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The Metaphor That Perfectly Describes Living With Constant Suicidal Thoughts

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

Think of what it would feel like to drown. The water covering your head, entering your throat and nose, trickling into every possible entrance — smothering, choking, burning. Imagine the panic that bubbles beneath the surface, the terror that streams from your stomach to your chest and up out of your soul through tensed shoulders and a gasp. Now imagine drowning in thoughts and distress.

Imagine that every torrent of thoughts is a wave that threatens to drown you. That your mind whispers to you over and over and over to just do it, just do it, just do it, you useless b*tch. As if it wasn’t enough that you were drowning already, your body – which is desperately refusing to sink – now has to fight against your mind – which is desperate to do the opposite. Just do it. Just close your eyes. Just end it.

Imagine that this is something you fight daily. Every moment is part of the flood. Every second, you are torn between drowning and death and life, stuck in a limbo where there’s only faltering hope and misguided dreams and darkness to light the path. You’re reminded of every failure, every mistake, every anxiety that has ever concerned you comes streaming back into your mind, to match the tears streaming down your face. These memories pummel you. Over and over and over. See, they scream, see why you deserve this? Just do it.

But still, instead of listening, instead of drowning, you let yourself hang in the balance. Struggle. Thrash between the current. There’s light at the surface, and there’s darkness down below you, but here you drown in between. There’s an escape, and it would be so easy, it’s so close, it’s within reach. But still you struggle. You let yourself drown, without dying, without returning to the surface.

Perpetually drowning, beneath a torrent of thoughts, a flood of emotion, and an undertow of distress. Panic in your throat, empty lungs anxious for air, and a mind crazed for a breath, for a break. But you don’t know how to swim. The current is too strong. The waves overwhelm you.

This is what it’s like to be suicidal.

Getty Images photo via Transfuchsian

Originally published: June 28, 2018
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