A J

@the-kid
I’m a sensitive human being who needs the world to stop and never change. However, it doesn’t work that way and that’s where I need constant support. Life is scary and I can’t believe I have made it this far. Social anxiety, depression and the inability to communicate my thoughts and feelings make people judge me and make me feel sad and down. I hope to continue to fight on through life but I life has ups and downs.
Community Voices
A J

What if it never gets better?

I did have optimism when I was younger but that’s probably because youth came with immaturity and a sense of being naive. Fast forward to the present time, I feel completely different due to many life’s circumstances and changes. My nonchalant attitude and numbness to everything has taken me out of life’s reality for the most part.

Now I feel comfortable in my depression and don’t want to let it go. I’m not sure if I should navigate through this or just let it be?
#Depression #numb #hopeless #MensMentalHealth

14 people are talking about this
Community Voices
A J

What if it never gets better?

I did have optimism when I was younger but that’s probably because youth came with immaturity and a sense of being naive. Fast forward to the present time, I feel completely different due to many life’s circumstances and changes. My nonchalant attitude and numbness to everything has taken me out of life’s reality for the most part.

Now I feel comfortable in my depression and don’t want to let it go. I’m not sure if I should navigate through this or just let it be?
#Depression #numb #hopeless #MensMentalHealth

14 people are talking about this
Community Voices
Michelle Pugle

5 Easy Ways to Practice Self-Care When You Couldn't Care Less

Depression is a monster that creeps in and sucks away my motivation. It’s something I can’t predict — even though I’ve lived with the illness for many years. It comes when it wants, no matter what I have going on, and it tells me it’s just not worth it — I’m not worth it. Seemingly suddenly, the things I was working toward fall by the wayside. The people I was connecting with and feeling close to feel like strangers. Everything takes more energy because I’m overthinking. I worry about everything and care about nothing. I try to tell myself it’s a phase, just another bad streak, but part of me wonders if this is it — the time depression takes over for good. In times like these, depression tends to take the lead. It’s all I can do to keep up appearances and not let everything crumble before my very eyes. In times like these, I’m supposed to be practicing the utmost self-care, right? I’m supposed to be nurturing myself, feeding into my health and happiness… but let’s just be honest here: It’s time like these that I hate myself the most. It’s hard to practice self-care in these conditions. So here are five things you can do to practice self-care when you probably couldn’t care less. 1. Change your socks. First of all, it’s important to remember there are different kinds of depression. This self-care tip spans from those who are too low-energy to shower and those who are too “high-functioning” to stop — even when they feel like there is no point other than to prevent others from knowing something’s off. All you have to do: literally take your socks off and replace them with a clean pair. The change will be noticeable enough to give a brief moment of a relief, but not so severe to completely shock your system. 2. Have some soup. Even when you really don’t feel like it, you still need to eat. And it just so happens that slowly sipping soup can make you feel a little more grounded when everything else is in utter chaos. Plus, if you go for a ready-made variety, it only takes a few minutes before you’re sitting down and taking solace in the moment. My go-to is a classic Lipton Chicken Noodle, served in a mug. 3. Step outside. I have “high-functioning” depression, so I get out a lot during the week days, but when it comes to the weekends, I tend to isolate. Like, I’ve gone entire long weekends without leaving my apartment once. When I do eventually find my way outside again, the first breath of fresh air is always something that strikes me. On some level deep within me, I missed this. It feels good, even if for a passing moment — and really, can we expect much more when we’re struggling? Do yourself a favor and step outside for even just a breath of fresh air (balconies are great for this). 4. Clear your schedule. I know, I know. A lot of people will tell you to go out, be social, reconnect, etc., etc. We both know it’s a bit too hard right now, and honestly, that’s OK. It’s a good self-care practice to set some time aside for yourself to just be you — no expectations, no forced interactions, no fake smiles. Feel free to cancel your plans, sit in your sweats and do something you want for once. 5. Watch your favorite film or TV show. Speaking of which… when you have set aside that time for you (because you’re worth it!) and maybe you’re too stressed or too foggy to figure out what to do (or you’re too anxious to do much of anything), put on something you know and like. That’s right: no need for a new adventure here, just put on something predictable that can distract you for a bit. Fall into the narrative, get cozy on the couch (or in your bed) and even grab a stuffed animal or two. Self-care during trying times doesn’t need to be complicated and difficult. Things are complicated and difficult enough, no? So in these times, go for smaller actions you can accomplish at your own pace. Feel good about doing even just one of these things.

Ary Grace

The Difference Between Active and Passive Suicidal Thoughts

Before I start this, I’d like to get a few disclaimers out of the way. First, I’m not a danger to myself or others. Please don’t take this that way. Second, I’m not doing this for attention, I’m doing it to raise awareness for mental health. I’ve found that being raw and real about my own struggles has helped others, so I do it for those who haven’t found their voice yet. Third, as with any essay I do about mental health, I know this will cause some of you to see me differently. I know and I’ve accepted that. However, I ask that you don’t treat me as fragile. If you’ve got questions, ask. I’m an open book about this stuff. Now that that’s out of the way, here we go. Suicide. Killing yourself. That’s what I want to talk about. Specifically how suicide pertains to me. It’s a highly stigmatized topic, and humans tend to go one of two ways when confronted with it. We either ignore it, or treat it like a priceless china artifact, delicate and frail. This in turn continues a vicious cycle of people wanting to reach out, but not wanting to for fear of judgement and alienation. Passive vs. active suicidality is something some people have problems wrapping their heads around. I can say with absolute certainty I’m suicidal. I’ve waged war against depression and anxiety since I was 13. Seven years of fighting an endless battle really does a number on the brain and the psyche, let me tell you. If anyone wants to read my story about the journey, it is here . So I’m suicidal. I have been for almost a year now. However, it’s passive. The difference between the two is very simple (but also super complex). Being passively suicidal means you wish to die. Actively suicidal is just that — you’ve got your plan and you’re planning on going through with the plan. I’m not going to lie to you: a lot of mornings, I wake up wishing I hadn’t. It’s not early morning blues, it’s a deeply flawed brain chemistry. I go to work, and it wouldn’t really bother me if another car ran the median and slammed into mine. At work, it gets a little better because I’ve got a lot of things to do and distract myself with. I’ve got people who appreciate me and sometimes even laugh at my jokes (you guys are the best). Life becomes OK. However, that can change in an instant. If I say or do something wrong, anxiety tells me I suck and I shouldn’t be here, both at work and in the world. The thoughts come back and I need to fight them off again. I’d love to tell you all that it goes away after a while. But it doesn’t. Like my depression, it comes and goes but never truly fades. Some days are so much better than others. All the right songs come on the radio, the weather is just right, my humor is on fire, and everyone loves me. Those days, often I don’t even think about wanting my life to end. Other days, depression breaks on me like a tsunami. One big wave in the morning, sometimes for an extra long time, and then aftershocks throughout the rest of my awake time. Those days, thoughts come almost constantly. Everyone would be better off without you. You’re nothing to them, you don’t matter. No one cares if you’re here or not. Not a damn person. I know that’s not true, but anxiety is a helluva brain changer. Until my brain decides to stop being a little shit, my life will continue like this. I’m in the long-overdue process of finding a therapist and hopefully a course of anti-anxiety and depression medications that work for me. For now, I weather the storm with good humor, coffee and a wildly strong support group (thank you, internet). I weather it because I’ve got people to prove wrong. I weather it out of spite and out of love. I weather it with a f*ck-ton of coffee and tight pants. I always find the little things to enjoy and be happy about. Despite my personality being best described as a cold machine, I let myself cry it out. I run, I walk, I lift and I laugh. And I survive. This post originally appeared on Medium. If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

How Burnout Impacts My Ability to Manage Constant Suicidal Thoughts

Burnout is pervasive in our society, which is built on capitalism and measuring our worth in terms of our productivity. We are constantly receiving messages that if we aren’t hustling, producing, or working to the bone, we’re doing something wrong. Many folks feel like they’re always on the verge of burnout, like one more thing added to their plate will tip them over the edge. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve felt intensely burnt out — whether it be with work, school, or simply life in general. Over the years, I’ve noticed burnout can be especially dangerous for me as someone who has a baseline of passive suicidal ideation at all times. I find during times of burnout, I’m far more likely to experience louder, or more active suicidal ideation. Burnout is reminiscent of a lot of the things I experience when I’m more suicidal — feelings of exhaustion or hopelessness, a more negative or cynical mindset that nothing will improve, the doom of being “trapped,” being overwhelmed, and not having any motivation to do things are overlapping indications of burnout and suicidality. So, it makes perfect sense if those feelings arise from burnout, they will also play a part in triggering the passive suicidal thoughts. I constantly have suicidal ideation — I have for years. Because it’s passive most of the time, it’s not really dangerous, and I have a pretty good hold on it. It’s been more than five years since my last attempt, and while I’ve come close many more times, I’ve managed to keep myself safe. Keeping the ideation in check takes work. Every. Single. Day. The ideation doesn’t take vacation, it doesn’t rest, it doesn’t wander off too far. Perhaps not as consciously or with as much effort anymore, I’m constantly doing what I can to keep it passive, and that requires discipline, energy, and hard work. It requires knowing my limits and setting boundaries and practicing self-care, even when I don’t want to. I don’t think burnout directly makes me more suicidal, as in I don’t think suicidal ideation is a direct symptom of burnout. Instead, I see it more as burnout causing a lack of energy or motivation to be able to keep the ideation in check. It’s not like the ideation started because of the burnout — it was always there, but I had lots of tools and tricks to keep it contained. My therapist likes to refer to a “window of tolerance,” being that space in which we can handle things being thrown at us. When something bad happens or we become “activated,” our window of tolerance can become smaller or we get pushed outside of our window. When we feel connected and safe and calm, our window of tolerance is larger, meaning we can handle a bit more, and it’s much easier to quiet the suicidal ideation. Burnout squeezes my window of tolerance and makes it smaller. My ability to respond in healthy ways to any stressors diminishes, because it takes less to trigger me when I’m outside my window of tolerance. When I start to experience the symptoms of burnout and there doesn’t seem to be energy to do anything anymore, I can feel the suicidal tendencies creeping up, as if they have a little monitor telling them when I’m outside my window of tolerance. So, while burnout as a stand-alone experience may not make me suicidal, and it may not be dangerous in a life-threatening way, I have to be extra conscious of my circumstances when I start to feel burnt out because things can escalate very quickly when I’m pushed out of my window of tolerance. I have to know and listen to what my mind and body are telling me when things start to get overwhelming and a bit too much. I need more rest and relaxation than the average person. I need more breaks, more calmness, more slowing down than many of my friends and family. It takes more to maintain staying in that window of tolerance. That can be a hard thing to accept. It’s hard to feel like pushing yourself to new limits and hustling hard for what you want can be really dangerous, because I like learning and growing and evolving. But with that, it’s easy to push yourself too hard and get burnt out, and I have to be careful of that. It’s hard to accept seemingly small and manageable things can make me feel so burnt out. When I look at how many times I’ve been burnt out and needed to step back, whether it was needing my friends or family to catch me because I was falling so hard and so fast, or taking mental health leaves from work, or shutting down for a while because I couldn’t cope, I still feel embarrassed sometimes. I feel a little bit ashamed my window of tolerance is small, despite how much work I put into growing it. At the same time, I’m learning to accept my worth and value as a person is not based on how much I push myself, or how much I hustle in my career. My worth is not defined by a paycheck or a job title. My value is not tied to how much “better” others are doing on paper. I am inherently valuable, and I am inherently worthy. I deserve rest. I deserve to feel good and stable. I deserve to live a life where I’m not exhausted and feel the need to escape.  I’m also working on not blaming myself when I get burnt out, or when I burn out faster than expected. It’s not that I’m lazy or incapable, it’s that there are other factors in my life, like chronic suicidal ideation, that make me more susceptible to burnout. Each time I slow down and step back, I am choosing to protect my sanity and my life, rather than trying to live up to unattainable expectations, and that’s pretty powerful.

A Letter to Myself When I Feel Like Life Isn’t Worth Living

First I want to say — stop — breathe. Please listen. I’ve been there. Yes, I will be talking about suicidal thoughts, but not in the way you might think. Within all of us, no matter what the circumstances are, is the will to live, the will to survive. That is my purpose for writing this today. Just as I’m trying to draw on that inner strength within myself to survive, I ask you to join me in finding that strength to survive. Let’s go on this adventure together. So there were several of us who were (as a group) supporting another lady who was feeling very suicidal. As I was trying to find the right words to say, some thoughts came to me. I am now looking at this scenario from the ‘other side’, that is, the side that my husband had been looking from when I was in that position of feeling suicidal! Oh my gosh!! So I had to pull on everything I had been learning in therapy, but especially on the experience of actually feeling suicidal myself! What words would help me in this situation? Yes, I was able to gather my thoughts and convey some positive and encouraging things to this lady. Then the next day when I was talking with my therapist about it, she challenged me to write a letter to my future self, if and when I’m in that situation again. Of course, I accepted that challenge! It’s written in three parts, because, well, as a writer, I have a lot to say! Part one is definitely to deal with the immediate danger to my life, to calm down the threat. Part two helps me to connect with the resources that I have within myself. Part three helps me to reach outside of myself, to see and appreciate my connection to others. It’s also how my writing, and sharing my story, no matter how painful, has the ability to help and support others on their difficult journey. Maybe you too have a passion that reaches out to others, whether it be something creative, or your profession, or volunteer work. How do you reach out and connect with others? I hope you can find something in here that helps you when you’re feeling completely overloaded with what life has ‘dealt’ you. I know all too well how overwhelming that can be! * * * * * * A Letter to Myself When I Feel Like Life I sn’t Worth Living – Part 1 Dear Self, First I want to say — stop — breathe. Then take one more breath. Yes, I know that it feels like all is lost and broken. And I know the pain is overwhelming, and you really want it to just STOP!! I remember what my therapist has said a bazillion times! Emotions are temporary, thoughts are just thoughts. Wait. They will pass. Time is the biggest thing on your side, because whatever you want to do right now in this very moment is really, really NOT what you want to do! I guarantee that you will regret it. You’ve been here before, and I know, it felt like crap. And it feels like crap again. But I also know that you really don’t want to die. Yes, I know you can’t see any other way out, but there is another way out. Listen to those near you right now. They care about you. They love you, and want to help you. They can guide you, offer a hand up, pray for you, and pray with you. And no, it’s not going to be easy or fun. The only way out is THROUGH! Through the heartache and through the pain. Through whatever obstacles are in the way right at this moment. Through the hard, painful SHIT that’s in front of you. And it will feel like you are climbing Mount Everest! But please persevere! YOU ARE WORTH IT!!! I can’t emphasize this enough! YOU ARE FUCKING WORTH IT!! Even after all the pain you’re feeling breaks you down and tears you apart. Even when things look and feel the bleakest. Even when every bone in your body says “give up” – DON’T!! Beat the odds! Rise up anyways! Do you know why? Because people love you. Your husband. All of your children and grandchildren. I’ll bet even your therapist loves you a little, although she may never say it directly to you. What about your circle of friends? And your journaling group? And your support group? And your therapy group friends? And other friends you’ve made along the way? Keep pushing through, even when it’s hard! This life is yours! Take it and run with it! Live it for all it’s worth! Love you! Love, Self * * * * * * A Letter to Myself When I Feel Like Life I sn’t Worth Living – Part 2 Dear Self I do want to add other qualities that you have — compassion, empathy, resilience. These are very valuable. You can reach out to others, and show them how much they matter too — even when you don’t see it within yourself! When things seem the most bleak, you have always picked yourself up, again and again. You’ve done it before, many times! You can do it right now — again. You’ve had a couple of instances lately where you reached out to people who were feeling suicidal themselves. You understood on a very personal level exactly what they were feeling! You found the right words to say to them, to help them calm down a little, and feel a little bit better. Then they don’t feel so suicidal, and they can find the strength to pick themselves up again too. And one of those people is now a friend. Take those thoughts and emotions you have shared with others, and share them with yourself. Learn to show yourself compassion and empathy, because you deserve it too, just like they do. And when that happens, your resilience will shine through! Yes, you matter too. Love you! Love, Self * * * * * * A Letter to Myself When I Feel Like Life I sn’t Worth Living – Part 3 Dear Self, One other important thing — your poetry! Think about all the people who are connecting with you through The Mighty. What about those who have read or heard your poetry? What about that unknown audience who will one day be reading your poetry books? You said that you want to ‘travel this adventure with them’, but how can you possibly do that if you’re not alive and here on this earth?? This is a perfect avenue for you to finally feel like you have a purpose in this life, a reason to exist, a “life that is worth living”. Because sharing your story, and your pain, and all of the struggles and obstacles, and just the plain old bullshit that you have SURVIVED — all of it will be there and available to help and support and encourage others in their journey through this thing called LIFE. Your poetry has encouraged and inspired people. They relate and understand, and say how much it speaks to them and touches them. They have said ‘stunning, beautiful, powerful, poignant, emotional and raw’, and have said ‘you are strong, it spoke to my heart’. And fellow authors have said ‘epic’, and ‘you have certainly found your voice in your writing.’ Does this blow your mind? From the responses you have received, it is obvious that your poetry is speaking in a profound way, a way that touches people’s hearts, souls, and minds. People are feeling the stories you are releasing! It matters! You matter! Please don’t stop writing! Continue writing that beautiful and wonderful poetry! God has blessed you with a gift of words that you never realized that you had! You saw that gift when you were 15, then it lay dormant for decades. It is now alive and thriving! Don’t squelch it! Open it up for the world to see! It is your gift! Don’t ever forget that! Love you! Love, Self * * * * * * Thank you for traveling with me on this journey. I know it’s a difficult one, and it’s really hard to pick yourself up again, but please do. I’ll be waiting here for you, and I’ll have more to share with you. May you find encouragement and hope somewhere in my words. I think the most important thing to remember is that you have people who love you and would dearly miss you if you weren’t here. If you too are on a trauma healing journey, visit The Tie Dye poet’s website to see more of her work, and check out her book here.

Community Voices

What’s a boundary you’ve set recently?

<p>What’s a boundary you’ve set recently?</p>
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John White

What to Say (and Not Say) to Someone Who Is Suicidal

I live with chronic suicidal ideation, which at times becomes acute. In these moments of crisis, I am often asked, “How can I help?” I know it is frustrating, but in those moments I have no idea what to tell you. My mind is spiraling and overwhelmed. Part of me doesn’t even consider suicide a problem. I have had these thoughts my whole life. They are who I am. Moreover, I am fiercely independent. I don’t want to be a bother. I don’t want to ask for “help.” My answer will usually be, “It’s OK. I’m OK.” I know you mean well, but there are a number of things that only make the crisis worse. Minimizing my challenge does not help. Telling me a string of positive thoughts just betrays how little you understand. Saying things that make me dismiss your intentions, like: “It’s not that bad.” “Look on the bright side.” “You can do this.” Your words and thoughts become trivial in my mind because it feels like you have no idea what you are talking about. “Don’t worry. Be happy.” is just a catchy song. “Count your blessings” is also not helpful. It feels like you are just trying to change the subject. Or things like: “You have so much to live for.” “Other people have it so much worse.” “Don’t be so dramatic.” “You are being selfish.” They are all insulting to me. They invalidate what I am going through. I know my thoughts are distorted, but they are mine and they are stuck in crisis. At that moment, I don’t care about anyone else. You suggesting I should, tells me you don’t care about me specifically. When you say, “I know how you feel” and suggest my crisis is somehow common, you make me feel less important. I’m a failure. Clearly others have handled this. Why can’t I? My thoughts will then become defensive. My suicidal ideation is not like everyone else’s. The desperate appeal of, “I would be devastated if you were gone” also invalidates my own experience. Now I don’t only have to think of my own consequences, but yours as well. It feels like you are guilting me into staying alive. My crisis turns to anger and resentment. It amplifies my distress. I can barely take care of myself and now you’re dumping your happiness on me. Telling me to think of my children, my wife, my extended family only makes me angry. They are already always in my thoughts. I know they will be devastated if I die by suicide. I know it will change their lives forever. Accusing me of neglect is not helpful. Instead you only heighten the guilt I am already feeling. I’m already ashamed of my disease. Your accusation justifies why I should die. Does it make logical sense? No. But that is the inevitable path my thoughts will take. I will shut down and not listen to your words. Don’t ask me for reasons to live. When I’m in crisis, there are none. The more you push, the more I will dig in. I am not dealing with logical thoughts. Everything is jumbled and hyperfocused on distress and its relief by suicide. Asking if I have been taking my medication feels like an accusation. It undermines my own emotions. It blames me for the crisis. The dark thoughts are not real. Rather, they are just a chemical stew that has boiled over. For the record, I have never missed a dose of medication. The mere suggestion is enough to make me shut you out. Also, don’t tell me to call a helpline. If you are there during my crisis, that is not by coincidence. I have chosen you to witness me in a very vulnerable moment. I trust you. I understand why you would want me to reach out to professionals, but by telling me to do so in that moment, you are abandoning me — at least, that is how it feels. Similarly, asking for my safety plan feels dismissive to me. If you are there, you are already part of my plan. So, what can you do? First off, stay quiet. Listen. Be there for me. Let me know I am not alone, but don’t try to talk me down. The more words you use, the less I’ll listen. Conversation only amplifies the agitation for me. Don’t bombard me with questions or try to engage me in some sort of verbal distraction. Changing the subject is not helpful. I will just hide deeper in the crisis and put up my usual defenses. I will quickly say, “I’m fine” in the hope you will leave me alone. Demonstrate empathy, not judgment. See if there is a way to give me more time, to free up my schedule, and relieve external pressures. Is there an upcoming event or appointment or do I have to go to work soon? Is there a way I can cancel or phone in sick? Simplify my day. Stay with me or arrange for someone to stay with me. I’m not looking for a therapist at this point. Don’t try to explore my psyche or uncover past traumas. I’ll do that later with my actual therapist. In the moment, I just need time to deescalate on my own. Having someone there keeps me safe. I’ll initiate any conversation when I am ready. Just be patient. If you do want to say something, the most powerful words you can use are: “You are important to me.” If you just say, “You are important,” I will dismiss you because I do not feel that way. But by adding “to me,” it changes the meaning. I can’t argue with what you believe. These words make me stop and think. They make me see you. They give me value that, in that moment, I don’t realize I have. I know it is hard to watch a loved one in pain. The most important thing you can do when I reach out for help is be there for me. Without a word, you are more supportive than you could ever imagine. You give me value so I can breathe deeply again.

Community Voices

Radical acceptance

Thinking today about the DBT skill “ radical acceptance.” This is a hard one, and a transformative one for many. It’s hard to accept painful events, the past, what cannot be changed. What is something you must radically accept in your life? How do you practice this skill? #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder

Skillfully onwards together

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