For Anyone Who Has Ever Struggled With Thoughts of Suicide

Published by Dr Damon Ashworth

I am a Clinical Psychologist. I completed a Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at Monash University and a Bachelor of Behavioural Sciences and a Bachelor of Psychological Sciences with Honours at La Trobe University. I am passionate about the field of Psychology, and apply the latest empirical findings to best help individuals meet their psychological and emotional needs.

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31 Comments

  1. In Buddhist teachings, frequent contemplation of death is thought to be healthy because it alerts us to the brevity of life while also preparing us for what is inevitable. That said, this contemplation is generally not recommended for someone contemplating suicide, though it might be beneficial for some. If you want to die, just wait and it will happen, no need to hasten it. If you fully understand that you can expect your life to last only “for one breath,” as the Buddha said, you can live more fully and attend to the moment with more authenticity. Buddhist teachings on “no self” can also be very helpful in this respect. BTW, not trying to sell Buddhism with this comment, but I am aware of the difference between Buddhists on this subject and many other belief systems.

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  2. Beautiful post – deeply insightful, meaningful and educational. Depression and suicidality is one of the major problems of our age – we’re all so disconnected from each other, among other reasons. It’s been a struggle in the past for me, as well. Do you mind if I share this?

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  3. I have experienced suicidal ideation since childhood. People say “it will get better”, but what if it doesn’t? What is there to look forward to, when you just get older and deteriorate? Old age is only worth it if you’ve got family and friends to live for.

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    1. Hi Becca,
      I see suicidal ideation as a symptom of suffering, not as the problem itself. In order for it to get better often our level of suffering has to get better too. In Acceptance and Commitment Therapy they say that whilst we cannot avoid pain in our life, we do have some control over how much we suffer in relation to that pain by accepting what we feel, letting go of unhelpful thoughts and beliefs, and acting in line with our important values. In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, the idea is to either change or improve our external circumstances, or challenge how we view ourselves, others or the world. I was not able to just get over my suicidal ideation by myself even though I tried a lot of things over the 15 years I struggled with it. What helped me was seeking out regular therapy with a psychologist that I trusted and felt safe with. I was then able to take more risks and reveal more of the things that I felt ashamed about with her, and in turn learned that many other people struggle with these same fears and doubts too. I then started to slowly become more authentic and less afraid with my friends too, and in turn felt a greater sense of belonging and connection with others. It was a slow and often challenging process that eventually helped me to live the life I wanted with people who cared about me and appreciated me for who I was. Helping others is also great too, which I get to do in my day-to-day job as a Clinical Psychologist. Just remember, a thought is just a thought. The thought of suicide is not dangerous, but hurting ourselves is. The more that we can accept the initial thoughts that pop into our mind without judging them or being afraid of them, the more that we can see that it is just our mind doing what it always does – thinking and trying to solve problems. Some of these thoughts are nice, some not so nice. It is only when we get caught up in these not so nice thoughts that they can become a big problem. If possible, it is much better when this occurs to re-focus our attention and energy into positive steps that can ease our suffering a little. If you are unsure of what these things may be, then developing a plan with a mental health professional is a great step to take. I wish you the best of luck with your journey!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I did the online training that was mandatory prior to attending Face-to-face training. The face-to-face training was great! I work with kids 0-15 and some transitional aged teens. CAMS applies mostly to adults, regardless it was a great experience.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on She-Who-Hears.Net and commented:
    This is a long but insightful, thoughtful, and personal piece on finding purpose in life and fighting depression and suicidality, written by a doctoral candidate. If these issues have touched you in any way, I encourage you to read it. Actually…if you’re a human that interacts with humans, I recommend that you read this. :p

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Death is the ultimate equaliser, for no matter how much we have achieved or done with our time on this planet, the truth is that we will all one day die.” Sometimes I find this comforting. Sometimes it is terrifying. Either way, it is the absolute truth. I’ve had and still do have my own struggles, but getting the chance to help others makes them easier. Life is a series of ups and downs. I just try to remind everyone that the “ups” will eventually come back around.
    This was a fantastic article.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for your open post in this difficult subject. You are very strong in turning the negative sides and struggle in your life this positive and helping others. There are situations where death must be regarded as a good alternative for suffering, when it is all too much and help is not available. There are so many situations others do not know about and the pressure of extreme stress and total despair and total rejection and condemnation/ stigmatizing. prejudices from society could be so extremely big… this cannot be released by simple medication or therapy. A human being should also be free to choose death as the ultimate solution of the long term difficulties in life, which are also provoked by society itself, so where society is not a part of the solution, where mental health is not prepared for and has no solutions for. This is not written to argue you are not doing right in helping others with preventing of suicide, on the contrary, I admire you in doing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for putting this sort of material out there for the public to read and learn and hopefully incorporate into their lives as a tool useful to not only themselves but those around them. I work with American Veterans. I think its astounding that ore Vets have died by suicide in the recent war on terror than on the battlefield. So, again thank you for your words and insights.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. WOW! This is so helpful, especially for me. I have anxiety problems, I suffer from depression and I am diagnosed with OCD. The thought of suicide is always present especially during the tough times that everything seems to be caving in. Now, I feel better with no actual thoughts of suicide and I am happy to have stumbled on your blog. It’s so helpful for me!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly. My family deals with a lot of mental health issues and it’s always wonderful to hear the perspective of someone who has dealt with depression and suicidal thoughts. I look forward to the time mentioned at Revelation 21:3,4 when Jehovah God will rid this world of all pain,sorrow, tears and death and we will be able to see our loved ones again in Paradise (Luke 23:43). Until then, whenever I feel down or depressed I try to do what is written at 1 Peter 5:7, “to throw all your anxiety on him (God), because he cares for you.” It’s comforting to think about and know that God cares for us and wants to help us (1 Corinthians 1:3,4; Isaiah 57:15). Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi thoughts68, in a way thinking about the future is escaping from the present, and I definitely wouldn’t recommend for someone to do it all the time, but it does also help us to get out of a cognitive bias called WYSIATI – What you see is all there is. What this bias means is that how we are thinking and feeling in the moment is very much influenced by how we are thinking and feeling in the moment. If we are feeling helpless and hopeless and depressed, and we are thinking about suicide, then continuing to stay in that present isn’t going to help change that, because it is all that we can see. Understanding impermanence, and that feelings and thoughts can change even when we do nothing, sometimes it is better to think of anything that provides us with hope or meaning for the future. Even if all it does it distracts someone until they start to feel a bit better again then it is worth it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. At times we fantasize so much that almost our real lives become meaningless to us and the life of our dreams is where we long to live. When we find a better life that gives us happiness we want to live there almost everyday and that I see is a trap.This also leads us to make certain decisions in life where we then get trapped and have no way out. So there is no proper solution all we do is run and run our entire life, without actually knowing what we want!!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for a personal reflection on your own life. It will make people sit up and think and realise life really is worth living.

    The staff at Beyond Blue do a fantastic job dealing with all the calls they receive.

    We all need to look deeper into ourselves and see there is good in us and we are worth the effort. And worth the life we have.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I say mild, I mean things like being stuck at work and freezing and not being able to follow up on tasks and procrastinating when I very well know that I’m losing precious time. It’s really been a problem for a while now and I would like to make an effort to overcome this.

      Liked by 1 person

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