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.

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