Ask the Question. Ask the Direct Question.

I was heartbroken to hear of the suicide death of Anthony Bourdain.   I loved his shows about exotic cultures, food, and everyday life in faraway countries.  He always seemed so happy and had a life anyone would envy — traveling all over the world and writing about it for a living is my idea of heaven!  Many people would say the same thing about fashion designer Kate Spade, who also committed suicide earlier this week.

Depression and suicide doesn’t discriminate and can affect even those who seem to have great lives. We just don’t know what sort of inner demons Bourdain (and Kate Spade) struggled with.

If you struggle with depression or have suicidal thoughts or ideation, please reach out and talk to someone you trust. Don’t keep your depression a secret — it’s a medical illness, not something to be ashamed of.

Peace from Panic

(Trigger warning: this post discusses suicide. If you need help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800)273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line in the U.S. at 741741)

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This morning I woke up to the tragic news about chef and travel host, Anthony Bourdain. Death by suicide.

Heartbreaking. And after the shock earlier this week, the suicide death of designer Kate Spade.

My husband and I love to watch Anthony Bourdain’s show on CNN, “Parts Unknown.” He was an amazing storyteller. He traveled to both popular and remote places around the world to get his stories. My favorite episodes were when he visited unknown villages, and I learned about another culture’s cuisine and way of life.

In his interesting, quirky, and cool way, Anthony would sit with locals and have in-depth conversations over a meal. People opened up to him. He had a special way of delving…

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Guest Post (by Anonymous): Thoughts About Suicide and Selfishness.

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The following is a guest post from another blogger who kindly asked me if I would post this.  She is hesitant to link to her blog here, since her blog tends to focus on much lighter content, but still wanted to share her thoughts about this dark subject that’s a real issue for so many people who feel like all hope has been lost, as well as the people who love and care for them.     This blogger is not suicidal, but has been in the past.  I think most of us have considered it as an option at some point in our lives.   We need to stop judging them for it!   It isn’t helpful.

Thoughts about Suicide and Selfishness.

By Anonymous.

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The word itself can be quite triggering to some people… It is taboo and disturbing. What better proof of that, than the fact that I didn’t find the courage to speak out loud in my own blog?

Suicide is something that makes people uncomfortable. One shouldn’t even think about it. It scares, especially if you’ve had depressive episodes in the past. Doesn’t thinking about taking your own life mean you might be thinking about actually doing it?

I don’t think so. I don’t think you have to be a professional, working on serious research to give it a thought or two. I know a lot of people think about it, but just don’t share their thoughts. I am willing to open that door today. But I don’t encourage you to keep reading if you are not comfortable with the subject.

I’d like to point out that I am no professional about the matter. I am not a doctor, or a psychiatrist. I’m just a woman, who went through severe depression at some point in her life, and who had to deal with the idea of ending her days. I’m just the close friend of a good man who did take that step while he was living “The Life.”  But I think my view is worth being shared all the same. The following are just opinions, that you might agree with, or not.

From my experience, most people seem to see suicide as a cowardly act. You’ll often hear the classic “He chose an irreversible solution to a temporary problem”. But when you talk to someone who has just lost a loved one to suicide, the first thought resembles more “How could he do this to me?”

As a society, we tend to blame people who commit suicide of robbing us from someone we cherish. How dare that person be so selfish, that they would choose to leave their family and friends mourning them behind?

When I look back those dark days when I struggled between staying one more day or putting an end to my misery, I see things quite differently. I remember how much I thought about all the people that love me. Going through depression doesn’t mean forgetting your surroundings. If anything, those people were the only reason I hesitated. Had I been truly alone, I would have jumped in a second.

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But I didn’t want my mother, my father and my brother to have to mourn me. Even if I seriously thought living without me would be a good thing in the long run. I knew no letter, no matter how long or how well penned would get them to understand I was right. No matter what I’d leave behind, they would end up suffering. And I could not stomach that.

I lived so they wouldn’t suffer. As simple as that. I ached and fought my demons, day by day, night by night, just so they wouldn’t have to wonder why I chose to rest, at last. Even to this day, I sometimes wish there were words that could explain the pain that rips my very soul when depression hits.

Mental distress is as painful if not worse than physical pain. People who haven’t felt it can’t imagine how real the hurt is. It is not “just” a matter of dark thoughts you can chase away or wait to see go away. And although some people can go through therapy or use medication to make the pain lessen, I believe some others will suffer all their lives.

In some countries, laws give the possibility to people suffering from chronic physical diseases that leave them with no quality of life to choose to end their life with doctors’ help. It is even considered an honorable way to leave this world. I agree that people shouldn’t be forced to live, when the suffering is too much to take. We put down our pets so they won’t have to go through unbearable pain, why should we force people to put up with agony?

I am not encouraging suicide. I think it is a terrible way to die. To hurt so much that you’d rather face mankind’s worst fear is horrible. But I don’t understand why we still tend to blame those who get to that point. No one would blame a cancer patient for losing their fight against that illness. Why do we do so, with mentally ill people?

“They should have asked for help!” you might think…. Which doesn’t make sense to me either. Would you blame your mom for dying from an undiagnosed heart failure?

Some people struggling with mental pain do seek help. But from my experience, a lot of doctors don’t measure the depth of the problem. They can’t see it on a scan, a physical exam, or on an X ray. It is not really their fault, but treatment is often lacking, even if people reach out for help.

I think my point here is just that maybe we should consider suicide a loss like that of any other disease. Families and friends shouldn’t have to deal with shame, and shouldn’t have to play the blaming game. The deceased should be able to rest in peace…

Just rest in peace.

“Back from the Edge”–video about borderline personality disorder

Here is an excellent and informative video featuring three people who suffered and were successfully treated for their BPD. Marsha Linehan, a psychologist who also had BPD and developed DBT therapy for borderline patients, is also featured, as well as Otto Kernberg, an psychologist who specializes in NPD and BPD.

BPD is best defined as a severe lack of a sense of self which has its roots in abuse and often sexual abuse during childhood and adolescence but it also has a genetic component. Brain scans of people with BPD show their brains are actually wired differently. Self destructive behaviors such as cutting serve to help the sufferer regulate their emotions for the short term. Borderlines find their inability to regulate their emotions so painful and debilitating that many resort to suicide. One shocking statistic is that 8 – 10% of borderlines will ultimately either kill themselves or die of their self destructive behaviors.

Unlike people with NPD, medications that “turn off” the parts of the brain that overreact to emotional stimuli have been successful for treating and controlling BPD symptoms. Also, while people with BPD are more impaired in being able to function than people with NPD, therapy is much more likely to be successful.

I was so much older then…

This photo was taken of me in 2012, while I was still living with and being gaslighted to death by my narc. At the time he used my daughter as one of his flying monkeys. They had me convinced I was the self centered narcissist and Michael would always set things up so he looked like the victim. A combination of triangulation, projection and gaslighting turned me into this sad, blah looking person you see here. As you can tell, I wasn’t taking care of myself–I was about 30 pounds heavier and wore just any old rag I could find around the house. I never wore makeup. My expression here looks depressed. I hid in my room with the door locked most of the time against my personal wicked demon and his flying monkeys trying to distort my reality and doubt my own perceptions.

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Me during the time I was being mentally and emotionally tormented and suffering from severe PTSD, depression, and debilitating anxiety and paranoid ideation (some of which was based in reality) Although my health hadn’t started to go yet, it would have soon. If I’d stayed in this hellish mindfucking environment, I think I would have eventually become very ill, and maybe even died. I thought about suicide a lot.

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Here is me after separating from my narc (April 2014). I look a lot happier!

These next two photos were taken by me about a month ago. Even in the nonsmiling, pensive one, I look a lot better and a lot younger. I think I look much more relaxed too in both the photos.

I’m in good shape now and managed to lose about 30 lbs. so I am a healthy weight now. My hair also looks better and I have no idea why since I haven’t really done anything different with it. It just seems fuller and, well, happier?

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A year ago, I didn’t want anyone to take my picture (because I thought I looked so fat and ugly); now I’m actually taking selfies!

Improvement in appearance and a more youthful look overall is a wonderful fringe benefit of separating from your abuser. When you start feeling more attractive you actually look more attractive, and will take much better care of your appearance and your health. I’m just naturally eating healthier foods and indulging in things like alcohol less. I’m also drawn to nicer looking clothes and even accessories, something I didn’t bother with for years.

I still haven’t managed to quit smoking yet. Maybe for Lent.