— Here\"s what stopped this doctor\"s suicidal thoughts

by thomas L. Watson, MD respectable 30, 2018


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\"Once your kids are older, you re welcome encourage them to get help if they begin with your symptoms,\" Dr. K soberly instructed me recently. This come after a roller-coaster ride over the previous year to kind out and also treat my increasing and also overwhelming desire come shoot myself in the head.

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Although the cause of suicidality varies from human being to person, this is my story.

I\"m a happy married 59-year-old general practitioner. Both of our adult children have completed college and also are gainfully employed. There was no one I wanted to hurt with my death.


For the longest time, I assumed I had allergic conjunctivitis. Together it turn out, once the crying and also fighting the advice to cry resolved with Effexor, my conjunctiva cleared-up. Frankly, ns have constantly questioned the validity of fibromyalgia, till I began with symptoms. Then, similar to my \"allergic conjunctivitis,\" Effexor likewise gave me relief of my chronic upper ago and neck create points, fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood worries ... So much for my very own diagnostic skills.

Unfortunately, there was no real change in my suicidality with Effexor. Only the frequency decreased to a few times a day.

I knew ns was depressed, yes, really depressed. Ns was ignoring and also fighting these feelings ever because I to be a young adult because there was no reason for my sadness. Ns was embarrassed because my childhood was so great. I felt I never suffered enough to become depressed; ns felt prefer a spoiled brat, crying for no reason.


During mine neurosurgical rotation together a operation resident, ns felt in different ways when the ER paged me concerning a patient v a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Ns lacked the extensive sadness the I had for various other patients that passed away by any type of other means. There to be a morbid feeling of solace and also closure for these predominantly twenty-something males. No the family members chaos in the wait room nor lack of an organ donor card really touched my heart. In retrospect, i was callous and also selfish.


My maternal great-grandfather take it his life with his shotgun loaded v a slug. However not prior to telling his son (my grandfather) his plans. He was an octogenarian, and also the DMV sent out him a an alert that he might no longer drive. My grandfather did naught to protect against it. In fact, he shared the story with me together a young teenager. That told me the he planned the same, \"when the moment came.\"


Zeus is a three-year-old Belgian Malinois, trained to be a company dog for Leysh, one of the medical assistants at our clinic. He has been through us since he was a puppy. A couple of year ago, i was contemplating shoot myself. I had actually a Sig Sauer P238 at work. It to be a bad day, a devastating day. Us have always joked the Zeus has actually ADHD – it\"s a Mal thing. So, when he came into my office and placed his head on mine lap, spring up in ~ me with a came to expression i m sorry I have never seen before, i still assumed he simply wanted to play, however he didn\"t relocate for over 15 minutes. Only once my poor thought started to subside together I to be petting his head, Zeus left, just to return v his favourite bone and placed it in mine lap. Then he brought and also put his favorite toy at my feet. He lastly laid under at mine feet, maintaining me company. Watching end me.


It was a few weeks later on when Leysh obtained into trouble v me about a non-work-related issue. She is prefer a daughter to mine wife and me. We argued, then ns asked she to promise never again to execute what she did. She said, \"I can\"t promise that, but will promise to shot ... If you promise me something.\" i asked she what it was. \"Get rid of Megan\"s handgun and also never get an additional one.\" She broke down in tears and said, \"Because i don\"t want you come shoot yourself.\" In tears, i assured her ns was just sad and also would never shoot myself – ns agreed to she terms.

How Zeus and Leysh knew, I\"ll never ever know, but I essential to obtain help.

That phone speak to was the first time I ever before told anyone about my suicidality. Ns was for this reason embarrassed and also felt \"broken.\" Dr. K\"s receptionist told me the his next appointment for a new patient to be 6 month out. I asked if I might leave that a message, and she said, \"Yes.\" ~ above the message, I stated that I\"m a 58-year old medical professional with solid suicidal ideation. The receptionist called back the next day and also made me an meeting for 3 weeks, which was still quite a stretch. Because that being a basic task, it to be the hardest call I have actually made in years. In ~ the same time, i felt hope. It was the longest 3 weeks.


Dr. K is a portly 78-year-old sorcerer’s of psychiatry. His clinic is an old, dimly lit converted home furnished with tattered swap-meet-caliber furniture. Maybe even a borderline hoarder. Every wait room chair to be filled v disheveled patient with level affects and also overt psychiatric pathology. Patient were likewise standing outside smoking partly smoked cigarettes they uncovered nearby. Ns felt the end of place and also comfortable in ~ the same time.

His endearing compassionate concern was remarkable. He had tears welling up as I shared my clinical history. Dr. K assured me that my suicidality was secondary to severe major depressive disorder and also started me on Effexor.

The adhering to week i told him v enthusiasm that my red, irritated eye and also other psychosomatic symptom resolved. I additionally shared that my wife and I have been together due to the fact that high school. Together we have tackled a most stressful events; practically losing our newborn child with hereditary nephrogenic diabetes insipidus and losing our home in the California cedar fire come name just a few. So, Jaleh knew what come do. She eliminated all weapons from the house and did every little thing she can to decrease any type of external stressors that come our way.


Over the next couple of months, I gradually increased mine dosage the Effexor. Unfortunately, the side impacts made it hard to be compliant, so Dr. K switched me to Wellbutrin which had no adverse issues, yet I had a relapse of my depression and suicidality. That came back with a vengeance.

Up to that time, ns was to run from the advice to finish my life, then through this relapse, ns couldn\"t run any longer, so I started to prepare and also plan mine death. Dr. K restarted the Effexor and also kept me on Wellbutrin. Additionally, he want to hospitalize me because that 2 weeks. Having a exclusive practice, i couldn\"t be far for that long. What would certainly be different in therapy besides staying clear of me from death myself? Dr. K said, \"That\"s specifically what I desire to prevent.\" We lastly agreed on a promise no to kill myself, but if I essential to break the promise, i would call him. I additionally agreed come a 3-day stay in the hospital for ECT therapy in the close to future.


The adhering to week, Dr. K want to very first start lithium before ECT. I constantly thought lithium was only for bipolar treatment; i was wrong. 5 job later, it was prefer someone turn the switch turn off in my mind for suicidality. A move which has actually been on because that my whole adult life. Just as i wouldn\"t jump into a pit the rattlesnakes, I now would never ever put the muzzle that a loaded pistol versus my temporal bone and pull the trigger.

A pair of mainly later, Dr. K inquiry me what preserved me from taking my own life. Ns told that it to be my four girls and a dog; my wife, mine daughter, Leysh (like a daughter), French (like family) who also works through me, and Zeus who had actually canine instincts to keep me safe.

There is no doubt, Dr. K saved my life. Through his advanced age, I required to know when the planned come retire. He stated he already has plans once he cures all his patients. Yet on a severe note, the wait time to see a psychiatrist is unacceptable. We must groom a lot more Dr. Ks due to the fact that I suspect my story is the guideline of a curable iceberg that is melting too fast.


Yes, I\"m quiet embarrassed around my diagnosis and the fact I continue to be on Effexor, Wellbutrin, and also lithium. Come date, only a handful of people know this dark side of me. Having actually equivocal thoughts around writing this article, ns thought around the reality that the rate of medical professional suicides is greatest of any profession and also exceeds that of our military, yet us don\"t listen much about this \"epidemic\" in the joined States. And I don\"t want to it is in embarrassed no longer – probably this will help. Perhaps it helps to remove the stigma as soon as the time comes to discuss the hereditary component that suicidality v my kids. Either way, a long life that embarrassment will certainly suit my family and me well.

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Thomas L. Watson, MD, is a doctor who lives and practices in san Diego. Watson attended Centro De Estudios Universitarios Xochicalco in Mexico and also is certified by the American board of Urgent care Medicine.