May 7, 2011

Passive Suicide Not So Passive

Active suicidal thoughts are those on which the person experiencing the thoughts does act or attempt to act on killing oneself. A passive suicidal thought is: I wish a building will fall over on me...I wish I would suddenly die of an aneurysm...I'm so tired of trying I just wish I would die. I've had passive thoughts since high school. They have been a constant in my life but always in the background until recently.

Most survivors of abuse have passive suicide ideation. In my Polyvore group, it is a "normal" expression of feelings to wish to die. Those who are survivors of long-term abuse understand this and know how to support another who expresses such thoughts. On the other hand, friends, family, and others who care usually respond to the expression of such a thought with panic or feeling that they must stop the person from having such thoughts. That these others care so deeply is appreciated but it's not the response we need.

Last night, by mistake, I posted my Polyvore sets expressing my vivid desire to die to Facebook when usually they go to Twitter to those who follow my journey. It wasn't until after I had posted my third set "Death Wish" to Facebook that I happened to go on Facebook and see the panic I had created. Am wanting to write about this to help those with loved ones who are survivors.

If the desire is passive and especially if it's being expressed through art (a coping skill to release such thoughts), the survivor needs to hear things like "I am here for you; call me if you'd like to talk; I hear you and let me know if there's anything I can do to help."

Another coping skill that is not so healthy but definitely more frightening for those who are not survivors is "cutting". The intent is the misconception that by making some part of the body bleed it will release the pain. Of course that belief system needs to be changed through the help of a therapist. A new coping skill that is healthy has to take the place of the cutting. The danger though is that the person making light cuts on the skin may accidentally cut too deeply. A higher danger exists for those with DID since a harm alter may intentionally cause the person to cut deeply. It is prudent to ask the person to hand over the sharp objects if they are found engaged in the activity. But usually it is done so secretively.

The next level, for me, is programming. Programming is self harm or self-destruct actions that were made the job of one or more alters. Throughout my healing I uncovered many programs meant for me to kill myself that I was able to undo with my therapist. I have written sufficiently about what happened in March following the death of my sperm donor. I watched myself engaging in active suicidality.

Since being released from the Center after believing I was safe from the programming, another program came up that I was able to resolve once again with my therapist. The result has been my now passive thoughts seems to stick in my head and overwhelm to the point where I really do want to end my life to stop the thoughts. Sounds like a Catch 22. Am sure that goes with more aftermath of the original trigger.

Another cause of passive suicidal thoughts is the chronic body pain many survivors of abuse must endure. In my conscious life, I had only short-lived pain (post operative) from which I knew I'd recover. Since my many surgeries of 2007, my body has never returned to normal. I had been loving pool therapy until my depression became so bad in January I couldn't bring myself to engage in any activities I had previously enjoyed. Then the concussion from my fall at the Center a month ago has created a constant and sometimes seemingly unbearable pain in my back, shoulders, and addition to the body not working right.

I am realizing I may need another surgery to fix the one problem that would prevent me from enjoying any vacation. I'd have to stay in one place basically while my partner went off to enjoy and explore and take photographs. I don't want that for him or for me. The concussion is taking much longer than expected and I constantly wonder if other damage was done to my brain. I also wonder if the fall was also an attempt at death by an alter since I hit my head so hard.

My coping skill is whining (*snork*) and Polyvore sets to release the emotions. Often I can Polyvore my way through a very difficult time. Any art therapy or journalling is a healthy outlet to release the very real thoughts circling inside.

Am hoping this will help others understand the dynamics involved in what is likely seen as "drama"...a very belittling term for our reality. It doesn't go away. Well, actually, my passive thoughts did go away from 2005 through mid 2007. I wish for a return of that short time where I was not depressed and on such a low dose of anti-depressant. The best year and a half of my life. A sad statement in retrospect. Is that all there is?

We try to believe and hold onto dreams. We look for hope. The offering of an extended hand, literally or virtually, can go a long way to helping someone in emotional pain.


Sarah said...

You aren't alone in this struggle dear friends <3 We are here with you and together we will survive..

Journal of Healing said...

Well said, Grace. Good topic, very well-explained, and very applicable to me. Thanks.

mother4justice said...

Have been reading your blog, I found it very educational, thanks for sharing. Mother4justice.

Interruption said...

This is so well written and so true. I just wanted to thank you for sharing it. 'DRAMA' is a terrible word that is often times used when people with D.I.D are experiencing inexplicable pain. I find this extremely sad. And your last comment, about an 'extended hand' is also very true...even if it is only through the internet. Again, thank you.

Grace said...

Am so sorry your comments were not published until now. Blogger has been acting up. Thanks to all of you for reading the blog, supporting what I've written, and taking the time to comment. It means a lot to me. We really aren't alone. You are proof.

Anonymous said...

Grace, I love this blog post. It reminds me of the linguistic debate (Sapir-Whorf) that claims we cannot have an experience without having a word to describe it (or a phrase). In this post you provide language that explains the experiences many of us have. That language not only helps us to articulate an experience; it also provides a way to contain (to a certain degree) the feelings that accompany these experiences. Thank you. Jane

Grace said...

Hi Jane, I knew it was you at "linguistic debate" :-) Thank you so much for your comments. I really struggled with the words on this post. Glad it came across clearly with what I was attempting to explain.

Anonymous said...

Grace, Since finding your information blog and links last evening, I feel stronger, knowing that I am not alone out there. I particulary appreciate that piece on Mother's Day celebrations. For many years, Mothers Day was a time for more hurt; until I finally decided to ignore the "noise."

I appreciate the piece on "double language" that is used by the perps to discredit the speaker, child or adult. That information is so true and so invaluable.

Thanks to you and the links on your page, I can function today, whereas for the last week I have been fading away and losing days; aftraid to be seen in public; in isolation and suicidal. I have strength again because of your writings and the links.

Thank you so much.

Grace said...

Dear Anonymous, Thank you so much for letting me know my sharing has been helpful to you. I'm sorry you too are a survivor; but you are definitely not alone. Wishing you a safe and steady recovery.