Since last fall, my suicidal thoughts have progressively gotten worse. I started seeing a therapist last November, and I’m sifting through trauma and shame that’s never been addressed. I am fairly certain this is the reason for the increase in frequency and severity of my suicidal thoughts.
For some reason, the thoughts were bad the week of my birthday. By all accounts that week was really good; yet, the thoughts were incessantly a hairsbreadth away from my mind.
I’ve always told myself I will permanently have suicidal thoughts since I’ve had them at all. I accepted this fate.
I also often find comfort in them, and I easily let them spiral into extreme ideations.
Or I did.
After a particularly powerful, enlightening, and helpful therapy session a couple of weeks ago, I went an entire week without having those thoughts. I only realized they’d been absent when I had dinner with a friend and she told me about her brother possibly having some thoughts of death.
Once I realized I’d gone a week without them (for the first time in at least six months), I felt like my philosophy on suicidal thoughts might be erroneous. Maybe I can take steps to rid myself of them. Maybe not completely, but they definitely don’t have to be so overwhelming all the time.
I decided to try distracting myself and to stop the thoughts in their tracks whenever they popped into my head. I have incredible willpower, and after I set my mind to something, I can typically accomplish whatever I want to do.
Now, anytime the thoughts manifest, I think to myself Stopstopstopstopstopstop until I have time to think about something different. I don’t have a designated topic, it’s purely about distraction. I’ll start thinking about good parts of my day; friendships that are validating and enriching; successful social interactions; funny conversations and examples of my hilariousness.
In the past, when they are really bad, I distracted myself with thoughts of people who would be devastated by my death. In my opinion, that isn’t necessarily the worst method, but neither is it the best. Those thoughts still keep the suicidal theme going, and it was easy to fantasize about how much I’d be missed, which engendered a sense of comfort in the thoughts. I just made this connection as I wrote this paragraph.
I told my therapist about this breakthrough, and she said another good method is to think about what I love about my life (or something like that). I haven’t tried that tack yet; the thoughts have been less frequent lately, and my approach seems to work pretty well. Besides, my technique is a variation of hers.
I’ve also shared my revelation with a few close friends. They were thrilled at my growth and improvement in this area. I told them I didn’t know if I’d always be strong enough to practice my newfound tactic, but I’d do my best.
For now, I find zero comfort in the thoughts, and I recognize them as manifestations of the lies of not being good enough or worthy of love or death being less painful and easier than life.
I still think these things sometimes, but they are no longer automatically accompanied by the suicidal thoughts and subsequent ideations.
The lessening severity of these thoughts is an answer to many prayers on my end, and I’m sure some of my friends have prayed about it as well.
God answered the prayers by taking them away for a time and helping me realize how blissful life is without them. I then found the strength to develop a method for distracting myself in positive ways. My therapist has been a Godsend, and she’s helped, too.
I still think I will always battle the thoughts, but I know now they don’t have to be as frequent or severe for which I’ve always believed I was doomed.
I am no longer a helpless victim of suicidal thoughts.
I’m not a victim at all.
I am a fighter.
And I will survive.