(This article is not for the faint hearted and is in the interests of advocacy!)
I was recently hospitalised. Some of my new friends in the Capri community came to visit me bringing my preferred drug of choice: coffee, and some snacks. My good old friends chipped in too. I am grateful for the care that I received from my community / tribe (and the professional staff). Thank you everyone!
The last time I was hospitalised, I asked my neighbours Adrian and Rentia at very short notice to look after the two cats I was kitty-sitting and they kindly picked up the reins, in a neighbourly, kind, and good humoured manner. Marco is portable so she is always able to go to a friend that she loves. To them I am also grateful…
Consistent with unspoken things that frighten us and go bump in the night, I told people that I was in hospital: where and without a why. Why did I do this? To protect you from the horrors and violence that is an everyday experience for some.
We were taught not to talk about sex, politics and religion at the dinner party. At least they are on the cards. The reality of a six week old baby being raped by someone who could be that violent is unspeakable.
There are about 5 places that allow physician assisted suicide: the states of Oregon, Washington and Vermont, as well as the Netherlands and Switzerland. Generally, the physician needs to prescribe the medication and the patient is responsible for drinking it after taking an anti-emetic half an hour beforehand to prevent up-chucking. In Switzerland there are loving volunteers who sit with the patient after making sure that suicide is really what they want. Family may also be there. The only place that you can go to as a foreigner is Switzerland.
They exclude people with a "mental illness". I have no idea why; I think there is a place in psychiatry for suicide. I think that over 10 years of a rapid cycling mood disorder - where I might be the centre of the party one minute - and be in the dregs of depression and hopelessness very soon after - and then back to dancing like a mad thing while doing the house work - and back to not wanting or being able to get out of bed (consider a sine wave) - makes me deserving of physician assisted suicide.
I am a no-hope case who masks well for everyone’s benefit. I have tried almost every psychiatric medication known to man. When people say: "I am on this", I can tell them what it is, how it works at different doses, and the side effects: from experience.
Suicide is also a topic that I would like to advocate - it happens a lot more that you think - families have been known to lie and say: "he choked on a chicken bone" - that is a real life example. I also know several people who are deeply shamed by their attempts.
When my mood-disorder leaves me hopeless, I have a conditioned response, which goes something like this: scary potential really > anxiety > flight response > consider suicide. Worpe's conditioned response teaches that one can go from the first issue (scary potential reality) to the last (consider suicide) without going through the in between bits if this sequence happens enough times. So, many times I feel overwhelmed and I immediately consider suicide. I have to mindfully speak kindly to myself and tell myself that this is just a thought that I don't have to act upon, and it is okay to have this thought.
Clearly, it doesn't always work. This was the case earlier this month. This time I thought it was a fool-proof method, but there were complications. I am loathe to mention the method I chose as I don't want to give any suicidal people any clues. (That said, no-one is able to pull the wool over my eyes in terms of what will work in committing suicide!)
How does it feel for you knowing that a high-functioning, emotionally literate and friendly Facebook friend tried to commit suicide in the last two weeks? Don't be narcissistic and ask why I didn't call you for help. (Get over it - this is about me!) Hold it yourself and ponder how you feel about it. Anger? Disappointment? Fear? Helplessness?
Let me know... But, can you feel your feelings and own them without making me responsible for how you feel? I want to share my reality that many people simply can't understand - but that is not what it is all about - it is about supporting others without needing to understand why / what / why now? For me it is about allowing others to own their own reality, and more than that, to ask others to allow me to own my reality without needing to understand.