Note that this won’t be a comprehensive article on dealing with suicidal feelings; it’s just going to mention a tip that helped for me. I do believe it will be useful for other people though, so I thought it was worth sharing.
I’ve felt suicidal a few times in my life. The time when I felt it the strongest was about a year ago, when I was in an intense depression. My depression had been triggered by a very painful breakup, and was also caused more generally by an immense emotional exhaustion related to society’s reaction to me being transgender.
There is a difference between feeling suicidal and really wanting to kill yourself; I experienced it back then as a craving, and usually I had some awareness of another part of me knowing that I didn’t really want to die. Still, the craving was at times very intense, and I did wonder if there would come a point where I just couldn’t control myself anymore.
I happily stopped feeling depressed (funnily enough, it happened after my most intense suicidal moment… the night is darkest before the dawn I guess) and had a nice break from such feelings for a good year. Then, about a week ago, I felt them again.
It’s still a bit painful for me to explain the whole situation, and maybe it’s a bit too personal for this blog, but suffice to say I was experiencing some immense pain related to some relationship drama I had been involved in. This pain had stretched out over an entire week, making me sick and exhausted, and at some point I seemed to pass a threshold where I no longer felt that I could deal with the accumulation of pain anymore, and felt suicidal.
I intervened with these feelings by asking myself the question I frequently ask myself these days: “How can I be kind to myself right now?”
Now this was interesting. As I asked this question, I noticed that my suicidal feelings seemed to come from some immense self hatred. It seemed like some part of me thought that a way out of my pain would be to hate myself so much that I could finally kill myself and end it. In other words, some part of me thought that the solution would be more self hate.
Seeing this, I told myself, “OK, if I do kill myself, then I will do it lovingly.” After all, in some rare occasions suicide can be a sane choice, and in those occasions of course you could perform it as a supreme act of self love.
However, for me that thought seemed to stop the whole process in its tracks. In this situation couldn’t want to kill myself and also love myself at the same time. Suddenly, the suicidal thoughts disappeared, and I felt rather a lot better.
From there, I applied self love more generally, mentally hugging myself and reassuring myself that I didn’t have to feel guilty for messing up, and so on. And since then, I’ve felt much better; if not perfect, then certainly far better than the week before.
I don’t know if this will work for everyone. It seems that everything was set up just right for this little chemical reaction to happen at that moment. Still, I could see it being valuable for others. I certainly will remember to go back to self love the next time I’m torturing myself. Sometimes, certain words will have no use at all, but sometimes, they can be just what you need.
Besides, I’m working on self love more generally; I think this will both make it harder for something like this to happen in future, and easier for me to get out of the cycle once it has begun.
Now I just need to practice self care and get my body back to full strength. It will take some time, I guess.