suicide attempt

My Suicide Attempt Story

→ July 6, 2015 - 15 Comments

My Suicide Attempt Story

This piece carries a heavy trigger warning. Please be careful.

My suicide attempt story is like many other suicide attempt stories, I’d imagine. It beings with an unrelenting mental illness (bipolar disorder), goes on to include painful events outside of my control and ends in an attempt on my life. But I like to think of my suicide attempt story as a story of survival – even when my own brain was trying to kill me.

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The Mentally Ill Who Attempt Suicide Are Second-Class Patients

→ June 29, 2015 - 43 Comments

The Mentally Ill Who Attempt Suicide Are Second-Class Patients

Have you ever attempted suicide because of a mental illness? Have you ever gone to the emergency room (ER) because of a suicide attempt related to a mental illness? If you have, then you probably know, the mentally ill who attempt suicide are second-class patients in the ER. Doctors seem to, distinctly, not like people who attempt suicide. The same goes with people who self-harm. These people are second-class patients as well. But why are the mentally ill who attempt suicide second-class patients?

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Healing After a Suicide Attempt

→ July 7, 2014 - 13 Comments

Healing After a Suicide Attempt

I was having breakfast with a friend of mine the other day and the topic of her suicide attempt came up. She attempted suicide years ago at a very low point in her bipolar disorder. And what she said was, she found herself very upset about it presently, even though it was years ago. She said she never dealt with her suicide attempt and now that was hurting her.

I understand. I think many of us don’t deal with the realities of a suicide attempt. I think many of us what to put our suicide attempts behind us so badly, that we just push them away without ever considering how deeply something like that scars us.

For my own part, I know what I’ve done with my suicide attempt. I’ve rationalized it. I’ve intellectualized my suicide attempt as “passive” and “not a real attempt” (since my chances of truly dying were low) and this has allowed me to, well, pretty much ignore it. But will that technique come to haunt me one day?

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Living with the Shame of a Suicide Attempt

→ March 10, 2014 - 59 Comments

Living with the Shame of a Suicide Attempt

I have attempted suicide. This is not a fact that I wish to wear on my sleeve. This is not a fact a want on my resume. This is a fact that I wish was shoved in a trunk, thrown in a closet and locked away for all eternity.

And I think that most people who have attempted suicide feel the same way. There are many reasons you might want to forget but one of them is the shame associated with a suicide attempt. Many people around you and you, yourself, might consider attempting suicide shameful.

We get the notion of shame from those around us. Imagine looks of scorn if someone happens to belong to a religious community that considers suicide a sin and has no compassion for those who have attempted it. Imagine embarrassed parents forbidding their children to wear short sleeves so that the scars on their wrists are never seen. Imagine the person arriving home from the hospital, after a suicide attempt, not to a welcome home party but to pained silences and looks of pity and contempt. These are the realities that people who have attempted suicide face. And do we feel shame about what we’ve done? Many of us do.

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EMPowerplus/Truehope Update Day 11

→ December 29, 2013 - 11 Comments

EMPowerplus/Truehope Update Day 11

I am now on day 11 of my EMPowerplus experiment and, yes, I have talked to my doctor about it (more on that later). Here’s what I have to report about the EMPowerplus:

  • I started on half a dose – that’s two pills in the morning and two in the evening.
  • Pretty much as soon as I started taking the EMPowerplus I started feeling giddy. Not quite hypomanic but notably elevated and different, although not better.
  • On day five I experienced an official rapid cycle from hypomania one day to serious debilitating depression the next day.

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Can You Die From Bipolar Disorder?

→ November 25, 2013 - 44 Comments

Can You Die From Bipolar Disorder?

In short: yes, you can die from bipolar disorder.

Now, I know, many people would disagree with me on this, after all, bipolar disorder doesn’t produce a tumour in your body that will eventually kill you, it doesn’t create plaque in your arteries to eventually kill you and it doesn’t spread a virus through your cells to eventually kill you. I know, bipolar is not like that.

But, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suicide takes over 35,000 lives a year in the United States and many of these are our brothers and sisters with bipolar disorder. You think that suicide isn’t the same thing as death by bipolar disorder? Think again.

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Are You Still Suicidal?

→ July 2, 2013 - 18 Comments

Are You Still Suicidal?

About three years ago I attempted suicide. It’s a long story but it involves a doctor denying me access to healthcare. I’m still alive; so I guess I got lucky.

But the question is, now, three years and many treatments later, am I still suicidal?

I’m sorry to say, the answer is, “yes.”

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Suicide Survivor’s Story Aims to Save Others

→ May 13, 2013 - 5 Comments

Suicide Survivor’s Story Aims to Save Others

Today, the Bipolar Burble blog welcomes guest author Kevin Hines, a fellow mental health advocate. Kevin is one of only 33 people who have survived a jump from the Golden Gate Bridge. I met Kevin recently at a conference and I can tell you, his story is incredible and he uses it to help others.  

I always try to remember that life is but a state of mind and if that state of mind can be altered by an imbalance of chemicals, it becomes extremely hard to function. After all, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 17 years old. Since that day, I’ve come to learn that life literally is a state of mind, and how, without the love and support of friends and family, life would be a lot more difficult.

I am so thankful for the support of family and friends who have helped me whether the hard times at are inevitable when one has– like I do – a mental illness. With all the years that have passed since I attempted to end my life by suicide, I have learned that we all make mistakes in life, but now it is time to put the past where it belongs, in the rear view mirror. We cannot control the future, but we can help one another – and ourselves – today and every “today” that follows.

After My Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis at 17

After my bipolar diagnosis I struggled, suffered, and attempted to understand the metamorphosis I was going through. I hoped that it was just a phase, maybe I was going to “grow out of it.” I was going through the motions of trying to find the right medications for my particular kind of manic depression. Some days the medication would feel like it was working, but on others, it would not.

Driven to Suicide

This lasted until I was 19-years old when thoughts of suicide unfolded. I wrote a suicide letter and the next day, I prepared for another day of classes at City College in San Francisco. But that was a blatant lie, even to myself. This morning my plan was to go to the Golden Gate Bridge to end my life.

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How to Tell Someone You’re Feeling Suicidal Pt. 1

→ March 11, 2013 - 66 Comments

How to Tell Someone You’re Feeling Suicidal Pt. 1

People ask me about suicide, and I talk about suicide, all the time. I talk about suicide warning signs and suicide attempts and getting help for suicidal feelings.

And, of course, one of the big things I say in bold, underlined letters is that if you’re feeling suicidal you need to tell someone. You absolutely, positively need to reach out for help.

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Access to Weapons for the Mentally Ill Who May be Suicidal

→ January 29, 2013 - 13 Comments

Access to Weapons for the Mentally Ill Who May be Suicidal

Recently I wrote about why people with a mental illness shouldn’t be denied access to guns. My argument is, essentially, that it is a violation of their rights to judge the mentally ill based on a medical diagnosis and, in this society, we judge people based on what they do and not their medical conditions.

Some of the commenters on this post brought up the fact that with access to weapons, a person with a mental illness may be more likely to commit suicide. For example, about half of all people with bipolar disorder attempt suicide and certainly, an attempted suicide with a gun is very likely to be a completed suicide.

However, this doesn’t change my opinion one bit. While I have written and written about suicide and suicide attempts and I have said that, as a society, we should aim for zero suicides, that does not mean that we should violate people’s rights to do it.

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Why Haven’t You Killed Yourself Already?

→ December 13, 2012 - 90 Comments

Why Haven’t You Killed Yourself Already?

Why Depressed People Don’t Kill Themselves

Many people with bipolar depression are suicidal. Not all, of course, but many. Most people with bipolar depression, in fact, most people who are suicidal, do not kill themselves though. In fact, you can live with suicidality for years without ever killing yourself or even attempting to kill yourself.

And while people stay alive for many reasons, I have my own reasons for not killing myself.

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Suicide and Suicide Attempt Resources

→ September 10, 2012 - 8 Comments

How to Support World Suicide Prevention DayOver the last couple of years I have written a lot about suicide. It’s a big topic and one of great importance to the mental illness community and, I believe, society at large. As today is World Suicide Prevention Day I wanted to present a round-up of all the suicide and suicide attempt resources I have written over the years.

Please use these to help others or help yourself. Not one more person ever needs to die of suicide.

Suicide Prevention

Thinking About Suicide

Suicide Threats

Suicide Attempts

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