Please come and join me for a brief journey inside the world of a deeply troubled woman who is contemplating self-deliverance from an existence that has turned bitter in late midlife. Don't be afraid.....I promise to bring you back safe and sound.
And now, for something a little different.....
As many of you know, I have battled mental illness for some time, and recently found myself in a very dark place. It is a place I've visited many times, but this time was particularly painful. I would like to show it to you, if you're brave enough to come with me for a few moments and use your imagination. I promise that you personally have nothing to fear, even though it will be you and not I who will step inside.
You find yourself standing in front of a tiny house, where a solid wood door opens to a cheerless, windowless room. This room is sparsely furnished and completely devoid of decoration, except for a vase filled with roses as black as the night.....as black as the thoughts of death that both repel and seduce you at the same time. These flowers are as beautifully and intricately designed as any natural rose, and yet they give off an odor so noxious that you can hardly bear to be near them. You wrinkle your nose at the sickish-sweet smell and turn to leave, only to find that the door is locked behind you, trapping you in the room with those ghastly ebony blossoms and a feeling of impending doom.
Your apprehension mounts as you look around for something you can use to force the door open, and find nothing. Then you call out, hesitantly at first for fear of rousing whatever ugly spirits may reside in the dark corners; but soon you can't stop your cries, which grow louder and more insistent as the wave of panic builds. Finally you start to scream....until you realize that no one can hear you. Because there is no one to hear you.
It's only you, utterly alone in a world which seems to be closing in on you.....and of course, there are the roses. Always the roses.
Oddly, their numbers begin to flourish as the desperate desire for liberty torments you. Surely, there has to be a way out! In your mind's eye you can see the bottle of pills on the nightstand.....the liquor in the cabinet.....the pistol in the drawer. Any one or a combination of these would set you free forever, but you decide on the pills because you don't want your loved ones' last memory of you to be a messy one. Because you're thoughtful like that. It doesn't occur to you that it won't matter to them how you left them, only that you chose to leave them.
You find yourself longing for the feel of the pill-bottle in your hand and imagining the sweet release that will follow the ingestion of its contents. After all, you can't stay locked up in here forever, not with that death-smell and those freakish black rose petals blooming with every dark thought. You feel your sanity unraveling and wonder how bad this is going to get before it's over. You question your most basic assumptions about life after death, and ask yourself: what if everything you believe about the afterlife is wrong, and it's worse on the other side? What hellish fate is waiting for you there in the gathering blackness?
And that, dear reader, is depression with suicidal ideation.
Now that we have arrived safely back home, felt the warm sun on our faces, and let the wind blow our hair wherever it pleases, I give thanks once again that the darkness has gone, and the only roses in my vase are the fresh-cut Hot Chocolates from my front yard. Life may not be great right now, but it is good and for now, that is enough. And I choose to live.Last edit by Joe V on Jan 24, '17
About VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN Guide
Joined: Sep '02; Posts: 26,722; Likes: 43,462
RN and blogger extraordinaire; from OR , US
Specialty: 20 year(s) of experience in LTC, assisted living, geriatrics, psychAug 11, '14I had a really bad time around Christmas. Spent literally days online trying to find a way to legally obtain Nembutal. For some reason, I was very worried about doing this all legally and with as little room for error as possible. As nurses, we know very well how to NOT try to kill ourselves. I was concerned about saving money too; I didn't want my husband to be short or worry about paying bills. (Because that's something he would be fixated on after watching his wife die.) He never noticed I was at this point; I am very good at hiding this from him. I don't want him to think it's him. It's not, he is amazing to me. I'm over it, for now. I am very sure that I will have this low again and it scares me. We are talking about buying guns lately and because he doesn't know I have ever gotten to this point of desperately wanting out, he doesn't question that this might be a REALLY bad idea. I don't want to feel this way. I don't think I will ever not be depressed but I am usually able to keep myself from active suicidality. I think its always in the back of my mind. It would be easier. But you said it absolutely perfectly; what if I am wrong about what comes next? I feel horrible about wanting to leave my husband and son, but what if they really would be better off?
Anyway, I truly can relate to your feelings. I hope you don't hit this low again. Hugs to you.Aug 12, '14I hope YOU don't hit that kind of low again. Please, if you're not seeing a counselor or psychiatrist, consider getting help even though you're not experiencing symptoms this minute. The cyclical nature of our disorders ensures that there will be a next time, and treatment can interrupt those cycles, if not cure them. Take care, and thanks for sharing!Sep 23, '14Wow! I rarely visit the break room but decided to now because I'm kinda bored. I just have one question, Viva: how did you know I was feeling like this for about 2 weeks last month?!
For some reason, my bipolar cycles into depression almost every summer. I remember 2 nights over a weekend in August when my husband was gone & I sat in the bedroom yelling at God & asking him why I just couldn't go to sleep & never wake up.
I've made 2 attempts in the past and had what I consider a near death experience with the second. It was extremely unpleasant & I hope never to see that again. Because of that, I don't think I would actively try suicide again but that doesn't stop the thoughts of wanting death more than anything.
First thing Monday morning after that weekend, I was on the phone with my psychiatrist. After some tweaking of meds, I feel much better.
Unfortunately, I know from 50 years of experience with this monster that it will all happen again & I have to be very vigilant to the first signs.Oct 1, '14I feel so grateful that you are still here with us. Although we are unlikely to ever encounter each other outside of cyberspace I am always glad for your online presence. Your posts always ring true for me with insights tempered by wisdom and compassion. I am so sorry to hear how painful and how much of a struggle your journey has been at times and wish for you the strength to persevere during the dark times. Your voice would be sorely missed by many allnurses members and I hope you will share your thoughts and experiences with us for a long time to come.Last edit by Chaya on Oct 1, '14 : Reason: cut off.Oct 1, '14Thank you so much for your kind words! I'm going through some really tough times, but at least I'm stable now and dealing with whatever comes up. I promise, I am not going ANYWHERE. And you'll be hearing from me in the future.....of that you may be certain!Nov 10, '14Just to let my readers know, I am home after being hospitalized for a week due to suicidal ideation. It got so bad that I locked myself in my bathroom for 3 hours one morning to keep myself from looking for the pills my husband hid from me last year, or from taking the .38 out of my drawer and using it. I checked myself in on Halloween when the "black roses" filled the room and I couldn't take another day of feeling the way I did.
I'm OK now after a couple of med adjustments and learning how to keep myself safe. I now have a formal diagnosis of bipolar I disorder with depression, which isn't surprising given some of the gnarly episodes I've had on both ends of the bipolar spectrum. I had a good experience with the hospital and am glad I went inpatient when I did. Life is better now, even though many parts of it are stressful and ugly, and it's certainly worth fighting for.Jul 9, '15I took the journey with you and understand it, though I had not been there before, personally. Today, I am letting the winds blow my hair.Jul 10, '15Viva,
I've been aware of your past struggles, but haven't seen this powerful article before.
I hope you are doing ok now.
Thank you for sharing this with us.
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