it had to end, this was as good a time as any

I texted my T about 4 weeks ago and told him i wasn’t coming back, ” i quit”. Granted, this occurred during my latest bout of suicidality – i was determined to die by starvation, i’ll get back to this later but at the time, it seemed pretty obvious to me that i didn’t need or want therapy if i was going to be dead.

He did the CYA (liability-conscious) and OK, decent thing to do and asked me why? and are you safe? From past experience, i know one cannot say to a MH professional that they are not safe and expect to be left alone. I don’t like lying either, so i just didn’t respond to his questions. To his credit, his texted the following week and asked me if i wanted to “talk about what is happening with you” the following day, our usual session day for the past 6 years. Again, i chose not to respond. Bye, Bye.

And so, i have stopped therapy after almost 10 years. Finally. And i am fine.

From the beginning, i have been unsure of what i was supposed to be gaining from therapy or even if i was “doing it right” because i never felt any better because of it. I started therapy after i received a MDD dx from a psychiatrist and the notion was reinforced after every hospitalization. I felt like it was expected of me, like seeing the shrink or taking the meds. My appts. were always made for me before i got discharged. My shrinks always asked me if i was seeing a T and sometimes they’d ask who.

Over time, my sense of something not being right or helpful about the whole process grew larger and harder to ignore or brush off as me doing it wrong or maybe not having the “right” therapist or type of therapy. Some of my most intense self harming occurred as a direct result of feeling this disconnect, usually as soon as i got home. I remember thinking – this can’t be right. But, either through laziness or bewilderment or both i kept going to someone. Actually 4 different someones’ in the last 10 years.

In the past, when i’ve mentioned my unhappiness about therapy etc. here, i have been advised to keep looking b/c “it can take a while to find the right T”. But, i don’t have it in me to keep looking because i don’t honestly believe it will make a damned bit of difference. I kept going, in part, because it was easier to just go rather than consider trying someone new or like a rational person would do, explain why i was leaving to my current T. So i just walked away, ghosted him. He probably thinks i’m mental or, more likely, just a dick.

So, it’s been – actually 6 weeks- without the grind of every friday morning pretending i had anything worthwhile to say and dreading the little dance of nontherapy. And i’m saving myself some cash. It always felt like i was just paying someone to sit across from me and pretend to be interested. Fuck that shit.

So yeah, the starvation thing. I did some research on it, like how it feels to die by starvation, how long it should take, what actually causes death etc., but it was a more painful process than i had expected. By the third week my back was killing me, i had bad abdominal pain – not hunger – and i was too weak to properly look after Blue, who still needed daily walks and my attention. When i eventually told my intentions to my sister, she asked me if i was planning to “take her with” me. No dear, i was hoping you would take her in – she said she would. Even with the comfort of knowing Blue would have a great home, i came to the realization that this wasn’t the death i wanted. I want to die peacefully and not in pain. So, i abandoned my starvation and as luck would have it, i have cycled back to hypomania and here i am happy and full of energy.

I’ve been binge watching the old episodes of the X-Files, and one of the characters said he could take the bad times as long as he could remember the good times. I guess that’s how i feel about bipolar cycling right now.

Doc

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Suicide : An act of kindness.

I read somewhere that trying to explain the rational reasons behind the desire to die by suicide implies an irrational mind. Bullshit. I mean, I disagree.

My mom died a few months ago from metastatic lung cancer. She was in unrelenting, undermedicated agony for far too long before hospice stepped in to manage her socially acceptable illness and unspoken desire to die with dignity and less pain. Thank you morphine, dilaudid, and ativan. I was grateful when she died and wasn’t forced to face another day of misery. I deserve the same consideration, kindness, and compassion she ultimately received. I am not ashamed to give up. I have tried for the past 6 years to accept advice, treatments, and change without therapeutic success. I am not altruistic enough to continue the façade of contentment.

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” Dr. Seuss

I’m not afraid to die a painless death by my own hands. OK.. I am a little. What I am afraid of is the fear, shame, and stigma my family may experience because of my decisions. It won’t be their fault. Societal pressure – moral and religious – over the past 1000 years has skewed and changed early civilizations’ beliefs that suicide is an honorable way to escape an unbearable existence. I’m an atheist so no qualms on the religion front. Morally, I could get entangled in the notions of being weak and selfish, not a contributing member of our society. The stigma of mental illness and suicide can’t harm me or stop me but it will probably hurt my loved ones.

Doc.

N.B. This is not a suicide note. I am just trying to organize my thoughts and feelings.

Veterinarians and Suicide (Euthanasia)

Euthanasia is defined as the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering.

Recent research has demonstrated ( sorry – can’t be bothered with references today) that health care workers – doctors, dentists, nurses, and pharmacists – have an elevated risk of suicide compared to the general public.  Rates of suicide in vets from the U.K., Australia, Norway, Belgium, and the U.S. are “significantly elevated” with reports showing 4x the risk compared to the general public and a 2x increase in likelihood as those in other health care professions.

Why?

Published material cites a complex interaction of possible reasons:

1.  characteristics of individuals entering the profession.  We are usually described as empathetic, compassionate, and “perfectionists”.

2.  work-related stressors such as long hours, on-call commitments, problems with life-work balance, rising client expectations, and financial pressures.

3.  professional and social isolation

4.  ready access to and knowledge of drugs and means

5.  the stigma associated with mental illness

6.  alcohol and/or drug misuse

7.  the subconscious acceptance of euthanasia as a treatment option and the attitudes fostered by a profession routinely involved with the euthanasia of beloved companion animals and the slaughter of farm animals.

This may all be true but I believe that vets are faced with pretty much the same stressors and mental health issues as the general public.

So why the increased “risk” of suicide in our profession?

People in crisis (short or long term) can basically choose from 3 options:

1.  change your life or circumstances

2.  change how you think and feel about things

3.  opt to end the crisis by ending your life

For me – having the ability to end suffering, to watch as the pain and terror leave those (usually) brown eyes, knowing I have helped when nothing else has or can.  This should not be limited to non-human animals and I think many vets know this.

I know there is anguish and guilt when a loved one leaves us.  I also know asking somone/something to “hang on” for better times isn’t always fair or often practical.

Most people wait too long to decide on euthanasia for animals.  There have been times when I couldn’t wait to get into the room with my syringe and hefty dose of barbituates.

For some reason, most people expect other people who are or have been suffering to “tough it out”.  Bullshit. This is not fair or humane.

I know from years of personal experience that knowing when to quit is a valid quality.  I believe that we should all have the basic rights to decide when that time is here on a personal level.

Euthanasia(suicide) is a logical choice and one we should embrace not demonize.  A decision you make for yourself, for your own sake.       Doc.