WARNING: This post does have the possibility of being triggering. Stars, this comes from the rawest parts of me, but I assure you I’m a fighter and I will keep fighting. Don’t be afraid.
Suicide has the largest stigma among any other mental health problem out there. It’s because suicide involves death, a permanent state where you cease to exist, where there is no more you, where there will never be another you. It’s sad, it’s terrifying, but people need to be able to talk about it without being silenced just because someone is uncomfortable.
People who feel suicidal should not be ashamed of feeling suicidal. It is a feeling. Feelings cannot be helped. The important thing is that people who feel suicidal do not act on these feelings. Never tell a suicidal person who they will be making sad should they decide to follow through with their plan. I understand some people do this to make the person seriously consider said actions, but it’s not about you or anyone else: It is about the person in crisis. You only instill guilt in that person–and I can guarantee you the person feels guilty enough for feeling that way because he or she knows the suicide would have an impact on loved ones. But suicidal people are already in pain. They’re in so much pain they believe their loved ones will get over their suicide and that they’d be better of dead because they’re in so much pain and they don’t want to continue living that way for the sake of everybody else. They may even think they’re a burden. I know I sometimes feel this way.
Suicide is tragic, but it is a feeling that needs to be accepted in order to be dealt with. Do not feel ashamed for feeling suicidal and do not shame others for feeling suicidal. Suicide does not feel selfish to the person in pain and no one needs to make it out like it is. You will only make things worse because then the suicidal person will think, “See? I don’t deserve to exist because I am so selfish.”
Let the suicidal person know that he/she is loved and how valuable his/her life is. Life doesn’t feel precious when you’re suicidal, but suicidal feelings are easier to deal with when you’re not alone and with someone supporting you and encouraging you to cope.
Because I am still depressed, I idealize suicide from time to time. Suicidal ideation is when you idealize a specific way to go. For me, it’d be drowning at the rock quarry at my favorite trails. Sometimes I feel so sad I think I’m never going to get better, and because I feel I am never going to get better, I often think I’d be better off dead. And my fibromyalgia pain can especially make me feel this way.
For me, idealizing drowning is almost a comfort. It’s if life gets too complicated, there is an escape. Sometimes I feel so suicidal that I want to cut myself to concentrate on a different pain, but I haven’t cut in two months and have amazing coping mechanisms now.
I still feel that way. I feel that way a little right now. But guess what? Feeling suicidal doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and do anything. Suicidal ideation is not healthy, but I don’t feel so impulsive that I’m going to act on the feelings. When the thoughts start to get too bad, I get out of bed and distract myself and the feeling goes away. It always does. It’ll probably come back, but because I know it’ll go away again, I find ways to make myself feel better.
There are people out there, right now, that have felt suicidal for years and haven’t done anything because they’re holding on for whatever reason. I am no different. I am holding on because of my family, my writing life, ballet, the hope that things will get better and my suicidal ideation will be treated. Suicidal ideation is, after all, a diagnosis in itself. It was the reason I was hospitalized the first time–that and self-harm.
I am not going to keep silent about being, I guess you could say, a suicidal. I want to be able to talk about this, to make people understand suicide more so it is feared less. There might be less suicides if we could learn to take more sensitive action instead of being afraid of the concept and chastising the person for feeling the way that person does.
I am here. I am breathing. I am alive. I will make a difference. I will get better. But right now I’m not feeling so great, and it’s okay. That’s just who I am for now. And you want more comfort? About 90% of suicide attempts fail. And a good majority of those who attempted are glad the attempts failed.
Stay tuned later today for guest blogger Mary Cote-Walkden who will talk about small press publishing houses!