Suicidal feelings can be terrifying.
If you can no longer see why you should go on living, your feelings can seem unbearable. You may hate yourself and believe that you are useless and not wanted or needed by anyone. You may feel rage, shame and guilt.
If you have had many painful experiences, particularly losses, you may blame yourself and feel that somehow it is all your fault and that you are a failure. You may feel overwhelmed; for example, by conflicts with family or friends. You may feel stuck in emotional pain and believe that there are no solutions to your problems.
If you feel powerless and that you can’t change your situation and what is distressing you, the idea of suicide may give you a sense of being in control again. Depending on your beliefs, you could see ‘nothingness’, being reunited with loved ones or reincarnation as a relief and your preferred option.
You may not actually know why you feel suicidal, and think that you have no reason to want to kill yourself. Because of this, you may feel deeply guilty and ashamed, and start feeling even worse.
People kept telling me that I should be grateful because I had a lovely husband, a nice house, and two perfect children. This just made me feel more terrible and guilty for thinking about killing myself.
If you don’t know the reasons why you feel suicidal, you may find it hard to believe that there could be a solution. You may start to think that death is your only option.
Whether you are aware of a cause or not, it can be difficult to tell others about what you are going through. Therefore you may avoid other people and feel annoyed if they approach you. If you have family and friends around, you may find it impossible to tell them how bad you feel. If you have been badly hurt by someone close to you, you may see suicide as a way of getting back at them. It is understandable to be angry with people who have hurt us, but suicide turns that anger in on ourselves.
What you may experience:
- sleeping badly and waking early
- a change in appetite
- weight loss or gain
- feeling cut off from your body or physically numb
- a loss of energy
- you may have stopped taking care of yourself e.g. neglecting your physical appearance.
You may be very clear that you want to die – or you may simply not care if you live or die. However, for most people, suicidal thoughts are confusing. As much as you want to die, you may also want a solution to your difficulties. You may want others to understand how you feel and hope that they can help. Yet, you may not feel able to talk to anyone who offers to help. Having such mixed feelings and being unsure about what to do can cause great anxiety.
You may be harming yourself by cutting, biting or burning your body. Perhaps you are getting into fights or taking extreme risks. You may also be overdosing on drugs, binging on alcohol or have developed anorexia or bulimia. However, even when you are not sure why you are self-harming, it is usually a way of trying to kill the pain you are feeling inside rather than a wish to actually kill yourself.
What does it feel like to be suicidal?
Graham, Miram, Alicia and Lee talk about what it feels like to want to take your own life, and ways they have learned to cope.