Wednesday, September 10, 2014

1-800-273-TALK

These past 2.5 months have been brutal since my son has gone down to visit my family. Without the responsibility of him around my therapist has been pushing me to dig deeper into the recesses of my cluttered, dark mind.

And there are emotions in there.

So many emotions.

Some emotions welling up are so new, frightening, and overwhelming that my chest physically aches. So much so that the one night I found it necessary to make a phone call to help me get through the night.
Source: http://wonderbandalice.deviantart.com/
Not all self-harming is obvious to the naked eye. I've struggled with this illness for over 24 years and up until 2 years ago, I've never had the courage to admit this problem openly. Over the past three months I have worked extremely hard with my therapist to develop cognitive behavioral coping skills and calming techniques that I have used successfully to stem the tide of crazy that swirls in my brain at times.

But that night, the night before Robin Williams would end his life, I had so many painful emotions bubble to the surface that for the first time in years I was scared of myself. Each coping skill I tried to implement failed to have a desired impact; I grew more anxious. I couldn't breathe.

All I could think about was hurting myself. Badly. Really, really badly. I wanted the trapped pain to be outside of me. The pain was so bad this time I wanted to drive a knife in my thigh. Stab and twist. Because a twisted wound can't heal on it's own.

I've never had feelings that intense before.

I had no desire, no intention, no plan to end my life.

I just didn't know how to cope. It was 1 AM and I needed to talk to someone. I just needed to say the words, "I'm in a lot of pain right now. My therapist is helping me work through some difficult things and these feelings make me feel like hurting myself. I'm not suicidal, I'm not going to hurt myself. I just need to tell someone I'm having these feelings."

And the voice on the other end of the line, Noelle, listened patiently to me. I rambled for a few minutes and felt so much of the tension flow out of my body. It was as if allowing myself to say these things out loud took the power away from overwhelming feelings. My pulse returned to normal and I thanked Noelle for her kindness.

I sent a text to a couple of friends letting them know that I had been feeling harmful, but I had made a call and was feeling better. One night owl friend called me within minutes and kept me on the phone for the following hour and a half. We spent the time criticizing and deconstructing The Silver Chalice, Paul Newman's debut film. (If you are sad and need a laugh, I highly recommend this film. From the Sharpie drawn sets and bending metal swords to the costume department's liberal use of drapery tassels, there is not one part of the movie that isn't hysterical.).

Today is National Suicide Prevention Day. If you or a loved one needs help please call 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org. I am so fortunate that there was a voice on the other end of the line.