What To Do When Suicidal Thoughts Crop Up

From someone who understands the feeling to you.

Madison Epting
Dec 5, 2019 · 5 min read
Photo by Pim Chu on Unsplash

The last time I thought about killing myself, I found only my dog as a reason to change my mind. This has been the case for me the dozen or so times in my life that a suicidal thought has crossed my mind.

This morbid predicament crosses more minds than you might suspect. The ability to relate is real for those of us who have endured this level of rock bottom.

As someone who has struggled with depression for as long as I can remember and has self-mutilated with both words and instruments for years, I’d like you to consider this technique the next time the thought crosses your mind:

A Renewed Perspective

Don’t think about how your life will change should you succeed at suicide, because let’s face it, yours would be over at that point, right? So instead, I want you to consider how every other person’s life other than yours will change should you leave indefinitely.

It will feel like a foreign thought, believe me, and that’s because it is. No one thinks about other people when they’re considering killing themselves because doing so would do exactly what they don’t want it to — change their mind.

So let’s try something: grab a pen and paper and write down everything you can think of in your life that has gone right. My list would likely look a little something like this:

  • A committed relationship
  • An undergraduate degree
  • A place of my own
  • A savings account
  • A loving family
  • Support from my peers
  • A shorter bucket list than I began with
  • The ability to make money doing what I love

While this isn’t everything, it’s enough to surpass the things that are going wrong at that particular moment.

Consider this — your relationship ends right around the same time you fail a test in college and get into a fender bender on your way home from work. At that moment, it becomes second nature to tack on everything else you can think of that is even an ounce of your doing — and some that are completely out of your control.

When things are great, it’s easy to enjoy the one thing that’s good, but when things go sour, it’s even easier to let your mind wander to all of the places it’s ever gone to tear you down.

I won’t sit here and give you some outrageous pep talk because that’s not what you want to hear, especially if you are in this very battle in the current chapter of your life.

I will; however, tell you this — if you leave, so will every ounce of potential you had to do great things in this life. Don’t think you would have? Well, there’s always the potential you might be right, but there’s only one way to find out and only one way to guarantee it will never happen.

Being Curious About the Future

Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle with the temptation of freeing myself of all negative feelings, debt, responsibility, and stress when things begin to feel overwhelming, but there’s one thing that is different for me now — I am much too curious of what I can do while I am still here.

In other words, I refuse to let the world (including myself) convince me I don’t deserve to be here. I have adopted new hobbies and set new goals. With those two things in place, the thought of skipping out before I find out what each could become feels like more of a disservice now than it ever has before.

You matter and should matter more to yourself than anyone else. After all, at the end of the day, you know whether or not you will keep the promises made to yourself and whether or not you will cheat yourself out of the opportunity to find out what the next chapter holds.

After my ex took his life, I felt this immense heartache — and not because there were residual feelings or because I felt he and I weren’t through, but because I found out about his passing while I was on a high at the place I was in my life.

I was in the healthiest relationship I have ever had, the most financially stable I had ever been, kinder to myself than I even knew how to be before, and committed to finding out what was next. I realized at that moment that he had left before things got to the good part, just as I would have should I have been successful in either of my attempts or unable to talk myself out of the thought since.

Bringing Light to the Thoughts That Keep You in the Dark

Manifesting on only the positive thoughts and intentions in your life will provide a 180 for you the next time you consider taking your life. If this still doesn’t work, then say the thoughts you have in your head, out loud.

Actress, Sarah Hyland, said that in the midst of her double kidney transplant (one of which rejected) and the mound of hospital bills that kept growing, she felt her life was more of a burden than her passing would be.

She shared in an interview with Ellen Degeneres that it wasn’t until she told one of her friends that she thought she needed to see a therapist and actually said the words out loud, ‘I want to kill myself,’ that she realized just how ridiculous the thought actually sounded.

She would write letters in her head to every person she felt she’d owe an explanation to after making the decision, but would never write them down for fear they’d be found. Hyland went on to say that while each person is different, bringing to light the thoughts that you keep in the dark the rest of the time is imperative.

At the end of the day, you are the only one of you in this world and should you choose to leave by your own doing, there will be a ripple effect. You’re not crazy for feeling the way that you do and life has a way of challenging us to a degree that feels impossible to overcome.

But consider the last time you thought you’d never make it through and yet here you are, just as you deserve to be.

Oh, and in case no one tells you today, you matter and no one makes a better you than you.

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Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

Madison Epting

Written by

Writer. Poet. Philomath. Dog Mom. Traveler. Creator. Partner. Wanderer.

Mind Cafe

Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

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