Wednesday, June 18, 2008

'My Truth' About Psychiatry

Who has contemplated their destiny after life, without thoughts or feelings of guilt? Guilt can trigger many questions. Questioning your destiny because you’ve done something bad or “wrong” in the past is normal. “Will I get into heaven and will God forgive me because of my past?” If you can accept that God has already forgiven you, then you can free yourself from guilt. It sounds easy. It’s not. Somehow, the guilt sticks to you like a leech, not letting go until you burn it off. “But the person I hurt still hasn’t forgiven me?"

So what.

God has. Now it’s your turn to forgive yourself. If the person feels that they cannot provide you with any forgiveness, then the guilt crashes upon them instead. Holding resentment in your heart is one of the unhealthiest things you can possibly do. Not only do you suffer emotionally, but your physical health is at stake too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve experienced “unexplained” anxiety attacks because I still held resentment and anger for the person who offended me. Until the day I finally let that go and gave it up to God, my anxiety attacks have lessened. So if resentment can trigger anxiety attacks, then it can definitely trigger heart attacks. Stress = a quicker way to the other side.

The importance of forgiving yourself purges all chances of self-loathing. The thoughts that go through people’s minds while self-loathing can be devastating. “I’m not good enough”, “I’m a bad person”, “I don’t deserve good things in life”, “I don’t deserve God’s forgiveness”, and “Why should I keep on living”? I’ve replayed these thoughts in my mind over and over while going through hard times in my life. I’m sure you have too. Think about a time when you thought you were a “bad person”. ...Think... Now think back and look in from the outside: were you? Were you that bad? The answer is usually no. People are so hard on themselves. I’m hard on myself. I’m still learning to forgive myself completely, and I tell ya, it’s hard. With persistence, faith, forgiveness and the ability to let go and let God take the reigns has completely transformed my way of thinking.

Back in 2003, I had a loaded gun pointed to my head. I hated myself because I felt hated and I felt that due to the lack of forgiveness and self-loathing I was torturing myself with, I felt as though my life should end. Thoughts kept flooding my mind constantly with negative messages: “People would be better off without me”, “I cause more misery than happiness to the people in my life”, and “I hate myself”. The final seconds before touching the trigger, other thoughts popped into my head: “My nieces and nephews will grow up thinking I was a complete coward”, “This is selfish and inconsiderate to the people I love in my life”, and “The worst thing to endure is losing a child, and I don’t want to do that to my parents”.

During that difficult time, I walked out of my psychiatrist’s office twice letting her know that I was planning to end my life.

She didn’t do anything to stop me.

She didn’t call the mental health emergency center.

She didn’t even call me...

My next appointment, she told me that she knew I was smarter than that. The most intelligent people kill themselves too. Then I thought, maybe I need a smarter therapist. I mean, thank God I came to my senses, but for a psychiatrist to do absolutely nothing is beyond me. I changed doctors of course, yet received the same treatment: oh it’s just generalized anxiety – you’ll be fine. I even walked out of his office a few years back telling him I was planning to end my life and he shrugged it off as though I was just “venting”. Hey, maybe I was just “venting”, but with the medication and alcohol I was consuming, “venting” can turn into something worse. People kept telling me to find a different doctor, but I have to say that I’ve tried them all and not one psychiatrist or therapist would have stopped me if I said these five words: I want to kill myself.

Luckily, I’ve been feeling great this past year and I have had no thoughts of anything dreadful as I did years ago. I’ve stopped their medications and stopped drinking heavily. I truly believe that these medications do more harm than good. (That’s just my opinion.) I’ve tried the medications with and without alcohol, and all of them gave me the same results: thoughts of suicide, depression, hypertension and increased agitation. When it got bad, I had to counteract it with alcohol. Now that I’m self-treating myself, relying on God more, I find that I don’t need chemicals to make me feel better anymore.

No more guilt. No more self-loathing. No more negative thought patterns---just acceptance and the willingness to get better each and every day with the help of God.

“When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” ~Psalm 94:19

15 comments:

Gustavo said...

All I know from you is your name, the fact that you have wrote a book, a thumbnail picture (very beautiful, for certain!!) and some articles I read since I discovered your blog. Reading that once you were about to commit suicide immediately chilled my blood.
I am not a religious person and “The Bible” is nothing but a book for me. However, you seem to be a strong believer. When G’d is unable to find Abel in paradise, He tells Cain: “Kol tsemei ajija tzoakim elai min ha hadama”. That was Hebrew and it can be translated as something like: “All the bloods of your brother are screaming to me from the earth”.

There have been many different interpretations about why G’d uses plural when referring to Abel’s blood. The most widely accepted is that when you kill someone you are not only killing that person but also the ones who could have being his/her sons/daughters, and the ones who could have been his/her grandsons/granddaughters and so on… So, when Cain murdered Abel, not only he took Abel’s life, but hundreds, thousands, dozens of thousands of lives that could not be born because of that. He killed a whole universe.

You see Deborah, your life is not only yours; you are not the only one who “own” it...
If you buy a TV set, reach you home and feel like destroying it with a hammer, you can morally and legally do it: the TV set is yours, it belongs to you, you bought it with your money and you are entitled to do with it as you please. But you can not break your next door neighbor’s TV set because it is not yours. A huge part of yourself belongs to your parents, to your brothers and sisters, to your cousins, to your friends and to those who love you. Therefore, you can not destroy what is not entirely yours!!!

It’s good to know that you have found comfort in G’d, yet, suicidal tendencies are very dangerous and can return. I don’t believe you will find good advice in most psychiatrists; they are simply too busy trying to make as much money as they can. It will be much productive if you give me a phone call: I’ll take the next plane there is to New York and will be there in about 13 hours to stop you from doing madness!

DO NOT TRY EVEN FOR A SPLIT SECOND TO POINT A GUN AT YOUR HEAD AGAIN.

I am very jealous of my property and don’t like anyone to steal it from me. I believe that at least one cell of your body belongs to me!! So, mind your own business but don’t play games with what doesn’t belong to you…

~Deb said...

Gustavo: I'm not sure how you found my blog - or how my little "anonymous" reader from Rosario (Argentina, right?), but I am touched by your words today. You're absolutely right! I do believe that we're killing others if we choose to take our own lives. We kill them spiritually and emotionally which can be more fatal than physically. I have not had those negative thoughts for quite some time and have found better and constructive solutions such as prayer, meditation, exercise and lots of time with family and friends.

Again, thank you for reading my words and giving me your input AS WELL as offering to come to NY if I ever step on the edge of a bridge! (I might just take you up on that one day!)

:)

kathi said...

Oh, sweet darlin', I get'cha. Been there and done that. I've blotced several attempts, lol. Actually, God intervened, I should say. My mom told me when I was younger and had attempted, that I should think of my dad because he had found his brother when his brother had taken his life and no one should have to go through that twice. That woman...it worked.
When I got older and would attempt again, I was so loaded 24/7 that I wasn't thinking of anyone else. When the boys were born, and Mark got me to a doctor and a therapist, that therapist would not leave before I promised that I'd call him before I went through with anything...and he had tears in his eyes. He, too, bought me more time. I'd just think about how people would be better off without me and how my life ins could help my family.

Unfortunately, we have free will. Sometimes, for me, I could use a little less.

~Deb said...

Kathi: Sorry you went through that as well. I am happy that your therapist bought you more time though. I find it amazing how many people are suffering through this type of stuff. I made <this video that I posted on Youtube, so it could possibly help other people. You have to see the sad comments below it. There are more teenagers on there than anything- but they're struggling so hard just to cope with life itself. I was amazed to see so many people having thoughts of suicide. It's the worst feeling in the world. It feels "numb".
Glad you're still here, Kath!
Love you!!!

Mary said...

What a great post. I too have suicidal thoughts and have been hospitalized 2x for it in the past. I am fighting with it once again, and your words have struck a chord with me, Last night I took some pills, not enough to kill me, but to me it brings me comfort in some weird way. Today I am suffering the consequences of it, my stomach is killing me. I have not told my hubby about it, because he would be very upset and take me to the hospital. Thank you for the post. it has helped.Mary

~Deb said...

Mary: I'm sorry you went through that. I used to do the very same thing: numb myself with chemicals so I wouldn't feel emotional pain. The downside of course, is feeling it later or the next day. For me, I forced myself to change my mindset and thought patterns. Instead of trying to beat myself up with these "bandaids", I decided to beat myself up silly at the gym. For some people, they may want to do something else - but this helped me a great deal. That poor kickboxing bag---ha----but I tell ya, it took my mind away from the negative suicidal thoughts that would have normally came flooding through my head. Is there a way you can talk to your hubby without mentioning your thoughts of suicide? Can you tell him what's bothering you (the reason why you're suicidal at least)? It may help somewhat just to get it out in the open.

Chemicals (pills & alcohol) can really trigger "evil" thoughts and increase the desire to commit suicide - when you wouldn't normally when you're sober.

Email me if you need to talk or vent.

Hope you're ok.

Mary said...

Hi Deb: Yes my hubby knows why I am depressed, he knows everything, I was hospitalized 2x before for this, I just cant tell him about the pills, i dont want to go back there. I will email you if I need to talk thanks...Mary

chrome3d said...

Heavy subjects here. There are so many guilts you have to face if you can´t rely on yourself. You can imagine so much expectations from God or other people or whatever, but in the end the most important thing is to rely on your own judgement.

This is just my free thinking: maybe the psychiatrists know that those who are most vocal about their future suicide are not the most obvious ones to do it. They have a need to talk more than actually do it.

Tim said...

Deb, I love the fact that you are back writing and sharing yourself here. It is a amazing how some of you posts seem to take aim and smack me between the eyes.
I don't know if I can comment on this post, only because it opens a floodgate of similar experiences and I might be writing for hours....
Guilt... whether you are using it or receiving it is so damaging to a persons' heart and soul. It has taken years not to let it do me in.

So happy that you are doing well... me to... with the help of God.

~Deb said...

Mary: If you ever feel the urge to take the pills, email me first instead? I’m here.
{{hugs}}

Chrome: You stated, ”…maybe the psychiatrists know that those who are most vocal about their future suicide are not the most obvious ones to do it. They have a need to talk more than actually do it.”

They always say never assume that the words are just ‘attention getters’. They just very well might be, however each case should assume the worst. When I used to say it, I meant it, and tried ‘going there’, but something always pulled me out of it. Again, it was much worse when alcohol and pills were involved. Thank God I’m in a better place and see the bigger picture, but when a friend tells me that they want to end their life, I never assume they’re joking around. I would regret that for the rest of my life if they did in fact go ahead and take their own lives. I totally see your point though and there are many people who cry wolf and end up not being taken seriously. ”Oh he/she is just going through their depression phase again…”

Tim: Thank you. I thought I was tapped out of any type of expression whatsoever… I’m feeling good enough to be back and share myself with others again. I’m glad you’re back too! Isn’t it amazing how many people have had those similar thoughts we have had? I mean, from all of our differences, various lifestyles and backgrounds, it’s just incredible what the mind can do, what chemicals can enhance and what our self-dialogs can torture us with, to make us even want to take our own lives. I’m so happy that it’s been years ago since you had those thoughts. Keep up the faith and never let those demons enter again. Thanks for sharing that… I really appreciate your openness.

I appreciate everyone’s openness on my blog sharing what they’ve experienced.

Miranda said...

Very good post Deb. I myself have anxiety attacks, more than I should. And the guilt I carry with me at times is a very heavy burden. Unfortunately, when I how manic depressive my ex husband has become I do feel bad. Sometimes it is a bit of guilt, because I pushed him to it. But I try to ease the guilt that I dont think he was ever a mentally healthy man. I mean I know he'd tried to take His life once before I met Him. Then he od'd when I left him, putting himself into a coma. That in itself was extremely hard on me and the girls. But what was harder was finding out it was not his 2nd attempt but his 4th. That makes it a little easier for me to think had I known he'd tried 3 times before he met me, I'd never of married him.

I am trying to move on in my life, and try not to think about him, though hard when one's spent 25 years with someone.

I know we all deserve happiness, but only we can make it work for ourselves. Sometimes its an uphill battle, but I've faith that we will evenutually.

~Deb said...

Miranda: Wow. I know that can be extremely painful emotionally to see someone you love or once loved putting themselves in a state of coma or trying to kill themselves, and possibly, over something that included you in it. As a person speaking from the ‘suicidal point of view’, please know that you should never feel guilty about another person’s action. We all have free will, as Kathi stated above.

I once made a video of myself, leaving a message for every single person I loved in this world, letting them know ‘before I took my life’ (or intended to), that it wasn’t their fault. I really wanted to reiterate that message for everyone who would be affected by my actions. I wanted to put aside the guilt that I would have put upon them and all of the sadness. But the truth was, ***I*** was the one who was suffering and wanted to end it all----it wasn’t intended throw a truckload of guilt onto people’s lives. I wish it was easy to just take the guilt, throw it in a bag and shoot it – but you have to realize that people with emotional difficulties are more prone to these types of occurrences if they don’t seek out the right help fort themselves.

How much worse off would you feel staying in a relationship or marriage that wasn’t meant to be?

Thanks, Miranda. I hope one day you can come to terms with everything and feel completely “ok” with your life as is.

chrome3d said...

I also meant that those who are able to express themselves and be more open about their feelings are likely to get past it. Those who can´t really express themselves to anyone will suffer more.

Just the way I see it.

JC said...

Deb, I for one am glad you are here. I thank God for your ability to communicate the way you do. I pray you continue to grow in His word and in His power. I'm grateful you are brave enough and well enough to share. Have a great weekend. JC

Curlz said...

I'm a Christian in a same-sex relationship living with the knowledge that I am displeasing God - choosing to sin. I'm wondering how you believe God views you with regard to homosexuality. Do you believe the scriptures say otherwise? Or do you believe you are merely continually under grace? This self-loathing and anxiety that you have experienced, is it related to this?