Trigger warning: this article contains material related to suicide and mental illness. Discretion is advised. If these topics cause emotional, mental, or physical distress, please call your National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
There is so much discomfort when speaking about suicide. This is mainly because of the taboos surrounding mental illness within our society, in addition to the negative connotations around suicide. September is suicide prevention month and it reminds us how imperative it is to ignite conversations around suicidality.
I was 14 the first time I thought about suicide. The truth is at that age I didn’t even realize I was struggling with suicidality; I thought about death and dying often, but I didn’t know then what the label was for these ideations. It wasn’t until after my diagnosis with bipolar disorder at 16 did I begin to understand suicidal ideations. And even now, there is so much I still don’t fully understand my thoughts.
Some days I wonder about this life. I think about its meaning, purpose and worth. Those are the days I’m not battling, having already decided that it’s meaningless, pointless and full of nothing but pain. I think often about happiness and what it means to be “happy.” What’s the difference between happiness and content? And more so, how can one reach this level of peace where they no longer think about the uncertainty of the future?
But that’s my anxiety. Most days my anxiety speaks and thinks for me. On the days my anxiety doesn’t, my depression steps up. All hell breaks loose when the two join forces. It is then I lose control. I lose control sometimes, not only of my thoughts but of my actions too. Those are the scariest moments.
I wish I could say I don’t think about death or dying. It is morbid, I know. But lately, I find myself wondering off into a world of darkness. A world where I wonder how will I die, when will I die and mostly, who will even care? That’s my depression taking over.
Then there are the brief moments, when I’m crossing a bridge — I think, what if I jump? Or I am driving and I think, does it even matter if I crash? Am I the only one that fantasizes about killing themselves? No. Many people that suffer from mental illness experience suicidal ideations. Not to mention those that are not officially diagnosed, who is also haunted by these thoughts.
View this post on Instagram
??TW: Suicide??? ? The truth about surviving suicide is those thoughts never really leave you. You don’t suddenly stop thinking about killing yourself. You don’t stop thinking about death or dying. ? ? Recently, I had a chat with my psychiatrist about my suicidiality, which is still a very real struggle for me. She said that being alive is a victory within itself because each day I am surviving, thereby overcoming my thoughts of suicide. In the moment, it felt like good news. But then I thought, is this really a victory? How is it a victory to be alive when everyday I’m wishing I was dead.? ? It’s complicated too because a part of me thought surviving an attempt meant the feelings would disappear on their own and 7 years later they haven’t. And I admit, I’m scared. My own thoughts frighten me. I am my own enemy. Each night as I secretly pray that I don’t wake up to see the next day, there’s a small part of me terrified of death. And that part of me is holding on, fighting to be alive. In the end it’s a battle and each day, I too am rooting for a different side to win. ? ? #suicideawarness #suicide #mentalhealthawareness #mentalillness #mentalhealth #bipolardisorderawareness #depression
Then there are the times I have my Tom Sawyer dreams, pondering my funeral, wondering who would mourn this pointless life. I try to tell myself the good outweighs the bad. And that those brief moments of happiness and laughter can overcome the pain, the hurt. But they don’t. In those moments when I’m lost with my thoughts, all I think is how this life hurt me. I believe in a glorious, benevolent God. A power which is so high that only goodness can exist among it. This leaves me wondering how my Divine can permit unnecessary pain.
That leads me to believe that pain, too, has a purpose. Our struggles have meaning. But when do these grand epiphanies occur? When do we learn the lesson of our pain? I don’t have that answer. What I do know is, like happiness, pain is temporary. Nothing in this life lasts forever.
The pursuit of happiness has no end. It is a frivolous endeavor. Happiness is not a guarantee in this life. Nothing is. God makes us no promises. He can only be the beacon of hope. So what does that leave us with? Faith. Faith in an idea of this power so much greater than ourselves. It forces us to believe. If we don’t, we have nothing. This life gives us nothing but threads to hold on to. We are either weaving them together or holding on as we fight for our lives.
It’s simply about surviving rather than living. I go through the motions each day; most days, lacking emotion, simply because my feelings are too intense. It’s easier to ignore than to address. When I do decide to acknowledge them, I obsess. I’m so in my feelings that they blind me. Most days, I don’t feel present. It’s because I am lost in my thoughts. My brain consumes me, and it leaves me wondering how to do more than simply survive.
This is my suicidality. It leaves me in my thoughts, battling my mind.
My mind has been my greatest adversary. Some days, I’m fighting for a will to live, and other days, I am haunted by thoughts of death. I admit it’s scary. These thoughts frighten me. Each night, as I secretly pray that I don’t wake up to see another day, there’s a small part of me terrified of death. That’s the part of me that’s holding on, fighting for the will to live.
In the end, each day is a battle, where I too, am rooting for a different side to win.