Why Feeling Suicidal Isn’t Being Suicidal

I want to share an article I came across a short time ago:

When You’re in the Gray Area of Being Suicidal

The author (Taylor Jones) does an excellent job of putting into words what so many of us experience on a regular basis: feeling suicidal but not wanting to die.

You can’t fault someone for having suicidal feelings. But there is a key difference between feeling suicidal and being suicidal. When you are suicidal and want to die, you make a plan, and may even go so far as to put that plan into action.

When you are feeling suicidal, it remains a feeling. You don’t act on it. You may even forget that it’s there for a while before it creeps up again. You go about living your life because you really don’t want to die, but you can’t help what you’re feeling.

If I wanted to die, I would be dead. I would not be sitting at my computer right now, typing up this blog post. I could have overdosed on something. I could have jumped in front of a train or a bus. But I have not. Because I don’t want to die.

If I wanted to die, I would have just stayed in home prison. My mother would have killed me soon enough. Instead, I knew that there was life outside of those walls, a life that was probably worth living.

If I wanted to die, I wouldn’t be dragging my ass to work every day to earn a paycheck. I wouldn’t even be getting out of bed. What would be the point?

If I wanted to die, I wouldn’t be spending the majority of the money I earn paying for my therapy sessions each week. In fact, I wouldn’t even bother going to therapy. There would be no point. Instead, I have continued to go to therapy every few days for the last 10 months.

And if I was in danger, I know how to get help. I admitted myself to the hospital all of those times, and even though I probably didn’t need to be in the hospital, I knew in my heart it was better for me to be there (especially while I was still living with my abusers).

So yes, I often feel suicidal, but no, I’m not suicidal. It’s not the same thing.

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The D Word

I hate the d word.

Depression.

It came up recently because my primary doctor put Major Depression on my record. And I, of course, flipped my emotional shit.

Because that word has such painful connections for me.

And sure enough, for the last week, the memory of my father has been playing over and over in my head. I’ll give you a reason to be depressed. Pain. Pain was all I felt. And then I felt nothing at all.

I genuinely believe a piece of me died that night. In all these years I have never been able to get over it. I still can’t hear the word depressed without hearing him yell at me. I can still feel my head hitting the wall. I can still hear myself begging him to stop. Fifteen years ago and it still plays like it’s happening now.

And I’m afraid of that label. I responded in anger when my therapist asked me what was wrong. “I’m not depressed! I fucking hate her!”

My therapist made the connection rather quickly on why I was against that diagnosis.

“If I were to pick up the DSM right now and flip to, let’s say, Persistent Depressive Disorder, would you say you wouldn’t fit that diagnosis? You wouldn’t fit under Major Depressive Disorder?”

“No, because I function just fine and I’m not impaired so therefore I don’t qualify for those diagnoses. And while I’m at it, I don’t qualify for DID, either.”

“I’m not talking about functioning just yet. Aside from functioning.”

I hesitated. I grumbled to myself. “Fine,” I said, “I fit every criterion. Every. Single. Criterion.”

“And while you do get up in the morning and go to work, and go to school, you’re not functioning all the way like you think you are. You are good in some areas, and really severely impaired in others.”

“I’m not depressed.”

“We don’t have to call it that. We can come up with another word for it if you want. But you can’t deny that it doesn’t fit. And I know that you know that.”

Damnit. Sometimes I hate being smart. I do know that. But I want to live in denial. Let me live in sweet denial.

Denial. That’s a d word I can handle.