Suicide within the Chronic Migraine Community
The content includes information related to mental and emotional distress and it might be upsetting to some people. If you or someone you know have thoughts of suicide, have attempted suicide, or experience emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1–800–273–TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat. To get general information on mental health and to locate treatment services in your area, contact SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline – 1–877–SAMHSA7 (1–877–726–4727).
Suicide is one of those topics that seem to have become so taboo that nobody wants to discuss it. The tragic reality is that suicide is not only an issue within the chronic migraine community or even just with chronic pain sufferers in general because it also affects a staggering 22 veterans a day and many other people from various walks of life. I will never criticize anyone for decisions they make or their even their respective beliefs on the subject, whether I agree with them or not. Unfortunately I have heard some individual’s view points and so strongly disagreed with them but everybody has their own thoughts and ideas.
My thoughts of suicide
Every time I hear about someone that has gone on for as long as they could take the pain until they could simply no longer go on, my heart breaks. Whether I agree with their decision or not, it breaks my heart because I too have gone through times where even I considered it. In my case, at the time, I felt as though I would be better off as well as my friends and family. There would be no more pain on my part, no more disappointed for family or friends because I had to cancel plans at the last minute because I felt overwhelmed by a bad migraine, and finally I felt as though I was more of a burden to people than a blessing.
So…… what changed?
I was so young when all of this started for me. While trying to finish my degrees, I wanted to find myself as well. I had a few relationships, some were good and others were not so good. I met a person that I had no idea would eventually become my husband a few years later. Our relationship grew into something special. I found that I was going to bed at night thinking of him. I looked forward to seeing him because we could enjoy each other’s company no matter what we did. Even if I had a horrible migraine, we would still spend time together lying on the couch or in the bed. He would sit or lay with me and hold me close to him as a way to show me that I was not alone. A result of the way he treated me, was that I began to re-evaluate things. I started to see that, if I chose to end my own life, it would only end my pain. I began to see that in ending my own pain, my other half, as well as my family and friends would have the pain begin for them. This realization became more and more clear every day. I am not even sure when exactly it happened, but at some point, suicide stopped being an option. It sopped being the thought that occurred to me when I was in pain. There was nothing magical about the change in my thinking. It was just something I realized had changed.
Losing someone who mattered to so many
Within my work with the non-Profit group Chronic Migraine Awareness, I became friends with a girl not too much younger than myself. In her, I saw the person I was before I met my husband. We had many conversations and I prayed it was helping this young lady in any amount, no matter how small. I wanted her to know she was not alone, even though those of us who had grown so close to her were not physically there with her we care for her. The day her mom informed us that this young and beautiful lady took her life shook my world. Not only because this could have easily been me but because the world will never know the impact that this young lady had on so many people within our group and could have had on the world. Most unfortunately, she will never know how much she mattered to so many people and just how many people’s lives she touched in an unimaginable way. Despite how much the medical community failed this beautiful girl, her mother is one of the most impactful advocates for the migraine community to this day.
My hope for others
Each and every one of us has to live our lives the best way that we can. Each of us deals with the challenges that we face in our own way. Those of us who live in chronic pain have to figure out a way to hold on to the world. Sadly, we each have our own breaking point and all that we can hope is that when we hit that point there is somebody there to pull us back from the ledge, someone or something to tether us to this world. My hope for anyone who reads this article is that they decide to keep fighting. I want them to keep fighting with the hope that one day they will find a cure and that things will get better.
Have you found your motivation to keep fighting or are you still looking for yours? Has your life been impacted by a suicide of another person?
When it comes to planning vacations or other events where travel is required, how much does migraine factor into your decision-making?