suicide

Bipolar Symptom Psychomotor Agitation, Mixed Moods and Suicide

→ July 21, 2014 - 28 Comments

Bipolar Symptom Psychomotor Agitation, Mixed Moods and Suicide

Last year, I wrote an article on psychomotor agitation at HealthyPlace. Psychomotor agitation (or retardation) is a symptom of bipolar (and unipolar) depression as well as hypomania/mania and very little information about it is available (in spite of the fact that it is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illness (DSM-5)).

Most definitions for psychomotor agitation include the words, “inner restlessness.” I don’t know about you, but “inner restlessness” reminds me of a 22-year-old who can’t find himself and so is backpacking across the country. It really doesn’t sound like a mental illness symptom – let alone like a serious one.

But, as it turns out, psychomotor agitation is serious, highly indicative of a bipolar mixed episode and correlated with suicidal acts.

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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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What You Need to Know When Your Loved One Commits Suicide

→ March 3, 2014 - 34 Comments

What You Need to Know When Your Loved One Commits Suicide

I have written a lot about what to do before, during and after a suicide attempt. I guess that’s because the people who read my work are the survivors and the loved ones, mostly, of suicide survivors.

But there’s a very underserved community in conjunction with suicide and that is the loved ones left behind by suicide. They are suicide survivors too. These people are left with a void. These people are left with a hole in their hearts and a hole in the information that’s available. But there are things I think you should know if your loved one commits suicide.

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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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Is Something Wrong with You if You Think of Killing Yourself?

→ April 3, 2013 - 56 Comments

Is Something Wrong with You if You Think of Killing Yourself?

I get asked lots of questions, but even more questions are silently asked of Google and one of those is, “Is something wrong with you if you think of killing yourself?” The question as to whether something is “wrong” with you if you think suicidal thoughts often leads people to this blog so I thought it was important to address the question.

Thinking of Killing Yourself

I actually think the odd thought of suicide is not unusual. A friend once told me that he was unable to take an acetaminophen without thinking of the number it would take to kill him. This particular friend isn’t remotely suicidal but it’s just one of those thoughts that floats through his mind. I don’t think it means anything, per se, other than the fact that his mind is pretty active.

Of course, there are thoughts of killing yourself and there are thoughts of killing yourself.

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How to Tell Someone You’re Feeling Suicidal Pt. 2

→ March 13, 2013 - 25 Comments

How to Tell Someone You’re Feeling Suicidal Pt. 2

Last time I talked about feeling suicidal and who to tell if you’re feeling suicidal. This time I talk about how to tell someone you’re feeling suicidal.

How to Tell Someone You’re Feeling Suicidal

If you’re telling a professional, it’s actually not that hard. Just come straight out and tell them. Don’t dance around it and try not to be afraid because they’ve heard the words, “I’m suicidal,” so many more times than you can imagine. They know those words and they know what to do with them. Remember, you can’t get help and you can’t feel better if you don’t tell anyone.

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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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I Want to Attempt Suicide but Not Die

→ January 7, 2013 - 65 Comments

I Want to Attempt Suicide but Not Die

OK, I understand that a suicide attempt is not a suicide attempt if the end desire is not death, but stick with me here, I have a point.

Believe it or not, I get a lot of searches on this site by people searching for ways to attempt suicide and not die (their words). And while many people may find this unbelievable, I don’t actually think it’s all that uncommon. I think many people make suicide attempts that are less about death and more about screaming for help.

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