Stable, Until Triggered | Article F18

Articles THUMB


Trigger Warning: Discussion of suicidality & self-harm

 

In my article “What Stability Taught Me” I described the changes I’ve made to my recovery that has allowed me to remain in stable conditions for the last six months. There was something towards the end of my article that I only lightly touched upon that I would like to further investigate here.

 

In my previous article I mentioned that the suicidal thoughts and scratching form of self-harm have erased into the background of my situation. Overall this is true but it’s also misleading.

 

I am stable and can remain stabilized until I get triggered. When a trigger happens, as they will naturally do, all bets are off. Essentially my go-to forms of action are to self-harm or kill myself (the thinking here, while convoluted, is that in death I can guarantee no triggers except I’d be dead so I wouldn’t be able to do much of anything anyways). When I get triggered those background issues enter fully into the foreground.

 

The difference is that I’m highly self-aware, I can use my past experiences to guide me into seeing my warning signs sooner, I am my full “Recovery Raquel” self so I will allow myself to stop the crisis as it begins (as opposed to giving into self-sabotage or purposely triggering myself) or if I do go into crisis I can utilize my skills to minimize any damage that would head my way otherwise.

 

At this point, I apologize to be the bearer of bad news but: the urges do not go away. They have lessened for me substantially but a lot of that is me taking precautionary measures ahead of time.

 

For instance, over this summer we lost four well-known people to a death by suicide. Two of those deaths I found out about through the radio where stigma was prevalent–imagine people asking why anyone with everything in the world would kill themselves–and with no trigger warning prefaced landed me subsequently into my own triggered suicidal thoughts.

 

Even on Twitter for two of the other suicides, I found myself alarmed that so many were talking about the issue that I, for once, wanted nothing to do with it.

 

I’m at the place in my recovery where the boat is bobbing in the waves peacefully and I’m still afraid of all the tiny holes that have been punctured on the floor. I fear with one wrong move all the water is going to come rushing in and I’ll drown. If my past history with mental health conditions is the water and the holes my vulnerabilities then I am scared of what could set off my internal self-destruction. Or, maybe more importantly, it’s that I’m afraid I won’t be able to be resilient and strong enough to continue living. Maybe I will “lose control” and wind up dealing with the traumas of a state hospital or my treatment options would then be limited extensively.

 

And so my approach has largely been avoidance as I find myself no longer wishing to speak out so openly about suicide–but I don’t think that’s necessarily my best option.

 

Triggers are going to be there, one way or another.

 

Managing our behaviors and tolerating our many possible emotions is one of the few places where we have control. I can take precautions day to day to hold off reading my old journals or watching certain mental health heavy contents online until I’m in a better headspace and can handle it more efficiently. It may be the case that some days I’m more vulnerable to my triggers and then just have to manage surviving the day and engaging with appropriate self-care measures, skills and external supports.

 

And, as long as I’m trying my best, that’s all that really matters. For me when I have had crises in the last six months it’s been an accumulation of triggers over the span of multiple days that then initiated a delayed response.

 

Life will be unpredictable, priorities will change and values will too. Each new and old challenge will be a test of my skills and resiliency. It’s all about progress not perfection.

 

Just like we skid our knees on unforgiving gravel, our psychological issues will heal, too. Some things will fade away and others will be ignited as life unfolds. I think for the first time in four years I understand what it is like to regain perspective and be uniquely aware of my own mortality. When I’m suicidal it’s always the overwhelming pain in every ounce of my being that consumes me.  Whereas with stability I can appreciate the existence of unpleasant emotions as temporary states of being with a brighter light shining in the distance, my eyes catching sight of it.


Written: August 29.2018

I’d say more but I haven’t reviewed this article since yesterday and I’m so fucking pissed off right now that I can’t even begin to have the patience to deal with it. (Technical difficulties with an online textbook and fucking missing api files). So done.

I hope you enjoyed the read, though. Next article coming up tomorrow and I have to schedule it, then I’ll be started a Treatment 101 series. 🙂

Much love. ❤ ❤ ❤

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