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How I'm Learning to Live With My Suicidal Thoughts

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Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

My brain does not feel like my own. Sometimes it whispers, sometimes it screams, but almost always there is some part of it telling me that I want to die.

Hopping in the shower in the morning: “I want to die.”

Eating breakfast: “I want to die.”

Driving to work: “I want to die.”

Walking down the hall of the office with a fresh cup of coffee: “I want to die.”

Rarely does it crystallize into anything more than a passing thought, but it is an unnerving companion in my own mind.

When I first started experiencing these thoughts, they were terrifying, foreign, intrusive. I couldn’t believe or accept that they were coming from me. I fought them. I waged a silent, imperceptible war with my own thoughts while sitting in class, or cooking a meal. No one around me noticed but the battle waged. Only the battle seemed to make the thoughts more terrifying, more painful. I rejected them, expelled them and did everything I could to retreat from them. What I found was that no amount of running would make them any less present. And by fighting so hard, I was giving the thoughts power. They were working to a crescendo. As the thoughts peaked, my desire to run progressed from temporary escapism to more permanent, active plans. The fight inside my own mind was heading me down a dark path that I could not retreat from the same way.

At some point on that path, I lost the strength to fight. I started to let the thoughts in. I thought, at the time, that I was letting go of life. In reality, I was just letting go of the struggle. I didn’t know I was doing it, but I began to accept that those dark thoughts were a part of me. They were not an intrusive voice, disembodied and foreign. The voice was my own. Some part of me needed to be expressed in that way. Only by letting them in could I become resilient to them. I couldn’t see it then but by accepting the darkest parts of myself, I became a little bit brighter. For now, that is as far as I have gotten. I’m still not comfortable with my suicidal thoughts. It still shocks me to think that I am learning to live with wanting to die. But I am, living.

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 reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

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Getty Images photo via dragana991

Originally published: January 19, 2018
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