When Life Feels Shadowed By Thoughts of Death

Life can be nothing short of brutal every day when dying is on your mind more than living is.

It can feel impossible to face the challenges of daily life when all you feel is nothing, or too much at once to process. You may even be feeling these polarities at once, which can be intense and confusing, and can make you feel like you are going crazy at times. Numbness and sensory overload are fraternal twin acquaintances that contribute to these identical spectrums of pain and suffering.

The worse suicidal thoughts become over time, the worse we feel – and the harder it becomes to know what to do to stop it all. Things become scary. It’s easy to feel out of control, or like you are spiraling into an abyss at a speed you cannot easily regain control over.

Society still stigmatizes mental health to the point that it often remains uncomfortable to talk to your family and friends about your feelings and state of mind. Unfortunately, some people don’t know how to react, and the subject makes them feel uncomfortable. Most people don’t want to face their own mortality, or the concept of death; so they struggle with the idea of a loved one experiencing a close relationship with mortality.

When important concepts like suicide are stigmatized, tension and stress remain heightened, and relief is regularly delayed, or non-existent.

So, what are we to do when we feel consumed by suicidal ideation?

Finding Light in the Darkness

While it may seem impossible that we can retrace our steps and find a way out of the grips of darkness, it is not. It’s also not something that magically happens overnight, and there certainly isn’t a potion we can drink to make all of our pain and problems go away.

As a start, let’s try to consider the idea that we aren’t fond of the thoughts that are causing us so much pain. Those same thought patterns convince us that we cannot change, and that things will always be this way. But, they truly don’t have to be.

We don’t have to believe what those thoughts tell us. In essence, thoughts are things. We can learn to choose to replace/recycle/remodel the things we identify as root causes of thoughts that plague us. Suicidal ideation consumes your focus and energy, and can drain you of all hope, but hope can be restored over time with effective support and resources.

I would like to share with you, an idea that helped reshape my framework for living.

Your mindset yields your thoughts,
Your thoughts yield your beliefs,
Your beliefs yield your actions,
Your actions yield your habits,
Your habits yield your results.

This is not to say that you are the cause of your suicidal ideation.

In fact, there are unconscious processes that control our mental processes. Think of this concept as an iceberg: 90 percent of our decisions and actions occur unconsciously, and 10 percent, on a conscious level. That means that it’s possible for us to think we have more control than we often do over our thoughts and decisions, but they are actually being influenced by experiences, memories, and other various factors.

It may not feel possible to change or take control of your thoughts, but it is a habit that can be formed with time and support. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) can help change coping habits by reframing thought processes, and creating a more supportive mental foundation. This can truly bring welcome relief into your life, and hope of continuing to get better.

What if It Feels Impossible to Stop Feeling Suicidal?

Suicidal ideation unfortunately doesn’t come with a light switch that we can flip on or off, but it can be rewired little by little over time. It doesn’t matter how many weeks, months, or years it takes to feel better. How long it takes to find relief is no measure of your strength or abilities, and everyone heals differently.

Life can be sometimes pictured be like a game. We navigate the days using the tools given to us, and some levels may seem too difficult to move past. If we fail to ‘level-up’ at times, we still acquire insight and experience. Changing how we perceive and value those experiences, has the ability to change how we experience life.

Everyone is deserving of renewal of hope, and the support of others along the way. Talking may be one of the first or last things you feel like doing, but it is one of the first steps along the path to feeling better. Who you decide you talk to is completely up to you.

If you like the idea of talking in a safe space amongst internet strangers, SF is a community of empathetic individuals that share the experience of suicidal ideation. Life can feel a little easier when you are reminded that you aren’t alone, and you never are on this forum.

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