1st Person Accounts- Suicide Research- Interview 2
1st Person Accounts- Suicide Research- Interview 2
By Sheila L. Ferguson
Image source: pixabay.com
Have you or someone you know been affected by suicide or thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts? My name is Sheila Ferguson and I have Complex PTSD, or C-PTSD. I experience thoughts about suicide. I am a survivor. Nevertheless, my trauma timeline has changed me. There are times when my brain function is so "off"- my apologies for lack of a better word- it feels so off that it can even affect my balance. I have had stress induced seizures. Mood swings. Inability to concentrate. I have had to have heart surgery to control what my heart does during panic attacks. My heart rate was documented at 268 beats per minute. Nobody wanted to believe me. I have severe fibromyalgia, which is directly connected to and a side effect of my C-PTSD. My body has been so affected by the stress and my response to the traumas. I have to take medications for my night terrors. I wake drenched in sweat and those dreams can affect my well-being for hours or even days. I cannot work a full time job. I struggle. I really struggle to want to live. Sometimes, it is all so much bigger than me, I feel unable to win against the part of me that wants to die. I've written a poem about feeling suicidal which you can read here: https://steemit.com/psychology/@jealousyjane/insight-suicidal-thoughts.
I want to live. I want to continue to survive. I don't want to be bullied and abused by the part of me that wants to die. In an effort to understand myself and others who struggle with suicide, I have decided to conduct some research in the form of interviews. I will be sharing those interviews openly as they come in, and the survivors will remain anonymous. I will be studying the responses, comparing and contrasting them to my own story, and I will be revealing my own findings as I stumble across things.
In the meantime, I hope you will find Interview # 2 both interesting & informative.
image source: Pixabay.com
How have you come in contact with suicide? Someone you know, or yourself?
About two years ago I was hospitalized with severe depression and suicidal ideation. I spent five days in the hospital and underwent a drastic change in medications to manage my depression. Had it not been for the intervention of a good friend, I probably would have been dead within that same week.
Age and other demographic information you choose to provide.
Age 38 (was age 36 at the time of the hospitalization), male, Caucasion
Any formal diagnosis for the person?
Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder
What can you tell me about the person and the events leading up to the suicide or attempt? Was something going on? How long? Isolated event or ongoing? When did this happen. More than once? etc.
I've dealt with Major Depression for most of my adult life. For about ten years it was mostly manageable by medications, but the couple of years leading up to my hospitalization, things got progressively and steadily worse. I had little support from my spouse, who lacked the ability to understand what I was going through and to relate to what I dealt with every day. As a result I delayed seeking out additional medical help in a timely enough manner that would probably have avoided the crisis that landed me in the hospital. My marriage slowly and steadily degraded as time went on and I became more and more self-destructive, including resorting to cutting to deal with the pain and apathy of my depression.
Did the person reach out for help?
I was on medication for years, having to change meds every couple of years due to a build-up of drug tolerances. Ultimately I developed the anxiety disorder, though I didn't realize it at the time because my depression was so severe that it masked the anxiety I dealt with.
Did the person mention struggling with suicide?
Yes, on several occasions. I mentioned frequently feeling suicidal, especially in the couple of years leading up to being hospitalized. I thought almost every day about taking my own life, but I struggled to hang on, if for no other reason than for my kids.
Did suicide run in the family? Did mental illness?
No suicide, but I'm convinced my father deals with depression, even though he would never admit it.
Was there anything that would have changed or prevented this from happening?
I do know that more support from my spouse would have been exceptionally helpful. As it was there was very little support from her, and ultimately my depression became so self-destructive that our marriage ended this past year.
What was the method?
I hadn't chosen a specific method of taking my life, but I suspect it would have involved overdosing on prescription medications so that I would fall asleep and simply not wake back up.
Was there a note or planned note? If so, who was that addressed to? Family? Bully or abuser? Government? School?
I honestly don't know if I'd have left a note or not. I hadn't really gotten quite that far into planning things. I think anyone who knew me would have known why I would have done it.
How did this experience affect you?
Ultimately, it made me stronger. I lost my marriage, home, and job within the span of two weeks of being hospitalized, but it forced me to take greater control of my own life and to fight back. I'm happy to say that now I'm stronger, healthier, and more stable than I've been in over ten years.
How did this experience affect others?
My wife kicked me out of the house and wouldn't let me come home once I got out of the hospital. She even changed all the locks on the house so I couldn't let myself in. My kids have struggled with the transition and I've had to live with family while I struggle to get back on my feet and find full-time employment again. It's taken me a long time to get to where I am now, and while I've made great strides, I still have a ways to go to get where I want to be.
Was the person under mental health care of any kind?
Yes, I was under the care of my family doctor, a psychiatrist, and a cognitive behavioral therapist.
Do you have any advice for people who experience suicidal thoughts?
Seek out help as soon as possible. There's no substitute for professional help, even and maybe even especially when you're not getting the support you need from friends or family. Getting professional help can potentially help avoid the chance of falling prey to the lies your brain tells you that can lead to suicide.
Do you have any photos you wish to provide to accompany the story?
I got a partial sleeve tattoo done in the fall after my hospitalization. It was partially a reward to myself for surviving the summer and partially a permanent visual reminder to myself that I'm stronger than I know. It was done by the amazing Asia Rain at Revolution Tattoos in West Lafayette, and I hope eventually to turn it into a full sleeve. It covers the part of my arm where I did most of my cutting and it's in the form of an armored bracer to visualize the armor I need to survive each and every day..
image provided by interviewee.
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