Note – This post discusses suicidal ideation as part of my mental health story from 2018 to 2020 and may trigger unwanted thoughts or emotions in those that have suffered traumas. This post is part of a story told chronologically.
I didn’t share my experience at the office, but I carried on with work as suicidal thoughts attacked in waves throughout the day. The attacks were relentless as if the Furies were angry at me for not pulling the trigger. I had panic attacks throughout the day, and voices shrieked at me. They ordered me to end my life when I got home.
I texted a friend and told her the story. I said I planned to take the gun to a friend’s house later in the evening. She followed up with me, reminding me that using a gun was permanent, and I needed to dispose of it as soon as possible. At my house, I told my roommate the details and asked him to go with me. I placed the gun, ammunition, and sharp knives in the trunk of my roommate’s car. I forget what we discussed during the drive, but I wasn’t anxious. The friend met me in the driveway, hugged me, and took the gun to his safe.
As usual, I woke up that night after three hours of sleep. I lumbered downstairs and plopped onto the couch. Around 4, I emailed my church small group.
Can you please pray for me?
Thoughts of suicide or hurting others sometimes appear without my control. I fight it off with God’s help, but I beat myself up for even having the thoughts. Sunday was great, service was great, and a friend prayed over me. However, Sunday night I had a terrible nightmare, and intense suicidal thoughts raged throughout the day on Monday.
Can you please pray?
- I continue to get closer to Jesus, and until healed, when evil thoughts come, I dismiss without beating myself up, reminding myself that God loves me.
- A solution is found to restore my mind and sleep. I’m at peace with decisions for the future, but sometimes fears and anxieties about the future pull me away from the present.
- When loneliness or the desire to be alone for too long tempts me, remind me to seek help and community.
- The correct balance of work, rest and play.
- Patience and perseverance and persistent prayer to get through this storm.
Thank you for the prayers. I’ve definitely needed them, and I believe God saved me on more than one occasion, particularly when on the harder drugs and removed, not in full control, when driving.
Two hours later, I met friends at a coffee shop for a weekly Bible study. I told them the story. I didn’t plan to kill myself, I said. I didn’t write a note. I had been through annual suicide training in the military for the previous fifteen years. I knew what to look for, I thought. I knew the signs.
I never thought it could happen to me.
Sometimes you don’t see an accident coming. Despite all the training, I didn’t see this coming. I had forgotten about the suicidal thoughts that came when I was a kid. My friends said I wasn’t taking it seriously enough. They told me to leave town and see family.
At work that Tuesday, I told my boss the story, and she recommended I use the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to take three months off work and heal. I started the paperwork, then bought a ticket to fly home to Cincinnati the next day.
The bad thoughts seemed to recede as I rested with family. I returned to Raleigh the following week so I could see my therapists and psychiatrist. Meanwhile, a friend texted me a link to an article that helped reduce her unwanted, intrusive thoughts. I read the article, then bought the book titled, Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts.
For several weeks thereafter, the thoughts assailed as I fought back. I’ll share more details in next week’s post.
If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States. Please call. (1-800-273-TALK)