Feeling Suicidal? Change the Channel.

Things have been going in a dismal spiral that has been threatening to turn into a full-blown tailspin.  For the last three days I have ruminated night and day about death: fervent wishes for a speedy natural death, and in the absence of that, turning to my old faithful suicide plan, painless, tidy, nothing to clean up and nobody’s trauma.

There is no good reason for this, if you discount the deep spell of depression.  Here I am in the Holy City of Jerusalem at the holiest time of year, and especially now that it’s sukkot:  the happiest time of the year for us Jews.  So what’s the deal?

OK, so I have had to move twice in two months because of the bedbug plague that is sweeping the city.  Bedbugs get me down.  They give me more than the creeps, little bastards sucking your blood all night and hiding out in your underwear drawer during the day!  Chutzpeh!

I had the second apartment exterminated three times, each time involving leaving for 10 hours, then scrubbing the floors and all the surfaces multiple times so as not to poison myself and my dog.  Nevertheless I have had a nasty headache for weeks, which has gone away after moving to the third apartment which so far (please G-d) does not have bedbugs like the first two.

Along with all the other bedbug mitigation work, I have to wash and dry everything over and over.  Right now everything I own is on the roof baking in the sun (they can’t stand heat and drying), which was fine until it rained the other night.  I have not had the strength or ambition to climb back up on the roof and undertake damage control.

So circumstances are getting me down, yes.  It’s an overlay on the bipolar depressive phase.  But it could be deadly, because just a few hours ago I was planning when and where.

And then I broke my policy of strict isolation (because when I’m like this I am such a zombie, flat affect, flat voice, no reactions) that it freaks people out and is very unpleasant for me.  And if they’re people I like, I might just burst out crying and that just makes things worse.  So isolation it is, and yeah, I know, it’s not good.

So this evening a very special event was planned in my congregation in honor of this day being the passing of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, in the year 1810, who was a revered spiritual leader, and is the guiding spirit of many members of our congregation.  I had to go.  I wanted to see everybody, hear what the rabbi had to say (even though I only understand about every third word of his Hebrew) and generally be with my peeps.  I did not set myself a time limit: if I got uncomfortable, I gave myself permission to leave at any time.

Not only that: since my Hebrew birthday falls out tomorrow, I booked myself a massage tonight.  Yeah.

When I got to the party I was feeling pretty low and didn’t know if I would be able to handle it.  But there was singing and someone was playing a djembe (African hand drum) badly, and I saw another djembe that didn’t have anyone playing it.  Now, I happen to have studied djembe for four or five years, and played with an African dance troupe.   I have stopped playing because of severe issues with my hands, but since I was planning to die I didn’t care if I fucked up my hands more so I picked up the free djembe and warmed up quietly, getting the feel, and then the old feeling came back and I popped right back into the common West African dance rhythm BADA bada BADA bam, working the bass and the slaps and tones and rim shots just like old times.  And for some reason, I didn’t break blood vessels in my hands or hurt my two bad wrists or any of that.  And feeling the groove of the people singing and getting underneath the inexperienced drummer and giving him a boost so he could ride my wave was intoxicating.

I forgot all about suicide.

Then I went and had a 90 minute massage.

Now I’ve taken my meds and am going to bed, with a lot to think about.

I’ll think about it in the morning.  At Tara.  Or maybe in the Old City.

Previous Post
Leave a comment


  1. G. Austin

     /  September 22, 2013

    Just hang on. There is no such thing as a “tidy” suicide. It leaves a big unbearable hole in everyone’s heart that will be open for the rest of their lives, until it bleeds them dry. Tidy, no, more like a nuclear disaster. Accept love, accept if from everyone, me and yourself.

    I send you wishes for strength. And much love and peace.

  2. 52milespermonth

     /  September 22, 2013

    My brother has bipolar disorder and struggles with depression. He is so unbelievably loved by so many people. The idea of not having him in my life and the lives of his friends is a painful thought. I have always feared that his depression takes him into the darkest places.
    I chose to follow your blog because I think you have a very important story. You are loved. You are an important person. I read your blog because it helps me understand my brother. Thank you for being a special person and I hope that you find peace tonight.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m sorry your brother struggles with similar issues. The pain is overwhelming at times. I know you must be so afraid for him when he is in his dark places. I hope he is able to hang in there for you, if not for himself.

      Thanks for telling me that I am loved and important and that I help you. That really does help me, as I don’t really have family or friends who would be much affected if I left.

      Thank G-d I’m feeling better today, and I hope I’ll be on the up-side as long as possible.

      Take good care and blessings to you–


  3. Those three words, change the channel, are so effective. That is a coping mechanism that has really been helping me.

  4. savemefrombpd

     /  September 23, 2013

    Music therapy 🙂
    I’m glad it helped you to get out of the bad headspace even if it’s for a little time.

    Sorry you are going through a real hard time. The suicidal frame of mind is hellish. I know.

    Keep going and try to stay connected to people. I’m trying too also even though a bit of isolation sounds good to be honest.

    Ve’yom huledet sameach! Ad’meah ve’esrim. May you recover, have health, happiness and all that you ever dream of.

    B’ahava xx

    • Amen, כן יהי רצון. Right back atcha!

      I went and got some gat juice from Uzi-Eili the Etrog Man in the shuk, mesameach ha’lev, and it seems to be working much better than the Lamictal (Lamogene here). So I called up a few people and invited them to have a birthday party for me in the sukkah, cake and ice cream and liquor. See, I am reaching out. Everyone is invited. You too.

      • savemefrombpd

         /  September 24, 2013

        That’s lovely. I hope you had a great time. We’ve got to do these things. Live a bit. Get out of our own heads. Well done you for doing that 🙂

        Hey, we may just be neighbours! I don’t like talking about which country I am in and whereabouts but I know that we are in the same city at least. I just blog/post about it on my blog really. I’d be WAY too narrowed down and people could work out who I am!

        You can read on my blog about the charity I am going to that has a group meeting every 2 weeks and more social things – Maybe you’d like to come too!? It’s not in English but most people speak English anyway so I get a translation here and there.

        Maybe I’ll bump in to you one day! Maybe sometime in the future hey? x

        • Well really we should at least meet for coffee. Why don’t you email me moxadox@gmail.com and see if that’s possible? I have to go to the States for what looks to be a long time, leaving Oct. 8. Would love to meet up and chat, if you are comfortable with that. Chag Sameach! PS the pure gat juice disagreed with my tummy, in the end :-/

  5. Eva

     /  September 23, 2013

    Alone, depressed and suicidal thoughts, yes that is me right now. There is no one here I can talk to. The isolation is bad but being with people is so tiring. I am sorry you feel or felt like like that, but it’s kind of comforting to know it is not just me … I thought I had got somewhere with this struggle, but I am back in the pit. And I am tired of struggling to get out. I always went on thinking things would get better, but it seems there is too much damage. It’s a relief to say that. Thank you

    • Eva, I am so sorry you’re down in the black pit. I’ve been there much of my life. I know that impenetrable darkness and pain that seems endless, unbearable. Are you safe, Eva? Do you have a therapist, and if so, does s/he know you’re that far down in the black pit? Your tone has me concerned for your life. Please reach out, and if necessary, go to the hospital. You are welcome to email me privately at moxadox@gmail.com. Please keep breathing.

  6. Terri

     /  September 24, 2013

    I’m just too exhausted from ending up in the same place over and over. The channel always seems to come back here. Yes, I know in the next few days I’ll probably buck up and connect with people, but the knowing that I’ll be back here again is becoming really awful. I don’t think it’s selfish for the mentally ill to take their own lives, I think it’s compassionate relief. I even contacted the association in Switzerland about it……..they are working on legislation to help us. Believe me, I so look forward to the ‘terminal diagnosis’ or someone just inserting an IV in my arm. I’m done, so done with all this. I just don’t see the point of endless suffering.

    • I hear you and understand where you’re coming from. I feel like that a lot myself, and have for at least 40 years. Why do I keep on keeping on? I don’t know. At this point I think it’s because death is so final, and life is so uncertain, that I keep on hoping that if I wait another second, another minute, another hour, things will shift even a little so that the elephant will maybe get off my chest and let me breathe.

      I had over 200 TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) treatments between 2006-2010, and that totally changed my life. My depression scale went from off the charts horrible to nearly nothing. I’ve had three rounds, about two to three years apart, because that’s how long the solid remissions last. It’s apparently time for me to go back for another round.

      Have you tried TMS? It’s not at all like ECT (thank God). It’s been literally a life-saver for me, because before that all I could think of was designing my own “suicide machine” involving IVs and such….and I so, so understand your desperation to just get the pain over with. And yes, it would be a breakthrough to define treatment-resistant depression as a “terminal diagnosis,” since that is, in essence, what it is.

      Please think about trying TMS, if you haven’t. I spent my last dollar on it, and it helped me so much that I was even able to go back to work a few hours a week afterward. I need to go back now, myself, and have another round. It’s incredible how it lifts the black cloud and kicks the elephant out.

      Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing from time to time, will you?

  7. I love change the channel. I think that is what I have been trying to do myself. I have been too soul exhausted to interact on WP for the last couple months. I let my blog ride on pre-scheduled posts and I just drifted. But I have been trying to reconnect, rethink, change that stupid channel. Luv it.


What's your take?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: