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When You're Angry at Yourself for Having Suicidal Thoughts

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Editor’s note: If you struggle with suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

“I want to die.”

I don’t remember the first time I said those words, but I do remember the feeling of wanting everything to disappear, wanting everything to end. I was small the first time I wanted to die, too small to even understand that what I was experiencing were suicidal thoughts.

Suicide is a scary word, and there is so much taboo in our society about what it means to want to take your own life. The words “weak” and “selfish” are thrown around so easily, online, in the hospital waiting room, by terrified friends. I think words like these are used by people to protect themselves — if someone who’s suicidal is someone who is weak and selfish, unable to cope with daily life, then it cannot possibly be them. There was a time when suicidal thoughts were my normal because for a large part of my life, I wanted to die more than I wanted to live. But then things changed for me, my life improved, and I was happy. I still struggled in the battle against my mental illness, but for several years I was winning.

After the birth of my second child, everything changed. I found myself wanting to die again. I was in the depths of therapy opening up some of my most painful wounds, and suddenly it hit me like a ton of bricks. My thoughts were consumed by the desire to die. However, this time it was not my “normal.” I found myself using those horrible words like “weak” and “selfish” about myself for struggling with such thoughts. I was cruel to myself. I told myself it was pathetic and I needed to get over it. Those horrible thoughts about myself came from a place of anger because I couldn’t comprehend how I could possibly want to die when my life was filled with so much joy.

Rather than acknowledge my pain and deal with it, I pushed it down and hid what was
happening… until I found myself standing on a bridge looking down, ready to let go. I stared at the photos of my children on my phone and I willed myself not to do it, but the thoughts were overwhelming. I used my phone in that moment to call a crisis line. I couldn’t speak because I was too afraid, but the kind voice on the other end talking to me, she saved my life.

From that one phone call I was able to reach out to others around me. I went from counting how many more minutes I could keep myself alive to counting the days… and then eventually, the weeks. The thoughts do not go away easily and I know there is a long road ahead of me, but I believe that if I can focus on keeping myself alive just one day at a time, everything has to get better eventually.

It would have been  easy to succumb to the thoughts that tell me I am weak and selfish for the way I feel, but those thoughts will isolate and shame me into silence once more. So instead I choose to speak and to acknowledge my pain in the hopes that just one person reading this with suicidal thoughts will think to reach out for help. Then maybe, I can use my pain to achieve something good.

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.

Photo via Thinkstock

Originally published: September 9, 2016
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