Monday, March 19, 2018

Dolores O'Riordan and I Have Something in Common

Just a few thoughts before my day takes me away.

The other day, I thought I’d celebrate St. Patty’s Day with The Cranberries. Dolores O’Riordan has been on my mind lately, and her voice was just the Irish taste I was looking for. However, I couldn’t listen to her voice and not remember what had recently happened to her. We won’t know officially how or why she died until next month. In the meantime, rumors swirl from police at the scene of fentanyl and suicide.

People pay a heavy price for addiction. Dolores struggled with depression, suicide, and addiction for years, then paid with her life. She sang in 1996 about the dangers of allowing drugs and external forces to have control over our lives, but it seems that years later she still hadn’t gained control. I suddenly felt very sad for her.

This brought an end to listening to The Cranberries. The pain was too recent and personal.

I experienced suicidal ideation early last week. It was the first time in six or more years. Just an errant thought. Caught me by surprise. I immediately fired up my coping strategies and called somebody. I let them know what was going on, and we chatted for a bit. Then the darkness passed.

If you struggle with suidism, I cannot recommend enough the importance of working out a game plan on a good day so that you can rely on that plan on a bad day. This is what saves me over and over again.

I wrote a blog about these coping strategies called “Six Steps to Overcome Suicidism” while writing my first book. I included the article in the chapter on knowing who to rely on. The article is loaded with helpful information, but I just discovered that I never remembered to post it here. Ah, ADHD… I’ll have to remind myself to rectify that.

In short, I try to talk myself out of suicide first, then pray for help second. I have a great deal of faith in prayer. However, if prayer fails to abate the suicidal feelings, then I rely on friends and family. If they aren’t available, the fourth line of defense is a church leader. The important thing is to tell somebody—anybody—what you are experiencing. Even a suicide hotline will suffice. Get your urge out of the shadows. These aberrant feelings don’t thrive in the light.

Decades ago, these suicidal feelings were overpowering, suffocating, and daily. It took me ten years of training to regulate my moods and to not let them take over my life. Now I go years between bouts. It truly is miraculous progress compared to the dark place I used to reside in. I’m so grateful that I made the effort and found success, but I never had drug addiction to deal with on top of suicidal ideation. I can’t imagine what Dolores was struggling with, or how the drugs addled her outlook. But this is speculation.

What I can say is that you are more important than you realize. Suicidal depression is insidious. It convinces us that we do the world a kindness by taking our lives. Please seek help if you struggle daily with these destructive urges.


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 1–800–273–8255