a dream of suicide.

*warning – post may be triggering

I have been sleeping a lot better lately.  I still have far too vivid dreams on a regular basis, but for the most part they are just nonsense, or enjoyable, or I don’t really remember them. This is quite a change from a few months ago when I could barely fall asleep, and then once asleep my nightmares were so frightening that I would wake up soaked in sweat, shaking, and crying. It has been a very welcomed change.

Last night I dreamed of suicide. It was one of those dreams that was so powerful, I woke up and for a split second thought it was real. I had to sit up and check my surroundings, confirm I was still, indeed, alive, and take a big deep breath in, just to make sure.

In my dream I had decided to end my life. I sat down at my desk and began writing to all my loved ones…. “Dad, I’m so sorry. Please don’t be mad. It’s better this way”…”Sister, I love you so much. You are such a good Mom. I’m sorry my niece won’t get to know me. Please tell her only the good things” …and so on.

I then sat outside under a tree, and cut my wrists.

I woke up gasping for air, tears streaming down my face, my fingertips searching each wrist for signs of harm. Nothing. I was in my warm bed, safe, with a furry dog to greet me with morning kisses.

But it felt so real. All morning I’ve had a tightness in my chest that I can’t breathe away. It’s starting to become a headache forming at the base of my skull and causing my shoulders to ache.  And, I can’t stop crying.

Let me be very clear here – I do not want to end my life. This was just a dream, it is not a reflection of how I am feeling at this moment. But I guess the thought never really completely goes away. It’s a fight every day to choose the path of contentment and health and family and all that good stuff that makes me want to live. And each day those choices get easier.

But every once in a while, I dream of suicide.

what if?

I haven’t been here for a while.

Truth is, I haven’t known what to say. Things are mostly good. I’m having more ups than downs. I’m getting healthy physically, and mentally. I’m taking part in more social gatherings, putting myself out there and meeting new people. I’ve begun taking music lessons and  I read a lot. Everyone keeps telling me, “you’re on the right path!”, or “look how far you’ve come since February!”.  Is that a benchmark I’ve been expected to hit? What if now people have expectations of me that I can’t fulfill? What if I’m taking too long to “get better’? What if I take on too much and I crash again? What if I have a bad day and it leads into a bad week, and then a bad month and the next thing I know I’m crying on my kitchen floor telling my Dad to take me to the hospital again?

Whoa.

It’s so easy to spiral. What-ifs can be dangerous – but what if…

What if other peoples’ expectations of me don’t matter and from now on I only worry about fulfilling myself? What if I give myself permission to take as long as I need to get better? OR, what if “Getting Better” is not a goal to hit, yet just a pathway I am currently walking. It’s not the destination, but the journey. What if I just take on what I feel I can handle, and say no thanks to what I feel I am not ready to take on. What if I have a bad day? Then I have a bad day – it’s allowed, I’m human. What if I have a bad week? Then I’ll talk to those around me who provide love and support, and I’ll go to a yoga class.

What if we change the context of our what-ifs?

Will you try something with me? Over the  next week, challenge your what-ifs.

“What if I mess up at this work presentation?” What if you rock it?
“What if I can’t do it because of my anxiety?” What if you breathe first and practice calming techniques?
“What if my friend is mad at me because I haven’t called in a while?” What if your friend just wants to hear from you?

This is my goal for the week.
We can do it together.