Posted by Brent on October 10, 2011
I’m 28 years old and for the last four years I haven’t had one suicidal thought or intention; all because one thing changed my whole perception on how I perceive life differently.
Around 8 years ago I started having mania with depression, so I decided to move 1,000 miles in hope of a better life. The move helped for a while due to a new adventure, but a while later the bipolar escaladed beyond what I thought it could ever reach and the options were bleak at the time. I hated myself (hidden learning disabilities, also trying to fit into the extrovert world) already and I felt like I was somewhat cheated, so it was like pouring gasoline on fire when other people would say harsh judgments to me whether they were true or false. I was lost, trapped, hopeless, helpless, felt like a burden, felt worthless, and to sum up my manic symptoms – they were unbearably frightening, especially at night because I felt like I could run 100 miles an hour (this was not a good feeling) but at the same time I wanted to knock myself out cold because I knew I was doomed. The whole year I contemplate suicide (I’ll spare the graphic intentions) and had to be admitted to a hospital for a week and then another for two weeks. I remember when I left the last hospital I had a couple of good days (nothing like now though), but would go back to feeling just as suicidal as before. I know this will not make anyone who lost a loved one to suicide feel better, but this is how sick my mental state got. I tried to go through the actions of offing myself, but I couldn’t muster up the courage to go through with it – not because I was scared of dying, I was scared of not doing it right and ending up paralyzed.
Four years ago on this very month my hope (a music genera that I heard for the first time ever) came out of nowhere. The music (I listen on average 45 minutes a day) vs a talk therapist (I know this helps a lot of people though) is: the talk therapist made me feel safe (because every time I thought I would be cured when I left) for the hour, but when I left the session I would feel just as miserable as ever. Whereas the new music genera makes me feel good when listening to it, but most importantly I feel safe (words cannot describe this for me) and at ease when I’m not listening to it.
My first 2 years out of my bad mental state was an incredible feeling. A lot of the times I would have a blank look on my face with the biggest inside smile and broke down every so often; this was because the hope was new to me as well a shock and then combining it with thinking that I should be dead just manifested these emotions – I think this was mainly because I was drained of having suicide thoughts every second of every day and never thought I would have so much joy for life and be at ease. I took advantage to just be one with nature and enjoyed doing different things that I never got the chance to fully enjoy. One example would be in my miserable mental state I never enjoyed sunsets and rises; instead I looked off a 5 story building tiring to make myself jump off. Right after the hope came I started to recognize with mindfulness on how peaceful sunsets and rises are as well other unique scenery.
Some of the other things after the hope came: I no longer felt lonely, I loved waking up every morning, the best part was and still is having no suicide intentions or thoughts ( I never thought they would go away), harsh judgments bounce off better (90% of the time), I appreciate what I have, I no longer chase goals, dreams, and enjoy living in the present by living the life of journey vs destination (this goes for everything in life) and not to be embarrassed, ashamed, disappointed, and frustrated in myself for not accomplishing certain things. Some could have been a disaster after I got out of my bad metal state. My beliefs and what I wanted were altered kind of like I was reborn. I also never thought that I would enjoy learning about science, sociology, history, politics, religions, cultures, art, etc. I finally enjoy and understand independent movies (Into the Wild is one of them) that have life lessons and makes you think of life in someone else’s shoes with different scenarios.
The last 2 years I’ve incorporated some goals in my life, so if and when I fail at something it’s not as big of a deal, because my hope makes me feel that failure (as long as I enjoy the task and try my hardest) is ok and that life (a joyful mental state and freedom) is much bigger than success.
Some of the things that I’ve learned, became more vigilant with and developed some moxie:
- I’ve been able to make a bad day or a bad situation work almost every time – I don’t like stress but stress is a million times better than being manic. Simply put: stress is nothing compared to being manic, so I generally thrive on stressful situations now because there is nothing to be scared of.
- In the 4 years out of it, I’ve had one minor mania episode (not fun) last year and got rid of it fast (an experiment that was legal) due to no depression symptoms.
- I can stand up for myself when called for, concord most of my fears, and I don’t feel as bad when I miss out on things. This is due to the fact that I remember I shouldn’t even be alive.
- I can be outside along with other things for hours on mindfulness – this is mainly because I went from such a scary state of mind to just being in the moment enjoying the smallest things, and it also reminds the new me that I’m not here to impress anyone and cannot be coerced into doing things that I know are potential triggers or I just don’t want to do.
- Going to the ocean (one time only) I had inner peace in the first time in my adult life and thought how can anyone be judgmental, and materialistic when people are getting killed because they think their opinions and beliefs are right?
- I will have no regrets on how I live the rest of my life because I should have been dead in my mid-20s.
I know the last one might sound self-absorbed to some people, but without the hope I know that I would be dead; especially now that I know of effective ways to commit suicide.
The biggest things that I’m most thankful for: Getting to know my mom, dad, and a brother better; not being so naïve (occasionally still having problems with this); forming two great friendships over the last year; having a better perception on who I am (introverted and proud to be so); and lastly enjoying the smallest things in life.
Last year I got a little off track because I thought I was missing out on some things, but when I experienced them I remember that what the mainstream news media perceives as the good life is not so glamorous as they perceive it to be, especially if your mental state is messed up; one example is some people think the only way to be happy is to have money and a good job. Tell that to Owen Wilson (this is the last person I thought would ever be suicidal), and many other millionaires who have attempted or succeeded at suicide. After my first two years out of my bad mental state I had a 35% pay decrease and it didn’t even faze me; quite laughable when comparing how I felt the two years before that. A way of putting it is whether you have a dollar or a million dollars in your bank account both of them don’t matter because you can’t enjoy any amount when your mental state is bad.
I don’t regret any of my years living and I enjoyed most of my adolescent years, but sometimes I’m quite angered looking back. Some of the reasons are: I was very naive all those years, past friends are hard to be around now because my old self (both on how I acted and mentally) creeps its ugly head in some times, and the other is I know that the new me would’ve been great friends with my grandpa who passed away three and a half years ago.
My biggest problem now is sometimes my sensitivity gets the best of me and then I become a pushover and get manipulated into things that I know are only going to aggravate me and if I don’t then I feel guilty later.
Some of the things above have fluctuated a bit in the last year, but not to the severity of before the hope came, so when they do it’s only for an hour or two. For this reason I made a “small things kick the bucket” list. After doing one of these a month ago my life has been rejuvenated once again. For now I have 6 things on my “big things kick the bucket” list. I don’t need them now and truthfully I don’t need them ever, but if I ever were to revert back to my old self and stayed like my old self for a long time and then proceeded to exhaust everything else from the “small things kick the bucket” list, then I have the “big things kick the bucket” list I can do that will make a drastic change in my everyday living, hopefully with the same results I experienced from the music four years ago. I feel very lucky to be living with a good mental state and it all started because of music which technically is air, so will this be enough when I’m 10, 20, 30, 40 years older? Especially when loved ones and friends pass away, etc.? I came to a notion that all I can do is keep on enjoying the present for as long as I can and to keep on evolving as a human.
When I was in my bad mental state; I never thought that suicide would hurt anyone and certainly was not going to do it out of revenge. I have a great loving family, I was not a zombie, I did not take pills before having my first symptoms, and it certainly was not a chemical imbalance. The help of my family members helped me a great deal, but it did not matter at the time because I couldn’t handle myself and saw nothing in the future that was going to make me feel good on a consistent daily basis. I’m not here to promote, so I will not say what genera I used to listen to and currently listen to. The message of my article is that one thing can have a dramatic change in one’s life for the better. Unfortunately most of the time people don’t stick around to see if any good will come out of the sky, but I do understand why people do it. So give the person you care about a break if they’re suicidal. Be understanding, especially if they see no hope in the future, and don’t be afraid to call 911 if necessary; they will thank you later when they find their way to a better mental state.