The Power of Intrusive Thoughts
By Krista Mills
Sadly the topic of suicidal thoughts is still considered to be a taboo subject, as many sufferers, including myself, will often fear reprisals in the wake of their disclosure. Will they deem me to be crazy? Will they report me to a medical professional without my knowing?
When suicidal thoughts are disclosed within a medical setting protocol states that the professionals in question must first assess the risk you pose to yourself and to others. Do you self-harm? How often will you experience such thoughts? Have you ever made plans to take your own life? If so how? I cannot say that I have always been open and honest in my answers to the above because that would be a lie, but experience has provided me with a greater level of trust and confidence in order to do so. When experiencing suicidal thoughts for the first time I can recall feeling an overwhelming sense of shame, guilt and weakness. I was ashamed of myself for not bearing the strength to end such thoughts, and I felt guilty for the fact that, despite how loved and lucky I was in comparison to many, it clearly still was not enough for me. This, alongside my fear of being sectioned, consequently led to my clamming up when questioned. The truth was always on the tip of my tongue, but one look around that doctor’s office or counseling room was enough to remind me of their power and ability to have me admitted against my will, and, in my mind, scupper any future chances of both adopting and having my own biological children.
I have often said that, if sliced in two, my brain would bear hundreds of post it notes, detailing the often disturbing intrusive thoughts that will pass through my mind on a daily basis. While I may have told myself that I would be nothing but honest in my blog, this is the one topic that I am not willing to go into too much detail about. Maybe I am scared that it will increase their level of intensity, or maybe I am scared that, somehow, this blog will be seen by a medical professional and I will be handed a one way ticket to the psych ward. Whatever my reasons may be, the fact that both family and friends will be reading this blog is simply enough to make me withhold certain details about my mental wellbeing, as a whole.
I will question what the purpose of my being here is, I will think and believe that people would be better off without me because I am nothing more than a burden. I will often assume fetal position, tears streaming down my face as I question my worth as a person. This must be happening to me because I am a bad person, right? There must be a reason as to why all of those people from my past are getting on with their lives, settled down with families etc. while I am laid up on my sofa nursing yet another panic attack or depressive episode. There must be a reason as to why I have had to grieve for so many people in my twenty five years. At my lowest I even went so far as to plan my suicide *big gulp*. The difference here though is that I never actually acted on it as simply knowing the hurt that my passing would cause to those closest to me and that, one day, I may possibly have a family of my own and use my story to make a positive contribution to the mental health field, is what gives me the strength to rid such thoughts of their power, for now at least.
What I have learned is that you need to have faith in other people. While suicidal thoughts are not something that I will ever share freely, there are a few whom enable me to speak openly in a non – judgmental manner. I may not have yet mastered the art of opening up before I hit breaking point, but I am reassured that, with their help, guidance and strength, such thoughts will not break me.
Opening up to my brother about my own suicidal thoughts was one of the most challenging periods in my life, so far, but I am so pleased I did it. My brother could not be more understanding. He has joined relevant Facebook groups, read books and will regularly turn to his home therapist at work (he works in children’s services) for guidance and reassurance. It has taken time but I am now able to be honest with him when it comes to my thoughts – he will simply take it in his stride and talk me through my panic. When panic sets in he will make a joke to lighten the situation – this may not work for some, but then I have always had a very dry sense of humor. This is my way of taking back some of the power.