Lying Awake at 3:07 AM With Suicidal Thoughts Because of Chronic Pain

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.

I’ve lived with debilitating pain for eight years now. I never imagined it would get this horrendously bad. I should be planning on attending university next week. The key word of that sentence: “should.” My bags are packed, my schedule (nearly) set and my plane ticket has been downloaded onto my phone.

But tonight, at 3:07 a.m., I’m not thinking about university. Instead, I’m thinking about how to survive the night. For the 21st night in the last three weeks.


Pain can have a huge effect on a person’s mental health. It’s caused me to feel like I desire death. My rational self knows I don’t really want to die. Although my pain seems to be a permanent, and oftentimes an untreatable problem, taking my own life doesn’t seem to be the best solution.

Yet, as I sit here, penning this, that strange, basely voice in my head – what I know is my subconscious, seeping into my exhausted thoughts – is still begging for my own undoing, yelling at God, or the universe, or anything, to end it all, pleading with some higher power for peace. It’s just begging for the pain to stop, and death is the only permanent solution it knows. My subconscious doesn’t actually want my heart to stop. It just wants peace.

So what do I do instead? I count my breaths. I time them to the tormenting ticking of the clock in my room, reminding me that, yes, it’s now 3:09 in the morning, and I’m not going to get any sleep tonight. I write. I spin my fear into poetry and plays, which have been read all over the world.

I’m doing that tonight. I’m tired of the damn clock.

I also call a friend. I call the person who I know can talk me out of the downward spiral my mind is running in. Sometimes – many times – I need a reminder that it’ll ease up, and the only thing I can do is fight.

When this pain drives me out of my mind, I need a reminder that someone cares, and I’m not alone. I wish they knew how grateful I am – but even that gratitude, I cannot describe. So, if on the off-chance you’re reading this, thank you. I’m eternally grateful.

Illness is one of the most isolating experiences I’ve ever endured. Even with all of your friends and family behind you, it still feels lonely, because – in my experience – it’s indescribable, even to other people within this community. It’s not just the emotional difficulties. The hardest part for me, still, is losing control of my body.

I’ve lost one-fifth of my body weight in three weeks. I can’t eat or drink. Yet, people – friends, family, physicians – think it’s a choice. Trust me. It’s not, even though the reason it’s happening still doesn’t have a name. After. Eight. Years.

So, its 3:24 in the morning. I’m five days away from moving to a new city, all the way across the country – and I think, finally, my mind may have found peace in these pages.

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.

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Thinkstock photo via KatarzynaBialasiewicz.

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