Are You Still Suicidal?
About three years ago I attempted suicide. It’s a long story but it involves a doctor denying me access to healthcare. I’m still alive; so I guess I got lucky.
But the question is, now, three years and many treatments later, am I still suicidal?
I’m sorry to say, the answer is, “yes.”
Depression and Suicidal Ideation
I’ve found that when seriously depressed, I want to die. It’s pretty simple and I’m hardly alone there. Suicidal ideation is, after all, a symptom of depression.
And myself, I’ve been depressed for a very long time. And being depressed for a long time certainly doesn’t decrease one’s desire to die.
What’s the Difference between Suicidal Ideation and a Suicide Attempt?
The difference now is that I’m not about to take my life today. Or tomorrow. Because while I feel suicidal, it’s not the same kind of active suicidality I felt when I actually attempted suicide.
Active Suicidality vs. Passive Suicidality
In my view, there are active and passive suicidal thoughts. If you’re suffering from active suicidal thoughts, you’re a danger to yourself as you feel likely to act on those thoughts. On the other hand, with passive suicidal thoughts, the thoughts are there, and you may ruminate on them, but you have enough of your mind left to ensure you don’t actually act on those suicidal urges.
In my experience, one can remain passively suicidal for a shockingly long amount of time without an actual suicide attempt. And when queried as to why I haven’t attempted suicide, my answer is quite typically, “I don’t know.” There doesn’t seem to be any serious, tangible reason not to suicide but I just don’t. I suspect it’s biological in nature. People don’t want to die. Even when suicidal.
Passive Suicidal Feelings are Better
So while I’d love to say that treatment has been a raging success and that all my suicidal feelings are gone, that just isn’t true. The truth is, the suicidal feelings have just changed, but they’ve changed in a way that makes them less deadly. So there’s that. I’m not actively feeling like I’m going to die at any moment. So there’s that. Passive feelings of death are infinitely better than the active ones. So there’s that.
Treatment has hardly been a tea party, but it has saved my life. So there’s that.
(Quick note: I’m not suggesting that you’re safe if you’re feeling passively suicidal. That can change in an instant and all suicidal feelings should be dealt with immediately.)
(Note #2: there have been times in the intervening years that have been much better. They just didn’t last.)