Client Share: Struggling with Suicidal Ideation

Suicidal

Client Share: Struggling with Suicidal Ideation

By SCC Client June 19, 2024 06.19.2024 Share:
Counseling Depression Disassociation Distressing Emotions Self-care Shame Suicidal Ideation Therapy

In this series called ‘Client Share’, we make room for our clients who want to use their experiences with relationships, mental health, and their therapy journey to help others who might benefit from this client’s experiences. Names and identifying information have been changed or removed to protect the client’s identity.

Spiraling Into Depression 

The conversation of the young woman across the table was honest and probably closer to home than I wanted at that time. Her husband sat beside her offering his support, the same support he had given her these past couple of years.  She reflected on the death of her 22-year-old brother by suicide and the tailspin it took her down.  The mother of young children, she found herself spiraling into depression; often the case for survivors, left to pick up the pieces.

Dissociation

This story was too close to home for me.  The journey I’ve described in prior posts taking you through the abyss of my life has been riddled with my ongoing suicidal ideations. The depth of your despair takes over any rational thinking left in your head. As the inner struggle becomes more intense, you become convinced that no one can understand or much less care. Ideas of how to accomplish the act take over your mind. For me, the roof of a local parking garage or instantaneous death by standing in front of the local commuter rail seemed easily accessible. In those moments, your body separates from what your mind is thinking. Experts call this dissociation.

Thought Snowball

I came across a quote I feel describes the inner conflict, “ We are not our thoughts — we’re the people listening to them.” Suicidal thoughts, once they snowball, can become an avalanche that drowns out the part of us that would otherwise choose differently. It’s not that we aren’t conflicted, so much as the suicidal thoughts are so incredibly loud.

A Way Out of the Pain

The experts will tell you that most suicidal persons don’t want to die but are seeking a way out of the pain. That, I believe is true. The rational evaluation of your situation and your life goes out the door. All you know is the immediate desire is to end the pain that doesn’t seem to go away.

The Importance of a Safety Plan

The counselors and medical professionals will tell you that you need to come up with a safety plan. In those depression and suicidal spirals, it’s important to have someone on hand you can reach out to. However, if your struggles are ongoing, I would tell you that those cries for help to your friends and family members become more difficult to keep doing. Each time you make that call, the shame of admitting that you once again are in trouble keeps you from having to, once again, admit you are in trouble.

Immediate Connection 

When you are in the middle of a suicidal crisis, you need an immediate connection to a resource that can keep you from further harm. Without wanting to disparage the current recommendation to dial 988, it is not something I found valuable. Calling one of those other counselor-on-call companies that have sprung up around the country are similarly lacking. By the time you navigate the app and the voice prompts, you have long lost interest and remain in the struggle. When in trouble, you need immediate connection with another human.

Shame Admitting Suicidal Ideations

I spoke earlier of the shame I always felt admitting to myself or other professionals about my suicidal ideations.  I feel judged for being too weak to ask for more help, an emotion that manifests itself in those moments.  While not ideal, my mind has told me that I am alone in the battle when it arises.  Reaching out to someone, and admitting your weakness, is one of the hardest calls to make.

Will the Ideations Ever End?

Like my prior post; “Does Time Heals All Wounds“, I ask that same question about the ideations that continue to plague my mind, particularly in times of stress and crisis. I’ve grown uncomfortable with the notion that when things are at a low point for me, suicide is the quickest answer. I don’t make that statement with pride but with honesty. I wonder when in the journey with depression if the ideations will ever end.

Attempting to Help and Releasing Pain

I don’t want to end this post on a low note—quite the opposite. I chose to take this moment to log this post because I am in the middle of one of those moments. Writing this message was an attempt to help others who may be in the same struggle and the only way I knew how at this moment to release my pain.

If you struggle with suicidal ideations, don’t give up on the battle. If you can hold off on a decision for 24 hours or even a week, your perspective will change, if only long enough for you to regain the reality that someone out there truly cares and loves you and wants you to remain alive.

To talk to a professional about depression or suicidal thoughts, schedule your appointment with one of our counseling and therapy experts today.

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