There is a tiny, little- known minority of people who spend years and even decades living with constant suicidal ideation. Some may never reach a crisis point, while many may. This group of people plan their suicides in meticulous, rational detail in order achieve a peaceful death and minimize how much they implicate the innocent when they die. Often hours, days, and weeks are spent mulling over these details and plans.
For those chronic suicidals, help is difficult. Nearly all suicidality assistance is offered as crisis intervention. This makes it nearly impossible for chronically suicidal persons to discuss their feelings with a health care professional without being confined to a mental health facility even though they are not at risk. Many are surrounded by family, friends, acquaintances, and coworkers who do not understand chronic suicidality or even imagine the concept can exist.
The chronically suicidal don’t want to hear “suck it up” or a shallow “there, there, it’ll get better”. And we certainly don’t want to hear the words “just hang on”. Yes, I said “we”. I am a chronically suicidal patient.
This is one of my most secret and difficult struggles. See, my life isn’t bad. There have been many a stressful day and many a sleepless night, but I don’t feel like my life is terrible.
There is nothing about my life that I want to escape.
What I desire to escape is inside my head.
Some days, I just feel crazy. I feel like something is wrong with me. It’s like there are demons in my head that won’t let these thoughts escape. I don’t want to think them.
I don’t know how to make my head not fixate on ways to die… The plans and very vivid images fill my head even when I don’t want them there. I don’t know how to make it stop. I can’t get away from it and sometimes it feels like being dead is the only thing that will make it go away. I used to medicate to sleep just to escape it, but now even in my sleep I dream about it- and even then I can’t get away.
I don’t think people grasp how disturbing it is. I imagine jumping off an overpass into oncoming traffic, or putting a gun to my head, or driving off a bridge.
I don’t WANT to die… I don’t. But for whatever reason, it seems to be all I can ever think about. I fight the thoughts just fine some days, well, most days. Most days I can push them aside and recognize that they are not rational, but some days they are overpowering and I will sit for hours just thinking of dying. I will think of ways to make sure everyone that I love is taken care of. It’s frightening.
Everyone has a thought here and there about dying. But this is so much more than a thought. It is so much more than that one (or 6) time(s) I attempted suicide through overdose. There’s something almost comforting about knowing that I have the option to take my own life if it feels like things are getting to be too much. But it is even more than that.
This is even the happiest days. The days where joy flows through my heart and I am excited. The days when it’s sunny and the house is filled with laughter and friends and family. Still, in my mind, I think of death. My brain fixates on it. I don’t even have to try. At times I’d go so far as to say that fixation becomes obsession. It’s as if my brain won’t let the thought go until it’s finally one day completed. I have to fight for “wasted time”. I have to distract myself and find ways to waste time until the urge of “I must hurt myself” returns to just the usual nagging self-injurious thoughts that are a little easier to manage.
It’s scary. Sometimes I don’t trust myself. I’m trying. I’m working on coping and practicing ways to keep myself safe. But it is so very hard. And Exhausting. Oh, the exhaustion.
The battle of chronic suicidal ideation is paralyzing. Being half in love with death is one love I’d gladly get rid of.