A Simple Plan

Trigger warning for suicidal thoughts. 

 

It was a simple enough plan. It made perfect sense at the time, June to December 2011.

My son would turn 18 on August 20, 2014.  At that time, his biological father would have no claim to him legally in matters of custody or upbringing.  He would be out of high school and  likely living with his “dad”, aka former step-father by then, given his love for the mountains and that region of the state.

That meant I could plan on killing myself after August 21, 2014.  Or thereabouts.  No later than Labor Day.


 

I can write this out now, not even three weeks out from the date I thought I would be gone, knowing that I will be here (God, goddess, Fate or Spaghetti Monster willing).  Not even three years ago, it was a clear plan in my head.

Before I got to that point, things had been going pretty well.  Or so I let myself believe.  After my divorce in 2007, I had met someone and gotten engaged, found my dream job and was “going in the right direction”.  Yes, I was still depressed and still going through the motions of the bulimia binge-purge dance, but nothing too hard to handle.  The ugly divorce, losing where we lived and so much of more would still be there, moving further and further into the past.  I thought I had gotten along quite nicely without any help, thank you very much.

Then, the fiancé left me for his ex when she decided the grass wasn’t greener on the other side of the bed .  The perfect job turned into a nightmare that still shakes my professional confidence to this day.  My occasional binge-purge periods turned into daily rituals with ulcers,indigestion and throat bleeding to show for it.

The depression was the worst though.  I could not get through a day without crying.  I didn’t think I would stop crying at times.  It was the worst at work.  My boss already made it clear she did not like me and hadn’t wanted to hire me (another story for another day), so I didn’t really give a damn if I broke down there or not.   Better to break down in front of someone who I no longer gave a damn about, professionally or otherwise, than at home in front of my son.

Yes, through this all, I was still being the primary caregiver to my child.  I did my best to be a good parent during that time, but looking back I know I was lacking.  How could I not have been?  Still at night I wonder if my deep dive into the darkness kept me from seeing even the earliest signs of his mental health issues, that I drove him to the depression that caused him to make an attempt on his life.

I did what I could to keep things together at home, while looking for a new job.  The latest-ex was still contacting me, going on about how he would have married me if the better option hadn’t become available again.  In his mind we were “friends” and he could say such things.  I was powerless to tell my job to back the hell off, I was doing what I was told to do by them, and too heartbroken to ruin any “chance” I had by asking the ex to stop calling me.

The crying jags got worse, plus I was now sleeping days away and cutting off contact with people, offline and online.  I ignored messages from friends, had my phone off more often than on and set all my social media to “private”.  This time is when I started to think that my child deserved a better parent, but my options were limited.  I wasn’t getting better, so what else could I do?  The stepfather he adored had no legal ties to him so if I were to die, he would go back to the biological father who ignored him for ten years.   My family could intervene, but that was also precarious, given their opinions on my decision to even have him from the beginning.

One day I decided, if I could just get through the next few years, it wouldn’t matter what state I would be in, now or by then.  I could plan everything out so that the process would be “easy”.   He would inherit my life insurance through work plus my retirement accounts; I had learned over the years that our plan did pay out for suicide.  I would get rid of as many of my belongings as possible so he wouldn’t have to go through cleaning or dismantling a living space.  I could even start payments on a cremation plan to offset the costs when the time came.

I would set everything up for him to have a better life, without me.  Starting over without having a mentally ill mother to worry about.

Yes, it made sense at the time to plan my death, by suicide way in advance.  I was determined that I was no longer going to be here.  I didn’t want to hurt anymore, I didn’t want any more pain.  I couldn’t keep living like I was, literally making myself sick.  Nothing else had killed me so far, so if I was still here when he came of age, I would finish the job.  I had no plan to get to 38 years old or beyond.

Then it got worse still.  My lowest point, I said to myself things would work out, he would be OK, I would go on my 35th birthday.  This was the December when I was 34; my birthday is in March.


 

So, what happened?

I really don’t know what it was, but one day at the hell-job, I decided to just see if anyone would be willing to help me.  Not able, medically or whatever.  Just willing.   Because, honestly, who the hell would actually care?  I called my Employee Assistance Program, who got me in touch with a psychiatrist and a therapist, which is where I have been ever since.  That call that day literally saved my life, then and up to today.

I got into therapy and have kept that up as I can with the schedule I have.  I started medication and got on a regimen that seems to be working.  There have been a lot of up and down times since those days,  but I somehow have managed to get through by actually using the resources available.

Today is the first time outside of a mental health practitioner’s office that I have been able to admit that I was ever anything more than passively suicidal.

Why mention it now, when I am doing better?

Because while I am much better, I am still not great.   Not even good on some days.   I still have those moments of being low.  I still have doubts about what I am doing in life and why I am even here.  The difference is now, I can recognize those times.  I know what there is available to me for help.  I can recognize that stage in between being OK and planning my funeral so that it doesn’t come to that extreme.

Knowing that I am not alone and letting others know that they are not alone in situations like these; that those are what the resources are there for;  that we won’t be judged or shamed for having these thoughts makes all the difference.  That is why I write about my experiences, including this one now.  It took me too long to ask for help; I spent time planning my funeral when I could have worked on wanting to live instead.

Three years ago I had everything planned out to die.  Now, I don’t know what I have planned for tomorrow, much less three years from today.   Thankfully, plans do, and always can, change.


Do you need help? Please do not wait.  Reach out now, someone will be there for you.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

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72 thoughts on “A Simple Plan

  1. Reblogged this on Not a Punk Rocker and commented:

    I’ve written at length on my own blog about my son’s depression, suicide attempt and road to where he is today. I’ve also written a lot about my struggles with depression, anxiety, eating disorders and abusive past. Today’s post is something that I haven’t really discussed before now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So very brave of you to share this. And so very great that you did. Someone is going to read this who is mulling over suicide, and this post is going to change their lives… they are going to reach out for help, and they are going to find out. Thank you.
    I’m glad you reached out and found help too. I understand the pervasiveness of pain and the desire to be rid of it, but the world would have been darker without you in it. When you first started planning your suicide, you and I hadn’t even met and become online bloggy friends. My life would have been darker without you in it.
    I know you still have bad days. I hope you know that’s okay. I hope you know I’m always here for you if you need a friendly shoulder to cry on, a hand to help you up, an ear to scream at…

    Liked by 5 people

    • As I mentioned earlier today, you have been there with me for a while, even if it wasn’t during this time. You are definitely one of the bright stars in my online bloggy universe (how cheesy but true LOL). Thank you, as always,and know that I am there for you whenever you need the same ((hugs))

      Like

  3. Dear, dear Sheena, I’m so glad you got help, I’m so glad that you have thrown out your plan after all. I’m sorry you went and go through this, through depression, but you know that all of us are there for you in case you need us. And you are without a doubt so important to your son, never forget that.
    ((Hugs))

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you, NBI. ((Hugs)) I was very much alone when I considered this before so I am very grateful for the friends and contacts I have made on here when I have felt so low in the times since then.

      Like

  4. Hon, thank you for writing this.
    I’ve felt very similar with my daughter, and I went through the same with the planning. It was so, matter-of-fact that I was going to do it. I spent months writing her endless letters for occasions because I wouldnt be there in advance, her 18th birthday, etc. I feel so horrible about it, as a mother. That I felt that way, that everything goes back to “Everyone would be better off without me” whenever I get low, that it’s so matter of fact. the only viable option.
    I was registering to be an organ donor, and changing my name because I didnt want my old one on my grave, and planning my daughters life without me when I should have just been being a mum to her.
    Thank you, for your bravery in writing this, I always think it’s an incredible achievement to write this stuff, because it’s acknowledging how far you’ve come and you have worked so hard.
    Hugs xx

    Liked by 5 people

    • ((Hugs)) back to you too. I am so sorry you can relate to this on such a personal level. Here’s to both of us, how far we have come, and how far we can keep going! ❤

      Like

    • There are some truly vile men (boys, children, something less than men) out there giving the rest of us bad names. I know it isn’t that simple, but it sure seems that way sometimes, doesn’t it? When I read things like this I want to call us to task, and drag us all through the mire so we can truly feel and understand what idiots we are and how deeply our words and actions can wound.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Both you and DJ are kind…I do still have the frame of mind to know that not all guys are heartless cads. Just the ones that I choose to be more than friends with 😉

      Seriously though, thank you ((hugs))

      Like

  5. i think that by writing and posting this you may just save another life. this can a positive part of your recovery and thank you for reaching out, many more people are here for you than you can even imagine. you do matter in this world. hugs ) beth

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I know that dark place well my friend. Many of us do. Thank goodness you didn’t do it. You are a bright star in my virtual sky J. You DO make a difference, a positive one, mostly in your son’s life, but in many others, mine included. When your mind tries to tell you different, just reach out to one of us, we will always be here to hold your hand and help you climb out of that black hole. Never ever think your son’s life would be better without you. He will always need you, no matter how old he gets. And he didn’t turn out as great as he is on his own. Big hugs and many well wishes from one friend to another.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I have also been in that place. Making the plans, thinking through the arrangements, checking on suicide coverage on the life insurance policy. I have gone so far as to attempt it and then have God himself intervene and save my life. Literally it seems. I still have my down days, my periods of darkness. It seems like nothing will make it better. But, there is something that will make it better. Yourself. Make your plans in another way. I do. When I get into these periods when I know there is a danger of “backsliding” I have a plan.
    I have written down and practiced in my mind things to do that will help me to get back on the right path and in the right direction. Even if it feels I am moving forward with a ball and chain on each leg. I use self-hypnosis and cognitive behavior exercises. I look at the faces of my children and grandchildren and other members of my family and remember the pain, the bitterness, the anger that I could leave them with. I want to be better than that. I know how I want to be remembered and it isn’t as someone who was selfish and gave up the fight or as someone who didn’t love them enough to fight my way through it.

    A great post and it shows by your writing it that you are aware of your worth and how valuable you are to your son by existing.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I need your help, all of you who have experience with suicide. My brother has a plan. He won’t talk about it with me, I’m closer to him than anyone else and I think he thinks he’s protecting me… But he’s spoken with others about it and it’s gotten back to me. His plan is to kill himself when he can no longer take care of himself. It’s not been said, but I know it’s because he doesn’t want to be a burden on me, even though he knows he could never be a burden to me, that the burden would be to be without him.
    So what do I do? He’s on medications for depression, he seems well, but this is still his plan. What would you want to hear from your sister?

    Like

    • I’ve never progressed beyond passive thoughts… so I’m not sure I’m the best person to chime in. Hopefully Gibber or NAPR will have something more concrete to say.
      But, I think you can reach out to the prevention hotline listed in the post and they can help you as much as they’d help your brother… offer advice, make suggestions, etc…
      When I was struggling with bullies in school and at my lowest points emotionally, it was knowing that my family would miss me that kept me from ever making plans. They were always there for me, supporting me, present, giving me activities and things to keep me moving… Are you close enough with your brother than you can see him on a regular basis and try to coax him out to see movies, grab food, go for walks, etc…?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Unfortunately, no. He was in a serious car accident about 5 years ago, broke both his legs. He lived with us for a while during his rehabilitation, and in the end I had to push him to go back to work. I think that’s when this “plan” of his came into being. He moved out to be closer to his job.I see him… Monthly I guess. He’s across the state from me now, and doesn’t call. I call him weekly, and make plans with him. He’s not one to make the first move.

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      • I think you are doing the right things then. Touching base with him, making plans as you can, letting him know he is loved…
        But, it is still a good idea to reach out to some professionals. You would know best how he would take that sort of suggestion, but if you reach out on your own first, they may be able to provide some good ways to broach the subject with him without alienating him….

        Liked by 3 people

    • I don’t know that in that state of mind he would be able to hear anything that you said. My humble suggestion is that you talk to a professional about him and what’s on his mind. It may I understand upset him but he likely is not in the right frame of mind. Get yourself some support as well. I’m very sorry to hear this.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know if he’d let me have a session with his psychiatrist. Or a double session? Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to ask.
        You got it right, I don’t think he hears the things I say, because I’m pretty sure that most of this stems from his love for me. (No guilt there…) He’s a quiet man, and tends not to talk about his feelings.

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      • Could you just call the psychiatrist on your own. If need be he doesn’t have to know right away. This must be so hard on you too.
        It’s not right that he’s putting it on you either. I mean his planned suicide. I think the medical world would step in given the nature of his threat.
        How are you holding up?

        Like

    • Please talk to a professional. You can talk to your brother as well and voice your concern for him. If he is suicidal and has a plan, he may not hear what you are saying. I don’t know him. Every situation is different. His roundabout communication might be a call for help, but not everyone calls for help. If I were his sister, I would tell him that I loved him and will always be there for him, and he better not forget it. Please talk to a professional. My thoughts are with you and him.

      Liked by 3 people

      • He thinks he’s helping me by not allowing himself to become a burden on me when the time comes. He doesn’t take care of himself, either, so the time is limited. I’m okay, I just wish I could get through to him. He’s having money problems now, he says he didn’t save because he never expected to live this long. I think I will call his psychiatrist. Maybe my brother would agree to meet with the both of us. I would bet that his doctor has no knowledge of his plan.

        Like

    • I lost a friend to suicide. He never gave any clue, but it was clear afterward that he had a plan. I wanted to tell him, ‘It’s not the answer. It might be the easiest answer you can think of right now, and while the planning gives relief to you (in that you know the pain won’t last forever), you can’t tell me that this planning was “easy” for you. Let me help, tell me everything, and LET ME HELP. Because once you are gone, everyone that loves you will think the same thing – “if you just could have let us help.” Once you are gone, all other options are closed and we who are left behind feel like failures because we didn’t know someone we love was about to choose to take their life and their incredible importance to us, away.’

      Liked by 3 people

    • I am only just now getting to reading the comments (I admit, I was overwhelmed and turned my notifications off). I am glad the others chimed in with their responses. I agree, let someone else know that has a line into his life like his doctor. The hotlines and other resources also may have resources for you; I was given the numbers for myself when my son made his attempt.

      ((hugs)) please let me know if you ever need anything.

      Like

  9. I’m so glad you lived, you’re a treasured friend I never would have gotten to know otherwise. You have such courage for blogging about this too. I know you’re heart is to help others and I’m sure you’ve done that. I planned to commit suicide when I was 11. I told no one. My grade 4 teacher suddenly took me under her wing and treated me as though I was special. She saved my life. I got to tell her that years later.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Thank goodness for your 4th grade teacher! To think without her we wouldn’t have met… You bring so much light to this world. It is better for your presence.
      Do you have any advice for naptimethoughts? (comment above yours)

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks DJ. I’m very grateful for her. I went back and worked as her T.A. for my high school practicum. I don’t know if she knew back then that I was even suicidal. She’s one of two that saved my life. I was suicidal in my 20’s as well.

        I’m sorry you’ve been through thinking about it too. I’m so glad it didn’t go beyond that. I made a suggestion for naptime . 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I saw, thank you. Felt out of my league on that, but didn’t want her question to go unanswered, especially here, in this forum.

        Yeah, bullies can suck all joy from life… the emotional pain they create makes suicide seem like an okay option at times. But, my family life was so good that I never truly considered it. After college my life spiraled out of control for a time, and I was actually closer then to a plan than when I was younger, but again never really considered suicide directly. The only plan I had was to grab my backpacking gear and disappear into the Sierra mountains (like the guy from Into the Wild before I’d even heard his story, read the book, or watched the movie.)

        Liked by 2 people

      • Anytime. Yes I agree it’s brutal. My bully is also the same one that molested me for years and raped me and terrorized me. He messed me up. He’s one of the reason I planned my death at 11.

        I’m so thankful you had a good family that obviously made a huge difference. Did you ever tell them?

        Liked by 1 person

      • They didn’t know the full extent of my bullying, but they knew I was unhappy, yes. And I do think they kept me actively engaged in things outside of school to make sure I had some moments of happiness. Soccer, scouts, piano… It seems like I almost always had something going on.

        Like

  10. Thank you for sharing this and I’m so glad you didn’t go through with it. Your life is worth living. I’m glad you see it. Please reach out if you need. Please.

    When I attempted, I isolated myself from everyone and chose a weekend where the rest of my family would be gone long enough to leave nothing to chance. I didn’t plan on the shower rod not holding my weight and I failed. Shortly thereafter, “Silence of the Heart” was released on tv. It was about a teen who killed himself. It was so triggering and I was so angry that he succeeded where I did not. Our teacher made us watch it at home and then showed us in class. Someone in class remarked that it was only a story and I wanted to say that no, it wasn’t. I did research papers in HS and college. A+ all around. Write what you know, citations were a formality.

    As an adult, I decided that I would go on the Halloween after my last parent died. It is my favorite day of the year and despite the fact that my mom and I don’t get along well, it wouldn’t be right to burden her. I’m not at that place and plans go awry anyhow. I’ve learned that lesson.

    Thank you again for sharing your story.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. So glad you came out of feeling like this. It’s important that you mentioned this an ongoing struggle – that is so true.
    I’ve been there before and have a lot of friends that have been there too. What you said at the end about getting help should be shouted from the rooftops. This shouldn’t be stigmatized anymore – too many of us have been there. Getting help does not mean you are “weak” or “crazy” it means you are STRONG because you are brave enough to choose to live.
    Thank you so much for sharing this sweetie. I know it’s going to help. I really hope it reaches those who need it most.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I think one of the most frightening things about depression for me is that the times when I most need to reach out to others is the time I am most likely to pull inside and isolate. Luckily, I’ve seen the cycle enough times, and my husband is great about the signals we have. It’s not easy, but it’s also not as bad as it was. Thanks for sharing! It’s good for people to know that there is help.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Reading this now, in light of the recent news about Robin Williams, highlights just how badly depression affects people in different ways. I’m so glad you made that call for help, because the world is a more beautiful place with you in it. Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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