About Suicide Thoughts

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**I found this post while cleaning out my document folder. I wrote it four years ago and assume I did so because I had recently lost someone and I questioned my own mortality. **

Why People That Commit Suicide Don’t Talk About It Beforehand

I am terrified to share this, because of the stigma associated with people that attempt or commit suicide, hell, people who even think about suicide.  However, I am going to because I had a very dark moment last night that I believe only God helped me out of.  Only God because I was alone in my basement.  People don’t talk about this shit because they are embarrassed.  They don’t talk about it because they are afraid they will be laughed at, made fun of or worse yet, called a psycho and told to “get help.”

We all know someone who committed suicide.  Tragically sad, it’s true.  We sit and we think, “Why didn’t we know how they felt?”  “Why didn’t they reach out?”  “How could they do this?”

I’ll tell you why.  Because during the grey moments before the darkness consumes; before the shadows engulf the eternally depressed, We Did Reach Out.

We complained a lot.  We were sad a lot.  Or maybe even we were a little too happy.  We tried to talk about how we felt, but no one wanted to hear about it.  They were either too busy or they judged.

“Stop being stupid.”  “Don’t be an asshole – grow up.”  “You have so much to live for.  Just be happy.”

Or there is the whole: “Everyone feels like that.”  “Oh, you’ll be fine.” “Suck it up, buttercup.”

There is a subtle, consuming darkness before the thought that “I seriously cannot think of one goddamn reason to be on this Earth” hits a person.

There is that complete darkness – literal and virtual – that we sit in and we actually begin steps to take our own life.  We yell, we cry and sob – We beg God to help us.  We do this alone, maybe in the basement while our loved ones sleep upstairs, clueless.

Some of us get a fleeting moment, a millisecond in time of rational thinking – some of us do not get that sliver of hope. Some of us write notes because there is no other way to communicate, some of us do not because we have no idea what to say. And quite frankly, they didn’t want to hear it in the first place, so what is the point of a note, really?

I mean… fucking really.

So, maybe we go to the ‘shrink’ and we talk about our shit for a while and the only solution they come up with is, “You are (fill in the blank).  Here, start this medication and come back in a month.  We’ll see how you’re feeling then. And oh yeah, don’t forget the $50. co-pay.”

Or we go to the shrink and they nod the whole time we talk and they hand us a piece of paper with bullet points on it.

Or we go to the shrink and it’s so goddamn expensive it comes down to “Electric Bill or Mental Health?”

We have really exhausted every option and all we want is to be heard. We need someone to just shut the fuck up and listen.

So maybe the next time someone you know (whether you are very close or not so close) seems to be acting different or is sad (maybe for the 13th time in 3 weeks) or really happy (too happy?), ask what’s on their mind and really mean it.  Sit and listen; don’t judge.

You might just save that person’s life.

***

Image: Pixabay

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/observe/

Just A Fraud

 

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Image: Pixabay

Most people, I think, hear the word fraud and think of money or maybe counterfeit goods. Or maybe they hear fraud and they think of some guy preaching from the pulpit of a ‘church’ while he commands the plain folk to give money else Christ will be sure to make thou heathens pay for ye ‘sins.’

 

Whatever.

I got a real story about a fraud.

I knew this woman once: good looking, smart, pretty well put together and she could talk her way out of a paper bag (or maybe into one). Her charm was only exceeded by her wit and both were trumped by her smarts. Men were wooed by her – bewitched – as they fell for her wiles, but she only possessed these wiles when she was sober.

And sober she was not very often.

She was one of those women you may have seen at the bar: first, she is the picture of beauty and poise but soon after she starts slamming back the shots, she morphs into this whacky, immoral tramp that decides it is a great idea to flirt with your boyfriend in front of her own boyfriend.

Ugh. What a bitch! 

Oh wait, that was me. I was that fraud of a woman pretending to be mature and just, all the while the alcohol would let the real me slip out 100% every damn time. I lied to everyone and anyone I could so that I could either be the victim, the hero, or the shining star set at center stage.

The truth was: I hated myself. I hated everything about me and I hated everything about anyone else that was just like me. Okay, I hated everything about everyone no matter what they were like. Nothing ever went right, no one ever treated me right, blah blah blah.

Well, how the fuck could they? They never knew who I was because I never knew who I was! It’s like trying to have a moody alligator for a pet. Sure, he is nice once in a while, but no one knows when he is gonna snap (your face off). I was happy for ten minutes but then someone looked at me wrong or maybe it was too warm that day and I didn’t get the right compliment on my outfit.

You’ll all pay!

 

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Image: Pixabay

 

So I would use my fraudy ways to get people to like me and spend time with me and then as soon as I was sure I had them right where I wanted them, boom. I would start to change, little by little, bit by bit.

I think the correct term is a NARCISSIST. I guess it is close that I was a narcissist, but, if I truly were, there would be no helping me without years of intensive professional therapy.  Narcissists don’t recognize their demented ways, so I can’t say without a doubt that I was one.

All I know is that I was a fraud. It was a long, hard, winding road to get to a point of sanity and self-acceptance but I am here now. I work on myself daily and really try to be a better human every day. Of course, I have bad days (don’t we all?) but getting through the bad days helps me appreciate the good days.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fraud/

Deny the Outcome

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Image: Pixabay

There once was a woman

With a dark and lovely soul

Her eyes were like diamonds

That perfection was never shown

She cascaded her life

Like a million post-it notes

Denying her inkblot

With inspirational quotes

Her heart was a minefield

Of broken shattered dreams

Her lips the shrapnel

Of all that fell between

‘There is no saving me,’ she said

As she turned another page

And patched her thoughts with distance

While she got on with her day

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/deny/

Things That Are Fun (While Sober)!

Picnic
Picnic (Photo credit: Carlos López Molina)

When I first got sober it was in late May of 2006.  I immediately found some meetings to go to and when a person goes to meetings, they find out about picnics.  My first thought was, “How the hell does a person go to a picnic and not drink?”

Turns out, there are a lot of ways to have fun that do not involve drinking or drugs. Here are some of the ways I have had tons of fun all while being sober:

  • going to a meeting
  • walking in the woods
  • walking on a main strip in a small town
  • going for a long drive (like… really long)
  • drawing
  • writing
  • listening to music
  • shooting pool at a pool hall (not a bar!)
  • cooking
  • exercising
  • making a craft
  • cleaning
  • napping
  • going to a book store
  • going to the library
  • going down to the river
  • antique shopping (or browsing)
  • going to lunch with a friend
  • going to lunch alone
  • starting a scrap-book
  • journaling (I wish I would have documented my first year of sobriety)
  • and yes…. sober picnics!

These are just a few of the things that I had (and still have) a ton of fun doing while trekking through sobriety.  Do you have any to add?  Please share!

Relapse – A Painful Truth

Relapse is a harsh reality in the world of recovery.  There are a million reasons people give for relapse but the number one I hear everywhere I go is this:  RESENTMENT.  Someone who follows my blog sent me a fascinating, short video about relapse.  If you’re interested, watch it.  Profound, it sticks to the point.

Video Infographic by Clarity Way

The disheartening truth is that addicts and alcoholics relapse long before they pick up again.  A switch goes off and the obsession kicks back into the brain.  The obsession leads to the compulsion to drink or drug.  Once the compulsion is acted upon, it is off to the races.

Please, watch the video, visit the website if you wish, and leave your thoughts in the comment section!  I’d love to hear from you.

Have a blessed day.

I – Inconsistency – The Backbone of Failure

rhizoming the plan of consistency . .Inconsistency should really be my middle name.  Throughout my life, I have been inconsistent about everything: work, family, kids, money and even hobbies.  I don’t know if I have untreated A.D.H.D. or if I am just inherently lazy, but this crap has plagued me since I was little.  I get all gung-ho about something and then a day, week or a month floats by and I say, “Wow, this is pretty f’ing boring.” Other times, I purposely refrain from proceeding, perhaps in an attempt to self-sabotage.  I’m really good at that.

Inconsistency is the main ingredient in any recipe for failure.  For me, not writing 500 words a day leads to no published novel (hell, not even a final draft!) along with many other unfulfilled dreams and aspirations that I could have if I just remained consistent.  I could sit here and make tons of excuses as to my lack of motivation, my screaming inconsistency and my lazy ways, but that’s just it.  They are excuses.

What I am consistent with: my program and abstaining from alcohol and drugs.  Please know that I am not bragging.  It isn’t set in stone that “I got this” when it comes to my recovery from alcoholism/addiction.  I see it too much in the places I go… people I care about falling off the wagon or never quite grasping the concept.  Maybe they did have the concept but for whatever reason, decided to “try to drink successfully.”  I can honestly say I have not seriously entertained taking a drink or drug in these past years… even when those silly, glamorized booze commercials come on the television or I watch a movie with blatant drug use.  I do get those little tummy knots sometimes when I watch something like that, but that’s my cue.  “Turn it off, Darlene.  Nothing to see here.”

By the Grace of God, I will have seven clean & sober years on May 26, 2013.

G – Grieve (The Old You)

Grief
Grief (Photo credit: tombellart)

Grief.  It’s one of those things that is hard to let go of and hard to handle.  We grieve loss: Loss of people, places and things; loss of pets. But did you ever consider grieving over yourself?  I’ll bet you never quite looked at it that way.

Recovery is a rebirth.  We come into the rooms, the doctors’ offices and the out-patient programs beaten and broken. We are torn, tattered and abused; looking for something or someone to save us.  We’re either meek and mild or loud and brazen.  Some of us are a little of both.

When I first got sober I was a little of both. I was kind of shy (especially around women) and I dressed provocatively, stuck with the men, pulled up at meetings blasting my heavy metal.  I needed to be noticed. I needed that attention to flip that self-worth switch on inside.  Seeking outside validation is classic in alcoholics and I was (still am!) a classic alcoholic.  I made all the conversations about me (I was really good at this!).  Gosh, I could go on forever!

This self-seeking behavior (definitely a character defect) went on for years until one day…

I got serious about my program.  I started hitting six meetings a week.  I got another sponsor and actually talked with her and did step work with her.  I listened at meetings and even started sharing at some of them.  I started hanging with the women, giving my phone number to newcomers and even hung out with these chicks outside of the rooms. What was happening to me?!  Who was this woman who stared back at me in the mirror every day?  I didn’t know her, but I liked her.

She was different.  She didn’t want to wear “hoochie mama” clothes anymore; felt comfortable around other women.  She liked the image in the mirror.. sometimes.

Yes, I still blast my heavy metal but I definitely notice a change in me.  So do a lot of other people.  I like who I am these days.  I no longer hide behind the insecure mask of “LOOK AT ME!”  I know that sounds strange, but insecurity leads to external validation which is a band-aid that never heals internal wounds.

And I did take a moment a couple of years ago to grieve the old me.  I sat down in a park with my journal and nature and wrote a letter to myself.  I said, “Goodbye, Old Darlene.  There are some parts of you I shall miss, but ultimately, not much.  This is my new path, with my new life and a new me.  I’m sure you’ll visit sometimes, Old Darlene, and that’s okay, but you cannot stay.”

Have you ever given any thought to an “old you” and “new you?”

Keeping It Real

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serenity (Photo credit: dragonflaiii)

So I was watching the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) this morning and there were all these fascinating episodes that dealt with “self.” Like, how we treat the self, how outside events impact the self and so much stuff I went out and bought a book by one of the people Oprah was interviewing.  “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer.  The book is to liberate us from a contained self-image.

Based solely on the interview, the information I gathered from the show and snippets of the book I scanned, I have hope that this book will break me through my final barrier… me.

I have always tried to keep it real.  I’ve tried to remain grounded in all I do, say or feel along with trying to be there for anyone who crosses my life path. But there are these things, these feelings, that get in the way on a consistent basis.  And when I let my head get the best of me, I am no longer keeping it real per say, but getting sucked into a myopic array of disillusionment which takes me back to that dark room of self-loathing.

Yeah, pretty messed up stuff.  The more messed up part of all this crap is that I project this putrid bile onto other human beings.  Instead of just being in a moment or looking at things for what they are, I tend to read deeper into whatever is going on and then I project my thoughts, insecurities and the like others.

This leads to:

  • self-doubt
  • self-loathing
  • insecurity
  • feeling less than
  • depression
  • self-sabotage
  • resentment

That is a pretty hefty list of awful feelings, ideals and all around yuckiness.

Lately, I have been way up in my head.  This is a tough place for me when I am trying to live a life of peace.  My head is not peaceful.  It is constantly chattering, whispering and telling me rotten things.  I believe these things.  I give my thoughts weight and that is when the horrible list above comes into play.  I used to drink and drug to get rid of these thoughts and feelings.  Drinking and drugging is not an option for me.

This is why I bought the book.  My thoughts (and yours) are so automatic, I never question them.  You’ve heard the saying, “I think, therefore I am.” UGH!!! How awful is that? I certainly do not want to be what I think!  My twelve-step program helps ( a lot!) but lately I just feel like I need an added tool.

As I go through this book (highlighting sentences and paragraphs like I always do) I will be updating my blog with what I have learned and if any of it is making sense.  It made sense on Oprah’s show, therefore, I am sure it will make sense.

Also, I signed up for 21 Day Meditation Challenge.  It is free and looks like a lot of fun.  Check it out!

How do you battle your demons?

Surviving A Brain Injury

National Brain Injury Awareness Month
National Brain Injury Awareness Month (Photo credit: Army Medicine)

So, March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month (I just found this out yesterday).  Let’s add that to the seemingly endless list of “celebratory months of awareness.”  This one hits me at a personal level, however, because in 1996 I suffered a brain injury as a result of an overdose and almost died.

Now some people would say, “big freaking deal, you od’d!”  Well, the thing about it is that I did not want to wake up from an intentional overdose that I told no one about.  There was no letter, no teary-eyed phone calls.

I was twenty-three years old, frightened and disgusted.  I did not want to wake up.

But I did wake up.  I woke up and have been a different person since then.  I am not sure exactly what day I woke up as I have no recollection of any events immediately preceding my overdose, my hospital stay or my journey home.  I only know what my family tells me and then the snippets of flashbacks that float into my head from time to time.

My family told me it happened on July 19, 1996.  My 6-year-old daughter Sarah found my dead body.  911 was called and EMT’s worked on me for thirty minutes before they felt a pulse.  I was rushed to Frankford Hospital in Philadelphia and apparently was in a coma.  I don’t remember. Sometimes I think I remember, but then I realize that I remember what people have told me over the years, and in some warped sense those stories become twisted false memories.

I have a brain injury.  So at times I have issues with differentiating fact from fiction.  I have issues remembering things period.

When I overdosed (and died) I was not getting oxygen to my brain.  This affected the part of my brain that holds my short-term memory.  My long-term memory is intact, but my short-term memory is forever scarred.  If I can get information from my short-term to my long-term, I have it forever.

But that is the trick.  Getting from the short to the long.

I can’t remember:

  • people’s names.
  • directions.
  • what I read.
  • what people said.
  • grocery lists.
  • how I got where I am.
  • how to get home.
  • and tons of other crap that I forgot.

Now, this is par for the course for a lot of people.  But not for me.  It was never for me.  And now it is and some days I am fine and other days mortified because I feel like an ass.

I once wandered around the parking lot of the Willow Grove Mall for an hour because I could not find my car.

I once wandered around the floor of the Pep Boys Headquarters for almost an hour because I couldn’t find my cubicle.

I once drove around aimlessly for two hours because I got lost, stopped to ask for directions, and got lost again.

The list goes on and on, like I said.  But of course I forget all that stuff and I don’t remember anything unless it’s in my long-term memory or by association.

These days, I am a little better.  The doctors told me to do brain strengthening exercises like puzzles, reading, writing and stuff.  I write a lot and the other stuff I do, well, when I remember.

Do you know anyone that survived a brain injury?

We Are Not Perfect

Perfection (Sandra Bernhard song)
Perfection (Sandra Bernhard song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More so in the last ten years than any other year there seems to be this strive for perfection.  People want the perfect family, the perfect job, the perfect mate, the perfect nose, boobs, butt… I could go on forever.  And don’t sit there like you don’t know what I’m talking about, because you see it, too.

Wake up people!  There is no such thing as perfection… none.  So strive away and kill yourself if you must trying to make it, do it, write it, sing it, draw it or look perfect. 

IT. WILL. NEVER. HAPPEN.

But what we can do is strive for perfection.  We can always do better, be better, act better, write better, think better, talk better, love better, work better….. we can always be better.

As an alcoholic (which translates to a sick mo-fo) one defect that plagues me to this day is the defect of “having to be perfect.”   So in a sense, this blog post is written to me along with the rest of my awesome readers because I have been feeling insecure for the past week or so.

Insecurity is my warped devil.  It tells me I will fail at everything.  It tells me I am never good enough or anything else enough.  I have to smash that devil with the hammer of hope.  I have to tell myself that, “yes, I do have flaws, but my flaws are what make me the beautiful human being I am.”

Some days I believe it, others not so much.  This is where my program of recovery comes in to play.

When I compare myself to others, I fall short every damn time.  “She’s this, she’s that. He has this, he has that. Theirs is better.  When am I going to get my just desserts?!”

When I compare myself to myself, I excel every time.  This time last year I was living somewhere else, in a different (loveless) relationship and depressed.  I was overweight (one of my ‘I never’s’) and feeling like total crap.

I made a conscious effort after a mild epiphany to “Strive For Perfection.” And must keep in my mind I will never attain it, but striving for it will and has helped me continue my progress.  Some days I have a mild setback, other days I kick butt!  In the words of Dori in “Finding Nemo” – JUST KEEP SWIMMING.

We are as perfect as our imperfections…

Do you strive for perfection?  Are you a perfectionist?  How do you deal with the demand for perfection in today’s society?