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15 Reasons You Might Not Notice Your Friend Is Thinking About Suicide

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Sometimes when you’re having suicidal thoughts, it can be easy to shame yourself for the way you are feeling. Maybe everything in your life seems “perfect” from the outside and there’s no real “reason” for you to be thinking about suicide. Maybe you’ve been dealt a hard hand in life, and it feels like no one would care even if you did choose to share what you’re feeling. Or maybe you did open up to someone and they responded badly, making you feel hesitant or unwilling to open up again.

Whether you mask your thoughts by pulling away from others or hiding behind a smile, experiencing suicidal thoughts is hard, and no one should have to go through it alone. We want you know your feelings are real, valid and worthy of being talked about. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out.

We wanted to know the reasons why someone might not know their friend is thinking about suicide, so we asked our mental health community to share one reason their friends wouldn’t know they were struggling with suicidal thoughts.

Here’s what they shared with us:

1. “I tend to fake it ’til I make it. I put on a mask whenever I’m around people and it’s exhausting. I feel so drained after faking a smile all day and all I want to do is scream, ‘I wish it all could end!’ Secretly I’m screaming that in my head. Then I go home and curl up in a ball and cry. But no one ever knows because I don’t let them see that side.” — Jackie S.

2. “[My friends don’t know] because they don’t come around. Due to my social agoraphobia and bipolar I tend to stay home and cancel plans regularly so they wouldn’t know the difference.” — Amanda P.

3. “When things get bad, I push away… So in essence, I become like a Monet painting — beautiful to look at from afar, but a mess when you get close… So I back away so you can see what I want you to see. I don’t want to be seen vulnerable.” — Emily V.

4. Who will notice me struggling if I have no friends? Not by choice. If I did have friends, they wouldn’t know because I’m so good at acting ‘normal’ and putting on a front.” — Bree N.

5. “I smile all the time. I probably look like one of the happiest people out there — and to be honest, that’s fine with me. I’d rather have them think that than worry about me, but that’s only me personally… I would ask for help in a moment I really needed it.” — Maddy F.

6. “I have a loving husband and two beautiful children. I only post on social media about them. I don’t talk about what’s going on with me. That’s why people I’m ‘close to’ don’t realize I struggle with suicidal thoughts. Because why would they question it when I have it all ‘put together’ nicely on Facebook. No one cares enough to ask what happens behind closed doors. They just want something to ‘like’ and keep scrolling…” — Whitney C.

7. “My friends would never notice because I assume they just don’t care so I wouldn’t share it with them. They seem to brush off all my other ‘issues’ so why wouldn’t they brush off this issue? Why share yet another problem with them that they just won’t understand or care about.” — Patricia S.

8. “I was taught to hide how I felt because my family doesn’t believe mental illness exists. So I’ve learned to cry alone, keep my mouth closed and ‘fake it’ because it’s better to be unnoticed.” — Erin R.

9. “Because so many people are quick to judge, my true feelings are rarely exposed. No one would know how much I struggle inside because it’s easier to just cover them up.” — Stephanie L.

10. “Because you get so good at lying to everyone in fear that what you say may only disappoint them more, and that’s not something you can bear when you already feel like you are full of disappointments. So you fake a smile or a laugh to mask what you’re truly feeling inside because it’s easier than [being] open.” — Carla N.

11. “I am naturally solitary. If I didn’t force myself to participate in my own life, I could go weeks without seeing or speaking to anybody. No one notices when things are wrong if they are used to not seeing or hearing from you for weeks on end.” — Bea R.

12. Because there’s this ‘society rule’ that states when someone asks how you feel, you automatically say, ‘Fine.’ There’s no other answer to it. You would never say to a friend that you’re struggling mentally because in your mind everyone has problems and you don’t want to add more things to that friend.” — Diana F.

13. “I was a workaholic. When I was hospitalized for a suicide attempt, no one knew. It took two days for someone to realize I was not at work.” — De C.

14. “Because it comes to a point [when] telling someone how you feel and getting told to ‘get over it’ just isn’t something you want to do anymore. So you don’t say anything. They ask what’s wrong and you say nothing. Eventually people stop asking and stop caring.” — Muriah J.

15.I don’t feel like I am allowed to show [my] struggle.” — Valerie A.

To learn what to look for if you’re afraid a friend might be suicidal, click here. If you’re nervous to start a conversation, these questions might help you start.

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, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

Thinkstock photo via Archv.

15 Reasons You Might Not Notice Your Friend Is Thinking About Suicide
Originally published: July 21, 2017
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