Tag Archives: hope

wintery island

here’s to getting to feeling better

i hate were i’m at. this depressive cycle sucks! sucks, i tell ya. sucks! it really does.

i guess i should be thankful i’m not suicidal. why the hell not. this is the worst i’ve ever felt. my thoughts today went to leaving my life behind, all of it. finding a nice comfortable bridge to live under.  now i understand why so many people with mental disorders end up on the street. somehow in my sick mind, that would make everything all better. sick i tell ya, sick.

i guess i’m thankful that i’m not suicidal. for that reason i know i’m not completely filled with despair. the despair needle has to point to something less than 100%.

what’s in the other part of the tank? the opposite of despair, HOPE. There’s got to be some hope there. that’s gotta be the reason i’m hanging on.

right now i feel a little like george in it’s a wonderful life,

“help me clarence. get me back. get me back, i don’t care what happens to me. get me back to my wife and kids. help me clarence, please. please, i want to live again. i want to live again! i want to live again. please God, let me live again.”

clouds rolling by…

headline reads, “Ricin suspect had mental problems”

great headline, especially for people with mental disorders, NOT!

what a way to perpetrate the misconception about mental disorders. for too many people this will become just another example of how all people with mental disorders belong in the cuckoo bin.

you know what? i’ve never looked up the recipe for ricin. i’ve never written a letter to the president and never threatened anyone. the closest i’ve come to any problems is being overcome with despair to such a degree that i thought about taking my life, twice. yet, for too many people, i’ll get grouped with this guy with “mental problems”.

As i sit here and watch the reports from boston, i am inspired. they talk of soldiers from afghanistan and iraq showing up at hospitals offering support to people who had lost their limbs, letting them know that they will run again.

similar to those soldiers, i hope to be with a person dealing with deep dark despair that comes with being diagnosed with a mental disorder. i hope, like those soldiers, i can pass along a message of hope, that they too can survive and prosper even though they have a mental disorder. that mental disorders don’t have to be a death sentence. and finally let them know that they can look forward to dieing with a mental disorder as opposed to because of a mental disorder.

really? i belong grouped with this guy? i don’t think so. neither do most of the people who suffer with mental disorders. they are fine upstanding citizens trying to live with a chemical imbalance in their brain. nothing more, nothing less.

postscript: the headline online has since been updated to “Ricin suspect had mental problems”. while the new headline softens the wording, it still perpetrates misconception.

bird in the reeds

avoiding suicide’s side effects

my last psychologist, Jacob Mathew, introduced me to the works of psychologist, Kirk Strosahl. i have made reference to his work before, the three i’s of depression. He has done work on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT.  this is a new, scientifically based psychotherapeutic modality that is part of what is being called the “third wave” in behavioral and cognitive therapy.

in The Suicidal Patient,  Strosahl asserts that suicide is  a permanent solution to a temporary problem. he contends that suicidal thoughts are a common place in human experience, and best understood in context of language and a problem solving strategies. the suicidal person considers trading the elimination of her/his distress and despair  for their life. The distresses, whether it be external, financial problems, problems with the law, family or relationship problems,  or internal like depression, anxiety, or psychotic breaks  drive the despair. their thoughts goes to the elimination of distress as a short term gain. in the process, they overlook the long term and permanent side–effects of a suicide.

Strosahl attempts to shift the thoughts of the suicidal person: “while i recognize that you are in pain, can we discuss other possibilities of dealing with your distress that doesn’t require trading  in your life?”  he introduces the three i’s of depression, inescapable, interminable and intolerable. hopefully the person struggling can see themselves in one or maybe all three of the i’s. he then works to get the struggling person to see that these problems are temporary and they can be overcome.

with my most recent depressive episode, i notice i, for the most part have struggled with two of the three i’s,  inescapable and interminable. if that’s all that is on my plate, i am free of suicidal ideations. the problem occurs when i add intolerable to the mix. at that point, my plate becomes too full and my despair starts to peak and taking my life starts to creep into my mind. that’s not a fun thought. thankfully, i have not struggled with intolerability recently, so thoughts of taking my life have dissipated.

looking at the three i’s, they are all a form of despair. it is the despair that causes problems, problems that can seem to big and overbearing. the challenge to me and other people struggling with suicidal thoughts is to replace the thought and feeling of despair with the opposite, hope. i can’t say i’m there, yet.

while not there, i have started a travel down the right path; at least i have hope that i can beat this despair. i guess that’s a good start.

clouds and sunlight

the three i’s of depression

my last psychologist, jacob mathew, introduced me to the three i’s of depression and anxiety. this is based on the works of kirk strosahl. the three i’s of depression are inescapable, interminable and intolerable. people dealing with depression and anxiety face at least one of the three i’s.

feeling as if the situation is inescapable means there is a feeling that one can not get away from the situation. feeling as if the situation is intolerable means that one feels they can not stand the situation any longer. the third nemesis, interminable, makes one feel like they are on a hamster wheel and can not get off, that the situation will never end.

myself, while i am in a depressive cycle, i usually face inescapable and interminable. i hate when i add intolerable and fall into the depressive trifecta. when that happens, i start to feel truly overwhelmed and thoughts of suicide start to creep into my head.

all of these i’s are forms of despair, or put another way, lack of hope. the challenge for depressive people is to somehow fight through the muck and find hope in their situation.

to fight through, it people struggling with depression and anxiety can:

start tunneling–make plans for an escape or have a glimpse of freedom from the situation.

tolerate this!–take steps to make your situation more tolerable. weaken the thoughts that make the situation so intolerable.

get off the hamster wheel–take steps to make your life less interminable, find a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel.