What's the difference between suicidal thoughts and actions? One mom explains.

I’m suicidal. And no, it’s not what you think.

I am safe. I am not harming myself. I do not have a plan, and I do not plan on doing anything. But I’m suicidal. And I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t.

People like to think of things like suicide in such black-and-white terms. But much like everything else we are so quick to place into categories, being suicidal falls into a gray area for me. Sometimes, I wonder if it does for anybody else.


See, I can be in a really great mood, right?

I could be having the best day of my life. Still, suicidal thoughts will linger.

I don’t have to be in a bad mood to be suicidal. I will still have those thoughts if I’m surrounded by the people I love or if I’m doing something I’m passionate about.


Photo via Unsplash/Pixabay.

I wake up most mornings thinking I’d be better off dead. But I’m quickly distracted by my husband and son, who are sound asleep next to me.

I still feel it, but I try not to give power to it. Throughout the day, I am faced with challenges that directly affect my subconscious. Either the suicidal thoughts get louder, or they remain just a feeling.

I should explain better: Sometimes being suicidal is different than suicidal thoughts. It’s more of a feeling — the feeling that I have an itch I can’t scratch, that a dark cloud is blooming over me. It’s not just anxiety or depression — it falls into a mixed state that's often called suicidal ideation.

I sometimes feel like I'm drowning, like there’s no air, and coming down from that feeling takes so long that it feels impossible.

Usually, I just have to push through life while this feeling is happening, though. I need to go through the day as normally as I can, without feeding it. Some days are harder than others, though, and today happens to be one of those days.

Some days can be more difficult than others. Photo via iStock.

I woke up today knowing I wasn't feeling good, and I’ve taken that into account.

But I woke up thinking my family was better off without me. Then I started thinking about finances and my heart sunk a little more. I started thinking about my parents, and my depression got worse.

I started thinking about everything my husband does so I can test a career in writing, and God, he can do better than me. It’s not fair to him. If I can’t impress the people surrounding me now, can I face how my son will inevitably feel about me?

Then I start crying because it’s all too much, and I’m just a joke. I feel like I’m drowning, over and over and over again. It would be so much easier to end things, and my family could finally get away from how terrible I am.

Photo via ryan melaugh/Flickr.

Even before them, even with exes, and before dating, when it was just my adoptive family and me, it was still the same feeling following me through life.

The way I feel isn’t a reflection of reality, though. I know I have things to live for, and I know things will get better.

I know my family loves me and the people who don’t like me don’t matter. In fact, they probably don’t give a shit. I know this feeling will pass. I just wish my mind and my body would work toward getting better.

I’m not bad yet. I haven’t made any attempts in almost two years, and I’m really proud of that. Every attempt I’ve made to take my own life ends the same way: I fade into a sleep, and I do regret my actions. I think I used to romanticize my own death back when I had nothing to lose. Now everything is on the line, and I’m terrified of the day my thoughts will become louder than my voice. But I know realistically it may not always be this way, and I may need to admit myself to the hospital again someday.

I have great plans for my future and for my family. So please don’t worry.

I don’t intend to end my life, and I’m not self-harming. And if I was, I’d go to the hospital.

But I wanted to write this so people could better understand what it’s like to feel suicidal. It’s so much more than what happens on the day someone decides to end their existence. Suicide goes deeper than that, and it amazes me when people think otherwise. Often, it feels like years of torment, even on good days. Suicide doesn’t usually happen randomly — it’s a buildup.

I don’t want to die; my subconscious and my illness may disagree, but today my voice is louder, and I will not succumb to the evils of my mind.

But please remember that those of us with mental illness live in dark places and gray areas.

There can be dark places for those struggling with mental illness. Photo from iStock.

It’s not something that shuts off and on — it comes in waves, and it peaks and it fades. But these feelings are never gone. I wish more than anything in this world they would disappear.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter, though. I can overcome this. I am a warrior of my own mind, and I will continue defending my inner peace. Every day may be hard; but I am stronger every day.

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

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Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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