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When Chronic Illness Leads to Suicidal Thoughts

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Living with a chronic illness is one of the hardest, most harrowing experiences anyone will have to go through. Living with pain every single second and other debilitating and humiliating symptoms causes a type of stress and anguish that is unlike anything else. I live with chronic illness and pain. I must be careful with everything that I do because I might injure myself further and worse. This is beyond tedious and depressing to live with. I never talk about it, but there are times that I have thought about ending my life, ending the pain and loneliness of chronic illness, and I know many others who live with chronic illness and pain have felt this way at one point or another.

Suicide is a taboo subject; it is something I am truly uncomfortable talking about, but I feel it is so important to move past that and actually open up about my experience. Chronic illness has left me feeling broken and alone. I feel isolated, as if I am the only one in the world who is going though this, even though I know for a fact that isn’t true. I have connected with people online who have had similar experiences, but it does nothing to nullify my loneliness in everyday life. I feel like an outsider because I must do things differently than other people. There are many times when the thought of suicide has entered my mind. I often think it would be so easy to end my suffering. I do my best to push these dark thoughts away, but they reside at the back of my mind all the time.

I suffer from depression and anxiety that is only amplified by my life of chronic illness. I never talk about what it feels like to truly be beaten down by this. I am not ashamed I have depression and anxiety, but I just think most people wouldn’t understand the true severity of it all. I constantly put myself down over things I absolutely have no control over. I get such severe anxiety, social anxiety being the worst, that I dread leaving the sanctuary of my house. These experiences wear on me constantly. It is only natural that suicide would at least have entered my mind to some extent.

I think it is important to note that I truly do want to live, and therefore it is so hard having a chronic illness. Yes, I am alive, but my illness does not allow me to truly live as I want to. Being held back from living my best life is what personally amplifies my depression and leads to suicidal thoughts, which might seem like a contradiction to what I previously said about wanting to live, but having to live half a life is absolutely miserable. I often force myself to be positive in the face of it all because I am afraid of what might happen if I let the negative thoughts take over even for one second. I have a happy, upbeat personality, this is just how I am wired, but even the happiest people have dark moments.

The thing that keeps me going is my family and friends. I have such a strong support system in them, and this is key. I know if it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t still be here today. I think it is also truly important to talk to someone about your dark thoughts. If you keep the thoughts to yourself, they will bottle up and explode and the result could be catastrophic. Talking to someone is the first step in getting help. It is one of the hardest things to admit to someone you are having suicidal thoughts, but it is critical in moving forward with recovery.

Getty Image by ESS-GRAPHICS

Originally published: April 4, 2018
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