Fighting and surviving your mind every day is exhausting

by Paul Buskey

Suicide. Most people cannot comprehend. You should be grateful if you’re one of them.

I’m happy for you but don’t throw words out like “selfish” and “crazy” to describe someone who has suffered thoughts of suicide. How are you able to comment and pass a judgment if you don’t understand? Have you lived in those shoes?  Thoughts of suicide are most often the result of an illness just as real as a physical one.

Let’s make something clear first. I’m not a danger to myself so please don’t call the cavalry. I’m not looking for sympathy or pity just to raise awareness. And if you have any of these thoughts please get help immediately.

There is something I’ve kept to myself

I have suicidal thoughts on a regular basis. It’s not a cut and dried issue for some of us. A small percentage of us live in this gray area. Having suicidal thoughts doesn’t mean I will do it–my angels are stronger than my demons. They’re more frequent on my depressive cycles but not exclusive to those. This is what my brain tells me. I’ve come to terms with that and accepted that challenge. I’ve had thoughts like this since I was a teenager.

Is it better? Absolutely, but never fully disappears. Am I an active participant in these thoughts? NO.

Thoughts like these are passive. From having Bipolar, I assume. This isn’t something new for me, my doctors are well aware and have tried to find answers with medication which haven’t worked. These thoughts are fleeting, lasting sometimes a couple seconds and come up even on my best days.

At times it’s a stronger pull but I know it’s temporary, but very frustrating. This negative dialogue going on in my head includes self harm.

My first recollection of suicidal thoughts started after I started to drive at sixteen years old. On my daily routes, there was always a spot I picked out where a huge tree or stump was. My past accidents total eight, two directly my fault and I currently wouldn’t be here without a seatbelt. I’ve deliberately unbuckled twice and seriously considered using that tree. They were the only times I was an active participant to those dark thoughts–this is one example of many that my brain is telling me to do.

Over thirty years of dealing with self-destructive thoughts and voices is tiring, so when I hear of someone taking their life I understand the pain and the hurt it took for them to stop fighting. It’s very easy to believe negativity when that’s all you hear coming from inside your own head. I’ve been in that dark hole with no light shining through, it’s scary, lonely and all consuming.

Not long ago I had to have a tooth pulled and it was great because the pain in my mouth distracted me from the pain in my head. Fighting these thoughts daily is exhausting.

How do you escape your mind?

Distractions only get you so far. You can’t block or unfriend to get away. Judging people of what you can’t comprehend is wrong and hurts everyone involved. When you talk about a mental illness in a derogatory way like we aren’t human, you’re part of the problem.

How do expect a friend or family member you love to speak up about their struggles? They surely won’t be coming to you or possibly anyone for support and help. Be the solution for someone, educate yourself if need be but love one another most of all.

To those who are fighting to make it another day, keep it up. I believe in you and so do countless others. Contrary to what your mind is telling you, you’re not alone in those struggles and your life matters. Your voice may be silent but your presence here speaks volumes.

12 thoughts on “Fighting and surviving your mind every day is exhausting”

  1. Paul,
    I commend your bravery and candidness. I have not experienced these thoughts personally but have two nieces who have. It has been really hard to understand, but your post is really eye opening.
    Please know our prayers are with you and we are next door if you ever need to talk or just need a friend. Glenn and I appreciate you so much.
    Thank you for sharing!
    Glenn and Priscilla

  2. I have the thoughts of suicide on a consistent basis lately. It’s a struggle to not feel like a burden. Feeling alone while in a relationship you had hope for.. wondering if, how & when you will surrender to the thoughts & pain. A pain that is more familiar each time & seems to shoot to your gut. Reading about how others work through this pain is helpful. Thank you.

  3. Paul, thank you for sharing your struggle and experience with suicidal thoughts. This is how we learn and become more compassionate as a society, through people like you sharing their truth. This is also how funds are made available for more and better research that will work in helping people during the minutes of suicidal ideation.

  4. This is beautifully written and provides such insight. Anne Moss’s village is grateful you are here to help us understand at a deeper level, Paul. Thank you.

  5. I firmly believe that in retrospect through psychological autopsy my son Daniel silently suffered suicidal thoughts from his mid teens to his completed suicide at 21 (due to a perfect storm). I now have first hand experience of trying to escape my mind from the incessant eternal pain of grieving my child’s suicide. I’m glad you are alive Paul.

  6. Wow, and Thank you. Reading this provides much needed clarity to me about what my son suffers through on a daily basis.
    I applaud you for putting into words what most people suffering, especially young people, have difficulty articulating.
    I’m so appreciative for your honesty and educating words.
    Keep fighting, you are making a difference in others lives for speaking your truth. Your sharing is helping others. Thank you from a Mom who needed to hear this.

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