Tag Archives: Suicide

What have you lost?



Whenever I appeared in my counselors office severely depressed he always asked me:  “What have you lost?”  It took me a long time before his answer made sense to me.

Since my father died in August 2010 I have been thinking about loss and grieving.  Even though we were estranged (to put it mildly) up till his death,  I still knew within my soul that my father loved me.  True,  his ways of showing me his love were outside the proper boundaries.  But still,  there was a tie of love that was permanently broken with his death.

Grief is the normal internal feeling one experiences in reaction to a loss, while bereavement is the state of having experienced that loss. Although people often suffer emotional pain in response to loss of anything that is very important to them (for example, a job, a friendship, one’s sense of safety, a home), grief usually refers to the loss of a loved one through death. Quote

My father’s death closed a chapter in my life that brought a sense of freedom.  Which created a lot of confusion and some guilt at first.

Later I remembered that for all those years I constantly juggled two longings in my life: the desire to be reconciled with my parents and the desire to be safe.  The problem was that I could not have both at the same time.  It was an either/or,  a tug of war that continued for 20 years until my father died,  since with his death the possibility of reconciliation has died too.

(My mother and brother are still alive,  but sadly it is not safe to even have a passive relationship.  In actual fact,  there is none.)

Since our family situation wasn’t even close to normal  (something I have only come to fully understand in the process of counseling) and we didn’t really have any relationship to speak of for about 20 years,  how do you grief this kind of loss?

It is even more complicated,  because I did not only lose my father. There are a multitude of other losses tied into our family life.  Some things were not only lost,  I never even had it in the first place.  I lost my innocence as a child,  I lost my childhood,  I lost a mother (who never bonded with me),  I lost a sister,  I lost a brother,  I lost extended family,  I lost safety, I lost hope…..

Sorrows cannot all be explained away in a life truly lived, grief and loss accumulate like possessions.   Stefan Kanfer 


That was the answer to the question my counselor used to ask me.  That is why I have spent such a big part of my life depressed.  And over time every depression grew worse.  And when you think it can’t get any worse… it still did.

When you feel hopeless,  every negative feeling is magnified.  You feel like you are in this eternal place of never-ending,  excruciating pain without any possible escape.  There is only one way out… suicide.

Suicide is not about wanting to die.  It is about escaping the pain.  About not being able to bear it for one day,  one hour,  one minute,  even one second longer.

I personally think that hell is a place where there is no hope whatsoever.

We have a saying in Dutch:  Hope gives life.

It is so freakin’,  totally,  absolutely true!

May you always have hope 🙂

PS  I welcome comments,  however,  this is a piece of my soul,  please handle with care! Thanks.


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My bio: A personal history of my Bipolar Disorder – part 2

This is a continuation from part 1  

I had lived abroad since Summer 1994 being involved in two different social projects.  For most of that time I was hypomanic and consequently achieved very much.  Looking back I also see the down right mean side of that period,  hurting people in the process.  I had sudden anger outbursts that I didn’t understand.  I could make mean and hurtful comments,  not knowing myself why I was acting that way.

Many times I asked for forgiveness and just as many times I received it.  I am very blessed with the fact that during this period I did not lose any relationships,  opposite to my time in college when I did alienate and hurt friends and lost their friendship.

Even during those years I hit an all time low and was depressed for a good year.  Since I had also become seriously ill,  I used the illness as a cover up so people didn’t know I was depressed.  After a year I was able to return to the same project and pick up my work.

The last project involved working with youth in schools and girls on the street.  I was doing way too many things all at the same time.  Suddenly,  on top of that,  I received a letter from my parents in June 2005.  This was such a shock to my system that I literally fell ill.  I had tried several times to bridge the gap between us,  but every time it was made very clear that no contact was desired.  So this was like a bomb shell.

Together with some other circumstances it caused a severe burn-out.  A stay in America for 3 months in 2006 turned into more than three years.  I am very blessed,  however,  with my counselor who has been so willing to support me over all those years,  before and after my diagnosis.  Even now,  since my sudden return to my home country the Netherlands in Summer 2009,  we continue our sessions over Skype. 

Those years between 2005 and 2010 have been excruciatingly difficult and painful.  I have lived through many difficulties (including a nomadic lifestyle) during those years,  together with working through past trauma’s and trying to find ways to deal with my bipolar traits. 

I had been very suicidal for one and a half years,  even before my trip to the States.  I had concrete and detailed plans where I would not be found alive.  It was not so much that I wanted to die,  it was simply that I could not continue to live in such pain and despair. 

The only reason I am still alive and kicking today is because the Lord saved me from committing suicide.  I can not tell you how He did it,  because I don’t know,  just that He did.  And to tell you the truth,  I wasn’t even grateful in the first few years!!!

At some stage I started to understand that  ‘being suicidal’  is part and parcel of BD.  It is not part of  ‘me’  as such.  In the process I came to realise that I have a choice in how to respond and at some point  I decided not to entertain thoughts of suicide as a way out any longer.  This doesn’t mean that thoughts of suicide don’t pop up at times,  of course they do.  But I am able to handle it,  it doesn’t endanger me anymore. 

I am glad to say that by now I am overall glad to be alive.  For the first time in many years I am looking forward to the future.  I have plans and dreams and there is a live waiting for me to live.  I am committed to live that life,  with bipolar traits and all,  to the best of my ability!

Picture courtesy of StrangeCosmos


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