How Do I Know When to Ask For Help?

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How Do I Know When to Ask For Help?

Post  pbcmom on Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:04 pm

Background: I am bipolar. I have been dealing with severe depressive episodes and suicidal feelings for years. I made two reasonably serious attempts within a short time of each other when I was much younger...almost 20 years ago, when I was still in my early 20's. I have continued to struggle with suicidal feelings during my darkest of times since then but have not made an attempt since then. For the past 10 years the single largest factor keeping me alive has been my daughter. I don't want to hurt my daughter by making her feel abandoned and like I didn't love her enough to keep living and I worry about who would take care of her when I was gone. Even though I *know* I should continue to live for my daughter, sometimes the pain of living with bipolar depression is so great that it feels unbearable.

I'm currently dealing with a very severe depression. It hurts too much. I want to die. I don't want to hurt and abandon my daughter. My doctor knows I've been feeling suicidal. Recently he said that he knows that I'm in a great deal of pain and believes that I want to die but also knows how much I love my daughter and that I don't want to hurt her and believes that desire to protect her is stronger than my desire to end my pain by killing myself. For that reason, he said that he didn't think I would ever go through with killing myself. There was a part of me that felt a relief that he has that much faith in me and thinks that I'm strong enough to fight this. There's a part of me that is embarrassed that he might really think I have no intention or desire to kill myself and I'm just looking for attention. There's a part of me that feels like if my need to kill myself ever does feel too strong and I get scared that I'm not completely in control of myself that I won't know how explain to him in a way that let's him know the feelings are too big and I do need help.

Right now I'm playing that mind game with myself where I promise myself not to act on any suicidal desires for at least a certain amount of time. Currently it is a promise to myself that I will wait until after the Christmas holiday and then see how I feel before killing myself. I guess I think it's bad enough that I will hurt my daughter with my choice, there's no reason to make it even worse by ruining Christmas for her, too. And I know the drill, if I feel like I'm in crisis or in danger then I need to ask for help. But I'm not sure where that line is.

Today was one of the worst days I've had in a while. I spent most of the day crying...that ugly, hard, sobbing kind of crying. I've had a couple of panic attacks. It's been so hard to keep the suicidal thoughts out of my head. My thoughts felt so scary and out of control that I really considered that maybe I needed to call my doctor and tell him I needed more help, that I wasn't sure I could stay safe. But here I am still alive, so obviously it wasn't more than I could handle on my own.

How do I know where that line is? How can I tell when I'm feeling really scared, suicidal and out of control but I'm still capable of handling it on my own and staying safe? How can I tell when I'm feeling really scared, suicidal and out of control and I need help to stay alive for my daughter? Maybe I don't ever really need to ask for help because I won't kill myself no matter how much pain I'm in because I don't want to hurt my daughter. Maybe my doctor was right. But sometimes the thoughts and need to end my pain can feel so out of control that I am scared of myself and scared of acting impulsively. (Although I had been thinking about suicide for a long time before my previous attempts, the actual attempts were fairly impulsive.)

Is there a point where I should know that I have to ask for help? How do I know when that point is? Even when it feels like I'm losing control over my own thoughts and actions, I know that if I tell the wrong person I can end up in a situation where definitely I lose control over any choices for myself.

I guess the basic questions is..."they" say if you're in crisis ask for help; how do I know when I've crossed the line from being scared to being in crisis?

pbcmom
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