Let’s Talk About Suicidal Thoughts, Baby 🎶

Depression deserves it’s own color scale, just like terrorism and covid. Because one minute you are just gliding along at baseline depression, and then all of a sudden you tumble into a Red area (that is really more like black.)

Although we live in a world that is priding itself on trying to be very open about mental illness and mental health struggles, obviously this is still a very tricky subject to bring up. You don’t want to bring it up with your therapist, because you’re afraid they’ll have you committed. (But really, would that be so bad? Maybe that’s what is needed? I digress…) You don’t talk about it with friends or family because it would terrify them. But for me personally, the “suicidal thoughts” I grapple with aren’t as severe as they are typically thought to be.

For me, it comes with thoughts such as “I don’t want to exist,” or “I don’t want to be anywhere right now,” or before falling asleep, hoping that I will just keep sleeping until I don’t feel this way anymore. Deep in my heart I believe that suicide is never the right answer. Because death is so final. How could you rob yourself of the opportunity to get better? Life has so many seasons, and while I may be miserable right now. What if I wasn’t a month, 3 months, a year from now? But then comes the thought — why am I just waiting to be better? Why must I succumb to an existence where I simply survive, get by, run on autopilot? It doesn’t feel like living. It feels like a waste of living.

What I really want is to quit my job, have some time to myself, do some soul searching to find out what my next move should be. A sabbatical. But the only people who have the luxury of doing such things are those with financial support to fall back on. So it is just a pipe dream. You know your family and friends would rather you be unemployed than dead, but there is so much negativity that can come with trying to change your life to make yourself better. Externally, it looks like a rash decision. Internally, it feels like something that could change your life forever. I look back fondly now on my extended periods of unemployment in my 20’s, but also, without any sort of schedule or routine, I easily turn my life into an unproductive blob of nothing. Would it necessarily make me feel better to quit my job and have my life open to possibility? There is a real possibility it would just make things worse, and I would sink in deeper. My finally being able to hold onto a job for an extended period of time is the best, most valuable thing I have going for me (on paper.) It is my ticket to the career I actually want. So it seems as though I must remain.

A lot of thoughts that come with depression are of the “all or nothing” variety. You are so rooted in and manipulated by your own feelings, that you just chalk up your whole life to nothing worthwhile. When really, there are so many good things and people to be grateful for. So many signs that things will get better, that you are approaching an era in your life that could be better than you could have ever imagined.

“My life is meaningless.” “No one cares.” “I have accomplished nothing.” “I am always going to be like this.” “I will never be able to stop repeating the same unhealthy patterns.”

And all of these thoughts are wrong, totally wrong. And not fair to even say to yourself. To reduce your life to something it factually is not. I have accomplished things, I have deep, wonderful, loving relationships; I have things to look forward to, even if I cannot see them right now.

The hardest part is just sitting with these feelings and debunking them in your own mind. I don’t want to kill myself. I am not fantasizing about the ways I would do it. In the past, I had some ideas for how I would, but they all seemed too painful, too scary. Something I would never go through with. And not even because I am a pussy, just because I know the immeasurable pain I would inflict by doing such a thing. So I’ve decided to keep surviving, because there is no alternative. Which can feel like entrapment in itself. Sometimes even thinking about suicide as an option can give you a feeling of freedom. And when you finally get to the place where you decide you would never do that, it feels like being trapped, in a way.

So I will sit here and look at my life and try to figure out how to make it better, despite how bad I feel.


Look 12, feel 70.

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