One of the hardest things for me with coming down on Cymbalta is when old ghosts or tapes or whatever you want to call “old thought patterns” pop up for me.
One of the most damaging old thought patterns for me is the one that goes like this:
“I am not doing enough to be deserving of the resources that I take from the world. Someone else could be living a more virtuous life than me and making the world a better place using the same air that I’m breathing, water I am drinking and using to bathe, and other resources I am taking from the land and money I am using. I don’t deserve to live, being such a selfish, lazy person. I deserve to die.”
This thought pattern was the one that landed me in the hospital in early 2003, the first time that I was fairly certain I was going to commit suicide. It has resurfaced since hitting the 50 mg mark of Cymbalta. And hard. It runs through my day like a CNN ticker.
But I know it’s not right. It’s just a thought, and thoughts are not truths. If anything it is a call to action: a call to service in the name of my fellow human being.
It is not a great big neon sign above my head blaring that I am not worthy of life, rather one above my heart saying that I am compassionate and giving to everyone but myself.
But it troubles me that it resurfaced. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I’m chemically hardwired for depression.
So what do I do about it? How do I cope with this type of messed up suicidal thinking?
- I remember that animals do not need to prove their worth to be alive — they simply live, and that at my core, I am an animal that thinks, like all humans.
- I recognize the dark thought for what it is: not a reason to die, but a reason to do community service.
- I remind myself that I am already in service to others, waiting for kittens to foster, and that I am putting together a Zazzle store for the Ovarian Cancer Society in Memphis and am making them a website, and that I am not a bad person.
- I rationalize against the thought to wrestle it to the ground. I prove myself wrong about being selfish by showing how kind I can be.
- I admit my lack of control over my thoughts and over when I will die and allow myself to feel that vulnerability in its fullness, and then the thought can pass.
- I give thanks to God for what I have through Gratitude Rampages and prayer, and I show my thankfulness to those in life by being a good friend
- I forgive myself for the abusive, bullying thought that I should kill myself. I cannot control my thoughts, but I can control what I do with them.
- And then I move on with my day, repeating this process as many times as necessary until it stops.
I will not be taken down by self-judgment. If anything, it’ll just give me reason to become a better Rae.