Coming Out of the Suicidal Closet

I was diagnosed with bipolar and anxiety disorders 10 years ago. I chose a handful of people to tell about my diagnosis. I told close family, my boss, and a few treasured friends. Beyond that, I decided to tell no one else.

A little backstory. Ten years ago, my life took a very unexpected turn. At the time, I’d been treated on and off for depression. However, as the drama of that turn began to spread, I was simply too overwhelmed to deal. I had, in polite terms, a mental breakdown. My breakdown wasn’t necessarily caused by this turn of events. It was, in figurative terms, the straw that finally broke my back.

Unable to take care of most of my basic needs and sleeping up to 20 hours a day, I sought help from my family doctor. Although I hated him for it at the time, he knew he was ill equipped to deal with my situation. He made arrangements for my first stay in a psychiatric hospital. While in-patient, I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and bipolar disorder.

The event took place so suddenly, I really didn’t get the opportunity to choose who I might tell. My family had to be notified so that my children could receive care while I was hospitalized. I also had to tell my boss why I’d vanished off the face of the Earth. (She is/was one of the kindest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.) After my release, I confided in my closest, most trusted friends.

And, so it remained for 10 years. Only a choice few knew I was suicidal and had actively attempted suicide several times over the years.

I’ve often heard the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Over and over, I’d remained silent about my personal battles with suicidality.

After my fourth attempt, I decided to come out of hiding. For me, it was the right decision and the right time. So, I posted a meme declaring myself a suicide survivor and a long FB post about my long battle with bipolar disorder and anxiety. I did it because I didn’t want to suffer alone and in silence any longer.

The response was overwhelmingly positive. Some brave souls even responded with stories of their own battles, including other suicide survivors. Inevitably, I lost a few friends, too. However, coming out about my struggles has been totally worth it.

Lessons Learned on Laundry Day

Today, I finally had to get real about my laundry situation. Let me be frank; I hate to do laundry even on my best day!! However, because of the holidays (and my loathing of the chore), I was really behind. So, before I can begin, I have to choose which loads will take priority. I realize that having a laundry hierarchy sounds ridiculous but that’s just how I roll.

My point really has everything and nothing to do with laundry.

In life, we have to prioritize. What needs our most urgent attention? What can be relegated to the bottom of the list? And, if you can figure out your priorities, you can begin to make a plan of action.

For me, depression and anxiety have almost crippled my ability to prioritize correctly. By correctly, I mean that God should be first, myself second, my family third, and miscellaneous stuff fourth. In reality, it feels like miscellaneous stuff is what my attention has been focused on. In chasing the illusion of perfection, I have put stuff first and burdened myself with unrealistic expectations. There simply aren’t enough hours to perfectly clean the house, keep every laundry basket empty, prepare gourmet meals, and be available for whatever my family might need.

My anxiety screams that I’m failing miserably at keeping all my plates in the air.

My depression laments; if I can’t do it all the ‘right’ way, why bother even trying since all I’ll do is fail anyway?

And, that’s basically what living in Hell looks like.

Like my laundry, I have to prioritize my life.

Today, I thanked God for another day on this Earth.

Today, I made caring for myself a priority. Meaning, I didn’t push myself beyond my limit. I actually enjoyed a cup of coffee before beginning my daily chores. I stopped to eat lunch when I was hungry or drink when I was thirsty without lambasting myself for being lazy or soft. I gave myself permission not to be perfect. I gave myself permission to eat takeout because I already had enough on my to-do list.

Today, I remembered to thank my husband for the essential things he does, like taking that full trash can down our steep driveway for tomorrow morning’s pickup. Because, in all reality, he doesn’t get the recognition he usually deserves.

And, in just a bit, I will celebrate the fact that I did the best I could do today. I will thank God for giving me a capable mind and body that allowed me to complete my to-do list.

Fourth Chances

January 1st. Twelve new chapters. Three hundred sixty five blank pages. Each page waiting to be filled.

Last night, I prayed. I wanted God to know how grateful I am for all I have been given. Of course, I’m grateful for my family, friends, home, food, and so many little luxuries I often take for granted. But, this year, I am especially grateful for fourth chances. 2018 marked my fourth, and most deadly, suicide attempt. This time, God came to me and showed me my time hadn’t come yet. No, not premonitions or winning lottery numbers. He simply showed me he wasn’t finished with me yet. I wish I could explain the experience better than that but I lack the words to describe the peace and fullness I felt.

when I woke from my semiconscious State, I knew I’d been changed. Maybe changed isn’t the right word. What I knew was that I had choices; choices I couldn’t see before I tried to take my life. It seemed I’d been living in the rear view mirror watching the best parts of my life slipping away. I was firmly grounded in yesterday’s pain. Yet, my choice was quite clear upon waking. I could keep living in the rear view mirror or I could choose to look out of the windshield. I could hold onto my heavy trunks of loss, pain, anger, and resentment or I could put them down. I could pine for what was lost or I could engage in the present.

So, I got up off my ass and have started to look forward. It’s not been easy to do. In fact, it would be very easy to turn back, pick up my trunks, and count all I’ve lost. Living for today, right this moment, feels alien, frightening, and strangely exhilarating. Giving up the illusion of control and perfection has been the biggest challenge, so far.

Today, I started out the same way I always start. I opened my eyes. My feet found the floor. And, as I have each day since I survived, I whispered a silent prayer of gratitude for the opportunity to have this day. Because, I am grateful to be alive. I am grateful for 4th chances.

You Should Know…

There’s a few other things I want to share with you.

First, I want to thank my husband, Anthony Spinnato Jr., for being my hero. His quick thinking and devotion literally saved my life. I’m so lucky to have such an amazing love in my life. No words can ever express my gratitude.

Second, I want you to know God was with me throughout my journey. I may have lost sight of His love but He never lost sight of me.

Lastly, your outpouring of love and support have filled my heart with such joy. I am blessed to have such incredible friends. Thank you!!

I am a Suicide Survivor

On October 10, 2018, I tried to end my own life. I’m not sharing because I want your tears or your pity. I’m sharing because I want you to help me raise awareness. Suicide is completely preventable. I also want you to know I care about you. You are never alone.

*Reblog* Memories Of Child Abuse, Other Traumas Hide In The Brain; Changing Patient State Of Mind May Help Retrieve Them

Memories Of Child Abuse, Other Traumas Hide In The Brain; Changing Patient State Of Mind May Help Retrieve Them

Memories Of Child Abuse, Other Traumas Hide In The Brain; Changing Patient State Of Mind May Help Retrieve Them
— Read on

Goodbye Kate Spade

In the coming weeks, there will be much speculation about Kate Spade’s alleged suicide, the note, her family she left behind, the note, if alcohol was involved. Her private life will be dumped out, picked over, and put on display for the entire world to see. A life reduced to gossip from Page 6 to TMZ.

However, I want to think about this woman who cruelty cut her own life short. Lot’s of people will ask why? She certainly seemed to lead a successful life. She had money, a Park Avenue home, a beautiful daughter, a husband by her side, and designs worn by everyone from royalty to the girl on the street. What kills me is her material worth still wasn’t enough to fill the empty, lonely, devastatingly depressed heart of this accomplished woman. Her internal pain was so much that could not live for one more day. Her world, her only choice, was to take her own life by hanging.

I only know, Kate Spade took her own life yesterday. I don’t know the names of all those who died by their own hand yesterday; those who had to end their pain and suffering. Those that couldn’t hang on for another day.

There will likely be several events in the coming weeks to honor Kate Spade’s life and contributions to fashion. And, there should be!! The world just lost an amazing woman.

But, who will be there to honor the lives of those lost to suicide yesterday and today. What will be their legacy?

If you or someone you love is hurting, please seek medical attention right away!! Don’t wait for tomorrow; it might not be there!!