It’s suicide prevention awareness month so content warning: suicide.
I thought I would post a series of posts with tools that help me when I have suicidal thoughts. This is just from my perspective, please simply take what you like and leave the rest. If you’re feeling suicidal and want someone to talk to here’s a list of lots of hotlines in lots of countries for all types of people. I encourage you to go to a nonprofit org over the government phone number.
I have felt really hesitant to post about this. Talking about being suicidal is vulnerable. I’m afraid I’ll “get it wrong” or use “wrong” language. I sometimes feel like a failure for having mental health challenges, like I “should” have it all together. But I don’t.
In 43 years I’ve survived 100% of my hardest days and my most difficult thoughts. So maybe I have something that I’ve done that will help someone out there. I’m posting this for you, that someone, sometime who might need to remember to find this post.
I hope the robots help you find this post again by plugging in “Bevin suicide impulse control” into the machine.
Another reason for this post is my friends who don’t know what it’s like to be suicidal. Here’s some of my experience.
I’m starting with impulse control because I think these are the tools that help most. If I can wait out the impulse I can address the conditions of whatever spiral I’m in and trudge out of the bog of stench.
I have had suicidal thoughts thousands of times. I’ve had plans in the works dozens of times. I haven’t had an attempt since my early 20s.
The thoughts are the big warning flag for me, they tend to come in clusters while I’m working on whatever is getting released for me at the time.
The more work I do in therapy, the more radical honesty I practice with my therapist, coaches and close friends, the more I feel accountable to creating a life that centers my mental health.
After surviving dozens of my friends ending their lives via suicide I have made pacts with fellow surviving friends not to go that route.
The best way I’ve figured out how to do it is lots of lifestyle support (prevention is the best medicine) but with strong impulse control.
My neurodivergent brain loves to play games, so I have rules. I can’t entertain thoughts of suicide without checking my list of impulse control.
There’s a certain level of strength I’ve developed as a result of surviving my worst days. When I’m going through suicidal thoughts it feels like I’m holding open the jaws of a lion over my head.
If I can just hold on a little longer eventually the lion retreats and her hot breath isn’t making my world so muggy.
Strategy One: Flood My Thoughts with Supportive Audio
One of my best impulse control strategies is flooding my mind with input that supports my worthiness. I have two audio books and one podcast that helps me, depending on where I’m at. I would suggest you figure out what books will work for you. Either of these books I’ll pop into wherever I left off.
Tears to Triumph by Marianne Williamson. It’s a great book that helps reframe the bog of stench thoughts and remind me of my worthiness.
Life Visioning by Michael Bernard Beckwith. Lots of guided meditations in this book and philosophy that reminds me that I’m a creator of my own experience. A lot of my feelings of uncertainty spiral into bog of stench thoughts and when I can connect firmly to possibilities mindset I can start to climb out.
Joel Osteen’s podcast. For me, his relentlessly positive attitude and mindset helps a lot. In 2019 when I was suicidal more days than I was not, I would listen to a dozen of his podcasts in a day.
Strategy Two: Making Deals with God. Just like Kate Bush.
A lot of my suicidal thoughts come from frustration or despair about results in my life. Being an entrepreneur will stretch you to new limits of sacrifice and force an intense amount of belief. Another knot on the end of the rope has been demanded many times from me and my brain.
It’s kind of a prayer/threat to God like “I need this to change that outside my control and I’ll give you this behavior/production in exchange.” This isn’t a way I talk to God in my normal state but I know God’s a true bestie who can take my exasperation.
The behavior helps me have something to do that’s in my control, and allows God to be in control of the results. I’m aware this is how it always is but sometimes when I’m deep in suicidal thoughts I need to feel like God’s accountable to me. LOL.
Recently, I was spiraling and knew I needed things to be “different by my birthday.” The thought of my third pandemic birthday coming made me freak out about everything. I found the thought “I have nothing on the calendar to look forward to” a mantra that got frozen in a loop.
I felt really really bad for a couple of weeks. But I also knew I have at least 50 blog posts in the queue I haven’t yet written and needed to get them out before I exit this existence. Plus I haven’t read any James Baldwin novels and that’s certainly worth hanging around on Earth for.
It was a simple deal with God that helped me hang on until I made a couple of plans that made my calendar feel less doom and gloom and the relentless thoughts subsided.
I’m listening to Giovanni’s Room at night and it’s nice to be in queer Paris in the 1950s. Pre AIDS pandemic, pre-covid, pre-monkey pox. It’s hard to be in this world but not of this world.
Other than my close friends, creating art and consuming art are the two most important things worth living for. I’m glad I found another knot to tie at the end of the rope.
Strategy Three: It’s a Wonderful Life
My beloved step mother Liz died of a heart attack after taking fen/phen when she was only 48 years old. I promised myself at 19 when she died that if I was ever taking action on suicidal thoughts I had to watch her favorite Christmas movie first. It’s a Wonderful Life. Sometimes I’m praying to connect to my Clarence when the thoughts are hardest.
It’s not age that creates wisdom, it’s evaluated experience. I may feel like a failure because I keep having mental health spirals, but I am committed to failing forward and always learning. (And reframing how I feel about failure–I know that’s capitalist programming.)
I ask myself what I learned. It helps me create more tools and strategies to help.
Something I realized in my post game from this go around with the dark voices, is that objectively right now I have my dream job. I genuinely love what I do for a living and I love my boss (all my Fat Kid Dance Party clients are my boss)!
And yet! I’m sure at some point in my life I believed “when I have my dream job I won’t feel like this” but mental health stuff is an everywhere you go there you are type of situation. I still experience it!
I had a full plan going on while I was engaged to a person I believed at the time was the love of my life. Even though when I was a teen and I felt totally unloveable and perhaps someday when I was “chosen” by someone to be loved I wouldn’t feel that way.
The voices don’t play. It’s an ancient force coming out to take me down. But I genuinely believe I’m connected to a stronger force, the strongest in the universe which is God’s love. I don’t always remember how strong that is or how strong I am when it’s the hardest, but it’s always been worth it to tie another knot at the end of the rope.
Every heart should make peace not with its moods, but rather with the permanent and absolute amateurism that comes with feeling your way through the nascence of what’s next.Richard Morgan
If you find value in this blog or in my work in the world, please consider supporting! It costs me nearly $300 a year just to keep this blog and archives running! I want this resource to continue to help!
NEW Tee shirts: https://genuinevalentine.com/collections/fat-kid-dance-party
Buy me a Coffee:
Cash App: $BevinBoss
Amazon Wishlist: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1SJCL864DDKEH?ref_=wl_share
Buy anything on Amazon using this link to go to their website and I make a 3% commission on anything you buy! Costs nothing extra to you and cuts into that “astronaut’s” profits just a lil bit. https://amzn.to/2PQ52A9