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24 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing Because You're a Suicidal Mama

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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 741-741.

“But you have so much to live for.”

“How could you be so selfish?”

“Think of your kids.”

If you’re a parent who has struggled with suicidal thoughts, unfortunately the statements above might sound familiar. People are quick to judge those who are suicidal, and that judgment can be even more fierce when you are a parent. This can make it hard for mothers and fathers alike to speak up and reach out when they’re feeling suicidal — and sometimes, the heaviness of their feelings comes out in ways you might not expect.

To start a conversation about what mothers sometimes do when they’re feeling suicidal, we reached out to The Mighty’s mental health community. Every person is different, but we want all you mamas out there to know you’re not the only one struggling to make it through the day, and that if you see yourself in one of these answers, you are not alone, and there is help available to you. What do you do when you’re feeling suicidal? Sit down with a loved one and share — it’s important people who love you know what to look out for.

Here’s what our Mighty Moms shared with us:

1. “Isolating myself. Lashing out. Then crying because I didn’t want to lash out at anyone that loved me, I wanted them to understand. And make me feel loved. And worthy of my own life.” — Rachel C.

2. “I read and ignore all reality. I make sure my son has what he needs and is cared for but I completely dissociate into whatever fantasy world I’m in and barely move or speak. I also let house work pile up and one day speed through it all in a panic.” — Sunshine M.

3. “Constantly telling my kids I’m proud of them and love them, because it usually feels like the last time I’ll have that chance.” — Barbie C.

4. “I will say, ‘I can’t take this anymore,’ and often people think I’m just overwhelmed, but in reality I mean I don’t want to be around anymore. I never follow through with it because I enjoy life most of the time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about it.” — Christina G.

5. “Lying in bed 24/7 and leaving my 10-year-old to take care of his younger siblings. He’d make breakfast, help clean the house, make me food and bring it to me. He’s a great kid and sometimes I can’t help it. He struggles with depression and anxiety now and I blame myself.” — “Alexis D.

6. “Sleeping all the time, it was my way of just not being here without physically doing anything to myself.” — Dani C.

7. “I overcompensate. I clean more. I’m always looking for attention, buying gifts, etc. Then I will just cry in the shower. I also wake up in the middle of the night and just watch my kids sleep. I also keep telling everyone I am fine even if they don’t ask. I still think about it, but I know my kids need me. They are the only reason I try to keep myself busy. If I’m alone or still for too long my mind gets the best of me and I go to a very dark place.” — Solice M.

8. “I pushed friends and family away by being mean to them because I thought if they hated me, it wouldn’t hurt them if I was gone.” — Lacie J.

9. “Going without bathing. Turning down play dates and mommy outings. Most days it’s was a struggle just to get the kids’ diapers changed, fed and in clean clothes. If I managed that I figured that was enough.” — Mackenzie W.

10. “When my son isn’t home with me, I just sleep. I try to push myself to finish laundry before it piles up or vacuum or mop/sweep. But I just sleep. It’s my only escape from my damn head!” — Jessica H.

11. “Distancing myself from friends and loved ones. Never opening the curtains. Hiding under a cover and doing just what needs done through out the day. Love to anyone who feels like this at this time of year. When others are celebrating love and family, some of us struggle just to get up and out of bed.” — Jo F.

12. “After everyone goes to bed is the worst time. My thoughts pop up, especially when I cannot sleep. I try my best to distract myself, but in reality, this is the time I will break down and cry to myself over everything, so no one will see me hurt or upset.” — Tatauq M.

13. “Not answering my phone calls. Canceling plans. Stopped showering regularly. Showed my kids more affection, like telling them they are loved and beautiful… But the difference between now and then is now my support is better and more understanding.” — Diane S.

14. “Making plans to run away and start somewhere new with the kids, is what I’ve identified as my trigger behavior. And even though it’s completely implausible to do so, I can’t stop thinking about doing it. Getting away from all of the negative thoughts people and places. On the outside, I stop caring about others, I default back to mean and thoughtless with my words. I have no impulse control, buying things, making poor choices like not doing laundry, brushing teeth before bed, letting the kids stay up too late. Making promises or agreements and not keeping to them.” — Catriona W.

15. “Extremely excessive cleaning.” — Mary D.

16. “Isolation. Crying in the shower when the kiddos are asleep because it was a constant battle. You have so much to live for but you can’t get the thoughts away. I just wanted to be alone and not touched yet I would hold my babies close because they always pushed me to the next day.” — Janell R.

17. “Bailing out on playdates and avoiding having them at my house. Having people come over and having to clean sends my anxiety into overdrive, starting the domino effect.” — Jen D.

18. “Going the ‘extra mile.’ Always trying to do better than I did last time. Baking cookies. Going to the park. Doing every activity I can with my children. Going to every play even when I’m hiding at the back. Out of total fear that my brokenness will break them. Knowing that I’m not good enough and crying myself to sleep because I’m just not good enough.” — Holly F.

19. “I literally have always ran away when it becomes too much to bear. I will drive and travel to wherever I can go just to distract me from those thoughts. Others have never understood that, or my struggles.” — Samantha G.

20. “People said I was so serene while kid-chaos happened around me. They didn’t know I was only superficially engaged with reality. I didn’t consider myself human or worthy of life.” — Sherry L.

21. “I get busy with projects I never really finish. I get all engulfed in painting the house or building a bed in hopes that if I achieve something I will feel like I am worth something.” — Tara F.

22. “Saying I’m tired all the time. Lashing out at those who mean the most to me. I have no energy to look after myself. Even having a shower is a massive battle. Start to isolate myself and just wanting to constantly sleep.” — Sheree S.

23. “Take longer showers or baths.” — De C.

24. “For all the times you did see me, it was all I could do to be there. You may not be able to ‘see’ my illness, but I am battling every minute of every day. The days I show up, I win.” — Lindy M.

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 741-741

Originally published: December 19, 2017
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