Tag Archives: depression

How it Feels to be Suicidal

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I have come back from the brink of suicide. I have visited that place several times. During the depression years, before I changed my life circumstances and also found a med that helped, I felt mostly heaviness in my chest and was hopeless, tired, and apathetic. During those 6 years, I “knew” I had no future. I couldn’t hold down a job for longer than 12 months, so I’d be on government aid and not enough of it to actually live a semi-comfortable existence. Severe depression is crippling and scary. I was often afraid I would never find my real self again. Was she in there somewhere or had this helpless slug of a woman taken over completely?

“When I was suicidal, it was because every single day was literally the worst day of my life.”                                                                                                                                Thoughtcatalog.com (13 Heart-Ripping Testimonies of How it Feels to be Suicidal)

I married at 19, and it lasted 25 years. We had two fantastic children who are now successes in their careers and family lives. For reasons that are saved for another blog, I ran away from home and husband at age 44. I ran wild for almost a year before my mind slowed and reality appeared. I was without a degree, training for an occupation, and had no previous work (to speak of) to complete a decent resume. Employers want to hire 20-somethings or 30-somethings. I was past prime, and it showed by the employment rejections. Depression became worse over each year until I came very, very close to speeding my car off of a high , multi-level interstate system. I drove, cried, and considered my options for type of demise. However, there was a tiny flicker of light still within me because before I chose the moment I could jump in front of an 18-wheel truck traveling 70 mph, I turned the steering wheel and exited the freeway. It was my gynecologist’s office exit. I knew Sally would try to help me. She was always empathetic and helpful. It worked, and the emergency feeling lowered to  just plain depression masked with humor. Always crack a joke and no one will know you hurt inside, right?

(In same article on Thoughtblog.com, the following testimonial was given)                                “I understand that feeling of utter hopelessness that can so easily consume a life. I’ve suffered from depression on and off for most of my life. My mother suffers from bipolar disorder. As a result, both of us have struggled with suicidal tendencies. It’s hard to go through life when your own brain has turned against you. Getting out of bed is a struggle. Taking a shower is a struggle. Looking in the mirror is a struggle. Ah, I wish I didn’t understand. Honestly, for a long time I thought that suicide was the nicest thing I could do for myself. I knew it was selfish to put my loved ones through, but at the same time it was so goddamn difficult to stay alive just for the well-being of others. I could easily rationalize it and say that they were better off without me. God, depression is a bitch. It has taken so much intense therapy and self-reflection and, yes, even medication for me to realize that giving myself a chance to heal was the kindest thing I could do for myself. So I guess I’m trying to say that I empathize with suicide victims. When your own mind betrays you it’s hard to get back up again.”

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Today, 8 1/2 years from the time I ran away from home for a different life, I’m on an antidepressant, remarried to a kind man, keep 4 precious kitties, and enjoy my family and friends again. I live in a house again and not a tiny apartment or noisy duplex. I get to decorate this home and even have the desire to do so. I now drive a 2 year old car instead of a 15 years old one with no sun visors or key fob. We’re going to Hawaii next month and to New York in December. Life did a 180 for me, and it happened quickly! Before meeting my current husband, I had zero hope of gaining the strength to break up with an emotionally abusive boyfriend, moving out of an undesirable location, or having a regular income. Then, a new friend helped me leave the codependent relationship I was in, and I soon (and unexpectedly) found love. Life is settled. The depression isn’t crippling and no more suicidal thoughts. But guess who has moved into my home?! Perimenopause! Ugh. I’m dealing with up and down mood swings – like way down. I still take an antidepressant and keep Xanax on hand for anxiety or insomnia. I’m very thankful that summer is at its end. Not so many hot flashes!

If you find yourself in a depressed state that doesn’t fully leave and that often (or always) confines you to your house or bed, have hope. I’ve been there and stayed there for years. However, you can find the strength to change your life situation – even if you were like me and saw NO way to do that. It just took someone who took charge and helped me jump a few hurdles to make changes for the better. My one take-away from this blog is this: don’t try to kill yourself. It turns out that “they” are correct . . . nothing lasts forever, and you will be happy again. Yes, it’s an every day climb but it’s very worth it. It’s your very existence we’re talking about, right?

I’m here if you need to talk or have questions. Leave a comment, as well. Love to you!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline   1-800-273-8255

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Women in Midlife Crisis – Suicide

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I read an interesting and disturbing article today. It seems women in midlife (ages 45-64) are taking their own lives 24% more often than in 1999. That is a very large jump – in the wrong direction. 

I was also unaware that suicide is among the top ten leading causes of death for women.

Reasons? A few were suggested. Aging Baby Boomers are a large portion of these women – even from adolescence. Possibly, it is cultural with youth being celebrated and aging “getting a bad rap.” Social isolation is another explanation for possible midlife female suicides. Spouses die or divorce. Kids are grown with families of their own . . . busy and often living in other cities. A study showed that women who had strong social supports were less likely to have a premature death – by threefold. Another reason given was finances. With a lagging economy came more deaths. Finally, easy access to medications in the home didn’t help depressed situations. Pain killers can kill more than muscle or joint pain.

I’ve personally experienced seven years of Major Depressive Disorder and have medicated, changed my life (gotten rid of most stress), and introduced new friendships and activities to my days. I now have come through times of suicidal ideation and have a firmer grip on my emotions and behavior. Perimenopause isn’t helping much, though. Erratic hormones have turned me into a Jekyll and Hyde but I don’t give up, and I don’t give in.

We women of middle age are strong. We’re resourceful and wise enough to know how to change our circumstances. Fear will get in the way, though, if we aren’t constantly aware of our goals, and it will stall or even stop our progress toward mental and general health.

Remember Rosie the Riveter from the 1940s? We can do it!

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From Depression and Abuse To Happily Ever After

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I like the part that says, “you remember when you thought things were such a mess that they’d never recover.” I lived through 7 years of hopelessness after a divorce from a 25-year marriage. I saw absolutely no future for myself. One day, I had enough support and guts to lift my head from the sand and make a change in an area of my life that was a chronic problem – I broke off  an abusive relationship. It was a tough process that involved an eventual Order of Protection from the court. That made all the difference. The clouds parted, sun shone on my face, and I found purpose again. Yes, I like the sentiment above because I AM proud of myself and the person I fought to become.

It’s never too late to live happily ever after . . .

Smiley Flower Happy!

Will Your Marriage Survive Menopause?

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The following article is by blogger, Staness Jonekos, on the healthywomen.org site. See link at bottom of article.

Over 60 percent of divorces are initiated by women in their 40s, 50s or 60s — the menopause years — according to a recent survey conducted by AARP Magazine. Why are women running away from marriage?

I wasn’t even married when I slammed into menopause months before my wedding day at the age of 47. Despite being completely in love, I almost ran away and my fiance almost married bridezella!

Experts say the number one reason for divorce is lack of communication. My response from the ladies corner, “When everything you know to be normal is being kidnapped by changing hormones, communication may be last on the list. Throw in lifestyle changes, health and aging issues, and you are left in a small evaporating puddle of low self-esteem feeling hopeless.”

Many men blame lack of sex as the leading reason for midlife divorce. But is it? AARP poled 1,682 adults ages 45 and older on the importance of sex. Two-thirds of men (66 percent) and about half of women (48 percent) agreed that a satisfying sex life was important to their quality of life. That is only an 18 percent difference. So is it lack of sex, or a breakdown in communication chasing the women away?

Navigating a course in uncharted territory can test any relationship emotionally and sexually. It can also bring a couple closer — it did for me.

Purchasing midlife marriage insurance can help combat the unforeseen hazards during the menopause transition. How do you qualify for this love insurance? The first step is to understand how menopause can affect your love life.

Ladies first.

Menopause is a life transition that can affect you physically and emotionally. Your body is experiencing fluctuating hormones that can cause hot flashes, night sweats, itchy skin, migraine headaches, breast tenderness, vaginal dryness and irregular periods. Eighty percent of women will experience uncomfortable symptoms, and the majority struggle with midlife weight gain.

Many women feel unattractive going through so many uninvited changes. Some suffer from exhaustion, depression and moodiness leaving them feeling isolated and confused.

During menopause a woman’s brain also goes through changes. Dr. Louann Brizendine (author of The Female Brain) says, “The mommy brain unplugs. Menopause means the end of the hormones that have boosted communication circuits, emotion circuits, the drive to tend and care, and the urge to avoid conflict at all costs.”
There are additional factors on top of fluctuating hormones that may contribute to a lack of communication and interest in sex.

Dr. Wendy Klein, co-author of The Menopause Makeover and leading menopause expert, informed me, “If a woman is taking medications, such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, contraceptive drugs, antihistamines, sedatives, antihypertensives and/or medications for blood pressure, this can also decrease sexual desire.”

Midlife stresses brought on by career change, the loss of a loved one, empty nest syndrome or caring for elderly parents can contribute to a declining libido.

Throw in aging issues and the last thing on a menopausal woman’s mind is communicating. This woman is in self-survival mode, and may be in no mood to connect or make whoopi.

If she is in an unsupported relationship while managing this collection of changes, leaving the marriage may appear like her only salvation.

Gentlemen — your turn.

How many factors listed above is your partner experiencing? It is no surprise why men are afraid of menopause. His woman is changing in front of his eyes.

Women are not alone suffering from changes. Men also have midlife challenges, both physically and emotionally. Declining testosterone can affect libido, moods and sexual performance. Generally a man’s hormones change gradually compared to the woman’s experience during menopause, so it may not be obvious to the man that he too is changing. Some of these unwelcomed changes may include midlife stress, as well as health and aging issues. If both partners are experiencing change, the relationship may be on an emotional roller coaster.

Approximately 47 percent of women experience sexual difficulties with a decrease of sexual desire being the most common, according to the National Health and Social Survey and the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors.

It is no surprise that most men associate menopause with having less sex. But, it does not have to be this way. The man can actually help save a shaky midlife marriage with some handy tools to power charge the relationship. Women who have a supportive partner often have a smoother transition through menopause. When she is happy, he is happy.

Acquiring midlife marriage insurance takes action to make a difference.

Midlife Marriage Insurance For Him
1. Listen to her; don’t criticize or try to fix her.
2. Go with the flow; be prepared for mood swings.
3. Be compassionate, and validate her experience (that means agree with her, don’t try to fix her).
4. Be romantic. Bring her flowers for no reason. Make her dinner. Give her a massage. Make it about HER.
5. Cuddle more. Tell her you love her and that she is beautiful. You may just get lucky. If not, do not take it personally.
6. If YOU are not in the mood, keep her company shopping, she will love the company ;)
7. Support healthy eating and exercise choices. Join her for a walk or go on a hunting expedition at the grocery store to find new healthy foods.
8. Don’t ignore her menopause symptoms. Talk about it. Ask her what she needs to feel better.
9. Offer support if she needs to visit her healthcare provider to discuss menopause symptoms, a low libido or depression.
10. If numbers one through nine fail – disappear for a while. She may be seriously cranky and need space to focus on herself.

Success depends on going through this transition as a team! Both partners must contribute to have a successful marriage.

Midlife Marriage Insurance For Her
1. Track menopause symptoms and discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider.
2. Make a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Exercise most days of the week. Eat nutritious meals. Watch portions.
3. Update your beauty regimen.
4. Build a support group.
5. Communicate with your partner. Don’t shut him out – let him know what you need. Understand he may be confused by your changes.
6. If you are not happy in your current relationship, discuss counseling.
7. Be receptive to creative adjustments in lovemaking activities.
8. If your libido is low and/or you are suffering from vaginal dryness, discuss your treatment options with your healthcare practitioner. There are hormone and non-hormone options available.
9. Pamper yourself.
10. Try to stay positive.

Communicate, support each other’s needs, get counseling if needed, add romance, adjust lovemaking activities, and your odds increase that your marriage will survive menopause. Being on the same team will nourish a healthy, loving relationship that can last a lifetime.

Life is constantly changing, and marriage is no different. Have real expectations, and acknowledge that your relationship goes through transitions. This will help you weather difficult times.

Midlife is an opportunity for both men and women. If you are prepared, informed and willing, your marriage can survive menopause. A loving relationship supported with good communication can strengthen your love life at any age.

This menopausal bride made it down the aisle of love. Both my partner and I said “I do” to communication and romance during menopause. We are still happily married five years later and ready to leap over the seven-year itch together.

 

 

 

www.healthywomen.org/content/blog-entry/will-your-marriage-survive-menopause

Denial, Floods, and Small Talk

Denial – the action of declaring something to be untrue

I deny so well that if the behavior were an Olympic sport, I’d have the Gold. Actually, no, we’d all be in the running for the Gold medal.

In this post, I’m wondering why most of us  walk around acting like we are perfectly fine, our world is 100% on track, and nothing is bothering us. We smile and exchange pleasantries but are inside often lonely, hurting, frustrated, confused, or angry. Why can’t we open up more with one another?

 

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“You doing okay these days?”

“Oh, yeah. Great. You?”

“Sure thing. How are the kids?”

 

 

 

 

The older I’ve gotten, the more open and honest I’ve become. It’s liberating yet embarrassing at times – because others don’t share their weaknesses or what’s wrong in their own lives. Leaves me feeling alienated, y’know, or different from the norm? What really “is” the norm?  I admitted to starting on antidepressants again the other day to a friend. She blurted out that she’s on about three! I felt closer to her immediately. The honesty was air-clearing.

Ever feel completely overwhelmed? I did about a month ago (when I got back on antidepressants). I felt like I was drowning in a flood of cold, dirty water but nobody paid attention. I realized I was denying my feelings to those closest to me, trying to make the bad feelings go away. But they didn’t. I reached out for help . . . before my chimney went under. 😉

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So, can we try to reach out to one another more? Share our truths more? I won’t judge you; I promise! I may suggest a counselor but I’d never judge you. 🙂  Let’s stop “pretending” everything is okay and going about our days in denial about how much something may be bothering us or altering our lives. Stop biking in the flood, my friend, and admit there are about two feet of water at your feet! The rest of us will help you dry off and find a canoe.

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Mid-life Suicide

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Suicide is not the taboo subject it once was, and rightly so – as the he act has risen 30% in just the last THREE years! It’s a scary statistic. Please click on the link below and read this well-written New York Times article concerning mid-life suicide. Educate yourself.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/03/health/suicide-rate-rises-sharply-in-us.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

Do Not Give Up!

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Change – it happens every day. Whether change is positive or negative, it does one thing every time . . .  it makes you re-evaluate your current position and either find a new path or alter the current one.

Let’s talk about big shifts ~

1) Some changes happen quickly but take a long time to work through afterward.

2) Other changes occur over a longer period of time and allow you to acclimate to those changes as time passes.

Abrupt changes are tough. They slam you in the face and say, “HERE! Sort through THIS!” That’s what happened to me when I realized my marriage of a quarter-century was slow-swirling in the bottom of a shallow well. A sudden realization of the enormity of my problems and the likelihood they’d not be resolved while in the marriage . . . well, it made me sick. I became mentally sick and there was an urgent need in me –  I ran away from home and didn’t go back.

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Let’s talk about metamorphoses. I knew what started my mental upheaval. It was my first child moving out of our home. The two “kids” were my life – literally. That nuclear family had cracked down the middle and was threatening to drop me into the abyss of whatever lie on the “outside” of that shelter. After seeing, for the first time, that I had to make a radical revolution in the way I lived, my mind went numb. Autopilot kind of took over.

So, those of you who are new subscribers (about 80 of you), now know a little about my recent past. Here’s a quick lo-down –

Year one – Manic behavior. Spent a lot of money, promiscuous (had a boyfriend at the same time I was going through divorce), flunked out of college twice, drank (I’m not a drinker), smoked (yuck), did other stuff I shouldn’t have (nothing serious), and other classic symptoms of mania. Started anti-anxiety drugs. Aimlessly wandered. Felt blind.

Year two – four – Mania settled and  depression visited. Depression is a sneaky thing. At first, I had “bad days.” I couldn’t hold a job, couldn’t keep my mind working, so instead of finishing nursing school, I became a nursing assistant. Was so disappointed in myself. Just attending a few classes a week was tough. Gained  40 pounds, and tried half a dozen antidepressants. None worked well. Finally, I didn’t leave the house and barely left my bed. I didn’t attempt suicide but came extremely close twice. My support system kept me from leaving life. I was eventually on Bipolar II drugs.

Year five (present) – I have weaned off of all meds because I chose to do so (first time in five years!) with the help of my new doctor.  I have FINALLY found a counselor that I click with. I’m back in college and making As and Bs!! My decision-making is better, my memory is better, and I leave the house on a regular basis. 😉

I want to share my life with you because it’s been such a strange and difficult ride, and I hope it might shed light on some of your own problems. Three different people (friends and my mother- who doesn’t give accolades where they aren’t warranted) have called me courageous and brave. I didn’t see those traits in myself until recently.

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It can be done, my friends. Wherever you find yourself at this moment . . . if you aren’t happy or healthy or satisfied . . . things can change. If I can go from Life A to Life B (two completely different existences, I promise you), then you can, too. It wasn’t a quick accomplishment. It wasn’t seamless. But, by gosh I am doing it. The little flicker of light inside me that REFUSED to give in or give up – well, it got me through and brought me to the other side. It’s where I am feeling thankful, stronger, and full of hope for the future.

Just a year ago, I was a patient with a Psychiatrist. I took mood stabilizers and antidepressants. I read about my disorder and saw many of my symptoms as classic. Just a year ago, I cried in my king size bed, avoided people, and wished to die every day. Just a year ago, I hated everything I was, saw no redeeming value in living, and planned how to make my savings last so I could continue being disabled and disconnected. It’s all I had.

Note: Not everyone who is going through a difficult life-change necessarily has developed a permanent mental disorder. I was just grieving the loss of my life and staring in the face of a new one that I didn’t know how to live.

Change . . .

It’s evil ~ and it’s heavenly

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One Last Hurdle!

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From late 2007, when my world changed 180 degrees, until a little under a year ago, I was like a hurdling meteor with an eye on a permanent place to land. However, instead of a hard-hitting, one-time crash, I’ve been flying through differing degrees of layers before making a comfortable orbit. It’s a much nicer way to find my new normal.

Feels like I’ve jammed about twenty years of living into the last five, and I’m exhausted. However, I’ve come away more “myself” than I’ve ever been before. There’s something to be said about being authentic; there’s less stress and more joy.

Through an extreme high and several extreme lows, I’ve come to a place of comfort. The only medicine I’m now on is a mild blood pressure med. No more antidepressants, mood stabilizers, cigarettes (gross!), alcohol (almost had a problem there), extreme shopping, or any other indulgence people try. I’m free from it all and proud of it.

I have one last hurdle, though. It’s the hardest addiction to break for me. I am unhealthily fat. I need to lose a significant amount of weight to feel good again. This is proving to give me the toughest battle. I’m surprised. I never had any weight issues until I had children, and then any weight-gains were minor. Not so now. It’s hard giving up this last and most adamant obsession.

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I’m still very happy with what I’ve done with life so far. I’ve overcome some immense obstacles. So, I feel a bit spoiled in whining about this last one, but my head of steam is evaporating!

Joined Weight Watchers online. Weigh in each Sunday. Hoping for a last push of energy from this body and brain – to reach that goal of health. C’mon . . . cheer me on!

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XO to all of you!

What Do You Choose?

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Choices – that’s what life is – choices

 

What do I want . . . for lunch, to do on my day off, to watch on TV, to stand for, to leave for my children, to weigh, to do with my hair, to do about politics, etc

Who do I  . . . love, trust, respect, care whether they like me, help, learn from, teach, laugh with, cook for, clean up after, believe, get to fix my car, etc

Where do I  . . . call home, go when I die, want to eat, shop, go to school, try to find a job, dance, sing, cry, etc

When do I . . . call it quits, speak up for my beliefs, tell the truth, tell a lie, begin living the life I’m supposed to live,  stop denying/abusing and start facing, get a turn to be happy AND secure financially at the same time, etc

Why do I . . . second guess myself, think others have more rights than I, assume things, not feel pride at who I am, want to go back to being ignorantly in the dark and not a responsible woman, love cats so much, seem captivated by mermaids, love the ocean, love fried oysters, love to write, love to love, etc

 

Just look how many choices there are in life. These questions only covered a fraction of what our minds process daily. Just taking care of our basic needs is a balancing act!

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I am exhausted at the end of some days just by how many things my mind had to organize and compartmentalize. Being a college student and a woman in the throes of perimenopaue is hard enough. On top of it all, I must deal with good friends who are either divorcing, have financial troubles, or are physically ill. Life ain’t easy! How easy it would be to accidentally jump the tracks! But I want to BE here for the friends and family I love. I want to make a difference in their lives – even if I’m “busy.”

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Now for some strategies on HOW TO DEAL!

Do you think we are put here to serve a higher calling? Perhaps some of us are naturals at nurturing, teaching, fixing all things mechanical, listening. Others may be able to give monetary help, offer prayer, or spend an afternoon a week with someone who needs a friend.

The point is that no matter how “busy” we are, if we choose to make time to help someone else . . . we are 100% better for having done it, and the other person is, as well! THAT is what life is about – not plodding along day after day to make our wages and to live for the week-ends.

There is SO much more to us than we ever give away! Instead of feeling fatigued by having to give of myself, I am energized! Try it, please. You’ll make new friends, learn some things about yourself and others, and much more. Remember Forrest Gump? He took every opportunity to say YES to whatever came his way. Remember the movie Yes Man? Same idea. Remember Pay it Forward? Let’s get off our ever-fattening American butts and improve a few lives around us.

It’s all about our choices. I choose to be helpful, loving, trusting (even if I get hurt sometimes), and present in my life.

What do you choose?