I shared my experience with suicide in the Darkness Descends post. It is also important to realize I have struggled with suicidal thoughts, suicidal ideation, since I was in my early teens. I have learned to openly discuss these thoughts with my family and my psychiatrist.
When the darkness descends the thoughts are almost constant, 24-hours a day. During bright, sunny times that are easy going the suicidal thoughts are less frequent. When I’m lucky, I go a whole day or two without the thoughts. They always come back. Sometimes even on the very best days of my life.
I remember my first conversation with another person about these thoughts. It was at a late night diner over coffee with a boy I really liked. I was fifteen years old. He was smart, but dark too. He could relate to my feelings. I learned, maybe incorrectly, that since he struggled with these thoughts too, they were common and normal.
Shortly after my suicide attempt I experienced the loss of my uncle to suicide. He was brilliant. He was successful. He was kind. He clearly suffered. He was not a blood relative, you cannot blame our DNA.
I learned recently that his son, my cousin, also took his own life. Shockingly sad for that part of my family.
On the other side of my family tree, I have a cousin whose husband also tried to commit suicide. Again, he is related by marriage, not by blood.
A close friend of mine had two relatives who both attempted to end their lives.
Accoring to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in 2018 it was estimated that 0.5% of the adults 18+ made at least one suicide attempt. These numbers are really low compared to my reality.
When and if someone opens up to you that they are struggling. You can offer to call these helplines with them. Hold their hand while they talk to the professionals who are trained to help. Just be there and help them navigate through their pain.
I believe people have to save themselves.
But we can guide them to the resources they need. It’s like throwing someone who falls overboard into the ocean and life preserver. Just give them something to hold on to.
Sometimes they still drown. But you did everything you can to help. xoxo
Suicidal? Need Help?
Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the U.S. at:
Crisis workers are available 24 hours a day. Calls are free and confidential.
Other countries & regions: To find a crisis center in your area, go to:
Looking for more Mental Health Resources?
NAMI is my favorite source. I follow them on Facebook for daily tips, useful articles, and the latest information on surviving and thriving despite my mental health challenges. They also have a 24 hour free helpline and free crisis counseling! nami.org
Read the next post, One More Time.