Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Depression Symptoms: Recurrent Thoughts of Death

Sometime last year I was driving on the highway alone and when the possibility of a fatal car crash passed through my mind it did not upset me. That was distressing. When I stopped later, I called a friend. I didn’t tell her the whole story, just that I was sad and needed to talk a minute. Reconnecting with the outside world (highway driving is like cocooning) adjusted my brain enough to shake off the mood.

When I described this episode to Therapist, the phrase “suicidal ideations” came up. Me? Really? Suicide? No way. Labeling my thoughts suicidal ideations alarmed me. It was hard to grasp that the urgency I associate with being suicidal related to me.

I cannot imagine that I would ever end my life. I readily imagined, though, how comforting it would be to go on a long vacation and come back in a year or so when the hard part was over. Therapist told me that a healthy person might feel uncertain, unhappy, anxious, but still that "this is my life so I will get through it." I was so wrapped up in my own crazy world that wanting to disappear seemed reasonable. Wise, even.

I get it now. Depression made my world so small and dark that death seemed comforting. I think that telling someone what I was thinking was the most helpful step. As soon as I saw the concern and anxiety it aroused in a friend, I realized the danger. I still felt like there were a million other people who could, and should, take care of my life instead of me but I held onto the assurance that God had given me to my family and that He was with me through my depression.

To read all the posts in the depression symptoms series, go here.

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Thanks for using this space to share your encouraging words.