15 Questions People Who've Been Suicidal Wish They Had Been Asked

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Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

When a loved one is thinking about suicide, it can sometimes feel hard to know what to do or say.

Maybe a co-worker expressed to you in passing they felt no one would notice if they were gone. Maybe a family member expressed to you they wished they wouldn’t wake up tomorrow. Or maybe a friend confided in you about a concrete plan to end their life. Whatever the situation may be, that kind of talk is serious, and shouldn’t be ignored.

We wanted to know what questions to ask someone who is feeling suicidal, so we asked members of our mental health community to share one question they wished they had been asked when they were feeling suicidal. It’s important to remember every person who experiences suicidal thoughts needs something different. Questions can be a great starting point, but shouldn’t be the end. Action following these questions can help people feel tangibly cared for and loved.

If you suspect a friend is feeling suicidal, don’t panic, and do not shy away from asking directly. It is a myth that asking if a friend is suicidal will “put the idea in their head.”

Here’s what they had to say:

1.Do you want to hang out? Often at my worst times I’ve always felt isolated and alone. It hasn’t been until this year that people really started taking note and inviting me out when I started to feel isolated.” — Kira M.

2. Can I lie here with you? I didn’t need more words. My head had enough of those. I did need a hug to know that yes, I did exist to someone.” — Michelle M.

3. What’s the worst thing you’re thinking or feeling right now? When I feel really badly, I feel obligated to hide it from people. It would be such a relief to know I’m allowed to say the worst of it out loud to someone.” — Elizabeth M.

4. “I wish someone asked me what was going on or how they could help. I wish someone listened to me. [In my experience,] people don’t even give a check up text if it’s not convenient for them. It’s sad, I tried talking to friends but they pushed it under the rug.” —Ashley M.

5. “I wish they would just straight up ask me if I was suicidal. I always get questions like, ‘How are you doing?’ ‘Are you OK?’ ‘Any bad thoughts?’ ‘You having a good or bad day?’ and so many other ones [that seem] to avoid the word ‘suicide.’ When these people avoid saying suicide or asking if I’m feeling suicidal, I feel like they don’t want to know how I’m really feeling. “ — Makayla F.

6.Can I hold your hand tonight? I think it’s important to be able to sit with someone who’s suicidal and not look for a Band-Aid… [Just] sit with them without judgment and let them feel someone just be there.” — Gyna R.

7. How can I help? And if [I] don’t know, [I] really don’t. Just be there.” — Jessi W.

8. Why? A simple question I’ve never been asked in an honestly interested way. No judgment, no clumsy try to make my issues seem less important than I felt they were. Asking why with the true intent of understanding, and maybe even forgiving me. Caring for me without getting to hate me for my thoughts. That’s what I’d have needed. What I still sometimes need.” — Lydia D.

9. Can I stay with you? Sometimes when I’m suicidal, all I need is someone to be present with me — to physically not be alone and to feel the presence of another person who is there wanting me alive.” — Alyse R.

10. Are you actually OK? If anyone would have actually said that and made eye contact it would have made me feel like someone actually cared. No one ever tried to push past the ‘Yeah, I’m fine,’ and I really wish someone would have.” — Kacey K.

11.Can I come over/can I come pick you up? I’ve got (a movie/board game/card game/new makeup/etc.) and (takeout/popcorn/candy/cake mix/etc). It would just be nice for someone to see what’s going on, and just want [to] be with me. [Please] don’t ‘help’ me or talk me out of something. Just be there. Literally. Distract me. Make me have fun.” — Brianne O.

12.Do you want help with some of your chores? Can you talk to me about this? How are you feeling? Can you tell me what it feels like so I can understand what you’re going through? Is there anything I can do to support you through your struggle? Any of these would be nice.” — Devin L.

13.Do you want me to take you to the hospital? I never want to say that out loud despite thinking it because I don’t want to be a burden and get people worried, but I would appreciate if someone took my feelings seriously and asked me that question.” — Valentina V.

14. How can I help? People used to hear I’m suicidal and back off, apologizing and disappearing until I was ‘better.’ The help I needed wouldn’t have been huge — a text or a visit to my house when I was to anxious to go out, a tag in a silly meme, but unless they asked, ‘How can I help?’ I was never going to tell them any of that.” — Ciara L.

15. The one thing I always always need to hear, is this: I won’t leave you.” — Krystal S.

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.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via _____.


15 Questions People Who've Been Suicidal Wish They Had Been Asked
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How the Psychiatric Hospital Helped Me Find a Reason to Live

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Editor’s note: If you struggle with self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

I recently got discharged after being in a psychiatric hospital for five weeks. I saw many, many people come and go. The average stay is five to seven days. I was originally discharged after one week but was readmitted the next day.

Psychiatric hospitals aren’t as horrible as they sound. My mother would always use it as a threat when I was younger. Hospitals are made to help people and keep people safe. Now I was in the child in the adolescent unit. Because of laws, it is a little different than adult units, but it’s not the worst thing ever. It saved my life.

I wanted to die — I really did for a long time, hence why I was there for such a length of time. I kept hurting myself while there, which got me on IVOS (“in view of staff”), which sucks because someone even has to watch you shower. It’s the worst.

I figured out a lot about myself — who my support system is, who I care about, reasons to live. There was a patient care provider (PCP) there who really changed my life. She would always talk about this concert festival she went to. She said how there’s so much out there in the world, like music festivals, that I haven’t done yet. She also said how college is the best thing that helped her, so I only have a year to deal with, then I’d be free (I am currently 17).

I realized I had reasons to live. The biggest thing that helped was that I found reasons for myself to live, not other people. I wasn’t just wanting to stay alive for my nephews or friends, but for my future, for college. Once I found a will to live for myself, everything changed. The PCP always said, “Everyone should be kind to everyone. You are already with others, you just need to learn to be kind to yourself.” That has stuck with me a lot regarding self-harm.

I’m not saying I don’t have bad days or moments anymore. It’s still hard, but I’ve found ways to cope and manage the feelings. To observe the thoughts, not act on them.

If you are struggling with finding reasons to live, I suggest finding at least one reason for yourself to live; not others, you. Something you haven’t done yet, but really want to; that’s a reason to live.

Don’t be ashamed if you have to go to a psychiatric hospital. It shows you are asking for help and that takes strength to admit.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

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17 Signs You Grew Up With Suicidal Thoughts

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Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Growing up, we often aren’t taught about mental illness — and about suicide, we are often taught even less. So if you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, especially as an adolescent, it can be all too easy to think there’s something wrong with you for feeling this way — especially if parents and adults in your life are telling you it’s “just a phase” or invalidating your very real struggles.

But there’s nothing wrong with someone who has suicidal thoughts — and no one is “too young” to feel that pain. The reality is, many kids and teens do experience suicidal ideation, and we need to talk about it and know the signs.

To find out how people knew they experienced suicidal thoughts growing up, we asked our mental health community to share, in hindsight, the signs that made it clear. No matter what your experience growing up was, it is important to remember hope is never lost and there is help out there.

Here’s what they had to say:

1.I used to wish and pray for bad things to happen to me so I would have a reason to feel the way I did. I didn’t realize they weren’t ‘normal’ thoughts for a kid.” — Becca W.

2. “At first, I became resentful — toward everyone. I thought my family just wasn’t doing enough, that no one really provided the support I needed. Then, as I got a bit older, I resented myself. I still didn’t feel supported, but I told myself it was my fault, that I was to blame. And so I closed myself off from everyone else. I didn’t go out with friends, I didn’t date and I certainly didn’t share my feelings. What was the point, if at any moment, I may finally take my own life and rid them all of the burden of having me around? And so I missed out on so many opportunities to develop lasting friendships or even strong bonds with relatives. Because I thought it was a gift to them, especially for when I was no longer here.” — Thomas J.

3. “I never planned out my future because I never expected I’d ever get here. Now I feel lost and confused because I got further in life than I ever expected to, and now I feel like I’m too far behind to ever catch up.” — Emrys M.

4. “I routinely thought about running away when I was really young.” — Samantha E.

5. “I would sleep for hours because I thought sleeping would chase away those thoughts. Not at all! I developed insomnia because my dreams scared me so much.” — Glenda W.

6. “I stayed really busy. I didn’t leave time for myself to have bad thoughts. When I was in high school, I was there from 6:30 a.m. to at least 6 at night. Some nights it was until 9. Because of all the extracurriculars, I was able to suppress those thoughts. Until the weekends… then everything would crash down. I wished my life was done so I never had to feel the way I did at home ever again.” — Kayla C.

7. “I stopped trusting people. I had gone to my mom and tried to tell her I was having these scary thoughts and feelings. She told me to shut up and go to bed. Next, I tried to tell a counselor at school. He called my father and told him I was making up lies about my home life and trying to get attention. All I wanted was help. To this day, I struggle deeply with trust issues and keep my feelings to myself because I [fear] nobody really cares.” — Shari W.

8. “I would draw. I would spend my day secluding myself somewhere, like my bedroom or in my tree hideout and draw out my emotions… I still draw my emotions. I still seclude myself. Many days, [I feel like] I would be better off dead.” — Ally M.

9.  “I first started thinking about suicide at age 7. Growing up in a Christian house, I relied on Bible verses about how life is a gift and my body is a temple to help me decide to live. I threw myself into values that would keep me alive — such as family — and made sure to notice I would be missed if I were gone. In a way, this helped me to appreciate the love I had around me.” — Mara H.

10. “I avoid places or things I could use to harm myself… It’s confusing, I hear these thoughts in my head but sometimes I really do want to live.” — Thaydean B.

11. “I would randomly wake up in the middle of the night and cry all night or until my mother knocked on the door and told me to get out. I would sit on the floor feeling sorry for myself asking myself why I was alive and how much of a burden I was or even how better life would be for my family if I were gone. I would stare into the mirror and tell myself how unworthy I was and would mock myself because I felt so pathetic — so lonely and so far away from the people around me. Right after, I would wash my face and tell myself — try to convince myself — I would get better.” — Kayla W.

12. “I would, and still do at times, take extreme life-threatening risks because I had no concern for my life or safety.” — Hollie H.

13. “I would hide under the bed and hope I wasn’t ‘bad’ because I wanted to hurt myself.” — Fox I.

14. “I started experiencing suicidal ideations when I was 11 which was well before I knew what suicide was, so I used to go to bed and pray to God I just wouldn’t wake up in the morning. But I always did.” — Dara D.

15. “I became more sensitive to my needs when I start slipping. I talk to very few people about what’s going on in my head but one person in particular I have known since I was a teen. He’s seen me in my ups and downs and will always listen and make time to talk to me when I need to. I grew up spending all my teenage [years] fighting severe depression, have been admitted for the care I needed and have dealt with self-harm and suicidal thoughts. I look back at how I handled everything, the signals my mind presented as I spiraled. I vowed never again will I allow myself to get to that point again. I always seek help when I know I need it.” — Erin W.

16. “I would beg my mom not to make me go to school and I wrote poems about what I was feeling and going through. I also used to stay in my room most of the time and I wouldn’t have anything to do with the rest of the family. My mom asked me what was wrong and I told her I just felt like I was in everybody’s way.” — Kimberly T.

17. “I planned out so much of my future because it was one of my ways of battling those thoughts. To give myself an objective, no matter how big or small, made me quiet those thoughts so I could actually look forward to something in life.” — Audra B.

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.

Thinkstock photo via Archv.


17 Signs You Grew Up With Suicidal Thoughts
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How a Single Phone Call to My Psychiatrist Saved My Life

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Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

It’s been 13 years since I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Thirteen years of trial and error medication, side effects, hopelessness and occasionally success. It’s been a roller coaster, and some days I just want to get off of it.

For weeks, I had been struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. One night, for the second time in two weeks, I started writing a suicide note – but this time I didn’t get very far. Without giving myself a chance to think, I (finally) picked up the phone and called my psychiatrist’s answering service. I think the tone of my voice, the forced positivity, was a giveaway that this was in fact important enough to wake the good doctor at 11 p.m. on a Thursday. So they put me through.

I immediately realized I had woken him up, and I’m not sure I have ever felt so guilty about anything. I had picked up the phone without thinking, because I would not have done it if I gave myself a chance to think. But now I felt like the worst person in the world — and now I really desperately wanted to kill myself that very second because of it. Luckily for me, he knew what I was thinking. He told me I had done the right thing by calling, and he was glad I called. He told me not to worry about it at all. He arranged for me to stop by his office in the morning, even though he wouldn’t be there, and pick up samples of a new medication. I agreed.

When I got to his office nine hours later, the woman at the front desk had to call him because he hadn’t left instructions. Much to my surprise, she pulled me aside and handed me the phone: “He wants to talk to you.” I felt like I was being called in to meet with the school principal. He told me how much medication to take, and when to take it. Then he told me he was proud of me, and he was really glad to work with someone like me who would call when they needed to. He doesn’t lie, or exaggerate, so it was a rather surprising comment and it meant a lot more to me than he realized. He told me to come see him Monday. I was actually relieved. Suddenly I wasn’t going to have to tough it out and survive another month “alone.” I just had to survive the weekend – and I knew now that I wasn’t really alone.

By Monday I was nervous. Not anxious in my usual way, but actually nervous. My suffocating guilt about waking him up hadn’t gone away, and I couldn’t make eye contact as I followed him back to his office. When he closed the door behind me, something inside me broke — and maybe it needed to. I was depressed, I was scared, and I had been hiding it from him (and the world) for a while.

There was something no one knew – something I hadn’t even admitted to myself. I never expected to make it to age 30. I thought my time was limited. I never imagined I could survive the rigors of mental illness this long. I never bought a house, had kids, pursued graduate school, learned French, or planned for retirement. I just tried to survive each day and enjoy what I could. Truth be told, I’ve spent my life waiting to die.

There was a painful realization to be had in that moment — I didn’t have to die, but I did have to work hard to live. I wasn’t a lost cause — and I wasn’t out of time. Suddenly it was up to me. I knew I couldn’t choose to make depression go away — that was abundantly clear — but I could choose to see a doctor, take medication, and ask for help when living gets too hardThat was the piece of the puzzle I simply hadn’t accepted yet.

Living is possible — but not without help.

I wish I could say there was some magic that happened — that I jumped up and got outpatient therapy, overcame my anxiety, went back to school for my master’s, found a career in counseling, and my life transformed before my 31st birthday (and that I never again contemplated suicide).

Not quite.

But I’m going back to my doctor next week, staying on medication as prescribed, taking a class at community college and reminding myself as often as I have to that it’s OK to ask for helpI’m learning to accept that depression is not a death sentence — even when I want to die. And that asking for help is not a sign of being needy or weak.

It’s an example of strength and a source of hope.

We all need saving sometimes, even from ourselves.

Editor’s note: Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

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, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

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YouTuber and Mental Health Podcaster Stevie Ryan Dies By Suicide

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YouTuber and co-host of the podcast Mentally Ch(ill) Stevie Ryan died by suicide on Saturday, July 1. Ryan rose to fame through her YouTube series “Little Loca” and celebrity impressions. She also starred in “Stevie TV,” a sketch-based show on VH1, and co-hosted the E! series “Sex with Brody.”

Ryan was open about her mental health, frequently tweeting about it and discussing depression on her podcast.


According to People, Ryan and her and co-host Kristen Carney also discussed suicide and the death of Ryan’s grandfather earlier that week in an episode released two days before Ryan’s death.

“I’m just worried that this is going to send me into a deeper depression,” Ryan said of the show’s effect on her mental health.

Fans and colleagues of Ryan’s took to Twitter to mourn her passing.

If this news is hard for you, know you are not alone — and there is help for people who are feeling suicidal. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

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, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

Header image via Facebook.

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How I'm Finding My 'New Normal' After My Son's Suicide

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The call came that my son was gone. All I kept asking was, “What do you mean he is gone?”

When my son of 27 years was taken from me by depression leading to suicide, the pain I felt came from a whole different paradigm. This was not what I signed up for when I became a mother. I expected to grow old watching my child live a happy productive life. Suddenly, a lifetime of watching him grow, become a man, start a family and become an adult were gone. To me, suicide seems to be an ending to the pain of the person who succumbs to it. Yet, it is only the beginning to those of us left behind to pick up the pieces of our existence.

I was in shock in the beginning and really didn’t feel anything. I don’t believe I cried during those first couple of days after Christopher’s death. I later busied myself with doctor appointments and self-care became a priority even though I was resistant to the idea. The psychiatrist, psychologist and even my primary care doctors all worked together to keep me capable of basic functioning. Slowly, the coping skills began to find their way into my perplexed and anxiety-ridden mind.

It seemed incomprehensible that everything in our lives we had taken for granted as the truth was forever altered. Hopes, dreams, the future as we knew it were all sent to oblivion in a single moment. However, even though I did not believe it possible in those first couple of years, things have begun to change into more of a “normal” pattern and flow. My husband and I tentatively moved on into our “new normal.” We acknowledge there will always be the rough days and they must run their course. We have learned we cannot rush our healing nor ignore our grief.

The most arduous battle was the immediate absence of someone I had spent a lifetime caring for. I wondered if he would be remembered as others moved on with their lives after the immediacy of the crisis. I pulled out every picture I had and went through his life over again remembering every detail of what made him who he was. I made albums, filled containers of all his childhood belongings. Carefully placing cherished awards and projects from school for safekeeping to give to his daughters when they are grown.

I found online support groups to be very useful as they allowed me to be in the throes of a “meltdown” and still communicating through the keyboard. This allowed real-time conversations with others who shared the same pain I felt. These groups allowed me to avoid the physical human contact I was not ready for in my delicate state, but still allowed me to interact with others. These groups provide families and individuals — in varying stages of recovery — the chance to help each other and provide hope to those who are not as far along in their own recovery.

My husband and I are and will continue to be our child’s parents. The fact that he is not here physically does not mean he is no longer our son. We still are the parents of three sons. My personal mission has become to make sure my son is never forgotten. I require his memory be in totality and not summed up the one heartbreaking moment in which he left this life. This purpose gave me the fortitude to begin looking for possible ways to become a stronger person.

I recently signed up for classes and am working on becoming a Grief Recovery Specialist. Helping others is also becoming a wonderful tool in my own recovery. Using the new competencies, I have and will be learning, to aid another is a healing process in and of itself. I want to tell others that though it may not seem possible right now, but at some point, you will be the person who is farther down the recovery path than the next. I want to tell someone, “You will know what works for you and what may work for another grieving parent. You will have informative insight of a child loss survivor because you are one.”

There will be pain which may seem insurmountable. Allow yourself to accept help and live life. Remember there is someone somewhere who has answers when you are ready. You may need a friend or family member to take the first step for you to begin healing. Sometimes you simply may not be capable of seeking help on our own. It’s perfectly respectable to receive and utilize the help you need. Alternately, so is being capable and strong. It doesn’t mean you cared less or aren’t grieving enough because you are capable of strength in adversity. The reality of grieving is that your grief won’t be like anyone else. Grief is as individual as the person grieving.

Every one of us as a survivor can truly aspire to live their life while preserving their precious child’s memories. Eventually, time and perseverance will allow you to forge ahead finding your way to hope and your “new normal!”

Follow this journey on Facebook or on Carol’s blog.

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.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

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