Why I Choose to Make Friends With My Suicidal Thoughts
In the last few weeks, a song has stuck with me: “The Opposite of Adults” by Chiddy Bang. It’s a throwback, but I’m happy it floated into my head. It’s a funny song about living life to the fullest. Every chorus ends with the line, “This life is a party. I’m never growing up.” For the longest time, it was hard to believe those words as true. But more recently, that mindset has been seeping into the corners of my mind, completely out of my control.
Whenever I see an article on mental health, there is a sweeping expanse of suicide, anxiety, depression, mania or any other dark and sticky topic. It feels like everyone is caught up on the down side of mental health issues. In the process, we forget what a gift all of those things can be.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I hate having suicidal thoughts. I hate having anxiety about my future. And I hate feeling paranoia creep into my bones. But what has really turned my life around is the full incorporation of those parts of myself into my wholehearted identity.
Instead of viewing suicidal thoughts as big, scary monsters with long claws, I have shed light on them. Truthfully, they are just a puppies whimpering in the corner, waiting for a good snuggle. Treating my neuroses as friends has changed my life completely. They are simply little feedback loops telling myself, hey maybe you need to do something a little different. A lot of times that means having a good laugh with friends, taking a nap or doing something I love. My body is constantly aching to tell me something. I’ve just become brave enough to listen and do something about it. And that has taken time — lots of time — and work and pain.
Throughout our lives, we climb structures. They might be social, professional, romantic or whatever else you might value in your life. Our society often promotes external values and gratification. If you follow those paths, then you will get the rewards and struggles. But we rarely shed light on the interior lives each of us have. We all have thoughts and feelings, but where is the gratification for sharing them?
Mental health issues are a complete inner slog shunned to the extremes of our society. “Healthy” people might say, oh, I don’t have that, it’s not my problem. Before I was diagnosed, that thought flit in and out of my head all the time. But the more we can realize we all exist on a spectrum of suffering, the more we can come together as wholesome, vulnerable people.
Mental health issues have a dark side. People are scared to divulge their inner most secrets, especially in the professional or academic realm. I mean, who would want to work with someone who is “crazy,” right? Newsflash: Having a mental illness doesn’t make you crazy. I believe we are all crazy. If you are happy floating above that name, then by all means ride your high horse over the rest of us who are willing to do the real work.
For me, the worst part about living with a mental illness is the constant secrecy. The second I broke that veil, I felt worlds better. Living alone in your struggle is a strive towards despair. Life can be a party. You don’t have to grow up. Keep that curiosity and vibrancy. Do something that gives you life instead of sucking it away. Because life is both short and long. We are all fragile. Let yourself fall in love with every part of yourself. And maybe, one day, you will look back on your dark days and laugh.
Because you are alive and breathing.
And that is the most awesome, mind-bending truth in the world.
Follow this journey on Adventures of a Little Boy.
If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
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