Backpacking and Bipolar II. Taking Manic Depression on tour.
It is the nature of the beast that when we become truly overwhelmed by depression, we begin to look for ways of stopping the pain. We become prepared to take decisive, extreme action.
The best way to think of depression is as though it is sentient, and actively trying to subvert your thought patterns to destroy you. Most things that feel counter-intuitive whilst depressed are usually better courses of action than the one’s that your depression will offer you. It does not want you to behave in a way that will destroy it.
At first, the idea of self-destruction presents itself as one solution among many. The thought for me is almost casual and I used to just ignore it. I now take it for the warning shot that it is. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, take that as your early-warning-system sounding an alarm. In the grip of depression all the other more rational solutions will be gradually eaten away until you are left with a handful of the most insane courses of action to choose from. Suicide is likely to be king among them. You cannot afford to let this go any further. A minute wasted early on could be (best case) weeks of time spent working at recovery later.
Your illness is the outcome of a brain not entirely tuned right. Though it may FEEL counter intuitive to avoid thoughts of suicide in favour of more sensible behaviour – this is only because your intuition has been coloured by an illness. Depression is a disease of emotions. It makes murky the waters we have to navigate every day and, if left to its own devices, promotes wrong thinking at every turn. When you begin to feel overwhelmed – you are entering the danger zone. This is when you most need to reach out, ask for help and seek support in whatever form is most useful to you. You cannot beat this by sitting and thinking about it once depression has gone too far.
Once you’re already overwhelmed, you need to take whatever assistance best helps you against the self destructive thoughts you will have. The urge to be isolated, the notion that depression will ‘never end’ in fact – any thought process that deals in “never”s or “forever”s should be particularly suspect. Feelings of being a burden or nuisance to family and friends will support the urge to reclusion.
People kill themselves not because they want to die. None of us actually WANT to die. People kill themselves because, via their illness, they have become suicidal. They have become fixated on what feels like the last and only option. They have followed a path of twisted logic that says they cannot be helped, that no one cares, that the world would understand their suicide and probably be glad of it anyway.
This is direct-evidence of WRONG THINKING and should be taken as a prompt to seek help.
If you or anyone you know are having suicidal thoughts right now – reach out and seek help. You need it. Here is a list of suicide hotlines in case you don’t have anyone nearby:
All the best,