dealing with suicidal feelings


this is a page in progress, but i decided to publish it as is, and i will add to it as time goes on.

to start with, i need to give credit to Kate Bornstein for her book Hello, Cruel World, because i know that a lot of the ideas i have for this page started there. (you can get the book on

ok. so here’s the thing. maybe you feel suicidal. maybe you want to be dead, because of whatever reasons you have. you browse around the internet, either looking for help, or trying to figure out a good way of dying. because sometimes, it seems like dying is the only way to stop feeling so bad.

i’m not gonna say, “oh, but your life is worth living. happy bunny rainbow unicorns, all of that.” because you know what? i’ve been suicidal. it sucks. there is nothing worse than that feeling.

for me, even when i was going through some really bad stuff, when it was external, i was able to have hope things would get better. and they did, on the outside. but inside, the pain was still there. i thought the pain came from the outside stuff. who knows, maybe it did. but the fact was, there i was, my outside life seemed fine, and i was completely overwhelmed with pain.

and this isn’t one of those “i overcame suicidal feelings, and so should you.” because you know what? i STILL get suicidal. maybe it’s because that’s a path that’s pretty well-worn in my brain. or maybe it’s because there is still stuff inside me that i can’t cope with all the time. sometimes, being dead seems like the only way to make it all STOP.

but what i’m working on is being ok with that. and here are some of the things that have helped me, and maybe they will help you, too.

the first thing–and this is totally where i’m copying from what i remember from “hello, cruel world”–is, if you are feeling suicidal, that means you have permission to do ANYTHING it takes to feel better. i mean, don’t go around hurting other people on purpose, but other than that, go ahead and do it. if you think it will get you through one more day, do it. because, really, you can’t fix any problems when you’re dead. and anything else, you can clean up and deal with at some point when you’re not suicidal.

if your responsibilities are making you want to be dead, flake out on them. can’t handle school? stop going until you feel better. need attention but afraid to ask for it? ask anyways. something about yourself that you feel means you ought to be dead? let it be, deal with it when you can cope with being alive.

i can hear people saying, “but i CAN’T do that. i have to do this, that, the other.” well, the question is, can you do those things when you are dead? i don’t think so. if it’s really a choice between being dead and messing up, go ahead and mess up. what’s the worst that could happen? that you would die? oh, wait… see?

i’m not saying this is a long-term thing. of course eventually you’ll need to cope with at least some of the stuff. this is about the crisis, when you are trying to figure out the best way to die, or you are trying to figure out how to stop feeling like you want to die. when you are at that point, then anything goes.

so what do you do? i haven’t had great luck with crisis lines. having someone who has never met me tell me my life is worth living… that just feels trite. how would they know? maybe my life isn’t worth living, they’re just saying that.

i also haven’t had great luck with waiting around for people to rescue me. people resent it, and also, they can’t psychically know what i need. sometimes, they don’t even notice that i am suicidal, or they don’t know how serious it is.

so a lot of the time, maybe there isn’t a resource out there that is going to make you feel better. that’s actually ok. it doesn’t FEEL ok, but it is. the point, when you are in the middle of a crisis, is just to get through it.

when you feel suicidal, it feels like it’s always been that way, and that it always will be that way. it really sucks. but, believe it or not, if you have read this far and you feel suicidal, there is probably some part of you inside that wants to be alive. because if you wanted to be dead 100% you would have skipped on to a site that gives instructions for that.

but you still feel like crap. and there is absolutely nothing i can say or do that will change that. sometimes, there is nothing you can say or do that will change that… at least in any given moment.

here’s the thing. you aren’t feeling suicidal because you are bad. you are feeling suicidal because you feel bad. people who don’t have problems they can’t cope with just don’t feel suicidal. doesn’t matter why. maybe you feel suicidal because someone broke up with you, and people tell you you’re being too dramatic. WTF? if you feel suicidal, you feel suicidal. there is no reason too small or too large. just because other people have lived through a similar situation doesn’t mean what you’re feeling doesn’t count.

whatever your feelings are, they are there for a reason. and if you are feeling suicidal, it’s really there. don’t believe people when they tell you your problems aren’t “bad enough.” if the problems make you feel suicidal, they are “bad enough” to do so.

sometimes, i feel suicidal for no reason i can find. i look at my life, and i can’t explain to someone else why i want to die. i just know that i do. even that is ok. it doesn’t mean i’m lazy or self-centered. i also get suicidal from what seems like a tiny trigger. like, having to get onto a crowded train. the thing is, it’s not the train that made me suicidal, even though it looks that way. the train was just the last straw: i’d been holding it together with just under the threshold that was too much for me to cope with, and then something pretty small tips me over.

ok. so we’ve talked about the way that suicidal feelings aren’t something to be guilty about. but it’s not like they’re something you want to keep on living with, right? what to do?


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