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I No Longer Experience Daily Suicidal Thoughts

I didn’t think I would ever be writing this story. In fact, this is exactly the kind of story that I would have turned my nose up at when I was struggling the most. But now that I’m here, I understand the importance of telling these stories, and how it may give just one person the hope to hold on.

I had been chronically suicidal for my whole life, since childhood. When I was too young to remember, I told my mom I couldn’t wait to “die and go up to heaven to live with Jesus.” Of my earliest memories, I mostly remember desperately wanting to be somewhere else, anywhere else. My dedication to reading was pointed out as intelligence, but it was my best attempt at leaving my reality. The full awareness of wanting to die and leave this life behind hit me in junior high, and through high school and early adulthood it grew into a dense fog that clouded my entire mind.

By my lowest point, I had already accepted that being suicidal was just a part of who I am. I made it through my lowest point, but that didn’t change the fact that I was chronically suicidal. I made it past my lowest point, but that didn’t mean I felt any better or more stable. I knew I wasn’t going to go back to that place, but I also strongly believed that in order to live my life I would have to accept the longing in the back of my mind that whispered, “I don’t want to be here.” I decided I would accept suicidality as a part of my identity. This is just who I am.

Until it wasn’t.

I started to notice very small moments. I didn’t think about dying until a couple minutes after waking up, instead of immediately. When something small went wrong during the day, I calmly solved the problem instead of throwing up my hands, wishing I was dead. I really enjoyed the morning sun and felt moments of possibility rather than constant dread for the coming day. I began to wonder, is being chronically suicidal something that I won’t have to live with forever?

I have had to work very hard, but I can truly say now I often have weeks, sometimes months, without suicidal thoughts or feelings. When they do come up, I can remind myself this is a sign of severe stress or of a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) trigger, and to give myself the care I need. I have learned a variety of skills and practices that help me feel grounded, connected, supported and loved, and these skills help me cope with the intensity of emotions and feelings without feeling the need to leave or die. I am still regularly triggered, but the rollercoaster is much shorter. I still struggle with stability and routine and socializing, but I feel a lot calmer and more in control in general.

I didn’t think this was possible for me. I had not heard of recovery stories that started with “I was suicidal since I was a child.” I thought that recovery was only for people who had a starting point, something to recover or go back to in the first place. But it’s possible to start from scratch. I hope that someone finds hope in my story, because you can always make a new path.

And if you’re a skeptic, just know that I was too. You can be skeptical, and it can still happen for you.

Getty image by EasyTimer