Why do I feel suicidal?

For the majority of people thinking about suicide, it is a very conflicted, lonely and exhausting time. The chances are, despite how awful things feel right now, there is a part of you that really wants to live, but perhaps you are no longer sure how to do so with the problems you face. We are so sorry things feel that bad right now. We know that when things feel overwhelming, suicide may feel like it offers a viable solution.

However, it’s really important to remember that A. there is help out there and B. many times this feeling is transient and if you can keep safe until these feelings of overwhelm pass, you will almost certainly be relieved you did.

If you are unable to keep yourself safe please click here.

Suicidal thoughts and feelings are incredibly individual and may be confusing. It’s almost never as simple as it may seem to others, and rarely is there a straightforward single reason. There are, however, some all too common themes that are often expressed by individuals who have been or are considering suicide: inability to resolve a problem/s; lack of self-worth and/or purpose; harmful relationships; feeling stuck/trapped; significant debt and being overwhelmed or a combination of all these factors.

It’s important to differentiate between suicidal thoughts/feelings and suicidal behaviour and actions. Many people experience suicidal thoughts; often, they are fleeting and leave as quickly as they arrive. When they hang around, finding something to distract themselves or someone to talk to – a friend, a family member, a professional or a charity call responder such as those who volunteer for PAPYRUS’ HOPELINE (0800 068 4141) or The Samaritans (116 123), can be key in keeping safe.

A little more on suicidal thoughts: when people feel overwhelmed, the emotions being felt are being processed in a part of the brain that can respond quickly to threats and will go into autopilot in terms of our response. That response includes releasing a cocktail of hormones that take the body into a ‘factory setting’ response that we often refer to as ‘The 4 Fs – Fight, Flight, Fawn, Flop’. Part of that response shuts down our higher-order thinking, like logic, curiosity, etc. Many systems go offline while others go on high alert. Ironically, feeling overwhelmed is likely to cause an internal chemical reaction that literally stops us from thinking clearly and consequently keeps us in an overwhelmed and panicked state, but it does. A person may be unable to think clearly or make a simple decision such as if they want tea or coffee, let alone work out what the best option may be to end the feeling of overwhelm. It can feel so overwhelming that, in that moment, and without full access to your brilliant problem-solving skills, suicide can feel like an increasingly viable option.

We now know that exposure to suicide at any time in life can increase the chances of an individual considering suicide. If you have been exposed to suicide, especially if you weren’t helped to work through your feelings, then it is possible that it becomes part of your frame of reference and, whether it’s conscious or subconscious, suicide can become a potential option for you. What is vital is that you remember there are so many other options that can help you cope with your situation and if you can’t, you keep yourself safe until you can. And for that, you may need support. Need Help Now?

Every single one of us will experience times that test us, and everybody experiences times when we just want the day to be over. While your experiences are unique to you, the themes (fear, pain, embarrassment, shame, feeling a burden, feeling like we have no purpose, etc.) are temporarily felt by people from all walks of life and all over the world. Sadly, for some, they just can’t imagine how to carry on living in the situation they find themselves in or cannot see how things will ever be better and, in that moment of despair, they choose to die by suicide. That’s why at OLLIE, in addition to creating suicide-aware communities, we are teaching children and adults how to plan to achieve their goals and overcome obstacles. Our aim is for people not just to learn but to internalise how to problem solve so that suicide never feels like a viable option for them.

If you only take one thing away from reading this, know that you are not alone and there is a range of support out there that can help you get through this difficult time.