What I Didn't Realize I Needed When I Was Suicidal
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.
There was a time that I decided I was going to kill myself. In my mind there were some things that I wanted as I decided to die by suicide. There were some things I knowingly wanted, but as I am thinking about it years later, I realize there were some things I didn’t know I wanted as well.
First, here is what I knew I wanted.
I knowingly wanted the world and its problems to go away. I saw disasters and devastation. I saw anger and hate, murders and abuses of all kinds. Evil seemed to be pressing in all around me.
I knowingly wanted my pain to end. I felt like a failure at life, a disappointment, and no good to the world. The losses which seemed to pull out part of my heart were too great. The emotional pain hurt so bad I could hardly breathe.
I knowingly wanted out of the darkness. It felt like a dark cloud was pressing down over my head. I had fallen into a deep pit of depression and despair. I could not see any way out except to die.
In my mind, I thought all I wanted was to die. Looking back on that time many years later, I see there were some things I unknowingly wanted as well. There were things I did and didn’t do during that time of trying to kill myself that showed I had more things I wanted.
Here are some examples of things I didn’t know I wanted during my suicide attempt.
I unknowingly wanted love. When I first self-harmed, after a long while, I called a friend who might care. When I was invited to spend the night so I would be safe, I went because I wanted to be cared for. When my friend found me on the bathroom floor after I had cut again, I wept as arms were wrapped around me out of love. When I was left alone in the hospital with a stuffed cat from my friend, I held on to it tightly because I needed to remember that someone knew my pain and still loved me.
I unknowingly wanted to show care to others. I didn’t want to share my thoughts of suicide with my family because I didn’t want them to hurt and not know what to do. I wrote a note of love and explanation to my family so they would not think it was their fault. I decided I didn’t want my friend to be traumatized to have to find me dead on the bathroom floor in the morning. I allowed my family to know I was in the hospital and to know what I had done even though I was afraid because I knew they would desire to love and help.
I unknowingly wanted help to live. I actually went to my friend’s house when asked because I knew I could not protect myself. I didn’t leave and sneak away to die when my friend was sleeping or at other times when I had the chance because I felt a bit of safety. I went to the doctor with my friend the next day which showed I must have thought the doctor might be able to do something for me.
I went to the hospital even though I was desperately afraid. It is hard to know all your desires when tunnel vision on death sets in. I thought I just wanted the world and its problems to go away, for my pain to end and to be out of the darkness. In other words, I thought I just wanted life to end. I am now finding that underneath that overwhelming thought was a desire to be shown love by someone who knew all my pain, to show love to others myself and to get help for what I thought could not get better.
Maybe you are in the situation that I was in, or maybe you are someone who is looking from the outside at a person who wants to die by suicide. Before you give up, try thinking, even though it may seem impossible, what unknown desires are behind this desire of death. Can you see it? A desire to be loved. A desire to show love. A desire to get help for life. Maybe there is a little hope still.
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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Getty Images photo via Ank Design