Always thinking about suicide
Hello, and thanks for helping. I'll sum up all the things I think might explain why I am the way I am:
Before the age of 8, I had been molested by 3 different men. Two were family members, and one was my mother's boyfriend at the time. When I told my family, no one believed me except my mother. They would ask me to tell others that I was lying or had made it up in order to avoid conflict.
My last two boyfriends were borderline psychopathic, one more than the other. The most recent one made me stay the phone with him for an hour while he talked about killing himself. I would sobbingly beg for his safety, and he would tell me he didn't think he could last through the days we were apart. He doesn't have emotions. I spent 7 months of my life with him, and he was always shallow and fickle when trying to explain his "feelings". He let his own mother die. I can see a coldness in his eyes when he looks at someone else going through pain. He makes up illnesses for himself. He has a terrible work ethic and frequently takes days off.
But that isn't the point. Sorry to ramble. Now on to the question I have. I'm quite confused when it comes to myself. I am an 18-year-old female, with a good amount of both opportunity and hopelessness. I can remember days where I would sit and contemplate the idea of suicide. As the years went on I slowly, very slowly, came closer and closer to the act. When I was younger, I would hold a knife to my stomach or throat. When I got older, I would lay pills out in front of me with a glass and just stare. Now, I will go so far as to take a couple pills, but I stop myself before I take too many. I'm worried that when I grow older, I will be taking more than just a few.
Suicide almost seems like a reprieve. The only thing that's stopping me is the love of my mother. I have almost made it up in my head that I'll finally be able to take all of the pills once she has passed.
In essence, there isn't anything wrong with my life right now. But underneath, I have dream after dream of the possibility of ending it all but I wake up before it happens. Usually. Once, someone else shot me in a dream, and I quite enjoyed being a ghost.
Another thing that bothers me is violent images that show up in my head sometimes. Terrible pictures of carnage to organic beings, like people, horses, dogs. I won't go into further detail but I can't push these images away. I always think there's someone in the closet, someone right behind me, and at any moment, my life will end. I have to tell myself that my soul will be safe no matter what in order to calm myself down.
Every day I think about jumping off the water tower. I'm afraid that my decision to kill myself will come calm, smoothly, and just in such an order that it will be easy to get done. I wake up thinking about suicide sometimes.
Again, thanks for the help. It helps more than anything to get it out and have it there for someone to read. I can't tell anyone else about this.
The way you set out your question, I can see that you understand the links between the childhood sexual abuse and your current suffering, including becoming attached to inappropriate boyfriends.
When you were a little girl, your spirit was violated. Control over your own body was taken away from you, and then you were not even believed, and people who should have loved and cared for you put pressure on you to sacrifice your truth for the welfare of other people. This had a very complex mixture of effects upon you. One of them was anger, and rightly so. But, you were not allowed to show this anger, to act on it. You were forced to keep the secret, and the anger has stayed there. It is not the anger of an 18-year-old young woman, but the anger of a hurt little child. So, it shows itself in those images and dreams.
Another component is that although in your rational mind you know you are a good person, the message you got as a little kid was the opposite: "You evil destructive liar, how dare you accuse people of doing horrible things to you!" Reason and rationality have nothing to do with our deep inner feelings. Your deep inner feeling is that you don't deserve to live, you are bad, and you need to be punished. That's why you have been consumed by suicidal thoughts, that's why you have punished yourself in various ways including allowing yourself to be emotionally abused by boyfriends. At some level, you felt that you deserved such punishment.
Does all this make sense?
If I could sit down in the same room with you, I would help you to go back, as an 18-year-old visitor, to that poor abused little girl. My personal preference is to use hypnosis for this, but other methods work too. Perhaps you can even do this unaided, though I suggest you have your mother present for comfort and security.
Close your eyes. Breathing softly, relax your body. Visualize some lovely place where you feel safe. Here is a nice one: you are in the back of a rowboat, very comfortable. See the blue water, the sky, plants on the shore, birds. Hear the wind, smell the scent of fresh water. Your mother is at the oars, so you know you are safe.
Holding this feeling in your mind, go back to one specific episode in your childhood when you were harmed. This could be when you were disbelieved and told you were lying, and at a different time, it could be when the sexual abuse was being done to you. Watch from the outside as things happen to the poor little girl, and also be that little girl again. See how she is without power, not responsible for the evil being done to her. She is blameless. When you reach the end, replay the episode in your mind, again and again and again, until it is just a story without any emotional load. That will happen.
Then, you, the 18-year-old, gather the little girl onto your lap. Hug her. Kiss the top of her head. Tell her that you believe her, you love her, and you will always be there for her.
You will probably need to do this for more than one episode. It is much easier if you are working with a therapist you trust. But even then, the work of healing has to be done by you. The therapist is only a guide, and a source of emotional support. In the meantime, some first aid:
Whatever thoughts, impulses, emotions, dreams, images come to you, they come unasked. They feel like commands, but they are only invitations. You know that, because you have been declining these invitations.
These inner events are not real. They are only things that go on within your mind. They are neither true nor false, they just are. Accept them. Don't argue with them, because that gives them more power. They are there, OK, they are there. They feel awful, but they are not real, just inner leftovers of something that once happened, in the past.
Instead of obeying them, or being tempted to obey them, or struggling against them, just accept them, let them play out on the stage of your mind without paying them attention, and do something good instead. This could be some vigorous physical exercise, enjoying something beautiful, doing a creative activity, or an act of kindness for someone.
It's a pity you did not leave an email address. If you read this, please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org and we can continue our conversation.
This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit: http://anxietyanddepression-help.com