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Living With Chronic Suicidal Ideation

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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 741-741.

I had my first passive suicidal thought at 6 years old. I remember sitting at the top of the stairs after being scolded by my parents, repeating over and over in my head, “I wish I was dead, I wish I was dead, I wish I was dead.”

The active suicidal thoughts came later. Somewhere in my late teens, it occurred to me I didn’t just have to wish I was dead; I could bring death upon myself. Since that realization, that I could be the catalyst, I have never been the same.

The thoughts come every day. On a good day, it goes something like this:

Brain: You should kill yourself.

Me: No, that’s silly. Everything is fine.

Brain: OK, cool. Just checking.

On a bad day, it goes much further, even into specific plans. The intensity ranges from mild to ambivalent to severe.

I was recently diagnosed with bipolar II disorder in addition to generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I get the thoughts on both sides of the coin. When I’m depressed, I ruminate and plan for days or weeks. When I’m hypomanic, I get impulsive suicidal urges, sometimes every few minutes. The anxiety also triggers thoughts that I can’t live through whatever challenge I’m facing, so I might as well kill myself.

I don’t know why my brain seems to want to kill me. I wish I could make it realize — no, make myself realize — it’s an awful idea. That my life is worth something, worth living.

I’ve been in therapy for almost three years. I’ve been through two psychiatric hospitalizations. The therapy has given me more techniques to try and handle the thoughts and reduce their intensity. I recently found a psychiatrist I trust, and I’m really hoping he can help me get stable. I’m a fighter and I’ll keep fighting these thoughts, but I am scared I’ll have a weak moment and do something I’ll regret.

Image via Thinkstock.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Originally published: November 18, 2016
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