This blog post is part of the Suicide Prevention Awareness Month blog tour in partnership with Debt Drop. If you are feeling suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741.
No one likes to talk about what it’s like to be suicidal or actually have suicidal thoughts. To someone who has never had thoughts like this it seems frightening.
Now, I do believe there is a difference between having thoughts and actually planning to do it. But the thoughts are scary enough and could lead to action if not treated properly.
As I learned from Lynette, this is called passive suicidal ideation. According to her post, “Passive suicidal ideation is the desire to die. It’s not accompanied by a plan to end your life, but the thoughts are real and intense.”
And those thoughts can be very real for people suffering under the weight of debt. People in debt may be more inclined toward suicidal thoughts. In fact, those who die by suicide are eight times more likely to be in debt. It’s a correlation we can’t ignore.
I wish I could say i didn’t have a relationship with suicide. But I do. My maternal grandfather committed suicide. So did my cousin. And I’d be a liar if I said I never thought about it.
The first time the thought enters your mind, it jars you a little.
The thought creeps in, unwelcome yet overwhelming. You wonder, “How could I even think this?”
I’ve written before that I’ve had these thoughts as a teenager. Unfortunately, earlier this year some of those thoughts returned. Every day was a battle and I was not doing well. I’d wake up with this overwhelming sense of doom and I couldn’t shake the feeling that something terrible was going to happen.
I had no idea where these thoughts were coming from and why. I relinquished control and said, “I can’t do this alone.”
After trying exercise, meditation, healthy eating, therapy and more, I still wasn’t where I needed to be. So I went on medication. It’s been 10 years since I last touched medication, but at this point, it was something that I needed.
That month, I also decided to get my first tattoo to remind myself that I’m resilient and that my story isn’t over yet.
As you can see, I’ve replaced the “i”s with semicolons in honor of Project Semicolon.
Project Semicolon is a Suicide Prevention Awareness organization — the semicolon is used as a metaphor — an author uses a semicolon when they could have finished their sentence but chose not to. In this case, the author is you and the sentence is your life.
Your story is not over yet. I have to keep reminding myself of that still. Through therapy and medication, I can happily say those thoughts are gone and I’m in a better place. I asked for help and took action. I have a support network in place and am actively working on myself.
It’s a work in progress every day. If you are feeling this way right now, you’re not alone. I’ve been there. And so have many others, too, which is why I want to #EndTheStigma. If you had a broken arm, you’d see a doctor.
If your mental health is suffering, you should get help and there is absolutely no shame in doing so. In fact, it could be the best thing you’ve ever done.
Just remember that there are resources out there.
You matter. You’re important.
Your story is not over yet.