Living with suicidal thoughts

This Week is mental health awareness week and I thought I would take the time to share my experience of something that will affect 20% of UK adults in their lifetime, suicidal thoughts.

In my case I have lived with intrusive suicidal thoughts since I can remember, my earliest memory was when I was 4 or 5; I cant remember for the life of me what triggered these thoughts and feelings, but over the proceeding 22 to 23 years I have learnt they are very much apart of me, just as any other emotion is. This may well sound like a ghoulish and stupendously bad concept, but I’d ask you bear with me as delve deeper in to this rather dark concept.

You may well be asking well what is an intrusive suicidal thought and how is it any different to other suicidal thoughts and feeling. The easiest way I can explain it is that there is no pattern and almost sense to it, I could be having an amazing day where everything is going right, but ill walk past a tree or the stair banisters and the image of myself hanging from it will be locked in my mind. These thoughts can be very problematic when I’m in a low mood as I’m bombarded with unwanted imagery or in some cases can ruin a perfectly fine day.

Suicidal thoughts and feelings are difficult to talk about, especially when the person is experiencing an episode of depression and yet it is overwhelmingly common. I am one of the 1 in 5 that has these thoughts and feelings and I’m one 6.7% of people that has acted to end their lives. But for me the hardest part wasn’t rebuilding myself trying to take my own life, it was accepting that these thoughts and feelings where going to be with me for the rest of my life.

How I learn to stop worrying and love the Bomb

When I was in my teens, I treated my depression and anxiety as a war and my mind the battlefield. When I felt like I was winning I was hyper and erratic, when I felt like I was losing the war, I was physically and emotionally exhausted. Over time I learnt to treat my mental heath the same way you would surfing. You don’t kick your feet against the tide and try and change its direction, because you’ll burnout and be crushed by the weight of it; you turn with the tide and ride the wave. Intrusive thoughts are very much the same, the more you try and fight them and drive them away, the stronger they become.

Mental health has become a massive topic for debate in recent years, and yet it is still a very allusive topic to get to grips with. Every condition and struggle is as unique as the person going through it. That’s why it is so important for people to share their experiences.

Overtime I have come to accept these thoughts and feeling as unpleasant as they are, are part of how I am. I can’t change them anymore than I can stop myself form laughing at my daughter always saying the word fire in a west country accent (even though we live in London). They are apart of me but by accepting them I can make sure that they don’t define who I am a person.