Suicide Ideation

It feels slightly strange coming back here after a few months. I blogged under the name 'Anxiety' and, at the time I was going through a bad episode of schizophrenia which confused my thoughts and probably confused a lot of readers on this website. I find all of this really hard to talk about because people often assume that most schizophrenics have done drugs or taken things that alter brain chemistry, and I want to emphasise that I am not one of those people.

I find myself here again feeling incredibly teary and emotional and I have felt like this for months. Since January came to a close I have been taking risperidone which is an anti psychotic medication. It makes me feel lethargic and completely dead inside. I believe that it has amplified my feelings and made me feel different as an individual. I've never really spoken about myself on these blogs so I might as well start here. I'm twenty one, female, introverted, and I am a master's degree student in English literature. I belong to quite a large family but I live with my mum and sister. I work four hours on a Saturday as a receptionist. Currently I have to cover for the receptionists who are taking holiday time.

To come to the title of my blog I have had amplified suicidal thoughts and general feelings of worthlessness. I think there are many reasons for my mindset but I can't list them all. I feel like I cannot finish my dissertation for the masters degree. I feel like I have no career that I want to follow. I have lost confidence in my ability to vocally string a sentence together, and this is probably because of the schizophrenia: I sometimes cannot think of the word I want to articulate. I have done and said a lot of embarrassing things during psychosis which haunt me to this very day. I have a vociferous younger sister who has ocd and is so argumentative that I sometimes want to kill myself. I have a kind hearted mum who can no longer offer solutions to my problems and cannot intervene in the madness that ensues in our home. And my introversion and shyness leads me to believe that I will always be worthless no matter what I do: I feel that I am not worthy of any career. The careers that I deserve I don't have the confidence to pursue.

I know that there are no answers to the many problems that I have described. I will be sitting in my room sighing because the dissertation is too much for me...I will be thinking about dropping out. And the word suicide pops into my head uninvited. Sometimes I cry alone like right now because no one can possibly know how difficult it has been. The word suicide pops into my head so often now that it's becoming my main preoccupation. I try to fight against the word and it remains there. I don't want to become a benefits claimant or a scrounger but my lethargy is stopping me and my lack of confidence is stopping me from saying 'ok I'll at least have a go and see what happens'. So this time round I fear that I have both depression and schizophrenia. And I don't know any more. I'm absolutely sick of this life.

5 Replies

  • HI Catharsis,

    You are going through a tough time alright. One of my best friends is Schizophrenic, and he too has been through terrible times. Now the upside of the story is this and its to tell you that there is hope. With the right medication you will improve and get back on an even keel.

    Firstly maybe that Med is not working for you, as you should not feel Depressed on it, maybe go back to Dr. and tell him how you are feeling. My friend holds down a very good job and he too has a Masters. He lives alone, try and forget the past and what you might have said to your sister or whoever. You have to forgive yourself and move on.

    Its not helping you to feel guilty as this just makes us worse. Dont give up on yourself, as there is no reason with the right medication that you cannot have a normal life. He is on

    Abilify, and I know when he started it he had anxiety but that got less and less. It takes time

    to get the Meds exactly right but its worth it.

    Go back to your GP if you need to talk to him about your present state. But take it day by day and give yourself a change to settle down. I am not sure how long ago you started meds. Dont get into conflict with your sister, its not worth it, so just walk away from arguements. I hope this has been a bit of help to you.

    Hannah x

  • As Hannah says, it sounds as if you need to go back to your GP and talk to them about how you are feeling.

    Your home environment sounds very stressful which can't be helping. I don't have schizophrenia or relatives with the condition but one close friend has a sister who is a schizophrenic and, like you, the condition had nothing to do with any drug taking. It's unfortunate that the media can create distorted views of conditions. I also knew another schizophrenic through my ex but no longer have any contact with my ex and lost contact with him. Both are highly intelligent people with a lot to contribute to society when society gives them the right environment. Both also lived in sheltered housing - would this be a possibility for you? - might be worth asking your GP if he knows of any contacts - even indirect ones.

    I presume your supervisor for your dissertation is aware of your condition. If not it would probably be worth making sure that they are aware ... and if there is a counsellor at the college/university it might be helpful to talk to them to help identify any support you need at the moment.

    I want to share my experience of intrusive thoughts of suicide with you. I get bouts of depression and anxiety - it is mainly the anxiety that leads to the thoughts of how nice it would be to be dead and at it's worse I can be fending off a thought a minute which is really exhausting. However, I've recently found a coping strategy for me which seems to be working surprisingly well. I realised that the reason I was having the thoughts was because it was a calming mechanism that had gone wrong - knowing that things will come to an end is a comfort when you find yourself suffering, and being dead is a good full-stop :). So it all started off as a way of calming myself down when I was anxious - knowing that it couldn't go on for ever. However, over time it started to backfire and rather than being calmed I was disturbed by the fact that I was thinking about being dead a lot ... so my brain tried to calm me down with even more thoughts of death and I was finding myself caught up in a vicious circle. My way out was to try and change my reaction to the thoughts of death. I visualised them as unwelcome callers coming to the house. I could either hide inside the house and get anxious about them being there or I could open the door and tell them 'not today, thank you'. So I decided to open the door instead of cowering. To start off with I found myself mentally opening the door quite often but now it isn't happening so often, and even when it does happen I don't feel so frightened of the thoughts. I'm not saying that it is a cure and I know your condition is a lot more complex but it might work, or you might be able to figure out something similar, or work with a counsellor to work out something similar that works for you.

  • Hi, oh I do feel for you. I know from my own experiences how hard it is to be intelligent but struggle to use your abilities in the kinds of careers you want and are capable of following. You've done really well to have achieved the degree and be working towards the Masters, it isn't easy undertaking courses and coping the the varying demands, social and others, with a mental illness. Schizophrenia is so difficult to cope with - I don't have it but have had aspects of schizotypal experiences during my life and they are scary. It's sad that you feel you have done things when psychotic that embarrass you now, that's always a difficult situation because it leads to feeling ashamed, but it really isn't your fault that you have the symptoms. It's sad that people often do assume that those with schizophrenia are in some way odd or dangerous, that they may be violent or have done drugs when the reality is far different, many people with schizophrenia are highly intelligent as you are and are holding down responsible jobs with the help of medication.

    It's really good that you are writing a blog on the website, many people with schizophrenia would not have the courage to do that. It sounds as though the medication is making you feel really awful so maybe you can talk with the GP or better still a psychiatrist about alternatives rather than simply increasing the dose which is likely to make you feel even more lifeless.

    The stress you are living with at home will almost certainly be exacerbating your symptoms, their is loads of research evidence that stressful home circumstances trigger many schizophrenic episodes and that people with schizophrenia get a recurrence and worsening of their symptoms if they return home to a stressful environment, particularly one that is hostile or critical. Is there any way you can move out soon? I wonder whether you can find the strength to finish your Masters and then consider doing a PhD? If you can do that then you could apply to live in postgrad accomodation - if you worry about how you will cope you can apply to have support from the local CMHT as you will certainly be adult age by then if you are not already. I do think separating yourself from your family and in particular from your sister and her mental health problems would benefit you and enable you to cope much better with your schizophrenia. You could also seek support from the university counselling service to help you to cope with finishing the Masters - just make sure you tell them that you have the schizophrenia and are looking for emotional support rather than therapy which delves into deeper issues as doing that can trigger further symptoms.

    You say you have had schizophrenia diagnosed (assume because you are on meds) but have you been offered any specialist psychotherapy for psychosis? Many people now believe that people with psychosis can be helped by therapy provided it is tailored to the specific needs and anxieties of the illness. It may be worth completing the Masters and then asking your GP whether there are any specialist services within your region that deal with psychosis, you could also try googling services for psychosis and your local city or town yourself to see whether anything comes up. I know of local services in my region so they may exist in yourse too

    Of course you are depressed as well as having schizophrenia but that does not necessarily mean you have clinical depression and needs meds for that, it means you are feeling low because of having symptoms of schizophrenia which interfere with your life. You need support with those symptoms and then the depression will ease, it is a natural response to your situation. Do seek some counselling type support, particularly to help you to complete the Masters, and do think about moving away from home. Don't listen to any objections from family or other people if there are any, living in such a stressful environment will not be doing you good and you clearly have the intelligence and ability to reach out for other sources of support.

    Keep writing on the website, I know I do when I need to.

    I hope you soon feel a bit better and can work again, Suexx

  • Im sure getting the meds right would have a benifical effect. speak to your gp, or your nurse, who ever is looking after you. You have to be honest about how your feeling, otherwise how can people help.

    poor mums, they get worn out, or worn down too.

    maybe treat her and say how much you appreciate her,, in all that she puts up with. We usually get forgotten,,, were human too.

    If your ill your ill, if you cant do uni, you cant do uni,

    Do you think maybe your doing too much, and your body is saying slow down I cant do this.???

    If you claim, because your genuinely ill,,, then youhave that right too. But I can assure you,, those who are on the dole,,, Employment allowance, because they are sick, in all honesty wouldnt want to be, and would rather be healthy, meeting people without the fear, anxiety,,, enjoying the sun. Just accept yourself as the way you are right now, it wont be forever, your ill. take care, Linda

  • Hi all,

    Thank you for all the replies. I really appreciate the different views because it gives me some affirmation about some of the positive thoughts that I once had. And a lot of the opinions on here I have contemplated very seriously in the past but I didn't have the gumption to follow through on such ideas as moving away from home, or changing Medication (because I'm afraid I'll have more severe side effects, worse lethargy and things like that). You are completely right to say that stressful environments can only make it worse - this is exactly what my early intervention team said on one of my appointments, and they offered family talking therapy, but it's impossible to even offer the suggestion to my sister.

    I know that moving away from home is most likely the best solution to this problem, but I think I completely lack the confidence to do so. One day I will have to face up to the better alternative instead of feeling intimidated in my own home. With regards to student accommodation and PhD study, Sue, I was once really motivated to apply, but my mental health has completely changed the way I have been thinking. It's possible that I might have to move with one of my family members if this is possible. I'll just have to see how things go.

    Schizophrenia is really difficult to explain to my friends and even some of my family members. So it is difficult knowing that I have put them through a lot of stress. For this reason, I only speak to the EIMH team about it because it's hard to speak about it. This frequently makes me feel very very low, as though no one really cares about my feelings. And this often leads to thoughts of suicide, which I have been fighting against for some time. So thanks for you for your support Hannah and Gambit62. It is nice to share and to listen to other accounts because I don't often get the chance to do so.

    I think the biggest problem at the moment is getting up every day and facing the day whether that includes writing the dissertation, covering at work or talking to people (including my family). I should have put scrounger in inverted commas because I know there are people who legitimately need to claim and that often the media slanders people who claim without differentiating between those who need it. I just fear that peoples' perception will be that I am a scrounger because they often judge without full knowledge. But I suppose that if my mental state doesn't change after I have gained the confidence to speak about the meds, then I don't know. The lethargy makes it hard to maintain even a small part time job. I often get anxiety and lethargy before going to work, so I can't imagine holding down a full time job. I don't know. But thanks Linda for your advice, I really appreciate it.

    I will just take life one step at a time, which is the advice I tried to give to myself a long time ago.

    Thanks all x

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