NOTE TO READERS: This post discusses alcohol and my suicide attempt. If these are triggers please do not continue reading. Thank you.
Thank you for taking your time to read this post. Whether it was curiosity, or you needed to know someone else is going through what you’re surviving through right now., thank you.
Question: What triggers your depression?
I’m learning what my triggers are. Some are common-sense, while others are covert. Here are the factors that I’ve found bring my depression to the surface. The items that cause Specter to inch out of the shadows and latch onto me, dragging me down into the quagmire.
1. Not taking my medicine. This is the largest trigger that sets off my depression. I recently posted a journal entry while I hadn’t taken my Lexapro (Escitalopram) for three days. The image below shows what I believe to be my silver bullet : Lexapro (20 MG) + Abilify (2 MG). Not taking either part of the combination is bad, but feeling the effects of the lack of Lexapro is much worse. I didn’t have suicidal thoughts, but I did have a heightened emotional demeanor…teary-eyed from things that were spoken in the message in Sunday’s sermon…feeling the urge to cry when my daughter got up from the dinner table. Simple things that haven’t bothered me while I’ve been on this medication since my suicide attempt.
2. Resentment and anger. Emotions are the second largest trigger for my depression. The night I tried to end my life I remember calling my daughter three times at three different phone numbers. No answer. No answer. No answer. Was it her fault? No. Was it done intentionally? I don’t think so. Whatever it was, I internalized it and projected it onto her mother. Resentment crept in and was quickly followed by anger. Within 20 minutes the anger had turned into sadness and I started to cry. Feeling myself going down. Specter slashed at me. He made contact.
3. Alcohol. This is the third trigger for my depression. When the sadness hit that night – when Specter reached out and slashed – I started to drink. Heavily. I filled a tumbler 3/4 of the way with 80 proof rum, then topped it off with Coke. I was done with that in about 7 minutes. By this point I was full-on crying. Except it was so “violent” and forceful that I don’t think you can call it crying. It was something else. The next thing I did was to make another drink and start taking sleeping pills. I “measured” and “set” the belt I fashioned into a noose on my doorknob. Then I wrote a final will and testament, which I put in my pocket. Then I attached myself to the noose and downed the remaining sleeping pills.
I feel the details here are necessary because they show the effects of the alcohol on not only my mood, but my thinking. As folks living with depression, we need to try our best to
Alcohol is not just a depressant. It also negates the effects of the medicine we take as if we’re not taking any at all.
My hope is that by reading this you will identify your own triggers. This is a huge step. It may also be the hardest step. When we get real with ourselves, we help ourselves. We empower ourselves. My triggers may not be your triggers so it is important to know what yours are. Discover what your triggers are by:
- Reviewing your journal entries
- Tracking your moods (use a simple chart in Excel)
- Asking your psychologist for a psychological assessment (my assessments included: clinical interview, review of records, behavioral observations, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory – 2nd edition (MMPI-2), Rorschach Test, and Incomplete Sentences Blank (ISB))
- Asking those who know your history and what you struggle with
So what are the triggers that bring your depression to the surface? What makes your depression worse?
I’m looking forward to discussing your responses. Thank you for your courage in sharing. May peace come to you in your valley.