The Irony of Having Suicidal Ideation This Week

TW: suicide, suicidal ideations, depression
Please know that while I am experiencing suicidal ideation, I have no plan, and I am completely safe.

This Thursday I’ll be the main speaker at the Suicide Prevention Coalition of the Coastal Bend’s Suicide Prevention Symposium. Say that five times fast. Last week I wrote my speech, and I’ve been practicing it, but there’s something really bothering me. I centered my speech around a time two years ago when I was suicidal after having a fight with my husband over the phone. It was a harrowing experience and shortly after that I went to a psychiatric hospital for six weeks.

I had a wonderful experience at the hospital. And I tend to think of my time as pre-psychiatric hospital and post-psychiatric hospital. Only I’ve been dealing with suicidal ideation this past week. I blogged about how my last ECT didn’t help me, it made me worse, but I wasn’t expecting to grapple with these morose and very frustrating thoughts again. Am I going backwards?

It’s a “depressing” reminder that I won’t ever be cured, no matter the strides I make with my mental health. A depressive episode could strike any time, and it feels like I don’t have any control over it. I’ve been doing everything right — I go to therapy, I’m consistent with my medications, I’ve been exercising, I practice self-care, but this time it didn’t matter. And the one thing that I know helps — an ECT — has made things worse.

So what now?

Well, for starters, I fall back on what I know to be true: my ECTs usually help me, this pain and discomfort is temporary, the suicidal thoughts are just thoughts — they are NOT fact and my support system is strong and available. My goal is to schedule an ECT for next Monday and go into Survival Mode until then. I’ll be OK.

My priority this week is to do a great job at the symposium. And to get through the week in as little pain as possible. Maybe having these thoughts will help tell me story and serve as a reminder that even a seemingly strong and successful person can still have suicidal thoughts. It’s important to know because more than half of people who die by suicide have no history of a mental disorder. And because of that, it’s important to openly talk about suicide and remove the stigma associated with it. Also, I used to think that suicidal thoughts were something that you could control, but mine are intrusive thoughts, popping in and out of my mind throughout the day. I can’t control them anymore than I can the weather, and I think people need to understand that, too.

I don’t know why this is happening to me again (and again), and it certainly feels unfair, but if a single person is helped in some way by hearing me speak or reading my blogs, then maybe it’s worth it. Because I know I’ll be OK. I’m strong, I’ve been here before, and my life is just too good not to fight for.

It just sucks in the meantime.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you are in immediate danger of harming yourself, please go to the nearest emergency room. Please do what you need to do to stay safe and healthy. You are not alone, and you are not a burden.

4 thoughts on “The Irony of Having Suicidal Ideation This Week

  1. Hi Heather, I just watched the Zoom Suicide conference and I really enjoyed hearing your story. I am bipolar and have been hospitalized at the Menninger Clinic twice (2014/2015). I was very fortunate to meet my now psychiatrist there and I travel to Houston to see him when I can. I am also familiar with ECT treatments (I had 7 done during my Menninger stay in 2014) and recently (well in Jan/Feb. 2020) I had 12 treatments again in Houston at the UT Harris Psychiatric Center. Unfortunately the most recent ECT treatments did not help me like the first 7 did in 2014 at Menninger. But I am doing okay, I have never found a good therapist but am very interested in getting together with support groups of people with mental health issues. Do you happen to know of any good ones in the Corpus area?
    Thanks so much for your story and listening to mine!! Take care and I hope to hear from you!!

    1. Heather Loeb – I’m 36 years old and suffer from Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder and Binge Eating Disorder. I live with my husband and two small children in Texas. I hope my blog helps to end the stigma of depression and other mental disorders.
      Heather Loeb says:

      I’m sorry the ECTs aren’t helping. That’s my biggest fear. You can find a good therapist at Family Counseling Services. And the only support groups I know of are hosted by NAMI. You can find them on the NAMI GCC website. I’m so glad you reached out and that you enjoyed my speech. I hate public speaking!

      1. Heather,
        Thank you so much for getting back with me! I will have to check into the NAMI page to find out about the support groups. I do hope that the ECT treatments continue to work for you!
        Take care!

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