September is Suicide Awareness month and that’s a topic that has been a big part of my life lately but it’s not the first time it has been. There were times in high school and after my divorce, definitely after the sexual assault. Even as a mother, I’ve struggled with it. Some of you might understand, some might be wondering how I could want to leave behind people who fill my heart to bursting. It’s not an easy admission, owning up to what I perceive as an immense weakness. I only hope my confession will help someone else who is secretly struggling.
In the past month, for the first time in at least two years, I have spiraled out twice. Just earlier today I was sitting in a little exam room trying to figure out why with yet another medical professional. Everyone is different. Mental health is so incredibly complicated and, honestly, new to the science scene. My story is not a diagnosis for anyone. But it IS a call to empathy and giving others the benefit of the doubt until you know more about their situation. We like easy answers, but mental health is often a tangle of nature, nurture, chemicals, hormones, and repeated affirmations of lies and personal oaths. Some of my current struggles are unique to parenting and if we are to learn to help one another through these times then a story like mine is important.
For years I have tried to fix myself. I see the symptoms, I’d even have some idea of what the problem was, and then I would try to solve me. One of the tangled threads of suicidal thoughts is hopelessness from that lack of progress, to try so hard for so long and feel like I’ve gotten no closer to better. I know finding a medical professional that is a good match can be very difficult, so it’s not the easy answer to recommend professional help but it IS a good and needed step. I’ve seen one before. As a practical and down-to-earth person at heart, I was usually reserved in my emotional displays. Not this time. This time I left a big-ass puddle of tears (and probably snot) on the exam room floor. This time I let the restraint fall. I wanted them to see the problem fully, the explosion that I hide inside had to come out or the solution would never truly be found. And ffs I wanted it found.
Answers are still forthcoming but because of this meltdown, tests I’d never taken were given and some new layers were seen. First, I have crap self esteem. Yes, I’ve been through abuse that not only reinforced that crap self esteem but added some moderate levels of PTSD to it as well. Even as I write this I feel the anxiety that’s rooted in a lack of self-esteem. Does what I say matter? Will I be attacked for what I say? Is this worth writing or do I just come off as whining? Can I even focus enough to write this?
Another thread is being High Sensory. A new term for me and one I am only just learning about and (hopefully) how to manage it. How does that feel? As I am writing, there’s a couple of ladies sitting nearby, they are angry and lamenting about life events. They aren’t loud but I can FEEL them, their emotions. I can feel it in a way that I find difficult to shut out and ignore. My heart rate builds, my chest tightens and I want to get away. I am regretting my lack of headphones, I normally have them. It’s a bit like those scenes in superhero movies when a mutant comes into their power but they have no idea how to control it. I can really relate to that and would like Professor X to come and help a girl out, please and thank you.
I feel. I feel a lot. So much so that it’s hard to get through my day sometimes. And this is where being a mom becomes difficult and feeds into the suicidal thoughts. I am a SAHM, by choice, and I love my children. We struggled to have them. So struggling so much with my emotions makes me deeply sad and ashamed. Not having a support system for five years has slowly exhausted me.
Everyone struggles as a parent. Even those liars that say they cherish every moment. Finding a toddler’s tantrums and cries exhausting is normal. I know all that. What I know NOW is that what I feel extends beyond that and my internal experience is actually probably pretty different than most.
Because I am High Sensory, I can feel their emotions as my own along WITH my own emotional response to their emotions. It all feeds and swirls and storms inside, often making mental processes a struggle.
Now add on that my child is High Sensory too.
To quote my doctor, “Get the two of you into an emotionally volatile situation, feeding off of each other, and it’s going to be a shitstorm tornado of feels.” I feel that he feels me feeling his feelings. Say that five times fast! Now feel it five times fast and tell me you don’t want to explode.
Anger is what can cut through it, bring it all to a halt, and it’s what tends to happen because I have not been taught anything different. I know it isn’t the answer. I explode in anger, regret my choices, then crap self-esteem comes over and tells me they’d all be better off without me. Depression joins in, reminds me off all the times I’ve tried to be better and failed. Deeper and deeper down the spiral I go. Alone, misunderstood, written off.
I fight all of that and talk to someone. Make a call. It’s like walking upstream, into the push of a rushing waterway. Breaking the silence can break the torrential push. As much as I want to die, I don’t REALLY want to die. It’s just hard to live like this. I’m tired.
I’m glad I told someone. It’s not over yet, I don’t know what lies ahead, I know we have a plan to try, but mostly it feels a little hopeful again. Now maybe this deeper analysis will help me learn how to control the superpower that’s been overwhelming me. Even better, maybe I can pass that teaching along to my kids.