Archive for Suicide

Letters from Readers: Suicide Thoughts, Again

I never share private notes written to me, but sometimes I like to post my responses, as often what I say applies to many situations, and a keyword search might lead you here.

This response was for a woman considering suicide, unable to get out of bed or care for her family.

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It is very natural to feel super terrible after losing a baby, both physically and emotionally. We do all go through it. We think about dying to be with our babies. We don’t want to talk to people. It’s very normal to be very very upset.

Right after a D&C, the body has to adjust to not being pregnant. The chemicals that were in your body while you were pregnant have to all get filtered  out of your blood. During this process, your brain is robbed of a VERY important chemical called seratonin. While it’s missing, you feel just awful, crying, drained, miserable, angry, snappy, like screaming, then suddenly not wanting to move or go anywhere, unable to function. It’s just awful.

But know that it’s only a few days, two weeks at the most. If it goes on longer than that, then another thing has happened, and your body is not recovering chemically. It’s VERY important if you still don’t want to get out of bed after about two weeks that you talk to your doctor. You can get in very bad shape and feel very suicidal if you don’t get something to help you through the transition until your body can take over your emotions and moods again.

The whole thing is always so sad. You lose your baby, then your body makes a mess of your life. I’m so sorry you are going through it. I’ve been there three times, and it was so awful. I remember wanting to drive my car off a cliff and later thinking–why did I even want to do that? It wasn’t me. It was just this mess in my body at the time.

Realize there is a difference between THINKING about suicide and PLANNING it. We all think it. Really, we do. It’s part of the healing process. But if you start planning how you’ll do it, or what you’ll do, or when, the minute you sense you’ve crossed that line, don’t think twice, call 1-800-SUICIDE. They’ll talk you through it and tell you much of what I’ve told you here.

Hang in there. It’s a hard road. You’re not alone. So many of us have walked this path and struggled through it. There is so much out there ahead, so much love to feel and babies to have. You’ll get there, I promise.

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Deanna is the author of Baby Dust, a novel about women going through miscarriage.
If you need help right away, remember she has a secret Facebook group you can join.

Letters to Readers: On suicide thoughts

I never share private notes written to me, but sometimes I like to post my responses, as often what I say applies to many situations, and a keyword search might lead you here.

This response was for a woman considering suicide after her third miscarriage that she felt was her fault due to an infection she had.

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Dear Mama,

Of course it makes sense to feel like the only good place is to be with your babies. I remember feeling exactly that same way. There is a lot of pain here, and sometimes dying feels like the only way to make it better.

I want to tell you that I don’t think the infection killed your babies. When an infection is to blame, you go into labor too early and the baby generally dies during the birthing process or shortly after. The infection makes your water break and preterm labor begin.

Otherwise, infection is actually pretty common in pregnancy, because we have a lot of yeast and our body temperature is warmer, helping it grow.

So the guilt—let that go. If anything, now that you have had two losses at about the same time, I would say you need to see a specialist, as I would be willing to bet that the shape of uterus might be the culprit here—something corrective surgery could fix. A test where they shoot dye into your uterus and xray it will tell us.

So here is my suggestion to you. Separate out the emotion of what has happened, which is super sad and feels like punishment, from the medical issue—from the FIGHT. Be ready to fight to be a mom. Figure out where you have strength, and work that strength like a muscle. Get angry that you have to do this fight, but know that this is what will make you strong. And learn what you need to know to get that baby you want so much.

Because let me tell you this—right now your body seems against you. Not only have the babies died. But in this period after a loss, your brain is literally robbed of chemicals—important ones that help balance out your moods. So this feeling like you want to die—it comes from those stupid chemicals. And the good news is, these chemicals WILL straighten out very soon. One day you are going to feel as though a cloud as lifted, and you can smile again. Then you will be upset—your babies have died and you just smiled! But it will be a sign that your babies are a part of your life, but not the focus of it. And you will get better. And you will be ready to fight. And you will get to the bottom of these losses.

And you will beat it and win.

And the babies in your future—how sweet that will be. How much more joy you will feel. You will never take it for granted.

Feel sad for those moms who complain about motherhood, who ignore their children. You will never be that mom. It ‘s the gift your babies are giving to you.

So hang on, mama. Fight this feeling until your body recovers and helps you cope. Then be ready for the battle of your life—getting answers and moving toward that family you so want.

Deanna

 

Suicide Thoughts

Among the emails I receive daily are suicide notes.

Some women just write to express their fears about having thoughts of suicide. Others are in full-blown distress, ready to give up on this world.

When I first began receiving emails like this, I felt panicked. I was not trained in even the most basic psychology. I had no experience with women who were reaching out. I had no idea what I could do or say to make a difference.

But when that first one arrived, I had little I could do but respond, and fast. I actually DID call a suicide hotline and asked them what to say and do. I learned some very important things, and I share those as well as ideas that are specific to us–the mothers of lost babies.

First, there are two categories of thoughts about suicide: passive and active.

Passive thoughts include just wishing for death, considering how others will handle your suicide, and feeling the need to ease the intensity of your emotional and sometimes physical pain. You might research suicide on the Internet or look over books about it. You are just thinking about dying. These are normal and happen to everyone in times of depression or distress.

Active thoughts include considering what method of suicide you might use, counting pills, locating a gun in the house, or making any sort of plans. This is a stage where you actually DO things. If you get this far–then it’s time to get help NOW. The quickest and simplest is to stop everything, pick up your phone, and call 1-800-SUICIDE.

I think it is fine to reach out to anyone who will listen when your thoughts are passive. Most of the women who write me are frustrated with family and friends who are not understanding. I know now that all they need from me is validation that their feelings are real and serious and difficult, that their baby was wonderful and the loss is impossibly hard, and that it’s a long road to recovery, not the three or so days others believe it should last. You can find this sort of help at a pregnancy loss group, on bulletin boards on the Internet, or even among your friends who have had miscarriages that you didn’t know about.

When you get to the active stage, however, you simply cannot rely on friends and family anymore. They may not get it. They might not see. Their failure to take this seriously or to listen will compound your depression and can even trigger you to act. It’s critical you find someone, anyone, who can guide you to professional help.

When I wrote Tina’s suicide attempt into the book, I tried to show how passive thoughts can morph into active ones. Most of the time we can see the shift, as long as we know ahead of time that there is a difference. For Tina, though, it happened too fast. The post-pregnancy hormone changes don’t help, making every system in your body less able to cope.

Here is her segment of the novel. 

On that day she came home from the hospital, all Tina knew was that her baby was dead, her boyfriend gone, and she’d soon be booted back to the horror of public school. Leaning over the sink in her bathroom, she washed her face and hands and the gleam of water on her white wrists seemed too pristine, too pearl. The razors lay neatly in the chest of art supplies and she stopped thinking, stopped rationalizing anything at all. The act wasn’t about killing herself, not in that moment, or about escaping, it was about marring the perfection of her arms. She was tainted, her baby had died, she was unloved and unwanted. She felt she should be marked by this–that her physical body should bear the scars of the death of her happiness.

She leaned her pale arm against the sink and didn’t hesitate once. 

The main thing I wanted to get across today to those of you who have googled miscarriage and suicide, or miscarriage and wanting to die, which are very common combinations that bring you to this blog, is there is an important difference between thoughts of dying and thoughts of how to do it. If you are still in the first category, keep reading, keep reaching out, keep healing. You will get there. If you start to shift, if you sense your thoughts moving toward plans or funerals or even revenge–ACT. Act NOW.

Email me.
Go to Psych Central, an amazing website for mental health and an online community
Or call 1-800-SUICIDE.

But do something. Life the way it is now is not the way it will be a year from now. I once contemplated taking my car off a cliff and into the fog about two weeks after my baby died. We had found out the genetic testing had failed, our marriage was falling apart, and we were fighting like we never had.

I didn’t know then that less than twelve months later I would give birth to a healthy little girl and a few years later to a second. I’m glad I hung around to find out.