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When You're Terrified of Becoming Suicidal Again

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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 you’re not constantly suicidal, loved ones might assume that when your suicidal thoughts subside, you’re in a good place. But when you’ve been suicidal for months or years, it’s easy to feel like you’re constantly waiting for another bout of suicidality — always anticipating the worst.

You may remember the moments you felt your lowest, even if you’re generally feeling clear-headed. You might ruminate about past suicide attempts or the trauma that led up to them, fearing certain items that you associate with those times. You may wonder if your darkest moments are right around the corner again, negating all the times you’ve healthily, successfully coped with your suicidality. And you may start avoiding those memories and sensations that trigger you — or alternatively, run towards them if you feel like your fear of suicidality is too much to bear.

You may feel like you’re just one bad day away from your world completely falling apart, even though you know that you haven’t been suicidal in a while. You might constantly feel that every racing heart or moment of numbness will catapult you downward into feeling like life is no longer worth living. You may be hypervigilant about warning signs that your mental health is approaching a crisis, even if you haven’t been in crisis for weeks or months. And you might believe that if you do slip into suicidality, you may not be able to stop yourself from going down a destructive path.

You may feel on edge, acutely aware of your fear of suicidality and the situations that drive you to it — to such an extent that it constantly occupies your mind.  You might feel thoughts about your suicidality creep into your mind as you try to focus on everyday tasks, threatening to divert your attention away from your priorities.  You may eagerly count down the days until your next appointment with a mental health professional in case you can’t cope with the thoughts that infiltrate your mind. And you might feel irritable, angry or anxious, waiting for a traumatic day that may or may not arrive, trying to predict the future.

But even though your fear of suicidality might threaten to envelop you, you have the power to remind yourself of the daily realities you face. You may be feeling mentally well, coping with life far more effectively than you have in the past. You may have succeeded in staving off your suicidal thoughts for an extended period of time or fighting against them when they do arise. You may genuinely love life, even as your concern that you might become suicidal again mounts — and you may recognize the strength it took to stay long enough to find that joy.

The fear of suicidality may feel as insidious as suicidal thoughts themselves, leaving you fearing when you may become suicidal again. But even as you recall past triggers and ruminate about the future of your mental health, you are successfully coping with each day. You have chosen to stay here this long, even through your worst days, and if you feel suicidal again, you have the strength and support to continue to choose life.

Photo by Angelica Reyes on Unsplash

Originally published: July 26, 2021
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