Dead kids and Mother’s Day 


To all the surviving mothers who celebrated this recent Mother’s Day without their children, lost to mental illness, we dedicate this post.  To the mom’s who have outlived their babies. To the mothers who have watched their boys and girls deteriorate slowly with piece meal pincing bites that brain illness has taken from them until they were gone. To the mommy’s of those who left them fast, at the end of a rope, under a car, at the point of a needle, or in the many bits of brain that a gun blows apart. 

I’m dedicating this post to the mothers who continue to live. Who remember more than the moment of their child’s death. Who celebrated on Mother’s Day the individual of her child that was more than his or her behaviors and emotions. 

This post is for the mothers who remain for us, we who need them still. We need you. Thank you for telling us your story and living with us, among us. For fighting for brain health, for freedom, we thank you. 

To the mothers who survive(d) the death of their children to mental illness, happy belated Mother’s Day. You are amazing to us. 

Today’s question is more of a request: Tell us your story please. 

Or, those of you who know these courageous women, and want to share, please do. We are listening. 

Self care tip: You tell me. How do you (they) do it?

Keep on. 

Why do I Keep Living? – Chronically Suicidal.

trainwrecklife

Carl D’Agostino is a retired high school history teacher. His interests include woodcarving and blogging. Cartoon blog at carldagostino.wordpress.com.   Cartoons published in book, “I know I Made You Smile, Volume I.”

Marvin lived hard for years, used up his bank, his talents used up like putting a flame to his wick.  He was wired to live in the moment. Living that way, when he had gifts galore freely given, living was different than when those gifts were used, diminished, and broken. Marvin was smart enough to rationalize his way into a chronic suicidality thereafter.

What is the point of living, after all? Marvin asked this question, answered it, and asked it again, to the point that it separated itself from Time and place. It is a question that is infinite anyhow.

Sometimes Marvin, with this infinite question, this question that occupies the time of God, kings, and beggars, Marvin would sit in my office with this infinite question in his nicotine-stained and inked fingers, and he would in this bring together the infinite with the finite. I remembered that the whole point, the meaning of the infinite and finite, is increased in value by the other. Marvin, living in the moment, even now years after his coin was thus reduced, was living in the infinite.

Why do I have to keep living? I just need someone to tell me it’s going to be ok if I die.

Marvin, If you are looking for a doctor to help you die, you need to go somewhere else. I will always choose life.

(It seemed like that “FYI” was in order.)

“We” made a plan …that Marvin wasn’t entirely in agreement with. I told him he could not come back to my clinic if he wasn’t engaged in that plan.

Marvin, we are just going to do what the data tells us will work. We don’t have to feel it or even believe it. We have the data at least.

Every time I have ever seen Marvin, I took a hard look, memorized him, knowing this may be the last time. Setting boundaries with him was freaky. It felt like trying to hold broken glass. Would Marvin be back? If not, I knew I’d be hurt.

The patient-doctor relationship is unique to each patient. It is unique to each doctor. For me, in my patient-doctor relationships, if it wasn’t for the hard grip I keep on the seat of my chair, I’d have too many of my patients in a big, but likely awkward, (and my Academy tells me, “Inappropriate”) hug.

This flashed through my mind in fair warning again. I compromised, saying instead,

You matter to me, Marvin.

I think Marvin’s lip actually curled and his canines grew. And I quote,

How can you say that? I just don’t get it.

This was a moment of road’s diverging, 31 Flavors, coins in your hand in front of a mother-loaded vending machine. I could see philosophers, all over the now and then of the ages, slobbering like they were at a nudie bar.

Once, when I called 911 on behalf of a patient who needed to go into the hospital for safety, the police person looked like that, bouncey even, on her toes. I had to check her feet to see if she was actually standing on a pedestal, she sermonized my poor patient so thoroughly. I think she was even eating a candy bar as she left my office, satisfied, (without my patient, by the way. Apparently she thought her tonic words had medicinal powers.)

Marvin was fishing me. There were so many ways to lose with that question. He was hoping I’d flop around with straining gills sucking air for hours while he tugged on the hook.

I’ve done that often enough, and will do it many more times. We can count on mistakes. What took me by surprise was, this time I did not.

Well, I’d guess it has something to do with me and something to do with you.

Yup. It surprised me. The surprise brought a wave of gratitude. “Thank you God.”

And if you aren’t as surprised or grateful by that liner, I can only explain that it was right at the time. Marvin lost his handlebar lip curl. I lost my grip on the chair. Marvin’s still alive, (I know everyone’s worried about the “for now” part of that.) And our universe cares, finitely and infinitely.

To the Marvin’s of the world, the wasted, the used, and the squandered, work your programs.

To the lonely and distorted, to the ones who have tried to die, to you who don’t know why you keep living, follow what the data offers by way of direction.

To you who may not get the same freely given gifts in this life that are now gone, you have good things coming.

We choose to live with you, than without. We choose you again. We choose, every time, what Love will bring. Keep on.

Questions: Have you ever asked yourself and/or others, “Why do I keep living?” What has your answer been? What is your answer now? For yourself. What would you tell your own Me?

Self-care tip: …I think I waxed on and off enough already with that – smile.

Nurse tells her experience – Suicide

Guest Post

by, Leslie Oneil, RN

Nurse extraordinaire!  Person to know.  More.

Nurse extraordinaire! Person to know. More.

In The Ring

I sat at a table in a large meeting room watching Dr. as she stood in front of the room. She stood in front of us with poise…armored with stories, analogies, statistics, and invisible red boxing gloves to match her red dress. She was ready to defend mental illness, and fight for its proper place in medicine and in the spot light where it belongs…right next to the heavy hitters: cancer, heart disease, diabetes.

Dr. delivered the statistics….”1 in 5 people suffer from depression.” She counts the room, “1, 2, 3, 4, depressed. 1, 2, 3, 4, depression.” She continued, “Put all of the depressed people in a room, and look around. 1 in 15 of those suffering from depression will go on to commit suicide.” It’s dramatic. The room was silent. It usually is. I am not comfortable with the topic anymore than I was the first time, but I am getting used to hearing the same phrases, the same statistics, and responding to the same questions from the audience. I am now familiar with the language of mental illness.

Last Friday, as I stood in the middle of the PACU, our eyes met. It felt intense. it was an emergency, and an emergency in behavioral health means…

Then I heard Michael Buffer, the master of ceremonies, in my head. He introduced the statistic to the ring. Dramatic music played, and before I had the chance to raise my gloves, the statistic nailed me…First with a left hook, then went below the belt. I was knocked out. Speechless with my face in my hands. Gloves were off.

 

Your patient committed suicide.

 

No amount of training prepares you. No power point presentation. No book. No doctor.

TKO.

I never even imagined how I would handle the news. I was weak in the knees and shook.

The patient was starting electroconvulsive therapy in 3 days. The patient had just called me. The patient denied any suicidal thoughts. The patient…….It doesn’t stop.

The gravity of what I do hit me. It hit me hard.

As I drove home I thought, “Have I entered a losing battle? I’ve wanted to be a nurse to comfort people, advocate for them, care for them, and try to help improve their quality of life if possible.” If possible are the key words.

Am I okay with, “We did everything we could. Stop. Time of death….”

 

My question to you: “Do you find gratification with the result or with the process?”

You think you know the answer…until you’re in the ring.

 

Leslie Oneil, RN, is a ECT specialist nurse.  She writes at a blog worth following, A Very LOshow.

 

Cut Here

Walking the crowded streets of Los Angeles today, I was smiling. My heart was open up, grateful for life and the privileges of sharing great company. And then, without armor, vulnerable because that is what happiness does to us, I saw what I think sodom and gamora might have been burned for,

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Glamorizing suicide or whatever this was glamorizing, I felt it against my soft underbelly, sheez! Snap click and up went my professional safety measures.
Back at my room, I googled “him” and got little more than his name is Trevor and,

the famous tattoo of “CUT HERE” with the dotted line going across his neck.

Famous.
I have never been that cool. I have never heard of Trevor or his “cut here” tattoo. You?

From a Fellow Commentor – Her Friend Suicided

Anxiety Always

Anxiety Always (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

i woke up this morning to find out that my friend shot herself last night. she texted me, said she hoped i had a good night and said goodbye. she then walked outside and shot herself in the head.  
there are so many emotions i can’t even sort them out.  i don’t know what to feel, i can’t even cry.  why haven’t I cried?  I didn’t hear her stupid text, I didn’t know… I knew she had her demons we all do, but they convinced her to end it.  it’s so finial, so F-ing stupid!!!!!
is this how it ends for us that are so f**ked up in the head?  she wasn’t on meds, would that have even helped?  I don’t know what to think sana. last month i got a phone call from my friend who lives in Fallbrook and she had been dealing with anxiety couldn’t take it anymore, said she didn’t want to feel the anxiety anymore and tried to kill herself.  she was admitted and stayed for 4 weeks.  she’s on so many meds that she’s speaks in a monotone voice.  it’s has really scared me.  
is this how it’s going to be for all of us that deal with fear, anxiety and panic? I need to go for a walk, i feel numb. i feel so pissed off and feel bad that I’m mad. 
i’m scared
didn’t know who else to share this with that would understand
Questions:  Do you?  What do you understand?  Is this how it’s going to be for all of us?  Please tell us your story.  We need to hear.

If You Want To Die, Tell Others.

McCulloch Electric Chainsaw. Photo by Eric Bea...

Image via Wikipedia

Have you been having any thoughts about wanting to die?

You folks know about these questions I must ask. Some people are offended by them. Many people are grateful. Trisha was guarded.

Yes.

I asked,

Did you have a plan in mind on how you would kill yourself?

There was a black pause and then,

I’m not sure I want to tell you that.

I could understand your reluctance Trisha but telling me is a good thing. It helps the ideas lose some of their power. It’s no longer as much of an option when you tell someone than it would be if you kept it a secret, I said.

Ok.

Another black pause and then,

I wanted to use a chain saw.

When it comes to ways of suicide, this one sounded pretty painful.

Ouch! I said to Trisha.

Her response, well, I didn’t expect it.

I hadn’t thought about that! The pain from that would have been nothing compared to the pain I was going through!

Trisha’s words schooled me. I don’t care how many times we talk about the darkness, the hopeless horror and the suffering of some brain illnesses, somehow, I know that I really don’t want to have full knowledge. When having your neck sawed off by your own hands with a chain saw seems like it would feel better than the full body despair, not many others will understand. Trisha wasn’t processing well, true. But the point isn’t her poverty of suicide options. What is the point here. Well, there is one major point to take home and there is a minor. Starting with the minor point – We can’t presume much about others. Moving on…. Major point – Tell people when having thoughts about wanting to die and what those thoughts are. Why? Because it’s friendly to Me. Telling someone isn’t as much about what they’ll do for Me, although once in a while someone may do something right on our behalf. Rather, telling someone is about what the telling process and knowledge of the telling does for Me. It lets us know that we are not alone. We lose some of the magical quality to the suicide plan. It dilutes our conviction to self-harm as a solution.

Question: What else do you think telling someone about thoughts of suicide does for Me? Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip: If you have thoughts of wanting to die, tell others.

What does it say about who God is?

Hello. Your missing psychiatrist at hand. Missing you. Thank you for your presence despite the quiet.

Today I heard from a woman that anyone who has God in them could never kill themselves. Aside from all the obvious reasons that was so ignorant, she didn’t know what she was saying about who she believed God to be.
I wondered if you would tell me your opinion of what it says about who God is when we suicide?
If that’s not an important part of being a friend to Me, …
Be a friend to yourself.