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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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

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Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.