I have experienced suicide in different areas of my life. Both first hand within myself - having thoughts or fantasising about it and then being affected second hand where it has happened to family members / friends.
I think for me, having an eating disorder has been at the core of these destructive thoughts- I noticed that I never really had suicidal thoughts(or at least proper ones) until I was in the debts of the condition. I may have played around with thoughts but they then started to become real, possible solutions to all my problems. Now, from working on myself through recovery I have learned that these thoughts are very common among sufferers of ED. Malnutrition has a huge affect on your mood and therefore depression and low mood in most cases goes hand in hand with this condition. It was always in the back of my mind that if all else fails, if i don't recover from this and things don't work out this is my escape, i always have this option where I just wouldn't have to care anymore or feel or deal with anything anymore. I wouldn't have to be a 'failure' anymore. It is almost like an anchor to have as a comfort and a reassurance to know it's there. Sometimes even in a way for me I saw it as a way to 'get back' at someone/people who may have hurt me. An argument could be enough to trigger the thought or something hurtful being said can make the thoughts very strong and send into a spiral of thinking people don't want you around and I always found bits of anger would creep in and I'd have thoughts like 'if i did it now it would show them... they would feel bad for the last thing they said to me' . I know that is a pretty horrible way to be thinking but when in that state of mind, the irrational angry thoughts could take over. It's difficult to admit that now but they are just SOME of the thoughts that would have gone through my head when I felt in that dark place.
I think when people get so low and that they feel there is no other option , it is the worst possible place anyone can be in and often at that stage, most would not consider reaching out to someone. It would usually be the last thing on your mind. I think personally most of the time the person needs to learn how to talk themselves out of it. Other people can tell a person to snap out of it or things will get better but they need to believe and convince themselves that it will.
Of course it would be a great thing to reach out and ask for help in those moments but personally from my own experience I'm not so sure how open you are to listen when you're in that state of mind. Of course it depends on the person themselves.
I noticed that these destructive thoughts usually would slowly seep in when you are feeling low and grow and grow until before you know it you are spiralling down into a black hole of negative thoughts and self hatred. And then swamped with all the negatives that are wrong in your life , how the world and everyone in it is against you- all the reasons why there is 'no going back.'
Unfortunately there are still times when these thoughts come but I need to personally keep reminding myself that I have managed to talk myself out of it before so I can do it again , that my half assed attempts to go through with it must mean that my heart must not have been in it, that a part of me must have wanted to live and see if things would get better. Its like the curiosity you have when climbing a mountain- to see what might be on the other side.
In the past, what has helped me is thinking about the things I would be losing / giving up, like dancing which I love and have worked so hard to keep through the tough times in ED. What if it didnt work and I damaged myself beyond repair . I would be far worse off than I am now. Other things like I would be abandoning my animals, who would look after them?? It all came down to my passions, asking myself what motivates me to go on? Personally thoughts of what it would do to my family never really came up which sounds selfish and IS but I think suicide itself is in a sense a selfish act and you have to be selfish to do it and I think selfish to get out of it.
Knowing 3 people in recent years who have died from suicide I have seen it from the other side of the coin and seen the devastation it leaves behind. All the unanswered questions and blame that comes up. The not knowing. I think that is really something to think about if in that frame of mind , the amount of people who would be affected , family , friends, friends of friends its amazing how many..the list goes on. People that deep down you wouldn't want to do that to.
People don't understand the torment that goes through someones minds in that moment and unfortunately some people are unable to convince themselves that things will get better. They are the ones who need help before getting to that stage but you can never really know what goes on inside someones head unless they actually tell you.
Having gone through these intense feelings but coming out the other side I think it is very important to remember that these feelings can pass and will . My advice to anyone concerned about a loved one or someone you know if you think they might be contemplating suicide and you want to help then just give them some hope and reassurance.. To look at the bigger picture, find the things that are good in their life, things to look forward to or dream about.. Reading inspiring stories of people who have been there can spark a bit of hope. Hope can make all the difference because at the end of the day it is what saves lives.And reassurance that they are never on their own. Let them know if they just wait and play for time, these feelings will pass. Things do get better. There are so many people who are living proof of that. Everyone deserves to be happy.
To quote from the film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - 'Everything will be OK in the end. If it is not OK , it is not yet the end' :)
Thanks for reading
This powerful contribution was written by the lovely P. Her words are all-encompassing, having experienced suicide from both sides of the coin. Her insight is invaluable and we greatly appreciate her inspiring and helpful post. This post conveys how suicidal thoughts are not individual to depression. There is a dangerous misconception that only those with depression can be suicidal. This is not the case - the thoughts may invade any person's mind. It is important to be aware of this and not be blind to it simply because your loved one doesn't have depression.
As she points out, the feelings of desperation will past. The moment is only temporary, things will move on and things will improve. You can be strong enough to pull yourself out of the misery and move forward, you do have the strength. As P suggests, think about what you're passionate about in life - your hobbies, interests, passions, good news, family, friends, anything that you like spending time doing or thinking about. They are what life is about - they are what fuels the desire for living. If you do one thing today, write a list of all of your passions and focus your energy on connecting with one of them this week. You will surprise yourself how uplifting they can be.
Take care and enjoy,
Dare to Life SOS