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Talking About Suicidal Thoughts Is Not a Sign of Immaturity

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Sometimes our journeys are so different from one another. We bristle against things that are different. It is important to realize we are only an expert on our own lives. This story took place in my life many years ago. I overheard two people talking about a woman who kept talking about suicide.

One said to the other, “She just needs to grow up. She is not in high school anymore.”

The lack of understanding stung my heart. I had been chronically suicidal for years. No one could tell by looking at me. I was a great pretender. I learned early life was easier and people yelled less if these things were not talked about. Eventually I sought treatment, but I was so afraid even of what doctors would say, that I never told them the whole truth.

For me, suicidal thoughts were intrusive. My mind would be focused on something, and then out of the blue a visual flash would interrupt me. I would see some of the most horrific self-harm or suicide scenarios. At their worst, these visuals intruded about every 15 minutes. I could not control the impulse to act out and harm myself. I desperately wanted to pull it together, but I had no control. Well-meaning people screamed at me. They told me if I wanted to do it I would have already “succeeded.” They didn’t understand if I had acted on the plans in my head, I would not have survived.

After many secret suicide attempts, one landed me in the hospital. I was on my way to a group home, not only losing custody of my children but also myself. I was angry, humiliated and felt misunderstood.

Eventually my medication was changed, and with the new medicine I was able to control that impulse to self-harm. Still, the images were bombarding me, but they increased the medicine and for the first time in over 10 years, the horrific images didn’t intrude anymore. I was gifted with joint custody of my children.

Other people’s experiences with suicide may differ from mine, and I don’t pretend to understand their journeys, but I believe we all need to uplift each other. We need to understandwhen someone is discussing suicide, they’re not doing it as a game, for attention or as a sign of immaturity.

There are enough things in life beating us up without us beating each other up.

If you or someone you know needs help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

The Crisis Text Line is looking for volunteers! If you’re interesting in becoming a Crisis Counselor, you can learn more information here.

Originally published: June 29, 2016
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