By: Tosha Maaks
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and so many things come to mind when talking about this subject. I personally am happy to say I no long experience suicidal depression but many people with bipolar disorder have thoughts of suicide regularly. If you regularly think about ways to kill yourself, I am here to tell you it isn’t normal. It isn’t how normal people think. I thought when I was thinking of suicide all the time that everyone was thinking about killing themselves too. I thought that it was how everyone felt. It surprised me when I was put on proper medication that took those suicidal thoughts away and I no longer felt the urge to die.
What finally happened for me was I told my doctor that I felt like I heard a voice telling me “to just do it, just get it over with, no one wanted me here anyway, no one cared, just kill yourself.” When I told my doctor this it was a light bulb went off for him and he switched my medication immediately and from that moment on the thoughts of suicide were relieved. I want to make it very clear I still suffer from serious bouts of depression- very serious bouts of depression, however, no longer do I contemplate taking my own life.
My depression now is just an overwhelming sadness. A hopelessness and the blues. The type of depression you may think of feeling when someone passes away only it will last for weeks on end. If it wasn’t for medication it may never break as a matter of fact. It is a heaviness that won’t go away. However, it is no longer a depression where I think the only way out is to end my life to get rid of the pain. I don’t think that the only escape is to sleep it away and I don’t believe that if I die I won’t feel it anymore. I know how great my life is and I know I want to be here. I have learned if I power through the rough times the good times will return and be even better. That’s what I like to share with others.
I do that now by giving back to my community by going in to middle schools and high schools and teaching suicide prevention to teenagers so that they can learn to spot mental health issues before a life is lost. I share my story with kids throughout my county. I go to schools and share the warning signs of suicide and what to do if they see those warning signs in themselves or in a friend. Our program gives kids resources to use if they ever think they recognize the signs of suicide in someone they know.
By sharing my story, I can remain in recovery better because it gives me a reason to stay well. I must be someone these kids can look up to. I love the times people come up to me and say I am an inspiration and really, I am just being me and trying to live my second chance to the fullest.
Yes, that’s right I said second chance, I had a near successful suicide attempt in 2008. It wasn’t until a couple years after that, I had that amazing conversation with the doctor, that changed the course of my life.
Suicidal depression is harsh reality for those of us with bipolar disorder. I keep myself on the look-out for it constantly. Forever afraid that it may return. I can handle the occasional deep depression I am dealt now days. I hope I never again have to deal with the suicidal depression I did back in 2008.