Being the Protector of Your Family

The very first time I had suicidal ideation was the day that I left my ex-husband.  I never quite understood how that suicide could ever be an option for anyone.  The thought scared me so much that I had to run fast.  Praying to God on my knees, asking for his help to guide me.  He is always the perfect one to go to.
Understanding why I had these suicidal thoughts was difficult to understand.  My children were always needing my protection and strength.  They were needing me in every aspect for their growth.  I was scared to leave them to their father because his anger was too much to bear for me, and for them.  Therefore I was their protector.  This I believe kept any thoughts of leaving this earth from my mind.  I was always able to focus on the ones who needed me, and the ones who I loved more than life itself.
It’s strange though how in an instant suicidal thoughts can plague the mind.  I remember this day so well.  The anger was still there with my husband, yet stronger and scarier this particular day.  The children were almost gone from the home completely.  My daughter was engaged and living with her then boyfriend.  My oldest son was living in an apartment in Vermont and finishing his college career.  And my youngest child was all ready to start college in about two weeks.  All arrangements on dorms, items that he would need, and financial needs for the year were figured out.  And yet now the anger seemed to escalate toward me now.  I guess I was scared with the thought of living alone with this man.  Crazy as that may seem.
Did I now have a purpose?  I felt trapped in my situation suddenly, and immediately my mind went to suicide.  What a horrifying thought and experience to live.  Since that time I now have suicidal ideation with situational stress that I am unable to handle.  It is with frequent counseling and medication management that I can glide through without being scraped and bruised.  But to live with “fleeting” thoughts of suicide, or even “sticking” thoughts makes life a terrifying walk.  Learning how to manage situations and handle the anxiety and stress is a constant education to me.
I am constantly learning how to be in a healthy relationship without anger.  The feelings of shock when I get a level-headed response to a question, observation, or an action still leaves me with feelings of wonderment.  Pleasantly I am beginning to understand the reality of non-threatening love.  This is allowing me to embrace my Journey with joy.
For me, suicidal ideation is a SYMPTOM of my stress.  It is not how I truly feel, but it is a difficult symptom that tells me where my mind is at the moment.  Perhaps I have the feelings of being trapped, or I feel alone and I’m unable to think clearly.  It is a spontaneous symptom that is unwanted.  It can be a torturous feeling to live through this symptom and learning what to do in these times is key.
I have a wonderful counselor that I have had for years who is teaching me how to deal with day to day life, how to live in a healthy relationship, and how to manage my illness. My mental illnesses of Bipolar, PTSD, and Anxiety are illnesses, similar to any other illnesses that have to be managed on a daily basis.  It is just the stigma that comes along with Mental illness that is the Monster.
I have learned a lot along the way.  It’s funny how a comment from a professional can resonate for a long time, if not forever.  I had a counselor, years ago, when I was going through a difficult period and I believed suicide was a way for me to release my burdens that explained to me that even though I was done raising my children, that commitment goes on forever and through the generations.  Being accountable lasts forever because when someone commits suicide it is more likely that their children, grandchildren, family members, or others close to them will also commit suicide.
I remember sobbing after that statement of commitment to family.  What an obligation we have to ensure the safety of our families.  A truly overwhelming and difficult task to accomplish at times.  But, I’m in it for life!  It’s ironic that I will always be their protector and with this, that job protects me.

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