The Desperate Moments: Suidical
Originally published in
Youth Allied By CFIDS, Spring
like you're standing on the edge of a cliff and just one inch in front of you is
this sheer drop - straight down, and you're just teetering there one deep breath
away from going over." - Sisters: "A Path Through the Snow," NBC-TV
Almost everyone I know with CFS has
about suicide at some point. In the book Hope and Help for Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome, a woman was quoted as saying, "It's hard bucking illness and disbelief
every day. You begin to feel very little desire to continue. I know that I have
gone to bed thinking seriously, 'please God, let me go to sleep and just not
wake up in the morning.'"
All thoughts of suicide, no matter how they
are expressed, need to be taken seriously. Thoughts of suicide are both a wish
for freedom and a cry for help. It is common for people with any chronic illness
to get depressed. Sometimes people with CFS try to ignore these feelings, but
there is nothing wrong with getting depressed. It doesn't mean CFS is not a
physical illness, and it doesn't mean that you're crazy. Depression is a totally
normal reaction to a stressful situation, and having CFS is very stressful.
Although depression makes a person more likely to have suicidal thoughts, it is
possible to have them without being depressed. For this article, I've decided to
talk about four different situations that I feel represent the four categories
that suicidal thoughts fall into. You can probably relate to one or more of
there are suicidal thoughts without depression. These thoughts are more common
than you may think. Nearly everyone, healthy or sick, has them. They often
appear as a passing thought that just pops into your head out of nowhere. These
thoughts can be most dangerous in people who tend to act on impulse. Although
the thoughts are not really serious and you really don't want to die, if you are
the kind of person who acts first and thinks later, you could do something you
don't want to do. Talk to an adult who cares and to your pen pals; they will
understand and may be able to help you deal with it. If these thoughts continue
or become more specific (like if you have a plan), call and get some help
A Mild Depression
there is a mild depression that most of us go in and out of. It worsens at
stressful times, when you're extra sick or sometimes with no apparent reason. It
comes and goes, usually lasting less than a couple of weeks. You can distract
yourself from it and little things can cheer you up. During these down times you
may have an increase in suicidal thoughts. Again, talk to your pen pals and an
adult that you trust. Consider going to a support group. Going to a counselor
may help you find a way to keep your mood more stable, but make sure to find
someone experienced in treating young people with chronic illnesses. Your doctor
or a CFS support group can probably help you find a counselor.
A Deeper Despair
a deeper, longer lasting, more serious depression. This kind of depression can
be expressed in a variety of ways: changes in eating or sleeping habits,
fatigue, feeling sad. All of those can also be symptoms of CFS, though. Because
of that, I use the following criterion to determine if someone with CFS is
deeply depressed: his or her interest in life. If you find that you are losing
interest in things you usually like to do or wish you could do, that is a strong
sign that you have a problem with depression. Also, you may have more intense
thoughts of suicide, including thinking of specific methods and having stronger
If you find yourself in this category you
probably have a medical problem with depression. You should seek professional
help immediately. There are medications that can help you get through it.
Seeking help or needing medication is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of
strength. You are saying, "I will survive this illness, I just need some help to
The Crisis Moments
there are what I call crisis moments: times when your depression is so deep and
thoughts of suicide are so strong that you are in real danger of hurting
yourself. One CYA member told me about her desperate moment, trying to fight the
urge to overdose. She had the pills in her hand. The feelings were so intense
she was scaring herself.
In moments like these, you need help. And
you need help right then! Almost every area has a 24-hour suicide prevention
hotline. CALL!! Its staff can help you through the crisis and put you in touch
with a counselor who can help you. I've been there and I promise you it will get
better. You just have to get through the crisis.
Find Something to Want
dialogue from the TV show Sisters was spoken by a character about her crisis
moment. "I was crazy that night trying to find a way to do it. and I had this
crummy old TV on in the background and I heard that Five Easy Pieces was
starting. And I stopped to look at it, just for a second, and then I started
watching, and then two hours had passed. Then the announcer said that The Last
Picture Show was going to be up next, and I wanted to see that too.
"But, the point is that I wanted something.
Even something as dumb as an old movie on TV. And the next day it was something
else, and the day after that, and the day after that. Until I found myself
actually looking for something to want because I knew that was what was going to
keep me alive."
You see, there is always something to want,
a reason to keep going. Seeking help during a crisis moment is a sign of your
inner strength, of still having - or wanting to have - a reason to keep living,
despite battling CFS and emotions that are difficult to work through.
Trust in your friends who are also fighting
CFS. Turning to counseling or other medical help is not saying that you don't
want to confide in your friends, but that you need more help than they can give.
They will understand when you tell them that your feelings have gotten
persistent or frightening, and they will not let you down. They, too, have
experienced feelings of sadness, frustration or helplessness during difficult
times. Share your feelings and work through them together. By sticking together
we will all be able to survive the bad times. And, finally, never give up!!!
to Poem by Nichole Foster
"CFIDS Suicides Shock YPWCs"