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16 Surprising Ways Being Suicidal Affects Your Body

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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.

When we think of suicidal thoughts, we often think of them as just that — thoughts. And while we should absolutely acknowledge and validate the ways it can affect someone’s mind, we may not realize our bodies can carry the experience of being suicidal in a very physical way as well. 

Maybe you experience pain flare ups when you’re in a particularly low place. Maybe your head feels like it’s buzzing with the intrusive thoughts invading your brain. Or maybe you feel extremely nauseous when you’re consumed by thoughts of ending your life.

Our bodies and minds are very intimately linked, and experiencing any kind of mental health struggle can leave physical “evidence.” To learn some of the ways being suicidal not only affects your mind — but also your body — we asked people in our mental health community to describe what physical symptoms they experience as a result of feeling suicidal.

Here’s what they shared with us:

  1. “My back and my head hurts. It gets to the point where all my emotions and thoughts go through my head at once. I get massive headaches and which results in me crying.” — Lauren P.
  2. “Dizziness. My mind starts racing with all of the suicidal thoughts, then slowly the room starts spinning and I feel light-headed like I’m going to pass out, but I never actually pass out. It’s probably the scariest part about being suicidal for me personally.” — Megan D.
  3. “I’m shivering into the shower to warm myself with piercing hot water. Trying to melt away the goosebumps that have developed from hours of crying. While the shower warms me and soothes my shivering body, I can’t help but think of what it would be to not think.” — Hailee J.
  4. I feel this heavy sadness in my chest and then it just fades to feeling nothing. It’s like watching the water drain from a bathtub (the way the emotion fades). One minute your tub is full and the next, it’s completely empty. You go from the warmth to just barren and stripped to nothing.” — Megan K.
  5. “I get surges of pain that shoot from my wrists to my finger tips. They ache to do something for (to) me. I also find it almost impossible to maintain any sort of posture. Physically wilted.” — Laura J.
  6. “I get really bad acid reflux, and my chest hurts and feels like it’s in a too-small space. Like my heart and ribs and lungs can’t all fit in my body.” — Dori H.
  7. “Excruciating pain in the front of my head. It’s heavy and sharp. Like a part of me is trying to bust out and break free.” — Sandi C.
  8. “I have a hard time calming myself down. I start to have tremors in my hands and legs, and I begin to panic. It’s like I’m being corned.” — Lea B.
  9. “My skin feels tight. Like one thought, one movement or even one comment will cause me to just disappear or explode into pieces.” — Lisa M.
  10. “It feels like my mind is humming, there is a constant buzz of activity. My thoughts are 100 percent occupied by suicide and contrary to people who think you can just choose to stop thinking about it, no matter how hard I try to turn it off, there is simply no ‘off’ button. The tension in my head gives me a headache. My mind is roaring, whispers feel like screams and screams feel like whispers. I am trying with every ounce of energy to turn my mind off, but every fiber of my being is against me.” — Delcie H.
  11. “Cotton mouth actually. When my thoughts turn intrusive, my mouth dries out and no amount of water can fix it until the episode passes.” — Reba E.
  12.  “I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach and have been completely winded. Then as the feeling settles my muscles get tense and I need to keep moving.” — Karen T.
  13. “Really sick to my stomach. I get a nauseous feeling like I’m so disgusted with myself that my stomach starts reacting.” — Damien A.
  14. “I feel buzzing in my ears. Depression causes screaming chatter in my brain, and it turns into a constant buzzing sound in my ears when it gets out of control.” — Jennifer P.
  15. I feel an intense vibration in my chest. It’s probably panic or anxiety.” — Brittany O.
  16. Restlessness. I can’t ‘be’ in my body. I am crawling out of my skin.” — Emilie S.

If you’re feeling like this right now, you are not alone — and you can get through it. Here are a few stories that might help:

Getty Images photo via AndreyPopov

Originally published: June 29, 2018
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