Eating disorders have been trivialized for decades. However, people struggling with these illnesses have an elevated risk of death by suicide compared to other psychiatric disorders, with bulimia having the highest attempted suicide rates. High comorbidity associated with bulimia – and the dearth of research – makes it difficult to tease apart what contributes to suicide risk. But it’s important for people to know that both bulimia, and the suicidality that accompanies it, can be treated and overcome. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
As September is Suicide Awareness Month, it is only appropriate that the subject should be touched upon in this blog. Like with any mental illness, the specter of suicide is never far from the man or woman with anxiety. When you think about it, this makes sense – to someone weathered and beaten by an unending torrent of stress, suicide can seem to be a logical way to end that stress and keep your mind at peace. This, of course, is a failure of logic, for as the title of this blog makes clear, anxiety is only temporary, while suicide is forever. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
As a mental health worker, I am always concerned about how first responders treat safety checks and suicide attempts. Safety checks are when law enforcement checks on someone who has been reported in danger or will possibly harm himself or others. Here in Toledo, suicide attempts are taken very seriously by emergency services. However, safety checks are of low priority. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
Depression brings about a lot of changes in a person's mind and body, such as feelings of apathy and hopelessness, and headaches and body pain. These changes are typically overwhelming and most of us need to rely on some coping mechanisms to be able to simply function on a day to day basis. Unfortunately, not all coping mechanisms are healthy and can harm the individual, even causing death if left unchecked. Suicidal ideation is one such negative coping mechanism that is best avoided by a depressive. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
Healthy sleep in recovery is absolutely vital, but do you know when you're using sleep as a coping mechanism and when you're using it as avoidance? It can be a very fine line, but in this post and video, I talk about some of the good signs and red flags when it comes to healthy sleep in recovery.
Years ago, I was the queen of passivity. I avoided conflict and difficult conversations at all costs and refused to put my needs and desires first. I would come up with scripts in my head of what to say; however, as soon as an intense conversation would begin, I felt my self-respect fade away. I wished that I could trade in my copious amounts of passivity for self-respect, but something always got in the way. Fortunately, in the past year, I have learned how to maintain self-respect during a conflict by following a few simple steps. 
Suicide can be a tough topic to discuss among those suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Though around 56% of people with PTSD experience suicidal thoughts, ideation, or actions, admitting to having those feelings can feel shameful. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
How can we honor someone who has died by suicide? Since suicide is unfortunately common (it’s the second leading cause of death in the US for people aged 15 to 34), it’s likely we all know someone who has died by suicide. A death in that manner can be a sensitive topic. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
The feeling that life is meaningless can lead to suicidal ideations. These ideations are thoughts about suicide without the intention to follow through with it. While suicidal ideations are common and can pass quickly, they can become dangerous if they are not treated. I find writing to be a healthy way to cope with ideations. Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to use writing as a healthy coping technique. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.
When we think about suicide, the first association that comes to mind is often depression. The link between suicidality and depression has been documented not only in the research literature but also in much of the media we consume, to the extent that the majority of people are aware of this link. Unfortunately, we are much less aware as a society of the impact that anxiety has on suicide.  (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)

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Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC
Hi Hailey,
You're not alone. So many people with anxiety hate confrontation and talking on the phone (I'm one of them). Sometimes, this type of anxiety can feed on itself when you (anyone) avoid what makes you anxious (like talking to your sister and your co-worker). Avoidance can make the anxiety grow until it's overpowering. Often, the best way to reduce anxiety is to do the very thing you dread. The more you do it, the more anxiety recedes into the background. Until it does, remember that a phone conversation is pretty short, and as soon as it's over you get to move on.
Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC
Hi Mae,
Job-related stress and anxiety can cause a lot of misery. It's very real, and because jobs are such a huge part of our lives, this type of anxiety can feel overwhelming. Know that there are no "shoulds" in a situation like yours, and rules about having to stay in a job or look for another or go to a doctor can make things worse. Think about what it will be like when your anxiety and stress are less, and then brainstorm what it might take to make that happen. Working with a therapist through this process can sometimes be beneficial in helping you sort things out. Just now that there isn't a right or wrong way to get through this, but there are ways to overcome this anxiety.
I hope it did change your life permanently... in a positive way. Try to forgive yourself we all do stupid stuff.
Trish Stratton
Good Morning Lee! I am so grateful you shared part of your journey. It is exactly what I needed to read this morning. I AM NOT ALONE! My story is identical except for the details. Its the process I identify with. I learn in reverse, meaning from the outside world I internalize to understand myself. Through other peoples story. In yours I found a HUGE peice of the puzzle....Fear of success. There isnt anything I have failed at that I have worked toward. My conscience has this ethical voice ( not self, them) that are chearleaders for my self sabatoging critic inside( my darkside, everyone has one). Today I dont feed it meat. Meaning that I do not give it any of my energy by not engaging with it. I acknowledge it, I say thanks for being there, now go kick rocks!!!! I then focus on whats in front of me. Sound crazy? I think u may know EXACTLY what I mean. We are EXACTLY where we are suppose to be at this very moment. What an amazing,extraordinary tool we have to use ( not bad experiences, incredible learning opportunities) to re-write our new chapter with. Thank you again! Always with Love!
Trish Stratton
Reading all of these posts about anxiety and overthinking has made me feel a lot less lonely. I’ve struggled with overthinking for years and it has progressively worsened and is now a huge problem I have to face everyday. I constantly seek reassurance for everyone especially my partner and I will seek reassurance every single day if I have to. It just makes me feel better but only for a few hours and then the thoughts will come back again. I sometimes spend about 10 hours a day writing down or playing past events in my head and I have to make myself remember everything I have said or done or what the other person has said until I have it clear in my head. Even once I’ve remembered everything I’ll think about it again and again. These thoughts will go on for such a long time and then they lead to other thoughts and then I have to worry about why I’m thinking those new thoughts. I didn’t use to talk to people about my thoughts or about feeling anxious because I felt like it would leave me in a vulnerable position. I feel like people can see in my head sometimes and it’s scary cause it’s like they’re judging me. I always feel guilty too and beat myself up about things. I always feel that I don’t deserve to be happy especially when I’m eating. I know a lot of these problems have been triggered by stuff from the past. I’ve opened up about my problems to family members so many times but I don’t get much response or they don’t really think that it’s that serious when it really is. I will sometimes go days without being able to eat or go out the house. I spend the day worrying about the past or what will happen in the future and then when it’s finally time to go to sleep I tell myself I’m just being stupid yet again and then when it’s morning all the thoughts come back and it’s just the same as the day before.

I’m definitely going to try this advice as I want this continuous cycle to end!