Fighting the suicidal thougths

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared as a column on the National Pain Report.

The pain in my ribs has been particularly horrible the last few days.

I’ve rarely been able to get out of bed or off the couch. I’ve been absent from conversations. And I’ve been trying to sleep whenever I can because it’s the only relief I can find.

I don’t want this life.

I don’t really much care if “God has a plan for me.”

I don’t really care if I’m “still needed.”

And I really, really, really don’t care if I’m supposed to “learn something” from this awful experience.

I started taking Cymbalta about a month and a half ago, and I have to admit that it has curbed the visceral suicidal thoughts that started about 3 weeks after the pain started. The ones I was having on an almost daily basis. The ones I used to wake up with and go to bed with. The ones that used to linger in my head as I’d contemplate things like whether I should try to live through the next week to see the next episode of “The Good Wife,” or whether I should just go ahead and slit my wrists in the bathtub that night.

But even though the Cymbalta has helped with primal urge to end it all, there are still plenty of other suicidal thoughts lingering around.

Reason is enough of a reason to want to kill myself. I ration that if I have to endure this horrible pain for the rest of my life, then I don’t want to live the rest of my life.

I start to think that I might have the horrible misfortune of both never being cured and living for the next six decades. And I come to the conclusion that taking a bottle of pills all at once would be better than bearing that.

It’s hard to explain to people just how quickly pain makes you crazy. How quickly it makes you want to give up.

If I had been asked a year ago how I would react to something like this, I would have assumed everything would have been so different.

I would have thought my faith would have given me the strength I needed to get through it. I would have thought that my friends and my family would have understood just how horrible the pain really is and that they all would have rallied to support me. And I would have imagined that I would have been able to go to a doctor and get some sort of relief.

But I would have been so very wrong.

I can understand euthanasia now. I can sympathize with those patients.

And I can’t help but wonder if some of the thousands of deaths each year caused by accidentally overdosing on prescription pain pills are no accident.

When you’re enduring horrible, horrible pain on daily basis, it’s as if your body is hard wired to assume you must be close to death. When you aren’t though, when you just keep on living, day after day after day, well, it makes you crazy.

But then, just when you’re about to give up, just when you can barely breathe, you inhale a gasp of air.

My brother and my grandma and I were in the living room the other day. And we were talking about my other grandma, on my dad’s side of the family, and how devastating it was when she died. And I turned to my living grandma and said, “When you die, it will devastate this family.”

And my brother turned to me, as if he’d been waiting for the right time to tell me this, because he knew where my thoughts had been, and he said, “Crystal, if you die, it would devastate this family for years. You are the rock that holds this whole family together.”

It’s just enough to air help me breathe a little while longer.

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  1. Hi Crystal. I was thinking about you yesterday night and was wondering how you were feeling, how the pain was, if it was a “good” or “bad” day—whatever that may mean for you. I wish there was some magic out there that would work itself and make your suffering disappear as quickly as it came—no fuss, no frills. Reality sucks.

    Amen to what your brother said. And know that your loss will be sorely felt by so many people who truly love and appreciate all of you. I feel like these words are futile, but I thought I should let you know I’m still here, still supportive, still cheering for you.

    Keep breathing.

  2. Have you looked into Ehlers-Danlos Symdrome? We have lots of problems with ribs subluxing & it’s extremely painful. Just a thought. A good DO (osteopath) can get them back in place. Hugs!

  3. Crystal, I am there. I have had 19 neurological procedures and surgeries and life is a daily struggle to survive. I am three months out of a lumbar reconstruction and I too considered suicide. As I talked with my wife about my thoughts, I realized one important fact: the pieces of Kerry Smith are worth far more to her and our children than none of Kerry Smith. Pieces; that’s where all of us who suffer with chronic pain are. And we all need one another, pieces to make a whole, as we suffer to survive. Continue being a voice of survival in our suffering world. Kerry

  4. Dear Crystal, I’m so glad you didn’t give into suicide. Keep being an advocate for yourself until they find out what’s wrong with you. Get some counseling and/or join a support group. I understand how you feel. I have lived with pain resulting from 6 car accidents, herniated discs, acid reflux, Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. I always hurt. Sometimes I just have to go to bed. Mostly my pain level is such that I can function, even though my activities are limited. Counting my blessings really helps me. I really am grateful for all the good in my life. My heart goes out to you! Please take care of yourself!

  5. People may tell you to try all theses things but I am BEGGING you to sell anything you have of vAlue, beg, borrow or steal enough to try Calmare. It is miraculous and works best on SHINGLES!! I have terrible back pain and it is the only thing that has helped and it WAS WONDERFUL!! For me I will need more treatments and can’t afford hem until insurance and Medicare start covering. But every day there is more and more insurances covering it. I beg you, get rid of your pain and help all of us by writing about your experience. You can help thousands of people and GET your life BACK!!

  6. My wife and I are both in chronic pain and have been for many years. I just don’t think that taking your life is ever worth it. Might be a old forced in Catholic thing from my youth, but inside I think that we just don’t have the right to do that to our selfs or to the ones who love us not that it wouldn’t end this physical pain, but if there is a heaven I want to go there. If we do come back as something else, I would rather be a dog, or deer, then a dung beetle or worm, as if taking ones life has any factor on that.. But ya just don’t know.
    We are trying to follow your blog but have not been able to figure out how, which is depressing in itself as your are a wonderful, interesting, person, and we both would like to help in any way that we can.

    Hang in there theses words from A poet have always helped me


    Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
    As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
    Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
    If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
    for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

    Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
    Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
    Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
    But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
    and everywhere life is full of heroism.

    Be yourself.
    Especially, do not feign affection.
    Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

    Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
    Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
    Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

    You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

    Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
    and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
    With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

    © Max Ehrmann 1927

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