31 People Describe What It's Like to Be Suicidal
The fact that people can kill themselves — and the fact that people do kill themselves — is an uncomfortable truth we don’t want to face. It’s much easier to think that other people do that, weak people do that. I don’t do that. How could I ever do that?
It’s easy to say that if you don’t know what it’s like.
Because the truth is, suicidal thoughts and being suicidal is a phenomenon that happens to all sorts of people — and clearly ignoring the issue isn’t making it go away. The more we try to understand, the more compassion we can have for those who are suicidal, and then hopefully, the more we can help those struggling before it’s too late.
To give a voice to people who have been suicidal, we asked members of our community to describe what feeling suicidal is like for them. Their answers are a little hard to read, so if you need help right now you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text START to 741-741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.
Hopefully this will help others understand:
1. “It feels like nothing matters anymore, not even you. You’ll start to feel like a burden, like you’re pulling everyone down with you and they’ll be better without you.”
2. “You feel dead inside and you’re just a ghost living in a body you don’t recognize. You look in the mirror and you see a stranger. A pale, tired, miserable stranger that kind of looks like you. What once made you happy is now tedious, and what once made you just a little bummed out makes you want to die.”
3. “It feels like you’re all alone and no matter what’s said to you, you feel like it’s not true or doesn’t matter. It feels like you just need to end it all because you’re so tired of fighting every single day.”
4. “When at it’s worst, I feel like I’m drowning in the middle of an entire ocean, and ‘death’ is a floating raft. All I can do is choose to keep wading until I completely exhaust myself, or climb on.”
5. “You scroll through your phone contacts in your moment of deepest need and believe that there isn’t a single person who would help you without resenting you. At that moment you feel as if you’ve been lying to yourself all along about how much you matter.”
6. “You feel helpless and no matter what you do or say, you won’t matter and will never be enough. Every piece of you feels like letting go because at least then the anxiety will be at rest for once.”
7. “I didn’t realize what I was feeling until I came out of it. It felt like I wasn’t breathing, I was drowning and someone was holding my head under water. I was lost, alone and there was no other way out. No one understood me and no one ever would. When I finally broke free of the deep suicidal thoughts, I was able to see them for what they were, not before or during. I felt choked by the emotions and blinded by them.”
8. “So dark and hopeless. You get this tunnel vision surrounded by pain and the only way out is to end it all. The numbness is so deep and excruciating it overwhelms and drains everything out of you. Words can’t even describe how lonely and terrifying it is.”
9. “Time stops, and all you can do is feel, no thinking or rationalizing — just feel. You’re engulfed by the darkness and are so tired of fighting to get to the surface so you just sit there and accept it.”
10. “It’s numb: My field-of-view is blurry, and I see black vignette; my mind goes on auto-pilot, while I can feel and hear my subconscious screaming, ‘Please don’t do it.’”
11. “It feels like your subconscious has been taken over by the depression and it feeds you negativity constantly until you start to believe being alive is the issue.”
12. “I feel like a ghost, like a shell of a person who’s lost their way in life. There’s nothing inside me, no heart beating, no thoughts racing… It’s just so numb. There’s just nothing there anymore, so I wonder why I’m still here.”
13. “It feels like drowning, I’m out of my depth in a sea of desperation. I have just enough strength to push myself up to take a breath, but not for long enough to scream for help.”
14. “You feel like you already no longer exist, like you are in the way, useless, worthless, unworthy and a burden. It’s like an elephant sitting on you, holding you down, keeping you from living but somehow keeping you alive, making you watch lifeless and numb as everyone carries on around you unaware you even exist, unaware you are fighting inside. It’s a shadow many call stress, a shadow that will become darkness when one last time that person shrugs it off as just stress.”
15. “It feels like you will never feel better and you make the ones you love unhappy. Friends drift away. You feel so alone. They believe your phony smile and they don’t know you scream in the shower or alone in the car. You’re tired of hurting from a pain — there is no cure for, that will only end with the last beat of your heart.”
16. “A constant ache in my heart, my lungs, my wrists, my legs, my mind and the pit of my stomach. The ache that tells me nothing is sacred, everything is pointless. That nothing ever has or ever will matter. Why must I continue breathing? Why must I keep getting out of bed everyday when I am so incredibly tired? Feeling utterly worthless, to the point that you wonder if your own children would be better off without you around.”
17. “It feels like the pain inside of you has so far exceeded your threshold, that your only option left is to give up and give into it. You’ve already been drowning for so long and your fighting to swim to shore isn’t getting you anywhere closer, just wearing you out, like you’re swimming the wrong way in a riptide and drifting further, screaming at a shore of people who can’t hear your words or tell that you’re drowning. You feel incapable of bearing the pain or fighting a long fight anymore; you feel like all you have left in you is the few minutes of fight and ‘courage’ to make it all stop. After all, you think the world and everyone in it will be better off without you anyway, and that they will all quickly forget your existence. Struggling briefly to force yourself underwater and give into its darkness feels so much more surmountable than the seemingly endless, futile struggle of trying to reach the light of the shore instead.”
18. “It’s such an odd state of being. You feel so, so alone regardless of the people you love supporting you. It doesn’t matter what age, color, race, or background.”
19. “It feels like the contents of your body are constantly pouring out of you; you have nothing, but you feel everything.”
20. “Like my own brain has turned against me. I don’t know myself anymore and any memory of happiness has been completely extinguished as if it never existed. The only escape seems to be abandoning my own body. I want to jump out of my own skin and into oblivion.”
21. “After feeling like I am just being dragged by time through life rather than actually being able to participate in it, my greatest desire is that if I lie down and stop moving, that maybe I will just cease to exist.”
22. “Every emotion is painful… every thought is dark… helplessnesses only rivalry is hopelessness. You can see no future only endless reels of the past. Everything loses it’s meaning… you’re empty.”
23. “Empty, useless, unwanted, not good enough. Those feelings are what make you start to think about those dark thoughts which turn into those questions that you ask yourself, ‘Is it worth it?’ ‘Does it matter anymore?’ ‘Will anyone miss me?’”
24. “It feels like the world is crumbling on top of you, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t hold it up anymore. You feel lost and confused at why things that once made you happy now just feel like a requirement.”
25. “Feels like you have left your body. Grayish mist all around. Your demons now come to hunt you down and beg you to die, but your strength does not allow it… You wake up with this thought you dreamed and now it’s clear.”
26. “Constant stress. It’s not black or white. It’s grey. It’s feeling so, so sad, you can’t describe it in words, only in actions, it’s feeling lonely even though people tell you every day they love you. And so much more.”
27. “All the air has been sucked out, and no matter how hard I try to breathe, scream, run away or get anyone’s attention, I’m still being slowly crushed and there’s nothing I can do to stop it.”
28. “It feels like someone put you in a small room with all the bad things that you’ve experienced, all the worst parts about yourself, and you feel like there’s no way out of that room.”
29. “It feels like all the good has already left your body — passion, goals, dreams, hope, motivation, joy. The only answer is to kill the bad — pain, misery, anger, fear, shame.
30. “It feels like your bad thoughts are a permanent rain cloud over your head. Every rain drop stings your skin and the only way to get it to stop is to end everything.”
31. “The thought of death formed as a monster in my head. It is after me, I cannot run away from it. I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to live, either. The pain is too much strong, so I desperately think I cannot take another day. But deep down inside of me, I always have a tough wish to see another day — as a human instinct, I guess. I grabbed this very little feeling to go on. I hope everyone else will [too].”
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
*Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.