Are My Suicidal Thoughts Normal?
Trigger warning: This post contains a frank discussion of suicidal thoughts.
In general, suicidal thoughts are not normal, but they have been for me lately. I have been actively working toward my recovery for over six years now, and yet for the last two months, I’ve experienced some kind of suicidal thoughts nearly every day. I don’t want to die, I just want to hit « rock bottom » so I can finally actually get better.
This is all tied in with my shame issues. I don’t like who I am and I don’t think slow and steady progress can really fix me. Some part of me believes that I have to kill the « bad » version of me in order to finally be the « good » version of me. This has become such a normal part of my life, and I’ve heard so many others talk about experiencing something similar I can’t help but wonder: is thinking about suicide normal?
Suicidal Thoughts May Be Normal for Me, but They Aren’t Always an Emergency
Are my suicidal thoughts normal for me? « Normal » is a very loaded word for me. I basically use it as a way to invalidate my feelings by telling myself they’re « normal, » everyone feels this way, and I’m the only one being dramatic and making a big deal out of nothing. I do this a lot with my suicidal thoughts because even though they are distressing and exhausting, they aren’t indicative of a crisis.
I know this isn’t the case for many people, but for me, my suicidal thoughts don’t mean I’m unsafe or I’m going to act on them. They mean I’m deeply unhappy and looking for some kind of big, dramatic way to resolve my pain instead of the slow and steady slog of recovery. Telling myself that suicidal thoughts are normal is my way of telling myself to either get over it or just do it already.
This might be the way my brain naturally works, but my time spent in recovery has taught me that suicidal thoughts aren’t normal, even if they are survivable. Even if everyone feels suicidal sometimes, that doesn’t make it normal. It might be common, but it isn’t healthy, and I have every right to be upset and concerned about my suicidal thoughts, even if I know I’m safe.
You Don’t Have to Cope with Even ‘Normal’ Suicidal Thoughts Alone
Because I know my suicidal thoughts won’t lead to suicidal actions, I often deal with them alone. I might mention them to my therapist, but once I confirm that I’m safe, we rarely discuss it further. I don’t tell my loved ones because there’s no sense in making them nervous and upset about something that I’ll never actually do. The problem is, like I said above, suicidal thoughts are still upsetting and exhausting, even when they aren’t an emergency. And dealing with them alone is deeply lonely.
I am working on changing this. I want to ask for the support I need and be honest with the people who love me, but honestly, I don’t totally know how. I’m starting by asking my therapist what she recommends. When I call tomorrow, I’m going to ask her if she thinks I should change or add medication, if there’s anything I can do to decrease these thoughts, and if she has any pointers on talking to my loved ones about all this. With her guidance, I am going to do my best to cope with these thoughts.
Have you struggled with non-crisis-level suicidal thoughts? Are suicidal thoughs ‘normal’ for you? How do you cope? Please feel free to share your story in the comments below.
If you feel that you may hurt yourself or someone else, call 9-1-1 immediately.
For more information on suicide, see our suicide information, resources and support section. For additional mental health help, please see our mental health hotline numbers and referral information section.