Trigger Warning: Suicidal ideation
Yesterday, I was suddenly consumed with wanting to die. I got out my toolset of things to do to cope with the suicidal ideation (it isn’t a new thing, but it is not common anymore these days) and started using them. I tried writing a blog about self-love. I tried drawing. I cleaned my desk. I listened to music. I went for a walk. I tried watching TV. I tried CBD/CBG. I googled “suddenly suicidal” and stared at the first page full of crisis phone numbers to call. I thought about reaching out to a friend or loved one, but I was telling myself, “you aren’t going to do it even though you are feeling the thoughts. The thoughts will pass and nobody will be the wiser and you can talk to your doctor about it tomorrow.”
So then I decided to go for a drive and listen to music. And I needed to grab some groceries. Both are usually good distractions when the mind isn’t well. I got to the grocery store, and felt trapped in my car. Tears running down my face. What the hell was wrong with me. Fifteen minutes later, I summoned all of the strength I had, wiped my tears off, and went into the store. Everything was louder and I felt like everyone could tell how I was feeling. I grabbed my things, kept my eyes on the ground, hit the self checkout and went back to my car. Got on the freeway, headed south. The more I drove, the more intense the feelings became until I was scared of my driving and made my way home. Somehow. By then, my partner had texted to see where I was (we were supposed to be meeting), and I had to tell her that I was in a bad place and was actually at home. She came over a few minutes later to find me slumped over in a mess of tears in my car, engine running, headlights on, parked diagonally in my driveway.
She helped me get out and go inside and I proceeded to just turn into a crying mess for the next hour, unbelievably sad, and for seemingly no real reason. It was a mood swing of none other for me. One of the worst I have ever, EVER, experienced. No big triggers. Just a day with some small normal everyday stresses that grew way out of proportion.
In a period of hours, I went from my normal self to literally mentally listing off the people who would and wouldn’t miss me. I went from calm to yelling and crying in my car as I drove down the freeway until I got home. Every ten seconds I wanted to flip the wheel and drive into the embankments I was passing. “What the fuck is wrong with me?!” “Nobody cares!” “I am so fucking sick of this life.” My mind was racing, my heart was beating fast, adrenaline was pumping through my veins, and there was no sign of the person I am. My heart was empty, no love, no happiness, no gratitude, nothing. Between the afternoon and sunset, I was a completely different person.
Then I remembered my doctor telling me something about the medication I am using to stop smoking. Chantix, aka Varenicline, has been known and is notorious for sending some people into a state of suicidal ideation and even psychosis. There I was. Three weeks without a cigarette, on the prescribed dose of Chantix, and completely consumed with wanting to die. My doctor told me if it happened, to stop taking it immediately, which I did. I talked to my doctor today and we both agreed that Chantix is off the table permanently for me. Although this is the first suicidal ideation I have had in over a year and the first time ever with Chantix, it is too risky. Chantix a few weeks ago kept me up all night with violent nightmares. And it has helped me stop smoking. Somehow in all of the madness in my mind yesterday, I never stopped to buy cigarettes. I was craving them big time, but was still able to say “NO” to the impulse to smoke again.
This isn’t an anti-Chantix post, but it is a post to warn people of the sudden onset of suicidality that it can cause and did cause yesterday. I was on the verge of leaving life behind just because I wanted to stop smoking (because I want to LIVE) and a pharmaceutical drug that was supposed to help me nearly took my life. In research I have done today, I have found countless sources of information with similar stories–and countless arguments from Pfizer about how it doesn’t cause any problems. I don’t want to lose a friend or loved one to smoking…and especially to this medication. The abrupt and severe onset of suicidal thinking has really scared me and I want people to know that it is real for some of us.
If you are ever feeling suicidal, contact me, contact a friend, call family, call your doctor, call 988, call 911, go to the emergency room or something. Please don’t go for a drive or try to out think it. Me trying to be a personal hero yesterday almost cost me my life. I was so embarrassed because it simply is not who I am today. I am not a suicidal person and I let my pride and ego get behind the wheel and drive me towards death.
Chantix has helped millions of people successfully stop smoking, but it may not be worth the risk, especially if you have any history of depression or suicidal ideation. I hope this blog helps others weigh the huge risks and benefits of this medication.
Sending all of my love to everyone suffering with suicidal ideation and/or battling an addiction. You are seen. Your battle is real. I love you.
<3 Tukayote <3