Addiction + Mental Illness Can = SUICIDE …

(This Post Not Suitable for Young Children ~ Warning)


I felt so dark, sad, hollow and alone. Even though there were people all around me, talking about all these knives around me in my living-room, how I wasn’t responding. Cuts on my wrists, but DAMN, they got there in time.”

That is all I think I heard before I blacked out again. Next thing I know, I wake up in a strange room, and people could look at me through dark glass window & camera’s. My head hurt, and I had tunnel vision, fuzzy blackness I could see around the sides of my eyes. A pain and heaviness I can not fully describe. Scared, alone, and wanted to go home! But I couldn’t, as I found in the next few days. That was November 2002, right before my 40th birthday,

I Attempted SUICIDE! …

I feel many of us who have tried suicide think this way, (the above quote). I know at the time, I did. I didn’t have an ounce of self-worth in me. I think I was even beyond hating myself if that is possible. All I could feel is this blackness all around me. Just in limbo of nothingness. No sound, no sight, just black and fuzzy. As  I always say, “the lord sometimes takes us down a path, even a bad path, to help us learn from our mistakes, our bad choices, or just about life. And did he have me learn something from it.” He wanted me to learn that my life was worth way more than suicide. That I meant something to someone, I just couldn’t see or feel it at that time.

This past week and a half, I’ve been transported back to that frightening place, that black, hollow, empty place. But not by my hand, by my husband’s nephew, Ricky. He had attempted suicide for the second time in just under two months. I knew exactly how he felt. He had taken all his psych meds again, all at once a week ago. He just moved back here to Arizona 3 weeks ago from South Carolina. I did that my 2nd attempt in 2006.

He’s been in the Air Force for 8 years. Then got out a year ago August, and he has gone  mentally and emotionally down hill since. It just breaks my heart, and it gets worse.
Again, the lord is teaching me what it looks like to attempt suicide, to see what I DID to my loved ones around me at the time of my own. How I scared the hell out of my husband. I now know what it looks like, the hurt and worry I caused many. Yes, the lord is still teaching me.

Ricky lives with my husbands siblings in their parents home. Mom & dad have been passed for sometime now, but the kids all live in the home. And as we all know what happened to me when my husband, Tom and I moved here a year ago. We’d only lived with them for only 2 months, and had to get the hell out of that house! Tom’s 2 brothers are very verbally abusive.
I was having 4-7 panic attacks a month, and cried myself to sleep many nights.There were 7 of us in one house. There is no communication skills that go on in that home. Everything is an argument about who is right or wrong. So I’m sure for Ricky, it’s not the best place to be, even though he is more of family then I was, it’s not a healthy environment for him.



What was more gut wrenching for me, after we they got him to the ER, then he was in ICU, things calmed down a little. They came home and went through Ricky’s car and room to find recent credit cards opened, and many receipts for withdrawals at a couple of gambling casinos here. You have no idea how hard that was for me to hear. And a hard pill to swallow that I couldn’t help one of my own family members. See, my husband’s side of the family love to go gamble. I already new Ricky’s brother Dustin was a problem gambler as he told me so when we first moved me. So then I really knew the truth of the whole problem. It was exactly like me back in 2002.

Also, it seems the only places Tom’s siblings go when they want to get away is to Las Vegas, or Laughlin, NV. And every time Ricky came to visit from South Carolina, they all went there for a mini vacation. I also knew, when Ricky & Dustin’s dad passed 2 years ago, and Tom’s sister, Janis told us he had done a 2nd mortgage on their home 8 months before he passed. She didn’t find out until he died. He had forged her name some how, and took a loan on the house for $150,000.00. So the boys grew up knowing their dad was an addicted gambler.

Then, the following year we lost Janis to intentional suicide by taking all her psych meds and overdosed. So these 2 men have had nothing but heartache for the past 2 years. Mental/Emotional illness runs in their family. We all tried to help save Janis, but she just never recovered after her husband, the boys dad passed. The house was going into foreclosure, and she could not afford to pay both the 1st and 2nd mortgages, and they had built that house many years before when the boys were little. Now a year later, and these boys just haven’t been able to recover the loss. Dustin for now is stable and doing well on his bipolar meds.

But Ricky has had a struggle for about 9 months now. He did get on with Boeing for 6 months after he got of the Air Force, but he said the work was very stressful. Classic signs for someone with bipolar, severe depression, and suffers PTSD, but he was working through it. But about 4 months ago he started having some problems with his meds, and he started going down hill. So after the 1st suicide attempt, he quite his job at Boeing, and was going to use his GI Bill  money to go back to college. Then he started going down hill fast.



Just talking to him on the phone, we could hear the depression when he was still in the hospital in South Carolina. I called and talked to Tom’s oldest sister Pat, ( the only sane one in the family besides my hubby), I told her, we refuse to lose another family member to suicide. He needs help, more help then the VA was giving him. Ricky had went to the VA while still in South Carolina, and they started messing around with his meds, and that just plunged him down deeper into depression. That’s when he then took all his psych meds and heart pills all at once. He was in the hospital for almost 3 weeks. That’s when I told my husband, someone needs to fly back there to move him here or going to lose him.

So Tom’s youngest brother flew back, moved Ricky here to Arizona. He seemed to be doing Ok the first couple weeks here. But, as usual, the first thing they all did when Ricky got here? Was go to F_ _ king Laughlin, Nevada!!  WTF?
You don’t take a mentally unstable kid on a gambling vacation! But, as usual, no one listened to me, not until we found all the receipts in Ricky’s car. Even his own brother could have told us, as him and Ricky now share a bedroom. I was so angry!! So, after they got back from Laughlin is when Ricky’s depression took a bad turn. We did have set in place medical and mental health appointments for him before he got here. But, it didn’t stop him from taking all his meds again, and have his 2nd suicide attempt. And this time the ER doctors almost weren’t able to bring him back and breathing again.

He was on life & breathing support for 4 days before he awoken from a coma. We were able to get medical directives done, but we still need to get a ‘Power of Attorney’ in place to help him since he is an adult. I told Tom’s sister, if need be, will take it to the court if we have to and save his life!
We were able to get him OUT of the VA’s care and into private behavioral crisis care. He was released medically on this past Wed, and we found him a bed in a place called Oasis Behavioral Crisis Center. For now he is in good hands. But for me? That is another long story.


For me however, it was really hard on me. It transported me back to 2002 when I had my own 1st attempted suicide. I knew exactly how Ricky felt, and that place of darkness and hopelessness he was feeling. And I didn’t know how much it was bothering me until I went to my own mental health appointment this week. I had an hour & 1/2 long session that was very uncomfortable. For those of you who know a little of my back story, you know the journey I have been on this past year or so. Being uprooted in a short period of time, packing our life away in box’s to put into storage. and had to move from Southern Oregon to here in Arizona was a very traumatic experience for me. I’m still not over it. I keep pretending to myself that if I go nowhere while here in Arizona, then I will have no memories of ever being here.

Yes, I know how crazy and unhealthy that sounds, but when you also have Agoraphobia with panic, it is real easy to do. With all this drama going on, it has hit me hard with my own depression, and the old feelings of my past. It’s why I practice , and why I keep a recovery plan in place for these type of life events. Because it could make me slip. My own appointment was very emotional, and I will be going for therapy once a week now. It is also due to having problems with PTSD now as well. For some reason, some of my childhood trauma, the hurt and pain has come back, and the nightmares, and I can not figure out why? So for my mental and emotional stability, my psychiatrist is having me back in therapy for a while.


I bawled my eyes out in my therapy session, as I needed the release. I was trying to keep it all together as best I could, and really didn’t know how deep all this drama going on had gotten inside me. It was using the old ‘mask my feelings with a smile’ kind of thing. It bothered me in my session of how easy it was for me to mask my feelings from all around me. Because in recovery, that is a No, No! It bothered me that I was just not that in tune to my feelings building up around all this trauma. And that’s what it was, more tragic trauma for me. So I guess I have more work to do in balancing my feelings in recovery, and with my mental and emotional challenges when life crisis happens. And it will. Are you prepared?

These are some of the important issues I want you to take away from my sharing and venting.
Be prepared in recovery, and with your behavioral & mental health. If and when outside events or trauma happen around you, you need to be prepared for how it may affect you. I won’t lie, the thought of a few hours of gambling did go through my mind a few times. But I chose not to act on making that devastating choice. Don’t hold all your feelings inside. Talk them out with someone. And learn how easy it can be for us to feel others pain and hurt, and tend to make it our own. I did that in early recovery and it caused me to relapse.

We can be of recovery help and service to others that are having a difficult time, but there is a fine line of helping others in recovery, and others who maybe in crisis. We are not trained, nor is it our job to manage someone’s crisis. Get the proper people to do that. Be it first responders, calling the police, a hospital or even a crisis hot-line. What I try to do is keep myself from being part of the family crisis in person. I gave advice, looked things up on the Internet for Tom’s sister, but I didn’t go to the house. I spoke to her on the phone. Even though I didn’t know how deep my feelings were around Ricky’s set back and suicide attempt, I knew it was bothering me a bit, so I kept my distance. His sister understood. So I ask all my recovery friends and all who visit, please keep us in your prayers.

dreams, inspirational, encouragement, motivational, positive thinking Quotes

I know Ricky is in the best possible place he can be right now. And he will get the help he needs for his mental and emotional health. It seems loss and life events doors just won’t close! The boys parents, a good blogger friend of mine took her life some few months back.
It makes me feel uneasy as I’m also now in the process of doing med changes next month myself. I’ve been on a meds draw down since last month.

But all this stuff, this drama going on makes me nervous. The meds I’ve been on for to long now are causing my liver count & cholesterol to get to high, so we need to change me to new ones. And I’m scared! It’s time to be honest, I’m afraid I’m going to get unstable, or something happening like what Ricky is going through. So again, I’m going to therapy once a week now until I get regulated when I start the new meds. But I still feel apprehensive.

Just keeping it real. So I’m back to journaling everyday so I can share more of this med change experience. So will see what the next few months bring. I shall keep you all posted! I know I sound like another broken record, … but Thank You to all my friends and visitors for all your prayers and encouragement. I see many of you on other social media sites, and your caring means so much to Tom and myself. Much Luv!

So until next time friends, be Well, Blessed, and Healthy!

If you or someone you know is in suicide crisis, please call the ~

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number



Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon




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