Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I spy. Wednesday, August 4, 2010.

“I spy, with my little eye…” – Children’s rhyme

One of the casualties resulting from a suicide attempt is the ability to take yourself for granted.

You may have entertained the thought of suicide for months, years, or decades. But once you actually take the pills or cut your skin – once you actually turn that intangible thought into a concrete action – you cross a line from which you can never retreat.

In a moment, you find out that you are capable of doing the unimaginable. Your life is forever divided into two parts – before your suicide attempt and after. And “after” is a fragile place to be.

Maybe it depends on the reasons you chose to take your life. If it was 20 years ago and you were a teenager heartbroken about the loss of a love, and you’re happily married (or happily single) today, maybe you no longer find the thought so disturbing. If your situation is ongoing – a lifelong fight with depression or bipolar, or life circumstances that remain challenging – the thought might be much more threatening.

My own attempt was the result of a devil’s cocktail of life stressors and a massive chemical imbalance. There was a time in my life – as recently as only a couple of years ago – when I didn’t have these particular stressors, and when my bipolar was pesky but under control. But now, I will be dealing with these situational stressors for the foreseeable future, and I live in fear that my body and mind will again go haywire.

And so I spy on myself. I watch every move I make. I double-check every thought. Like a survivor of breast cancer who notices every microscopic change to her breast, I spy on my sleep, I spy on my eating, I spy on my speech, I spy on my work habits. I’m feeling very sad today – am I going into a clinical depression? I seem a little hyper today – am I heading for mania?

Getting sick again is not an option for me. I have a family that depends on me. I have a demanding job that I need to keep. And so I take my meds on schedule, and I talk with my therapist, and I make sleeping and eating priorities. But still I’m afraid. And so I spy, with my little eye…

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