The standard advice you’ll hear if you express suicidal thoughts is to call a suicide hotline or check yourself into the hospital. Trained volunteers, such as those at The Samaritans, provide an invaluable service to severely depressed people who call or email them in desperation. But for some of us, suicidal thoughts can be present for many months or years, and we can’t hang out on a suicide hotline or live in the hospital psych ward indefinitely. We have to learn how to become our own trained professional who helps us tease apart our thoughts until we arrive at the truth that will keep us safe from harming ourselves.
The most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life is to resist taking my life in the midst of severe, intense, chronic suicidal thoughts. I try to remind myself every now and then that no matter what I do from here on out, I am already a success because I am alive. I somehow managed to resist the incredibly convincing messages of my brain — the forceful urges of my psyche — to make an exit out of this world. As I mentioned in another blog, not taking your life in the midst of intense suicidal thoughts can be like not sneezing when you have an urge. Everything inside of you thinks that disappearing from this world is the only way that the pain will subside, so you listen and follow the cues without thinking.