When Suicidal Thoughts Are Chronic
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.
“You should just kill yourself.”
The voice echoes in my head, all day long, every single day. It greets me when I wake up in the morning, comforts me as I’m going to sleep.
“Just do it already. Kill yourself.”
It’s consistent. It’s familiar. It’s been there since I was a young child, and I have tried multiple times to appease it. Yet I still live, and the voice urges, stronger and stronger every day.
There have been physical voices carrying this sentiment, too. My sister when I was a teenager; a toxic friend when I was in college. Others have repeated it with less strong words, showing me with their actions and disdain that I would be better off dead. It doesn’t matter. My own voice has always been far stronger.
“You should just kill yourself.”
Sometimes we have dialogues. How should I do it? How can I avoid messing up too badly, something I refer to as “Ethan-Fromeing it?” How can I avoid getting caught so if it doesn’t work, I can try again? How can I use the resources I have without drawing attention to myself? The problems are mostly solvable, but sometimes they stump me, and I wait longer. Each day I wait is agony. I need to get this done, I tell myself. I made a decision, two decades ago, and every day I survive is a “failure.” I need to do this.
“Kill yourself already.”
The few friends who know I’ve tried don’t understand. They ask what went wrong the one day I was attempting to do it, why I was so miserable that day. I didn’t know how to tell them I’m miserable every day. Every day is “a good day to die,” and every day I fight this voice for reasons I still don’t quite understand. Some days I lose. So far, my “losses” haven’t been fatal. Usually, I see that as a source of failure, shame and disappointment.
“Seriously, just do it.”
My friend recently told me to make a decision – decide to live or decide to die. Stop agonizing over the decision and just make it already. What he doesn’t get is that I made my decision when I was seven years old, and it’s not the one he wants me to make. The decision is done. I just need more time, I insist to myself, as I try to quell the voice. I need time to set things in order, time to try one or two more options here, time to figure out the best way to kill myself while leaving minimal impact on others. In the meantime, I live with one foot out the door, not committed enough to stay, not driven enough to leave. I’m in limbo, and have been my whole life.
“So die then.”
But I don’t. I tell myself I need time. I don’t want to screw this up. But there’s another thing, too. Somewhere along the line, I developed the hope that something would convince me to stay, to make me finally feel like this life is worth living. I find things that help me delay it, things that are worth fighting for, but they’re always temporary. The voice comes back, stronger than ever, arguing that none of those things are enough. I know something out there can be enough.
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 reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.
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Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash