Is there a difference between being clinically depressed and being suicidal?

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I think there comes a point in all of our lives where we find ourselves in uncharted territory . By this I mean a complete dissolution of identity and self worth. It happens when we reach our lowest ebb of tolerance. So much so that, for some people the only means in which to regain that sense of control is by doing the one thing that is truly irreversible – they take their own lives.

In that singular, premeditated act, they are granted complete control over their destiny, and yet conversely they also forsake any claim of dominance once their life force slips from their body. It is an act made often on some kind of emotional impulse dictated to by the pulls and throes of mental distress, as opposed to any sense of logic or reason.

Of course, I would be the last person to pretend that I am able to remain calm and objective when things go wrong. It is immensely challenging to think about anything other than how much I despise myself and the state of my life when these moments occur. More often than not, I can only think about committing suicide and the various ways in which I could go about carrying out the deed.

One memory that particularly stands out is when I was celebrating my final few weeks at university.It was the last ever quiz night at the local student union bar. Attending it had become something of a tradition during my alcohol fuelled student days. So there I was, living in the moment, and relishing the inner contentment that goes hand in hand with such a mindset. Yet as soon as I returned back to my small, cluttered excuse of a room everything changed.

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Being caught between the relatively carefree life I had indulged in during my studies of on one hand and the seemingly cold, harsh world of working life on the other felt like walking on a tightrope I had no hope of crossing. This thought triggered a rather unusual reaction when it comes to the way in which I typically experience depression.

In short, I had a complete mental breakdown.

Tears poured down my face. My vision was so blurred that I could barely see my hands in front of me. Eventually I found myself rocking back and forth like some demented thing, pausing only to let out a gasp of pain or to wipe my eyes. It was though I had completely lost touch with reality and anything that kept me grounded.

In the end it was only because of the help I received from several close friends that stopped me from spiralling into an even darker pit.

I do firmly believe that had it not been for their interference, I would have walked off into the night. To God knows what.

To this day I have not experienced the extent of terror and helplessness in so short a time as that I did on that night nearly two years ago.

The real question is, did I really want to die? Or was it all a cry for help and due to a combination of my personality and other factors, the only way I found I could express this desire was through an act of sheer desperation.

All I do know is that, back then, I truly did believe that death would be a preferable alternative to the thoughts and sensations that I was otherwise feeling.

Has there ever been a pivotal moment in your life where you believed that suicide was the only way our of your current situation? Did you act on these thoughts? Or has hindsight made you realise that it. Do we actually want to die? Or do we simply want to stop living and feeling as we do at this moment in time? I would love to hear your own views on this matter.

11 thoughts on “Is there a difference between being clinically depressed and being suicidal?

  1. Having Borderline PD, and Major Depressive Disorder, I’ve dealt with suicidal ideation plenty of times over the course of my life. Even as a child. I get so desperate sometimes, where it feels like the darkness is suffocating me. Thanks to a ‘safety plan’ I have in place, and with my therapists help, I’m able to get past it and carry on living. Life is painful a lot of the time, but we just have to keep fighting and pushing forward, no matter how hopeless it seems.

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    1. You’re entirely correct Rayne. Hindsight has taught me that acting on emotional impulses is rarely helpful. Saying that I’ve only really experienced these thoughts over the past 3/4 years. So the fact that you’ve dealt with yours since childhood is a testament to the fact that there is a way in which mental illness can be managed.

      Thanks for your comment! 🙂

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    2. Life is very painful at times. But every time we come out from under the darkness, if only for a little while, it builds our resiliance. Which can only be a good thing. 🙂

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  2. It’s so good to see you posting again, I’ve been wondering how you are! You might not remember me, but when I first started blogging your thoughtful comments and encouragement helped me to keep writing – so thank you 🙂 I know this comment doesn’t relate to this post, but I really wanted to shout out and say hi. Hope all is well

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    1. Hey raisinghumanz! It’s good to hear from you. I’ve just been feeling so unmotivated the last few months. Mostly as work has really drained me lately. Though I’m finally getting some of it back now 🙂

      Wow I never knew that – I’m glad I was of some assistance! Likewise I remember being inspired by your posts. There was one about your son and his hairstyle wasn’t there? That was encouraging to read!

      How’ve you been doing? I hope that your son is doing well also? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m so pleased your remember! Yes, my son is doing really well – although he decided to cut his hair but on his terms lol he is still a proud oddball!! I know what it’s like to lose motivation, it’s good to hear your are getting some back. Great to chat with ya, made my day 🙂

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  3. I have suicidal thoughts about 3-4 times a month, and they are so extreme that I always feel like I am going to end it all. I’ve attempted once and that was when I had no idea what was going on. Usually I just get to the planning stage.
    I have barely any support. It all just me just trying to think my way out of it. I know for the most part that just allowing the thoughts to wash over me and leave will mean that I’ll recover faster.
    I risk a lot by just writing this. I usually end up being my own trigger.

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  4. I was molested by my father starting, I think, when I was 3 or 4. I took sleeping pills when I was 14. They pumped my stomach. Did I want to die? Probably not, since after I took them I told my mom and promptly fainted. I do remember though that my family was just disgusted with me for doing it. I don’t remember any love or understanding.

    I really, really wanted to die when I was 16. I considered driving my mom’s car off a cliff. But it scared me. I was depressed all the time. I got better when I was 18 and had gotten married. We had two girls and I was happy until my husband got tired of me. Got divorced, but didn’t let myself think about suicide because I had my daughters.

    The next time I had suicidal thoughts was when I was in my late 40s and early 50s and trying to deal with the sexual abuse. I was going to counseling off and on. It really helped me but was so painful.

    Then I again took sleeping pills about 2 1/2 to 3 years ago. I really did want to die that time. Or did I? My husband found me and I went to the hospital, was delirious for hours. There were only 10 pills in my husband’s bottle. Not enough to kill me.

    I went back to counseling, had a terrific counselor and got a bit better. Journaling helped a lot. But honestly, I have never really loved life until I did what evangelist Joyce Meyer said to do; every single time I had a negative thought, I quoted Bible verses out loud. Doing this had an amazing effect on me. I loved life for the first time. I felt joy, real lasting joy, for the first time. I used to wake up in the morning thinking, “I wish I was dead,” and dreading the day. That doesn’t happen any more. I can still feel sad and negative thoughts come, but I have memorized those verses now and I say them and a smile comes to my face and I feel the presence of God. I’m good for the day.

    Well, that’s my story. Honestly, when I used to feel all that sorrow and pain in my heart, it wasn’t life. Death did seem preferable. People who don’t get depressed don’t understand the extent of the pain. I hope and pray you will never feel that way again.

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  5. I’ve been what they call “passively” suicidal since I was a teenager. You think about it in what-if terms, but you wouldn’t seriously act on it. All that changed towards the end of last year. What kept me from doing it had nothing to do with the family I would leave behind and how devastated they would be… I thought, “what if it doesn’t work?”. But on January 2nd, I didn’t even have that thought. I don’t even remember putting the pills in my hand. But it freaked the shit out of me. I put the pills back and got some help. I ended up in a hospital for about a week.

    After reading your blog posts, I’m wondering… did I really want to end it all? Or was it something in my head shaking me up and telling me I needed help before I did go down that dark road?

    Thank you so much for posting.

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  6. As a lifetime sufferer of severe depression and anxiety, I feel almost daily that it would be best to simply end everything. But, as you did, I get support daily to keep me from doing so. I still don’t really see the point in living but I have seen firsthand how impactful a suicide is (even to your acquaintances… trust me, it’s hard for them, too). If you feel that way again just keep in mind that there are resources out there to help you. If support from fellow humans helps, call/text a suicide hotline or go in to a 24 hour clinic. If it does not fit your style to get help from people, try learning coping techniques and mindfulness. If those don’t work, write down lists of things you enjoy (this is very hard when you’re depressed… force yourself to do it) and think about each one. If any are available at the time, indulge in it. If all of these sound “stupid” or you don’t think they’ll help, there are TONS of free options for counseling/therapy if you can’t afford it. It’s extremely important to find a method that works for YOU and not what works for “everyone else.”

    To you and all of your commenters/readers: help IS there. Find it and take advantage of it! If you need help finding help in your area I can do my best to help you out. All I want is for my fellow sufferers to feel better ♥

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