Thursday, November 11, 2010

Suicidal Thoughts - Conclusion

An edited transcription of journal entries, 2001-2003.

June 10 - Finally got into the Nurse Practitioner my counselor recommended. In addition to the Celexa I've been taking, she's started me on Wellburtrin. Watched some of the Tom Hanks's movie Philadelphia last night. The character he played, based on a real life lawyer, kept fighting against his former employer and against his disease of AIDS. He endured to the end. It has been a good day, overall, a few tough moments, but overall a day as a Sunday should be, time with loved ones, time to find some renewal for the week ahead.

June 11 - Feeling a little panicky. I'm not out of the woods yet, but I'm glad to be alive. 

June 18 - Followed the plan to double my Wellbutrin to 200 milligrams a day. Still having a lot of ringing in my ears, but it comes and goes. On a scale of 1-to-10 I'd say my mood is up to about a 4. But given that it's been a 2 or 3 for most of last month, I'm glad for the progress. Yesterday was Father's Day, it was a pretty good day with some uplifting thoughts at church and from the fam.

June 25 - I'm still doing about the same but better in some ways. I'm learning about myself. What have I learned? Probably that I'm tougher than I thought I was. I'm learning just to live with whatever this down stuff is and there's the paradox, when I am just accepting of it and not trying to fight it, I seem to do better. Last Sunday I took a nap for a few minutes and when I woke up I felt "normal" for a while. I think the medication is helping.

July 6 - I want to let go, yet I want to hold on. I agree with the idea that suicide is a permanent answer to a temporary problem, but it's not really an answer. Still I want to let go. But I don't want to harm innocent people, my children, my wife, my family, my friends. I want to again be a basically hopeful person. 

Sept 11 - Our nation was attacked in New York and Washington, D.C. This is awful but I can see that I personally have a lot to be thankful for. 

Nov 22 - Thanksgiving. Mood is much, much better. I've found an anchor in the work of Dr. David Burns and his book Feeling Good about cognitive behavior therapy. I'm doing better physically, socially, even spiritually. I've learned that my thoughts have so much to do with my moods and that irrational thoughts, though the seem true, can cause depression and physical symptoms. We are what we think. Sounds simple. But it's pretty powerful. I've found affirmations that I can say and usually believe: I am healthy and strong. I can handle my responsibilities. I am a loving and caring parent. I'm a decent husband. I'm a capable man. 

Dec 31 - Wow the last day of one of the toughest years I can remember. I lost so much self-esteem and hope, but for the last couple of months I've done much, much better. Of course I need to continue make progress and plan to do so in 2002, the year of the Salt Lake Olympics.

March 3, 2002 - Journaling didn't save me all by itself, but it was a contributing factor. Same is true of prayer, therapy, Wellbutrin, exercise and a certain fear and lack of courage ((to actually try to kill myself)). I have left more than a trace. I have documented my journey, at least some of it. What have I learned? Things I already "knew" but now have a testimony of. The need for balance, for telling the truth, especially to myself, how much I need others, but how much more so I need to be able to LIVE with myself and my decisions. 

July 6, 2002 - I am grateful for improvements. What a gift it is to be reasonably happy and hopeful. I can remember how last July 4, I sincerely believed I could never be happy again, and that whatever it took to be happy, I had permanently lost. I'm so glad I held on. I didn't realize how irrationally discouraged I really was. Well it took a long time but I have slowly improved. I'm grateful that I have had such good support from family and friends, and that I sought a multi-dimensional approach of biblio-therapy, counseling, meds, exercise and physical and emotional work.

April 25, 2003 - Now with the perspective of time I can say that the greatest loss, the greatest evil I have faced is the loss of hope. Amazingly when I wrote I almost always felt better even when I was writing about how discouraged I was. I made more sense to myself on paper than I did in my jangling mind. I'm grateful that somehow I had the wherewithal to seek to record my thoughts.

Post Script - November 11, 2010 - Thank you for hanging in there with me through this series entries. I appreciate the comments I've already received and look forward to hearing more. I welcome your insights and hope that despite the seemingly negative title of these blogs, that you have found some added insight and hope for the challenges you may face.

Post Post Script - September 5, 2011 - I've found and posted the full text from the 1990 newspaper article that I mentioned in an earlier entry. It's hard to find the archival version and the links change, so I just decided to make the full text part of my blog. Here's the link.

Also check out the comments section.

Return to Part 1


  1. I am so grateful that you have shared this intimate, personal reflection of a very tough time. Our thoughts do frame our moods, and writing does help to organize our thoughts and hopefully improve our moods.

    Though at first the "reasonably happy" clause sounds limiting and self-defeating, in a real sense, it is what it is. We aren't super happy all the time - maybe spikes here and there - but more than not, expectations of being "reasonably happy" are good enough...

    And I like the part about restored hope. As I've said many times to myself and others - "there is always hope".

    I hope that you feel that "reasonable happiness" and "restored hope" now as you reflect on this darker period of your life. I hope that you have found progress and improvement in your moods, attitudes, goals and outlook for the future, and you're on the path of great and amazing things to come in that future!

    Thank you for writing and sharing. Thanks for inspiring me to never give up, to look at the positive, and to embrace the future with optimism. And thanks for encouraging me to write.

  2. Thanks so much for your comments, Beck. Even now I'm so close to this stuff that I can't be objective about it, but I do know it helps me to read through it from time-to-time and am glad you found some worth in it, too.

  3. Ned,
    all that i can say is this has been a powerful few postings. it has allowed me to explore not only your psyche but to understand some more. life's journey is only appreciated the destination from the path we walk with others.
    thank you for allowing me to share in that walk with you.

  4. Sean, thanks for coming along and letting me know, too.

    Another thing I think I failed to realize when I was so sick is that your friends will help you if you let them know. The few friends I reached out to and told the truth about my suicidal condition were loving, kind, and remained my friends. I'm confident that if I came out to them about my bisexuality, they would also continue to remain my friends.

    I did not tell any of my co-workers about my depression. Some of them saw it and some of them didn't. When my weight loss became apparent a couple of people asked me "Are you seeking to lose weight or are you not feeling well?" Unfortunately I lied to them and said I needed to lose a few pounds. I wish I had told the truth and said, "I'm so anxious I have no appetite. Food nauseates me. About the only thing I can eat is a half a peanut butter sandwich, if I'm lucky." But if this ever happens again, I don't think I'll be so dishonest about it.

    One of the more taciturn men I work with was telling me how depressed his wife could get, and I said, well I can relate to when I was so depressed back in 2001 right before 911. He said to me, "You were depressed? What have you got to be depressed about?" This is one of the reasons I like him a great deal. Sometimes he's just clueless, and sometimes that's exactly what I need. On the other hand a dog or a cat are pretty good at that, too. :D

    Thank you for reading and commenting. I'm not sure what you meant when you wrote: "life's journey is only appreciated the destination from the path we walk with others." Did you mean "life's journey is NOT only appreciated FROM the destination WE REACH, BUT ALSO from the path AS we walk IT with others"? That's my best guess, but perhaps you meant something else. Let me know. And happy weekend!

  5. Hey Duck, I think maybe I'll do a list of the men and women I've fallen in love with over the years. See if there's any rhyme or reason to it all. Or maybe I shouldn't try to analyze rainbows and thunderstorms. What do you think?

    p.s. Do you do gmail chat or are you on Facebook? It would be fun to chat if you're available in either of those ways.

    p.p.s. Ned actually chose me. I'm a little dyslexic in my typing and many times when I went to write "end" it came out "ned." I finally realized that Ned was just trying to get out of my fingers, so I finally gave him the voice he seemed to be striving for. But of course that not the ned of story. ;)

  6. Morning. So, did you like all the snow we got yesterday? Quite the storm, huh? :)

    I am sorry- I do not gmail chat and I am not on Facebook. I have to stay away from those sites for safety reasons. (I wrote about it on my blog, in a piece I called "stay safe- cautionary tale".
    But, I appreciate your asking me about that.

    And, thank you for telling me how "ned" found you. :) And, of course, I laughed as I read the "ned" of your comments. :)

    Happy Thanksgiving!