The Mighty Logo

Depression Does Not Mean I Am Suicidal

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

When you ask someone what they think goes through the mind of someone with depression, they may answer “suicide” or “hurting themselves.” Ask the same question to someone battling depression, and they all have different answers about what goes through their minds.

Not everyone who is diagnosed thinks about taking their own life or are self-harming. When we get put on medication, a side-affect is always “can increase thoughts of suicide,” but that does not mean every person on an antidepressant will then start having suicidal thoughts.

When I was diagnosed with depression, I was never diagnosed as suicidal or self-harming. I never thought about ending my own life. Yes, at times I thought, “What is the point to keep living this life?” But it never made me suicidal.

Did I ever have thoughts of hurting myself? Sure I did, but did I actually hurt myself? No, I didn’t. Did I ever tried to attempt to hurt myself? Yes I did, but I always stopped myself before I could actually do any damage.

Of course my doctor and their team knew about this, but this didn’t send off any alarms to diagnose me as self-harming. They just increased my medication and watched me closely.

So if I wasn’t suicidal or self-harming, what was going through my own mind? I was sad, frustrated, saw no point with the direction my life was going, and had this “mental me.”

Back when I was fighting my battle, mental me was my dark self who just sat on this bridge, and all around her was black. All she did was sit there. Today, my mental me is happy and bouncing off a trampoline. Yes, I hit days where I’m not bouncing off that trampoline, but that’s normal.

Everyone experiences depression differently. No one really wants to end their own life or harm themselves. We get asked why we do that or think those thoughts, and at times we really don’t know the answer.

One thing I learned is that my story educates my family and friends. It shows people that depression and mental health is different for everyone. Everyone has their own struggles and experiences.

It’s the media that portrays the stigma and the idea behind certain mental illnesses. There are people like me who do not have thoughts of taking their own lives or harming themselves, but struggle differently. We want our stories heard, but these kind of stories sometimes don’t get told.

I used to be scared sharing this side of me, but I need to speak up now. My story is just as powerful as anyone else’s. Not only did I battle depression, but I also defeated it. That goes unheard of or unrecognized, but not anymore.

My name is April and this is my story.

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.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: January 28, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home