11/25/18 #SameHere Hero: “Carla”

Today’s #SameHere🤙Hero Story is a heavy one – I’m not going to sugar coat it.


“Carla” talks about a topic we haven’t discussed much: a relationship with religion, when suicidal ideations become ever so strong, that even against a person’s strong beliefs, they can’t tame the thoughts & even go through with an attempt at their life. Bc of some of the details shared, I did want to issue a trigger warning. The story has a happy ending & some great advice, but the topic is graphic & heavy, & while anonymous, Carla’s decision to share is very brave & selfless.


“I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 as a young adult & began taking Lithium Carbonate on a daily basis. Once my medication was adjusted to the proper dose, I felt stable & lived a pretty ‘normal’ life. I worked, fell in love and got married. I believe in God & studied the bible faithfully, which kept my outlook on life very positive.


After some time, however, I was feeling very rundown & was suffering from constant brain fog, so my endocrinologist ordered some tests & I found out that I had hyperparathyroidism, which causes high calcium levels in the blood. He scheduled me with a surgeon to further diagnose the issue. The parathyroid glands are 4 little glands behind the thyroid & are about the size of a grain of rice. Further tests revealed that I needed surgery. The only job that the parathyroid glands have is to regulate our calcium level. I had to have 3 ½ of my glands removed.


The surgeon recommended that I change the medication (Lithium) that I had been taking for many years because it had the potential to cause hypercalcemia (higher than normal levels of calcium in the blood). During the transition from my initial medication to the new medication, I started to have suicidal thoughts. I am a believer & I knew it would be wrong to act on those thoughts, but the thoughts of suicide were persistent.


I told my husband that I was having suicidal thoughts; but that I would never do it & he believed me. I also told the health care provider that was monitoring the transition to the new medication the same thing. He asked me some questions & felt that the suicidal thoughts were temporary & would stop once I was completely on the new medication. I felt compelled to take my own life. I talked to my minister & told him that I was thinking about suicide. He asked me if it was the change in medication & if those thoughts would stop. I said yes because that is what I was told would happen. I felt like nobody believed that I would act on my suicidal thoughts, but I could not stop thinking that I had to.


I started thinking of different ways to take my life & rationalized that because I am born again, I could not lose my eternal life. I considered cutting my wrists in the bathtub but then decided that it would be way too messy. I went & sat in my car in the garage, started it up & thought about how that method would be very final. I didn’t really want to die & I knew that I probably could not be revived from carbon monoxide poisoning. I finally decided that I would take a drug overdose. Once I made that decision, I felt a sense of calm because I knew how I was going to end my life.


At the same time, I was hoping that someone would find me in time to save me. I just felt that killing myself was the only option that I had & it was all I had been thinking about for the previous 3 days.


I am very thankful that God intervened & worked in the hearts of my friends so that they knew something was wrong. They called my husband at work & he came home & found me unconscious & called 911 & I was rushed to the hospital. I spent 2 days in the Intensive Care Unit because all the medication I had taken had to be flushed out of my body. My husband & I met with my therapist the day I was released from the hospital. I still have a therapist today & I went back on Lithium immediately. I am feeling very stable & very thankful to be alive.


When I was growing up, nobody spoke about ‘mental illness.’ It was something to be ashamed of & not discussed openly with casual acquaintances nor most other people. I know now that there is no shame in talking about wellness & seeking the treatment needed to live a productive, fulfilling the life of helping others.


I never imagined that I would think about taking my own life, let alone attempt to do it. I felt embarrassed & ashamed at first, but I have a wonderful support network of great friends that stood by me & loved me through the first few weeks after my overdose. It was recommended that I not be left alone for at least one week, so my husband took time off work to be with me. When he had to return to work, a couple of our closest friends spent time with me during the day so that I wouldn’t be by myself.


I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 decades ago & I always take my Lithium. I have had several different therapists throughout the years who have helped me through any challenges. My family is supportive & loves me unconditionally & I can say the same for my husband & a couple of close friends that know what I went through with the medication change.


Having a couple of prayer partners has helped me stay focused on the healing power of God and His Word. My husband is a believer as well & he prays for/with me almost daily. I also eat a ketogenic diet, which is very healthy for the brain & the body, & I like to do yoga.


I have only shared my story with my husband & one other close friend. My belief is that sharing my #SameHere🤙Story will help someone that might be having suicidal thoughts get the help they need. Talk to someone & if they don’t believe you, keep talking to someone else until you get someone’s attention who will help.”

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