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When Love Isn’t Enough to Stop 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.

“What happens when I’m not enough?”

Six words.

One question.

Six months ago, I fell in love with my boyfriend: a date in a cafe that turned into six hours of conversation lost in each other’s eyes. Both nervous and awkward, but instant connection. I remember walking out of that cafe and ending the date with a hug; my heart skipped a beat.

Months later, my boyfriend was aware of my diagnoses.

He was aware I survived a serious suicide attempt that I did not want to survive — an attempt that has left me struggling with the guilt and anger of surviving. What he was not aware of was the constant obsessive and intrusive thoughts that I have nearly every moment of every day.

I disclosed them to my boyfriend on a particularly rough day when the thoughts were too much. The plan then became that I would spend the weekend with him to have that support. When I got there, we had a long conversation and then he said it…

“What happens when I’m not enough?”

I saw the fear, the concern, the love and the pain in his eyes.

I cried. I had no answer for him.

This is the reaction to suicide I had only read about others having, but I had never experienced it until this moment.

This was one of my fears about telling him — my fear of someone falling in love with me, but feeling incapable of loving or being loved. The fear that, if he ever lost me, he’d feel it was because he was not enough to keep me here. That our future wasn’t enough to keep me here. That his deep, unwavering, unrelenting and persistent love for me was not enough to keep me here.

He reminded me I have great days and I’m not always “like this.”

I agreed.

I laugh. I smile. I go to work. I have fun. I love this moment. I live for these moments.

But it’s always there. It manifests in ways that prevent me from doing daily life activities.

I hope I’m not the only one who has experienced this reaction when telling a loved one. How do we assure our loved ones that their worth has nothing to do with a possible outcome of mental illness?

I’ll tell you how I’m ensuring my loved one knows his worth is not based on the outcome of my battle with my mental health. I’m going to love him every day. I’m caring for him in ways he knows I care. I’m going to plan a future and live it every day to the best of my ability. I will take golf cart rides with him, get stuck in the mud and push our way out only to fall while holding the gas pedal and the golf cart getting away. I’ll lie on his lap on a floating dock and look into his eyes. I’ll laugh as I try to beat him in a board game, but knowing he’ll probably kick my butt anyway.

If you have a loved one who questions their worth by their ability to “keep you here,” assure them that their worth is not defined by your battles.

If you are a loved one to someone who battles mental illness, please know they love you and care for you more than they’d ever be able to show or explain. I know you’re scared of losing them to the battle they fight — I’ve seen it in my loved one’s eyes — but a possible outcome of their mental illness does not mean you are or are not enough.

You are enough. They are enough. I am enough. We are all enough.

It just simply is who we are.

Photo by Jonas Weckschmied on Unsplash

Originally published: June 18, 2018
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