What It's Like to Live with Suicidal Thoughts

Active thoughts of suicide entail definite ideas or intentions to commit suicide.

Nonetheless, passive suicidal ideas are possible. Even if you don't intend to die,

  • Think of dying often

  • Supposed of methods to die

  • Feel you don't deserve to live

  • Wish you could die

Whether passive or aggressive, recurrent thoughts about suicide and death may leave you overwhelmed, despondent, and confused about where to turn for assistance.

Talking about these feelings is burdensome. One reason is that you may not know how to share them. You may also worry about their responses −

  • Why kill yourself? You're successful, in love, and loved by many.

  • "But you're not even sad."

  • "You placed that anguish on your family."

Many don't seem aware that suicidal thoughts are prevalent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 12 million US individuals seriously considered suicide in 2019. (CDC).

Even without a mental health diagnosis, you may experience these ideas (more on that below). Suicidal thoughts often indicate that you're overwhelmed by misery and anguish.

Suicidal thoughts may arise when you can't see a way out of your suffering. But, you may obtain help managing these ideas.

Managing Active Suicidal Thoughts

Initially, everyone may think about suicide. These ideas aren't weaknesses. No matter your position, they're not shameful or guilty.

These actions will help you remain safe if you're contemplating suicide or actively considering suicide −


Friends and family may listen and support. They also protect you. Start with a crisis counselor, who will listen and provide advice.

Be Safe

Avoiding suicide is more straightforward in a secure place. Try a library, a friend's home, or a different room in your house.

Remove Weapons

Safety involves avoiding firearms, medicines, and other suicide techniques. If you need to take medication, a friend or family member may assist in removing these things or remain with you. You can get one dosage at a time.

Don't Drink

Drinking or taking drugs to dull, unpleasant feelings may aggravate depression and suicidal thoughts.

Try Grounding

Grounding strategies like 4-7-8 breathing, walking, and pet snuggling may help you remain in the now amid extreme discomfort. How to begin? Try them with a crisis counselor.


Music, food, and images of loved ones might help you relax.

Addressing suicidal thoughts and anguish may require time and skilled help. Yet taking the initial measures to manage these ideas might give you enough space to restore hope and pursue longer-term solutions.

Tips for Dealing with Suicidal Ideas That Don't Demand Action

Remember, suicidal thoughts don't necessarily entail planning to die. Even if you're not suicidal, you may wish you were dead or think about dying.

Yet, passive suicidal ideas are severe. Manage them with these tips −

Recognizing Signs

Some never act on passive suicidal intentions. These thoughts might lead to suicide plans or attempts. Early indicators like despondency, feeling imprisoned, or being a burden might indicate the need for treatment.

Get Help

Suicidal ideas are best managed with expert help. A therapist can assist with recognizing triggers, treatment alternatives, and safety planning.

Crisis Strategy

Study says safety preparedness might help you survive a catastrophe. Safety plans usually include lists of triggers, early symptoms of suicide thoughts, coping strategies, and supportive loved ones' and experts' contact information. You may use a template or a therapist or loved one to create a plan.


Staying in contact with loved ones might help you during a mental health crisis, even if you feel guilty or burdensome. Say, "I'm struggling," to someone you trust. Can you accompany me?

Locate Distractions

Reminding you of reasons to live, hobbies help soothe sad or unpleasant thoughts and restore pleasure. Reading an excellent book may remind you how enthusiastic you are for the next volume in the series. Walking your dog for a long jog may remind you of their unconditional love and companionship.


Taking care of yourself may not prevent suicide. Yet, meeting your bodily demands may help you manage them. Eat balanced meals, remain hydrated, exercise (even stretching or walking around the house), and sleep 7–9 hours each night.

Remembering you're not alone might aid you in life's worst times. Sharing your feelings with a loved one or therapist may not improve your circumstances or eliminate those ideas, but it may help you seek the necessary assistance.

Why do People Start Contemplating Suicide?

There is no one reason why people develop suicidal thoughts. There might be a lot of starting points for them.

These behaviors may be manifestations of a more serious mental health issue, such as −

  • Extreme sadness

  • Schizophrenia

  • Manic-depressive illness

  • Diseases Associated with Substance Abuse

  • Anxiety

  • Disordered eating

  • Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (PTSD)

Yet, not everyone dealing with these issues will consider suicide. Even without a diagnosable mental illness, suicidal ideation is possible. According to CDC data from 2018 (Trustworthy Source), over half of those who commit suicide do not have a diagnosable mental health disorder.


A higher risk of having suicidal thoughts is associated with having a family history of mental illness, suicidal ideation, or suicide.

Since studies on the topic are only starting out, experts think some genes may have a role in suicidal ideation and actions.

A small study conducted in 2020 also indicated that children of parents who tried suicide were more likely to experience stress and had problems controlling their emotions. Both of these may play a role in developing suicidal ideation and behavior.

Variables of Uncertainty

Other risk factors might contribute to suicidal ideation, such as −

substantial upheavals in one's life, such as the breakup of a marriage, the death of a loved one, financial issues, or legal troubles

  • Experiencing the loss of a friend or family member to suicide

  • Constant ache

  • a disease that lasts a long time or is fatal, like cancer

  • Alienation, ostracism, or bullying in school or the workplace

  • Domestic violence and other forms of abuse

  • Possessing guns for self-defense

  • Previously attempted suicide

Methods of Assistance

Maybe you've seen some worrisome patterns in the actions of a friend or loved one, such as −

  • The expression of regret or despondency

  • Feeling like they're a bother to you or a source of misery

  • Maintaining separation from their regular social circle

  • Donating cherished items

  • Very composed after what must have been a time of great turmoil

  • Excess sleepiness compared to the norm

  • Taking drugs more often puts themselves in harm's way by driving too fast or without wearing a seat belt, using drugs or alcohol in risky ways, etc.

One possibility is that they are having suicidal thoughts. Yet you may be concerned that asking them may give them the notion if they aren't already considering it.

Yet, this is all a fabrication. No evidence indicates that inquiring about suicide would promote suicidal ideation.

In fact, inquiring about suicidal thoughts might have a more positive effect, as it shows that you are eager to listen and help if they bring up the subject themselves.

Updated on: 07-Apr-2023


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