Unfortunately suicidal thoughts can be a symptom of depression. Although having suicidal thoughts does not mean you’re going to kill yourself, it’s still needs to be taken seriously.
I've treated many clients who were either experiencing suicidal thoughts themselves or who have experienced a suicide or attempted suicide of a loved one so I’m able to see the thought process from both sides.
For people who have experienced a loved one who has completed or attempted suicide, it is extremely difficult to understand especially when that person seemingly has a lot to live for- family, friends, children, etc... On the surface, suicide can seem like a very selfish act and there can be a lot of anger involved in the treatment process of the person's loved ones. People tend to blame themselves. They think...
Why didn’t I see this coming?
I could’ve done more to help them
I could’ve stopped them.
But the truth is... this has nothing to do with you. There is nothing you could’ve done to prevent this from happening. Most people who are suicidal will continue to attempt many times until it’s done or they will eventually get themselves help. But even if you are able to stop them once, a truly suicidal person will attempt again and again. You cannot help them. They have to help themselves. The only thing that you can do is be there for them should they reach out for help. You can be there for them by listening and encouraging them to get help from a mental health professional.
If your loved one is threatening suicide or if you even fear they will make an attempt the best things you can do is verify their current location and call 911. Let emergency services know the situation. You may also want to keep the person on the phone until help arrives.
If you’re the person experiencing suicidal thoughts I know this is far from a selfish act in your mind. Depression and the feeling of hopelessness has overtaken you and convinced you that it will be selfish to continue living. The hopelessness now has you believing that suicide will be an act of pure selflessness. You’ve convinced yourself that everyone is better off without you and that all you do is cause your loved ones more problems than you’re worth. You’ve convinced yourself that all you do is cause heartache and headache to the people around you.
Although some people will admit that their loved ones would be sad if they died, they believe it will only be for a short period of time and that they will soon get over it and be better off for it. What you don’t realize is that experiencing the suicide of a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences to process and grieve. Suicide leaves an unbelievable amount of anger, guilt, pain, and confusion that some people never recover from.
Try and reverse the roles for a second. How do you think you would feel if your mom or child attempted suicide? I know you’re first thought is probably “But that’s different!” No, it’s not different. It’s exactly the same. So given this scenario would you thank them for killing themselves for making your life easier or would you be devastated, confused or angry as hell? I’ll bet the latter!
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts it’s important to realize that the depression is tricking your mind and making you believe things that aren’t true. Your loved ones do need you. Some will never heal from their grief, and they will never be the same.
Fight for yourself! If depression has gotten you to the point of having suicidal thoughts, then you really have nothing to lose by seeking mental health treatment. In my experience most people feeling they want to die are really not actually wanting to die. What they actually want is for the pain to stop. They just don’t see any other way for the pain to stop but to die. But this is a lie!
To prove it, please answer this simple question...
Would you want to live if you didn’t have to feel depressed and hopeless?
I’m guessing your answer is "yes," because the only reason people want to die is due to the depression. But depression is manageable and can even be curable. This, of course, requires a commitment to treatment but it is possible. Think about this for a moment, how would your life be if you put as much effort into wanting to live as you put into wanting to die?
If you ever want to talk to someone about what you’re going through you can call the suicide hotline at 800-273-TALK or text the word TALK to 741-741. Both are available 24 hours a day.
For more self-help talks, guided exercises and meditations check out these resources:
Free Spirit's Therapy Homework- https://www.freespiritcoaching.org/therapyhomework (https://www.freespiritcoaching.org/therapyhomework)
Free Spirit's YouTube Channel-
Spiritual Psychology Support Group Hosted by Dr Traci and Pasquale- https://youtube.com/@SpiritualPsychologySupport?si=fsAP8d-3tCkfXlXN
Additional Resources (Free Spirit is not responsible for the content, claims or representations of the listed sites):
Suicide and Crisis Hotline: 988
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433)
Crisis Text Line: Text 'DESERVE' TO 741-741
Lifeline Crisis Chat: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/ (Online live messaging)
Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONT-CUT (1-800-366-8288)
Planned Parenthood Hotline: 1-800-230-PLAN (7526)
American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222
National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency Hope Line: 1-800-622-2255
National Crisis Line - Anorexia and Bulimia: 1-800-233-4357
GLBT Hotline: 1-888-843-4564
TREVOR Crisis Hotline: 1-866-488-7386
AIDS Crisis Line: 1-800-221-7044
TransLifeline: 1-877-565-8860 and https://www.translifeline.org
Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net