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What I Want You to Understand as a Man With Suicidal Thoughts

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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.

Many cannot understand why someone would take their own life. Some of us, on the other hand, totally understand feeling the need to give up. At that point, all you are able to think about is ending your pain, not about those around you. That being said, don’t call them “selfish.” That’s what it may look from the outside, but you’re wrong. It’s very easy to pass judgment but if you’ve never been in those shoes, keep it to yourself.

How do you escape your own mind? Distractions only get you so far; it’s not like you can just hang up, block or unfriend someone. It’s easy to say, “Well, just don’t believe all the negative thoughts, just ignore them.” When it’s all the time, though, it’s occasionally just easier to listen to those voices and not fight against them. It’s exhausting to battle every day but some just give up.

Luckily, my angels are stronger than my demons. Understand this is part of the illness. Even though it’s invisible, it’s very real.

Let’s make something clear first: I’m not a danger to myself or to anyone else. I’m not looking for sympathy or pity, just to raise awareness and to hopefully make a few people understand.

I have suicidal thoughts pretty regularly. That being said, it’s not as cut-and-dried an issue as you may think. A small percentage of us have suicidal ideation. It’s one of the symptoms of bipolar disorder and depression.

I didn’t understand what was going on until after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 30. Coming to terms with the diagnosis and daily medication has been a long process. Even 18 years later, I still occasionally have a difficult time dealing with this reality. My doctors are well aware and we’ve tried to find answers.

Is it better? Yes, absolutely, but it’s an illness that will never go away fully. Understand though, I’m not an active participant in suicidal thoughts. They come from a far off place, even when the day is going great. Even with friends and family around, enjoying being in the moment, they will hit like a giant rogue wave. You may never see it coming and it hits you from behind. At times you know it’s coming; you just can’t see it until it’s overhead and washes over you. It’s a temporary feeling but still frustrating.

These thoughts also come in the form of self-harm, which is another topic of discussion and misunderstanding.

Be someone’s beacon of light, educate yourself, but most of all love one another. This is a hard conversation to have, but it needs to be expressed to help those who are surrounded by darkness. Make it easier for people to come forward to ask for help. Would you rather be the person that a friend or family member can come to for a kind word and support, or be blindsided with that terrible phone call?

To the people who are fighting every day to stay afloat: keep going. Many of us understand the pain, emptiness and darkness you endure. You are not alone like you may believe. Your life matters. It’s easy to be silent, but your voice matters. Your presence here on this earth speaks volumes.

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 741741.

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Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

Originally published: April 19, 2018
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