Why Suicide is Not Selfish

**Trigger Warning**

Well where do I start with this. Maybe first let me start by telling why I feel I’m qualified to talk about this and why I have a very unique perspective.

I have a BA in psychology, I’ve worked in mental health for over 10 years, I have bipolar disorder, I’ve had several depressive episodes and 2 suicide attempts. My father also died to suicide.

Now let me start off by saying I’m not condoning suicide. I don’t think it’s ever the answer and it doesn’t solve anything. I’ve heard someone say “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”. I’m just going to make an attempt at showing you my thought process, and perhaps a similar thought process in others when they make that decision.

One thing that really resonated with me in university while I was studying psychology, was that “mental illness distorts your perception of reality”. (Now depression IS a mental illness which apparently some people don’t know. For some reason depression, and anxiety for that matter, seems to be the more socially accepted forms of mental illness from what I’ve seen).

Mental illness, depression in this case, is almost like a lens that affects our perceptions, feelings, beliefs and eventually behaviours. We all see things through a lens regardless of whether we have a mental illness or not. We believe certain truths. Some people see themselves trough a lens where life is good and good things will happen to them. This affects their perceptions, feelings, beliefs and behaviours. Usually this is me when I’m well. I see the world with optimism and happiness. I love life, love God, I love helping people and serving others. Standing in the rain makes me happy when I’m well. I’m so happy to be present in that moment (because due to my illness there have been times when I have not been able to be present in each moment so I really am grateful and appreciative of that now). Making people happy and making them laugh warms my heart. Interacting with people and learning about them makes me happy. Simple things make me so happy so it’s really not hard for me to stay in that place. I’m a very rational and logical thinker. Close with my mother. She’s my best friend and I would never want to do anything to hurt her.. or hurt any of the people around me. I’m an empath so the thought of hurting others literally hurts me. I believe that although some people do hurtful things, overall the world is a good place and i hope for the best from people. I try to see the good in people. I love animals and they make me smile. I love children and they make me smile. I love my dog and he makes me smile and laugh. I love my family and friends. I’m successful and driven and I’m always striving for more. Generally a happy person.

So now that you know the way I usually am, let me show you a little of my thought process when I’m depressed/suicidal. Let me just make it clear that following description of my thought process is NOT the way I’m feeling or thinking currently!!! Im NOT depressed or suicidal right now! [ when I’m depressed, I usually start focusing on my pain from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse and domestic violence. I fixate and obsess over it. I focus on the evil that’s been inflicted upon me. I think the world is an awful place and if people close to me have hurt me other people will too. The world is not safe. I am not safe. My pain will never end. I feel numb and dead inside anyway.. I’m a burden to my family and they’re better off without me. I’m doing them a favour by leaving them. They must hate me and be sick of me. They’re disgusted with me. I can’t take the emotional pain I’m in. The pain will never end.. never end.. never end.. never end.. I have to do something to end the pain.. I can’t take it anymore things will never change and I’ll be hurting forever. I’m such a failure. I can’t do anything right. People probably laugh at me because I’m pathetic. I can’t take this pain.. can’t take this pain. It will never go away].

That’s hard for me to read but that’s the way I thought. Notice a lot of these things I believed were not true.. but the depression distorted my perception of reality! I believed my pain would never end. That was not true but I believed to to be true. I believed that my family hated me and would be better off without me. That’s not true but I believed it to be so. So eventually I made a decision to attempt suicide not based on the reality of my situation, but based on my distorted perceptions of the world and my life and my situation due to my mental illness.

So my attempt wasn’t out of selfishness. I wasn’t thinking “I’m having a bad day so let me do something that will hurt, destroy and devastate the people around me who care about me” I didn’t believe anyone cared. I thought they’d be better off with out me. That was my perception of reality at the time. It seemed so real! That’s the scary thing. The fact that it seemed so logical at the time to make such an awful and permanent decision.

Since then I’ve had 11 years of therapy. Working through a lot of my trauma issues has really helped a lot. I’ve still gotten into the place of having suicidal thoughts after my first two attempts but I haven’t acted on them. I’ve learned a lot of healthy coping mechanisms. I’ve also learned how powerful my mind is. Like if I sit in my room and start thinking those negative self destructive thoughts, within a few hours I can bring myself down to a dangerous place. Like if I fixate on the abuse and how awful my life has been at times, it just starts this downward spiral into feeling depressed and suicidal. But I’ve learned to redirect my focus in those moments. I’ll play with my dog or go for a walk, talk to s friend, take a shower. Those simple things can stop the downward spiral. Even when I’ve gotten to a place when I’ve had suicidal thoughts I just tell myself “this is the illness making me think these thoughts are rational. It’s not real.” When I come out of it I’m still shocked at how real those thoughts seemed.

So I hope this gives you some insight into the thought process of someone who’s suicidal. This someone anyway.. It hurts my heart when I hear people say it was selfish when a person dies to suicide. All I can do is think of all the pain the person had to be in to make that decision.

So all in all I’m doing very well now. I do have negative thoughts sometimes, but not suicidal ones. That’s progress! I love myself, which I didn’t before so I’m very happy about that. It took years and years of work but I’m doing very well. I have a career in mental health, my own business, happy and healthy relationships and a healthy and rational outlook on life.

If you have depression, suicidal thoughts or negative thoughts about yourself, please talk to someone and get help. It will get better and there are people trained to help you through it. I had suicidal thoughts on and off for 15 years before I had therapy! Please don’t wait 15 years like me. It really is a life and death situation.

Canada Suicide Prevention Hotline

1-833-456-4566

US Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

Peace & Blessings

Emelle Q

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Mediocrity is Unacceptable to Me

So I don’t know if this makes me an ass, but I can’t stand when people settle for being mediocre. Like, I get that not everyone can master every area of their life, and some things take precedence over other things.. but I feel like everyone should, on the whole, be striving to be their best self! Is this too much to ask?!

One thing my grandmother always said to me was “that’s one thing about you, you never give up, you always keep going”.. She admired that quality in me and was proud of me. I’m by no means perfect and there are definitely some areas of my life that need a lot of work, but I’m always pushing forward in some area of my life. Always striving for more in some area.

I know people who year after year, their answer is always the same when I ask what’s new in their life.  The answer is always “nothing”. This frustrates me, saddens me and disappoints me all at the same time. I just want to yell “why is this acceptable to you?!?! Why don’t you want more for your life?!?!?”

I want to surround myself with people who are driven.. who are on their grind! I want to be amazed by the size and audacity of their dreams and accomplishments. This inspires me so much. I want to be around people that will not accept anything from me other than my very best in the way I treat myself and what I expect of myself. Is this asking for too much?.

One of the things that really drives me is, there are a number of reasons why I could not be alive right now.. Reasons why I quite easily should not be here right now. I had life saving surgery at 13. If I had lived in a poor nation the surgery would not have even been an option. I would not have survived. I attempted suicide twice but I’m still here. If that’s not a blessing I don’t know what is. There are a number of other things that are another story for another day. Also I’ve lost 3 friends to murder over the years. Two of them were in their teens. I think wow, they never even made it this far. What right do I have to squander the life that I have?. I feel like it’s an insult to the lives that were lost if I don’t make the best of the life I’ve been blessed with.

Every birthday, I’m not like others who complain about getting older. I’m like “I’m blessed with yet ANOTHER year?! Thank you God I’m so humbled.” I guess it does help that I look much younger than I am lol. I guess that’s the icing on the cake ๐Ÿ™‚

So pick some area of your life. Big or small. Set some goals, long and short term. Keep pushing yourself ahead. Be on you GRIND (do people even say that anymore?.. I’m often behind the times.. I still have a CD player lol).

Peace & Blessings

Emelle Q

 

Hindsight is 20/20

What I’ve learned about myself is that I learn and see things in layers. Like my understanding of a situation may be deeper a week from now, than it is today.. and so on and so on.

I’ve been getting more and more clarity about a recent breakup. In fact, it was the breakup of a relationship that earlier on, I thought would have ended in marriage!. Over time I realized some things. He was not quite as mature as I thought he was.. Not as hardworking as I thought he was.. in fact had very little drive or “grind” as they say. His dreams were just that, dreams. Almost wishes about future fantasies with no real plans, goals or timelines. No plan as to how he would achieve them. He was not self sufficient and independent as I had originally thought. No real transferable skills that he could use successfully in the Canadian workplace. A lot of cultural differences that did not seem to be much of an issue earlier on, but I later realized if we had had children, there would have been a lot of conflict.

Part of the reason I think things took so long for me to see, was because it was a long distance relationship and we initially met online (we did meet up in person eventually). But what I really learned was there are so many things you learn about a person you’re dating by doing so many little things.. things other than telling the person about yourself. Trips to the grocery store, to the mall, walks to the park, travelling together, going to events together and especially, spending time with each other’s friends and family. And dating!. Also there were certain conversations I did not want to have over the phone. Sometimes you want to be in the person’s presence to hear their tone of voice, see the level of eye contact, read their body language and feel their energy. I’m really sensitive to people’s energy and it tells me so much about a person. Tells me things that they’re not saying.

I’m pretty sure, had we been in the same city and seeing each other on a regular basis I would have come to a lot of realizations much earlier on. But I can honestly say I have no regrets! I learned a lot about myself and relationships. If I ever get into another relationship (I’m seriously debating staying single forever.. but not because of this relationship) I will definitely have a greater appreciation for a lot of little things in a relationship that I previously took for granted.

I wish him the best and even pray for him occasionally. I must admit I’m very relieved that I gained more objectivity and clarity in the end. Dodged a proverbial bullet!

I think the important thing is to learn something from any situation you’re faced with and that’s what I’ve done๐Ÿ˜Š

Peace & Blessings,

Emelle Q

Free

I feel so free! The reason for this is due to changes in my work life and a relationship.

Finally I have a good combination and balance between my job and business. However long it takes for me to be in a position to leave my day job and focus on my business full time.. I’m ok with that.

I feel like life is all about becoming your best self so that you can have a positive impact on the world. I’m proud of myself because that’s definitely what I’ve tried to do. I help people everyday in my day job and I will help even more with my business as a life coach.

I’m feeling so proud of myself as I approach my 40th bday. For a long time I felt like I was far behind people that didn’t struggle with mental illness. Other friends had careers and marriages and I always felt like I was lagging behind. As I wrote my bio for my business I realize I’ve been working in the field of mental health for over 10 years! Where has the time gone? I have a career!

I mentioned feeling free in the beginning. A reason for that is I was recently engaged and decided to end that relationship. I just realized I was making far too many sacrifices and it would eventually have smothered me. What’s worse is that I was allowing myself to be smothered and was preparing myself to ignore all of my dreams to let him shine. Well I’m super grateful I realized all of this when I did as opposed to 10 years into the marriage! so proud of myself for choosing me. This is my time to shine!

Get people and things that are not contributing to your greater good out of your life. Make whatever changes you need to make so that you can shine. Don’t let anyone dim your light.

Have a lovely week,

Emelle Q

Full Circle Moments

So here’s the backstory. Over 15+ years ago I worked at a call centre and one of their campaigns was to enrol people for a travel rewards Visa card for a well known bank. I was a student at the time and would always say to myself “one day I’m going to have a travel rewards card like this, and I’m going to be in a place where I’m in a financial position to do some travelling. After I left that job I never thought about the travel rewards card again.

Fast forward 15+ years. I’m now a personal and business client with the very bank whose call centre I worked for. Not only that, the other day they offered to upgrade me to the very travel rewards visa card I used to try to enrol people with!

Then I remembered that I’m in the position that I used to dream about. I wanted to have a career…check… have my own business… check… be in a position to be able to travel…. check (went to Nigeria earlier this year)…. I love myself and I’m happy… check!

I think I’m doing pretty well if I do say so myself.

Have a wonderful New Year!

Many blessings,

Emelle Q

Next Chapter

Last year I kept saying to myself that the first chapter in my life has ended and the next one is beginning. That the pain and trauma I suffered in the past would no longer have such a strong hold over my life. It turns out that I was completely right!

I finally love myself. That’s a large part of why this new chapter of my life is so different from the last. I remember 20 years ago I acknowledged that I didn’t love myself and I was going to do whatever I needed to do, to change that. It took 20 years!! But I achieved my goal. 11 years of therapy later I’m doing so well. Even with the therapy, I never dreamed I would have seen the level of healing that I have received even if I had had a lifetime of therapy.

In the Summer of 2017 God healed my heart in a very profound way. I don’t know how to explain it other than to say that. He also answered some very important questions I had.

I always asked God why I’d had certain experiences. Why I had to go through certain things. Childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence, mental illness and a physical disability. I would ask God, usually out of frustration, why I had to go through all of these things. God revealed many things about that to me that summer. There was so much that I can’t list everything here.. but I will mention some. He told me that the reason that I had to go through those things, is so that I can achieve my purpose. All of those experiences gave me the level of compassion that I need to help and serve God’s people. In me God has planted a seed.. a burning desire in me to help people and this compassion is crucial to my destiny. Those experiences have led me to develop a level of patience and a desire to understand people so that I can help them. I’m really able to relate to people. Even if they haven’t experienced the same kind of pain as me, I can really relate to them. I also believe He also told me I will really be a voice for people who have been through the same things as I have.

In the past I was so closed down and never spoke to anyone about my pain or experiences. I even closed myself off from facing them. Over those 20 years, after I acknowledged that I didn’t love myself, I journaled a lot, wrote poetry and learned to talk about my pain. I learned how to connect with the pain and articulate it. I had a safe place to discuss it with my therapist. Now I feel completely comfortable talking about my life when I do public speaking and it has been transformative for many.

Because I’ve been comfortable talking about it and sharing poetry with people, some people in my life have disclosed to me that they’ve had similar experiences. Some of them had never disclosed it to a single soul. In telling me there was this sense of peace. Like they no longer had to carry this heavy load alone. If I hadn’t done my own healing work, maybe they would have never had that kind of peace.

So, would I want to go through it again? No. But at the same time I wouldn’t change it. All of my experiences, positive and negative, have made me into the compassionate, passionate woman that I am. I feel so driven to help people and I’m finally understanding how my pain and trauma is going to help me do that.

Have a lovely week.

Many blessings,

Emelle Q

Transformational Life Coach!

Well after making reference to it a few times, I’ve decided to tell you what I was referring to in Opportunity of a Lifetime and On the Path to Greatness. I’m currently enrolled in a program to become a Transformational Life Coach!

Now for a bit of the  backstory. I’ve been toying with the idea for over 20 years. That’s when I first heard the term “life coach.” I didn’t know the ins and outs of what they did but the thought of it really appealed to me. For some reason I had it in my mind that my life had to be perfect in order for me to become one. I decided that I had to be at least 50 years old, because I wanted to have a certain level of maturity, and I had to be married with kids when I started. No one told me that this was necessary, but this is what I’d convinced myself in my own mind.

Fast forward, a to a few years ago. One of my good friends told me that one of her friends was studying to be a “transformational life coach” and that I should consider it because she thought I’d be good at it. I’d never heard the term with the word “transformational” on the front, but I was very intrigued. Again I brushed it off because of the rigid criteria I had set for myself. I thought I had to be married with children, and at least the age of 50.

Fast forward to 1 week ago. I was on a website and saw an add for a transformational life coaching program. At first, I kept scrolling past but something inside of me said “Mai, you’d better check it out.” So I did and the rest, as they say, is history! I loved everything I heard about the program! They connect you with mentors who have already established coaching businesses that have made multiple 6 figure incomes. They help you set up a  successful business structure including a website and a proven way of how to attract clients. I love the fact that in my call where they assessed whether I was a good fit for the program, they focused on things like whether or not I had a burning desire to help people… what my vision was for my life… if I wanted to change the world!! How beautiful is that?! The woman I spoke to really reminded me of a very close friend of mine. Everything just felt so familiar. She was warm and had such positive enthusiasm and energy. It was so infectious. She was so supportive and even though I had said no, at first, she still gave me some tips on how I could achieve some of the goals I’d outline for my life.

That whole weekend I couldn’t think of anything else. I researched the company and it’s founder. I checked it’s standing on the Better Business Bureau and read countless reviews. I watched many videos on youtube by the founder. Everything was so on point. I had this strong feeling in my heart and spirit that I had to do this now. Initially I said I would do it, but not until 2020. But my heart would not quit… I had to do it now! And so I did.

I’ve started doing the online lessons in the program. Usually I have difficulty with reading, focusing and concentration as they are side effects from my medication. But ever since I learned about this program, I’ve been able to focus like never before!

What I love about the program so far is, it’s a road map for me to achieve the life that I want on a number of different levels. A lot of the techniques and tools are extensions of things that I’ve already been applying in my life. Even suggestions on how to deal with the negative thoughts I experience from my anxiety.

I’m super excited about what the future holds for me. Even though my current job is not the perfect situation.. now that I’ve taken this step toward my future, it just makes it so much more bearable. Now everyday I’m taking conscious steps toward my future… no matter how small. Eventually all the small steps will turn into the big picture I’m aiming for. My dream will become reality!

Have a lovely weekend.

Many blessings,

Emelle Q