Friday, May 12, 2017

Going to the ER when your suicidal

(trigger for suicidal thoughts and self injury descriptions)
SIV = self inflicted violence

Last month a suicidal man showed up the ER at one of the local hospitals. Only problem was he showed up with a gun, and was threatening the staff.

The police and security guards were able to keep everyone safe and defuse the situation.

Local social media was complementing the staff/police in one breath and then being angry with the man in the next breath.

Everyone was missing one perspective. The mans. What that tells me, is those commenting, thankfully, have never been so suicidal that they have been forced to go the ER to seek help.

Let me give you a look at what it's like to go to the ER when you are suicidal...from the prospective of the suicidal person.

I have lost track of the number of nights I spent sitting in the my car in the ER parking lot, bawling my eyes out, trying to summon up the courage to walk into the ER and ask for help.

The "I can't handle my head - I'm going to loose this battle - Suicidal as fuck - help me" plan was firmly in place before I left therapy.

I fought  like a motherfuckin' wildcat to stay alive in my 20's.

I wanted to be damn sure I continued to more forward after leaving therapy.

When Richard first suggested I go the ER for help, I blew him off. I mean 'common I couldn't even call him on the phone for help at that point.

There were the fears too. Images of being restrained and forcefully drugged...as well as the awful, awful knife to the gut fear that ....they wouldn't believe me, and turn me away.

Imagine, me, walking in to the ER. Calm. Collected, dissociated the fuck out to the point I am a smooth empty shell with no humanity in it.

"Hi." I'd say.

"What do you need to be seen for?" they would ask.

"I'm suicidal and want to kill my self." I'd say, then punctuate it with my high nervous laugh.

They would look at me eyeing me, judging me, trying to determine the truth to my words, and before they could ask my name I would loose my nerve and stammer an apology and beat a hasty exit.

"never mind, sorry for wasting your time, its nothing really, I'm fine."

When you go to the ER with a broken bone, or your guts hanging out, or writhing in pain YOU don't get judged. You are automatically treated with compassion and professionalism.

Because you can't see mental pain there is no way for them to triage you without having to ask you questions that make it sound like they think your faking.

The ONE time I got the nerve to go inside, I never made it a foot from my car. brain washing from my childhood stopped me and I got back in my car.

my mothers ghostly words "are you bleeding? no? then stop crying."

I bashed my face with a hammer until I was a bloody, snotty bawling mess.

"Now you can go in." I had told my self. Now I looked the part. Now the pain was visible...now I looked like I was in danger...........now....now I would be believed.

But it was too late. The self inflicted violence had dissipated the suicidal urges and calmed me, and put me in head space I could handle my self. The danger had passed. Totally defeating the purpose of coming to the ER in the first place...which was to deal with the suicidal state without using SIV as the coping skill.


There is a huge battle when you are suicidal and seek help.  Part of you wants to die, and another part of you is reaching for help. A wrestling match that is of epic proportions. Guess which one has the greater pull? If your head is thinking suicide, that is where the balance of the weight will rest. The internal built in preservation for life encoded into your DNA, is there to save you from dangerous situations, stuff like if you see a bear, it tells you to RUN!

No where to run when the danger is in your head.

This man who came with the gun to the ER told them he was suicidal. There was a war raging within him. GET HELP - DIE - GET HELP - DIE .....let someone take control and help me .... fuck let someone else kill me...

Perhaps he wanted the police to kill him. Perhaps he needed to make the mental pain visible so he felt justified in going to the ER for help.

either way its not as easy as the media makes it sound.

"If your suicidal, get help. Reach out. Go to the ER."

I eventually wrote what became known as my "Owners manual". A document with all the info the ER staff would need to know. So I could walk in and just hand it over, and not have to talk, or prove anything. 

My name is Paja, I am feeling very suicidal and I am not safe. I need help to keep my selves safe. I have a history of SIV and working with my therapists to stop that negative coping skill.

Don't let my quiet nature fool you. I am in danger. I wouldn't be here if I could take care of this my self.

(a list of my therapists/doctor's phone numbers)

(list of my diagnosis, and medications I was taking)

Coping skills that are useful:

1. Have me visualize snow
2. argue, with me, if you can get me to cry the rage/anger will dissipate and I can handle my self from there.
3. ect etc

That document was my voice.

It brought me great comfort. It was like an invitation to the ball. I no longer needed to crash the party with blood and violence, I could simply go in and hand it over.

I kept a copy in my car and in my trailer.

I have never had to use it, but you'd think otherwise if you saw how tattered the copies are.

I am brave enough now to go in without it.

Others are not so lucky. Be compassionate and thankful they make it to the ER at all.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

same song different day

(trigger for pathetic whining)

First off apologies for all the blog spam. I am trying to get my mind back on line and focused on writing. I desperately want to finish Skinned.  Its very frustrating not to be able to. Even more frustrating to leave a character in limbo like that.

My physical health is just overwhelming everything right now. Second only to the chaos of my mental health.

I asked the FNP last week to put me back on Zoloft.

Which is a HUGE thing considering the last time I was on it things got ugly. So ugly its listed on my chart as an allergy.

Any way we are back tracking through mountains of paper work looking for the data on the episode. I on my end looked though my journal entries.

Its always devastating to me to look through my therapy books/journals. For the primary reason....all I have to do is change the dates and those entries could have been written today.

If that isn't enough to make one feel crazy I don't know what is.

My paper chart from that time lists the symptoms I asked to be seen for.

Exactly the same ones I was seen for last week. I'm still trying to get help for pain issues that date back 20 + years.

Why can't I be helped?

garrrr, I shouldn't go in those books without a chaperone. They're pretty intense.  I also was in there looking for my old "owner's manual." A document I wrote in case I had to go to the ER. It was all the info the ER staff would need if I showed up on there doorstep in a suicidal state. I need if for the next blog I am working on. I can't find it. That's frustrating. I am going to have to write without it, because I can't go back in that pile of papers. Too triggering.

Just a quick jaunt through it has left me bawling.

Xanax on board, going to get a hug from hubby and then go to the store for a shit load of hostess crap to drown my sorrows in sugar.

What if I can never write again? what if who I level out to be after all the dust settles is no longer me?
Why is it ....only the pain survives each time I molt, evolve, and change?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Faded


I was recently featured in a magazine that our local paper puts out.


(there is an error in the article -   It incorrectly states I advise against "support groups" for self injuries. I advise against group therapy.)

A year ago I was in the paper and on the noon news. The residents at my work commented on seeing me in the paper, and on the news. But they didn't comment on the topic of self injury.

THIS time was different. BOY did they have questions!

I figured they wouldn't see it and gave it no thought. HA! boy was I wrong. They grilled me with all kinds of questions and most wanted to see my scars.

Which brought up an interesting observation.

my scars are faded.

I don't have any red scars. They are all ghostly white...and I am okay with that. In the past I wouldn't have been okay with that.


Healed white scars have been a trigger for me in the past. Some of my injures are reflective of trauma's that I don't want to forget, if my 'bookmark' is faded then I worry about forgetting why they're there, I've been known to re-injure to keep the scars bright red for the year it takes them to fade again.

I wonder if I'm okay with this because I'm more healed? Or is it because I've got my hands full right now with my health issues.

Being on prednisone rolls around in my head. It makes healing wounds more difficult. A burn would also artificially elevate my CK level and we need to keep tabs on that to see how bad the polymyositis  is flared.

I still have SIV urges.

BOY DO I.

I came awfully close last month to going on a SIV spree when I was so suicidal. I actually gave my self permission to do it.

Yet, I never even picked up my tools.

Some days I wish the urges were as faded as my scars.

*************** TRIGGER - GRAFFIC SIV IMAGES OF SCARS below ***************



I hope that one day the mental pathways that bring to reaching for SIV as a coping method will fade too. Be so dusty that I don't slide easily into them. There are days I am miles away from self injury...and days I wanna just do it for no reason.

I will always carry those reminders of the SIV on my skin. I'm at peace with that. My scars and me? We good. We good.

Mirror... self injury ...rorriM

* * TRIGGER for self injury* *  

The pain was crushing.

I had reached the end of my coping rope and had reached for the matches.

I sat on my bed in my little trailer and ran through all the things I should be doing instead of burning. All these healthy skills I could have reached for. I could reach out to my therapists. I could go to the ER, I could do any number of healthy things.

But in that moment all I wanted was to be comforted by the sweet pain of the flame licking my skin.

I was still in in the trenches of switching from the mentality of pain = comfort. Trying to learn and implement other things to bring relief. Trying to befriend my body and get reconnected with it.

The thick mental stew of depression, anxiety and resurfacing memories was making thinking clearly impossible. The constant state of dissociation was adding another suffocating blanket of weight.

I need to injure to breath.

cut a hole in my skin to let air in....

...or the demons out.

Any hope of stopping the injury went out the window with a flick of my wrist as the tiny match head igniting.

I lite the candle and moved into position to put my arm over it.

I stared into the flame. I could feel its heat on my forearm. My insides welled up in anticipation of the physical pain, which would drive out the mental pain.

Deep inside  a small part of me tried one more time to derail the burn.

you don't have to do this. go call for help, go ride the horse, go sit with the dogs, go to the store for pepsi, go for a hard run, call Richard, call Iona and Nola...

"I can't." I say with much effort to be heard from under the heavy weights

try

"I can't."

can't or won't?

My internal mercury switch tripped and I came up swinging.

"LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE. I AM GOING TO BURN. I DON'T WANT TO STOP INJURING MY SELF. I DESERVE TO BE INJURED I DESEVER THIS PAIN I AM A MONSTER. I KNOW WHAT YOUR TRYING TO DO! YOUR TRYING TO GET ME TO CRY TO DISIPATE THIS MOOD. IT'S NOT GOING TO FUCKING WORK I NEED THIS BURN!  I NEED THIS BURN!  I NEED THIS BURN!"

Angry now, the injury motivation moved from "burn for pain relief" to "rage burn for the sheer hell of damaging my self." I moved to the table at the other end of the trailer, in hopes that those two seconds of transit time would calm the rage.

I set  the candle on the table and got ready to burn. My eyes focused on the flame. As I raised my arm to apply it to the flame, my eyes defocused on the foreground and became aware of the background.

What I saw stopped me.

It was my reflection in a small  mirror.

I was face to face with my abuser.

That didn't look like the face of someone 'trying to help' me by injuring me. It didn't look like someone who wanted to be helped. It looked a lot like a angry animal trying to look fierce so everyone would leave it alone. She looked to be in a lot of mental pain/torment. She didn't look reachable.

I tried to get my brain back to burning my self by returning my eyes to the flame.

but my focus again returned to my eyes in the mirror. The rage and hate were gone, there was just a wounded me in there now.

My guts churned. what was this? What is going on?

I blew out the candle and ended up having a good sobby cry with my reflection.

******************************

The mirror became a tool in my arsenal to help me heal. It forced me to SEE. See not only who was harming me, but who I was hurting as well. Firmly connecting that "hello...you are both the abuser and the abused here."

It also was helpful in derailing injuries because it added an "audience" and took out the secretive/solitary aspect of the SIV.

For a long time there was a note on my box of matches. "look at who you are going to burn." A reminder to use the mirror.

I found quickly that I have zero tolerance for watching my self be abused/injured.

I can even to this day derail injury urges by sitting with a mirror and connecting with my self.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

still not dead.....just barely

Damn... do you all remember when you couldn't shut me up? When I wrote all the time?

My mental health took a nasty turn a bit ago and the suicidal soundtrack that backs my life, changed to suicidal plans. It was like the perfect storm of crap whirling in a tornado that I couldn't avoid.

It was....scary.

very scary.

To the point that I had to activate the KEEP YOUR SELF ALIVE AT ALL COSTS protocol that we came up with in therapy.

Just hanging on the life preserver wasn't enough. I had to let go with one hand and swim to shore.

The SIV urges have been INSANE.

It was no small feat that I am alive and injury free today.

Honestly, I am amazed I survived.

Yes. 

Yes I have follow up doctor appointments to try and prevent a repeat of this next month.

Still 2 weeks out from the eye doctor appointment about my blurry eyes. It's so frustrating. I can't see to type. Can't read the screen easily. makes it difficult.

Worse its affecting my job. We are switching to electronic medication books....and I can't clearly see the training videos.

I have tried and I can't write through the blurry-ness. It is soooooo frustrating. I'm having pockets of mental clarity where I am jotting down blogs and story ideas. Then sit down to blog and end up so discouraged.

So that is my update. I survived a recent bout of extreme suicidalness, and a barrage of intense SIV urges. Still struggling with prednisone side effects, and a flair up the polymyositis, blurry vision and a whole shit can of peri-menopause symptoms that are just stirring the pot with fiendish glee.

I can tell you....if I have to do that again next month I am just going straight to the ER and having them lock me up. That took EVERYTHING I had.

PCP visit May 1st, Eye Doctor May 5th, Rheumatologist May 10th.....and hopefully an Endocrinology appointment soon.

Cause my thyroid gets blamed for all my symptoms.....and my thyroid is a shriveled up radiated dead thing. How the hell can it be causing all this???

urgg, I have enough health issues to be a whole season of House MD.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

health update

Bleah.

That about sums up my health status right now.

Right now I am having an episode of burry vision. (um, hellooo that is a MS symptom...that all the doctors are ignoring.)

The muscle weakness/pain in my legs and increased. I can no longer walk up stairs without my legs screaming/becoming shaky.

I can't hold any thing in my arms/hands. My biceps become painful/weak/shaky. I sat with a baby on my lap for ~40 minutes the other day. All I had to do was hold my arms out slightly and around him like a seat belt. That left my arms just screaming and weak.

The prednisone is helping with the joint/arthritis pain, that is something.

My head has been trying to kill me all winter.

Seriously.

I have so much to write about. But the brain fog is crippling me. Its killed the writer in me. My writers pail isn't empty it's GONE.

I don't know if its a medication side effect or not but I AM NOT AMUSED.

I am about to go ape-shit on the medical profession and throw my own poo at them until they figure out what is going on and help me.

I have not abandoned my blog. I'm just on walk-a-bout trying to find my freaking mind.

Kids! thyroid brain fog, just say NO!!

In the time it took me to hold out my hands and type this, my biceps are now weak and shaky.

I am hoping that forcing my self to write a few blogs will coax the writer out. Or at least leave a bookmark in my blank mind so I can find my way back.

Public speaking about self injury - the begining

So how the heck did I end up being a public figure who talks about self injury? Me, super shy, eccentric nut who doesn't even feel connected to the human race.

It can be tracked back to my late twenties.  It was post therapy. I was enrolled in abnormal psychology in college and in the text book, they had a few paragraphs about self injury.

um.

A few WRONG paragraphs about self injury.

It rubbed me the wrong way that this miss information was being taught to  students who would go on to treat clients who self injured.

Why were "professionals" making guesses and drafting theories about SI. I remember wondering why don't they just ask the self injurers?

We had to do a project. Our choices were a paper or a 10 min presentation. I choose to do a 10 min presentation on SIV. (self inflicted violence) I boiled all my knowledge on the subject down and calmed my nerves and waited to present my speech.

I had consciously chosen to wear 3/4 sleeves that day to hide my scars. I wanted the talk to focus on the topic not my scars. I didn't want the talk to be a show and tell...and have the focus shift from the reasons why people self injure to the scars.

People tend to see self injury scars and respond with "ooh that person is crazy!"

I didn't want them to go into my talk already judging me as being crazy.

As class started I was the second presenter. When it was my turn I began by announcing my topic and asking for a show of hands of everyone who had never self injured. I then asked them to put their hands down if they had ever gotten a tattoo or a piercing, and kept listing things, scratched a bug bit till it bled, slapped their face in anger, bit there lip, punched a wall in anger, had more then one sun burn.... until all the hands were down.

"You have all self injured. Lets look at how this behavior gets escalated to the other end of the spectrum, of cutting , burning, bone breaking, self surgery."

At that point I said launched into a condensed, raw look at self injury.

At the end of my 10 minutes the teacher opened it up for questions.

and for the next FORTY minutes I answered questions and discussed in more detail self injury. The hunger for more info touched me. People spoke up and asked for help "My niece cuts...what can we do to help her?"

Near the end I pushed back my sleeves and fessed up to being a person who lives with SIV. Which, by the looks of some people caught them off guard. It started another round of questions.

We went waaaaay over the allotted time. The professor called an end to the talk just moments before class was dismissed.

I got an A+

More then that I got a boost to my self esteem. It was a huge push to my soul that would lead me to be more open and reach out to other self injurers. That lecture was my turning point. My ground zero. I was now an teacher/advocate  on the subject.