Living With Suicidal Thoughts: A Personal Account

Dr. Serenity
April 13, 2023

Experiencing Chronic Suicidal Ideations: A Personal Account

Waking up can be a struggle, especially when dealing with the weight of chronic suicidal ideations. As someone living with bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), these recurring thoughts are a symptom that I have to cope with on a daily basis.

According to Shairi Turner, MD, MPH, chief medical officer of Crisis Text Line, suicidal ideations refer to thoughts about killing oneself, with or without a plan. These thoughts can arise during times of stress or when facing mental, emotional, or physical challenges.

The American Psychological Association (APA) defines “suicidal ideation” as a preoccupation with killing oneself. However, it’s important to note that most instances of suicidal ideation do not progress to suicide attempts.

Living with suicidal ideations can be exhausting, both mentally and physically. Coping with these thoughts is an ongoing challenge that requires constant effort and support. Through treatment and a strong support system, I have found ways to manage these thoughts and stay present in the moment.

But the truth is, I never truly want to wake up. It’s a difficult reality to face, but one that I have learned to navigate with time and perseverance. With the right resources and a commitment to self-care, living with chronic suicidal ideations is a challenge that can be overcome.


The Constant Tape in My Brain

Explaining the inner workings of my mind and how suicidal thoughts have affected me is a difficult task. It’s like there’s a tape in my brain that constantly repeats negative messages, telling me that I’m stupid, dumb, and worthless. It reminds me that no one loves or cares for me, and it urges me to give up and give in. This self-talk is constant and berates me, leaving me feeling drained and defeated.

The weight of these thoughts is crushing. They make me want to escape and disappear, and sometimes I even think about the world without me. I imagine what it would be like if I didn’t exist and I sometimes contemplate ways to end my life. It’s overwhelming and painful, causing me to feel consumed by sadness, guilt, anger, and shame.

Suicidal thoughts are often a response to an overwhelming life situation or crisis. Dr. Shairi Turner, the Chief Medical Officer of Crisis Text Line, explains that suicidal ideation can be triggered by a person’s inability to cope with a current or impending life crisis. Risk factors for suicidal thoughts include serious mental illness, childhood trauma, genetics, relationship problems, financial problems, job loss, exposure to violence, and the death of a loved one.

I understand these risk factors all too well. I am a survivor of emotional and physical abuse, a sexual assault survivor, and someone who is living with multiple mental health disorders. Coping with my recurring suicidal thoughts is a daily battle, but with treatment and support, I’ve found ways to manage them. It’s important to know that help is available and that you’re not alone.


Finding Strength in My Children

Living with suicidal thoughts can be an overwhelming and isolating experience. For those who struggle with mental health disorders, suicidal ideations can be a constant companion, playing like a tape in their mind. But there is hope. Through therapy, medication, and the support of loved ones, it’s possible to find ways to cope with these challenging thoughts.

One person who has found strength in the face of suicidal ideations is a parent who gets up every day for the sake of their children. They attend therapy weekly, take medication daily, and have a safety plan in place. And on the tough days when the voices in their head are louder, they turn to exercise to keep the demons at bay. They know that the pain is temporary and remind themselves that this too shall pass.

Sometimes, however, the only way to cope is to stay in bed with the covers raised and the lights off. And that’s okay. Coping with suicidal thoughts is an ongoing challenge, but with the right tools and support, it’s possible to hold on and find hope.


Steps to Take if You or Someone You Know Is Having Suicidal Thoughts

Having suicidal thoughts can be overwhelming and scary, but there are steps you can take to get help and stay safe. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Prioritize Safety

Keeping yourself or someone you know safe is the top priority when dealing with suicidal thoughts. If you’re unable to keep yourself safe, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

  • Talk Openly and Honestly

If someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, it’s important to talk to them in an open and honest way. Show your support and concern, but try to avoid arguing or raising your voice. Asking direct questions, like “Do you have a plan for how you would kill yourself?” and “Can I help you call your psychiatrist?” can also be helpful.

  • Reach Out for Professional Support

If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, it’s important to seek professional help as soon as possible. These feelings may be related to a mental health condition that could improve with treatment. Even if there isn’t an underlying condition, a mental health professional can provide support and resources to help you cope.

  • Develop a Safety Plan

Creating a safety plan can also be helpful. This plan should be a written list of coping strategies and sources of support to use in times of crisis or when feeling suicidal. Keep it brief, easy to read, and in your own words.

  • Taking Action

When experiencing suicidal thoughts, it’s important to take action to keep yourself safe. Reach out to friends or a therapist for support, and consider attending therapy sessions more frequently. Know where the nearest psychiatric care facility is located and keep its hours, phone number, and address on hand.

Remember, it’s okay to struggle, and seeking help is a sign of strength. You are worth fighting for, and life is worth living.

Author Dr. Serenity

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