How I'm Making Peace With Having Recurrent Suicidal Thoughts
I have been having recurrent suicidal thoughts since I was 12 years old. For most people this may be shocking, but for me it’s simply my day-to-day life. To me, trying to disregard or avoid this part of my life is at the very least counterproductive, given that whether I want to accept it or not, it has played a role in crafting the person I am today. Instead of feeling particular feelings such as shame, anger or self-pity in regards to this topic, I have decided to accept it and to try to explore how it has contributed both positive (empathy towards others and being a great listener) and negative qualities (shyness and lack of self-esteem) to me.
I celebrated my 24th birthday a few days ago. I had a very pleasant day with family and friends. To most of them, I was just happy to celebrate my birthday — another one in the books! But there was one particular thought that didn’t leave my mind that day. Did the 12-year-old me ever think I would make it to age 24? To me, considering this question is my way of facing my past/present/(future?) reality of living with recurrent suicidal thoughts on a quasi-daily basis. The fact that I ask myself this question on my birthday speaks a lot about the impact that my suicidal thoughts have had on how I approach life.
It is still very difficult for me to share this component of my life with my loved ones. It is a difficult topic to bring up to family members or friends because most people don’t know how to react to someone telling them that they have been having thoughts about ending their life. The problem is that if we want to help those who have suicidal thoughts, we can’t run away from having these conversations with them. Instead, we must allow them to express their thoughts, and help them with the process of understanding, analyzing and organizing their thoughts. Besides family members and friends, sharing these thoughts with medical professionals can also problematic because they are trained to preserve life above all, and may “freak out” when they hear the word “suicide.” I’m not saying this is something particularly bad, but it can be difficult for them to get their heads around dealing with a patient with recurrent suicidal thoughts who is not “actively suicidal.”
As I said before, I’m still in the early steps of getting comfortable with sharing my suicidal thoughts with others, but I am confident that it is a key component of easing the burden of having these recurrent thoughts. I am happy that I have started to explore its layers by myself, with my therapists and now, with you!
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
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Unsplash photo via Fero Cavani.