19 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing Because You're Suicidal
Too many times we hear heartbreaking stories from those whose loved ones have died by suicide, wondering why they didn’t see the signs. Wondering what red flags they were missing. Wondering what preventative actions they could have taken if only they had known.
Because from the outside looking in, mental illness and suicidal thoughts don’t have a “type.” There is no description or look to “someone who is suicidal.” And from the inside looking out, it can be hard to communicate what might be going on as it unfolds.
That is why we asked our Mighty mental health community to tell us things people didn’t realize they were doing because they were suicidal. It’s important to remember that everyone is different, but by taking time to reflect on what red flags others (and ourselves) should be aware of, we might be able to prevent another story from ending too soon.
Here is what they had to say:
1. “I usually start cleaning things, like my social media accounts (removing pictures, quotes, statuses etc.). I also tend to avoid going out and try sleeping a lot to pass time and avoid emotions.” — Lauren G.
2. “Taking care of everything. When I’m really suicidal, I fulfill all my responsibilities and do things I’ve forgotten or neglected so that people won’t have to worry about it when I’m gone. I also tell people how much I love and appreciate them because I don’t want to leave without the people around me knowing how important they are.” — Julia W.
3. “Dress really colorfully. I tend to overcompensate for my depression with colorful clothes.” — Brandi S.
4. “I don’t take care of my health and I don’t have very good self-care. This includes not brushing my teeth or my hair, eating unhealthy food or not eating at all, never sleeping when I want to.” — Anias B.
5. “I dissociate. I don’t answer what few phone calls or texts I get. I don’t go to appointments, self-care is at a low. A couch, bed or my car is the safest places in those times because I don’t have to worry about rejection, judgment or trying to feel anything. I will make poor financial choices to ‘make myself feel better’ because I figure why not do whatever I can to make myself happy or feel alive like everyone else around me.” — Knowledge L.
6. “Obsessively filing and painting my nails, trying to make them perfect. It distracts the hands and mind.” — Angela L.
7. “Don’t really talk to anyone about it. [I] drink alcohol and skip work” — Holly L.
8. “I go for a walk and listen to music about how I feel. I usually come home with a new perspective, or at least feeling better after crying it out a little and realizing I’m not alone in this. Music always reminds me I’m not alone.” — Andy S.
9. “Not making decisions — just letting things happen around me.” — Laura M
10. “Spacing out I guess. Just staring into blank space.” — Lian S.
11. “I become quiet. I won’t talk much or engage in any conversation with anyone, because [if I’m having those days] I usually think about it: what would happen to my loved ones, how am I gonna do it, etc.” — Mae R.
12. “I start over-expending and exaggerating everything I do. I push myself harder so that people don’t worry about me, but then I reach a breaking point and disappear for a couple of days. I will also start rearranging things, even if they’re minuscule to some. It helps me get a clearer view on things if I feel like I can control what I’m doing.” — Jolyn T.
13. “Not posting or talking much on Facebook. I get to a point where my mind is filled with ideas of suicide, and all I have to talk about is how I feel. So I stop posting, commenting or in-boxing. I was watching ‘Supernatural’ (my favorite show). It helps get me through quite often, but wasn’t helpful tonight, so I went and laid down and slept.” — James C.
14. “Locking myself in the bathroom so I can sit and cry, scream or pray and get through it on my own or in the shower. I isolate myself from people and even hide away from my family I live with and struggle alone.” — Veronica R.
15. “I always love to give gifts, but when I start handing away things that have sentimental value to me, I’m cleaning up before an attempt.” — Teri R.
16. “Watch suicide attempt videos and listening to suicidal songs. I thank everybody I know for their love and kindness. I isolate myself, withdraw from social activities and lie that I am ill.” — Kitty C.
17. “Looking for things that make me want to stay. And if I can’t find anything I just put on a smile so that no one suspects anything.” — Sikarin P.
18. “I stop planning for the future. Halloween costume? What Christmas presents to buy? I stop all of that trivial planning.” — Tanya L.
19. “I lose my appetite completely which is a bad sign because I love my food. [I] also cut myself off from people.” — Patricia Y.
If you’re worried a loved one might be suicidal, here is a resource that might help. If you are currently struggling with suicidal thoughts, know you are not alone, and please don’t hesitate to reach out.
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 “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.
Thinkstock photo via Grandfailure