. Even if your life is great today, you might still feel a cloud of despair surrounding you that makes your life feel empty.

Suicidal urges are often misunderstood by the general public. The general public often sees suicide as a final “up yours” to the rest of the world. While this might be the thought process for some, the vast majority of abuse survivors consider suicide as a way out of the pain. They are in such an enormous amount of emotional pain that they are willing to do anything, even die, to make the pain stop. Because suicidal urges are frequently about stopping the pain, they really are a coping mechanism of sorts, albeit an extreme and permanent one.

If you are struggling with suicidal urges, try to remember that all feelings are temporary. Yes, you might be getting waves of very deep emotional pain, but the waves do subside. You will not always feel as dreadfully as you do in this moment. If you can just find a way to get through the moment, then the pain will ease, and you will be relieved that you did not take your own life.

If you are feeling suicidal, talk to someone about it. Go to Isurvive and post about your feelings. Better yet, go into Live Chat and talk to someone about how you are feeling. Lori, the board owner, has a toll-free number that you can call 24 hours a day. Call a friend. Write down your feelings. If you can just get through this moment, the pain will ease.

The more you can lean on more positive coping tools, the better able you will be to manage the pain when the suicidal urges hit. See Positive Coping Tools for Healing from Childhood Abuse for a list of positive coping tools.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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