Thursday, September 8, 2011

Migraine and Suicide: Experiences from the Community- I Want to Live! But I Don't Feel Like I Am!

The following is a personal story from someone who lives with Meneiere's Disease (this has caused her to have severe hearing loss over the last two years, with profound tinnitus, and disequilibrium or vertigo most of the time), Chronic Migraines. chronic pelvic & hip pain and bi-polar illness (which has been under control for 16 years).

"I think people with chronic illnesses are much more likely to think about, and attempt suicide. I have, twice. The first time was because I was undiagnosed with bipolar illness. Before I was being properly treated for bi-polar illness, it was a rough time.  One moment I didn't think anything could hurt me, the next I'd be stuck in months of despair where I couldn't imagine getting out of it.  I was involuntarily committed to a mental illness facility after that suicide attempt.  I know they often get a very bad rap.  But the facility I went to really saved my life.  I was there for 2 weeks, and I was amazed at how much they could help in such a relatively short period of time.  A lot of the help came from the other patients.  We had camaraderie, perhaps if we'd had that type of support before, we wouldn't have ended up there...but that's not fair.  We had medical issues that needed to be addressed, however, having the support of so many others who were in the same boat, was very therapeutic.

The last time was because I was so sick. I was so down. I felt like such a burden, and so useless. Finally, I reached the end of my rope. I locked myself in my bathroom and started to follow through with my plan. Luckily, my husband broke in the door and stopped me. He was devastated. I've never seen him in such a state. He was broken. I had not gotten to the point where I was in immediate danger. I began to see that he needed me, even if I wasn't "useful" in my eyes. It hurt me so much that I had hurt him. All I wanted to do was to relieve his burden. I wanted to make things easier on him. I truly felt like the world would be better off without me. But I was wrong. At least one person, would have been permanently hurt. When I saw the horror in his face, how he lost control...I had never seen my husband in that state, and never want to again. It pains me to say, that at times I still wonder. I just wrote in my journal this morning, that I still wonder, if the pain would stop, would it be better, would the noise stop, would I stop being such a burden...but, I would never do that to my husband ever again. Please, know, that I don't want to die. Really I don't. I want to live! But I don't feel like I am. I feel like I'm stuck between life and torture. I have to believe it will get better. My husband and I received a lot of help from counseling and we feel closer now, and able to talk more about my disability without guilt being involved. Because we were seeing a therapist together it made us stronger. We communicate better about our feelings about my disability. About everything."

If you, or someone you know, is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

For the next post in this series, please go to: Migraine, Suicide and Faith: What Does God Really Think When I Feel Suicidal


  1. Thank you for this series of posts. This one strikes close to home. Especially the feeling of living somewhere between life and death and not wanting to be a burden.

    I've had one admission for suicidal ideation. I told my husband that his life would be better without me, and he took me to the ER where I was admitted. I never actually tried to take my life.

    I wanted to live. I just didn't want to live in pain anymore. Sometimes it's still a challenge, so this helps me to feel less alone.

  2. Sue,

    I also identified with this person's comment of feeling of living somewhere between life and death at times.

    I am glad the series has helped you to feel less alone. As I have been writing the series and coming into contact with more people, I have realized that having suicidal ideation is more common than I thought.

    It is so good we have each other to lean on for support and can use the resources out there. Thank you so much for sharing your story and for commenting.

    Support to you!

  3. I've been dealing with chronic depression and some degree of chronic pain all my life. It's hard to judge where the depression and emotional pain ends and the physical pain begins. I developed chronic facial pain in the late 1990s (to go with IBS, migraines/headaches, earlier bouts of endo and other cycle issues). The stress of an unexpected job loss in the mid-2000s (after uprooting and moving to a new country as a result of work-related power plays that left me extremely anxious and unable to work with another collegue) lead to the further worsening of the facial and now neck pain,depression,IBS, etc.
    I adjust very quickly to antidepressants, and my system can't process time-released medications, so I often find myself deep in despair as one type of antidepressant stops working, and I'm waiting to start another. I am familiar with these bleak mindscapes after a life-time of battling the darkness. A line from Bruce Cockburn's "Lovers in a Dangerous Time" comes to time: "Got to kick at the darkness til it bleeds daylight." Now, on the least amount of pain and depression meds (since I started taking both in 2004), it is my daily duty to search for the cracks that "bleed daylight"
    Thanks for sharing these stories. It is important for folks to know they aren't going through emotional and physical pain alone.

  4. phylor,
    Thank you for your comment and sharing your story. What a great visual to "search for the cracks that bleed daylight." Wow. I'm a very visual person and that will help me when I am fighting through a bout of darkness. Thank you for contributing to help others know that they are not alone!

    Support to you.

  5. Powerful story Wendy, and powerful comments. At one point in my life I went through the same emotions. Being so mad that my life had changed so dramatically really depressed me. My sister stayed with me once for an entire day until my husband got home because I had expressed the idea that I was sick of my life. Therapy helped. It is a desperate place to be.

  6. Thanks for being supportive of Wendy, Mo. Thank you for sharing your experience too. Having someone come stay with us is such a good idea when we're going through a dark time.
    Support to you.

  7. Kelly,
    I want to thank you again for this series. I hope you have a wonderful vacation. You have been such a great support to me lately!

    Thank you.

    And thank you to all who commented on my post.