Thinking about suicide or your own death from time to time is normal behavior. These ideas are rarely discussed openly because it is a topic most people are embarrassed to admit they think about. That said if you are in mid-life and engaging in end-of-life planning, that is a responsible part of being an adult. Death after all is inevitable at the end of a natural life. However, considering a premature death or suicide is not healthy.
That makes it difficult for experts to accurately quantify how many suicidal thoughts is “normal”.
Many experts agree that 100% of people will entertain at least one or more thoughts of suicide over the course of their life. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Having thoughts of suicide can be therapeutic.
Sometimes entertaining suicidal thoughts are like watching a sad movie when you feel unhappy. Allowing yourself to let go and feel your emotions can help you release pent-up emotional pain. It’s a way of comforting yourself.
Thinking about suicide doesn’t mean it’s an option. It’s an internal barometer you might use to measure how bad you are feeling. It can also signal to you what’s not working in your life. In this case, it’s a helpful survival mechanism.
If you’re not depressed, when you think about suicide here is what it may mean:
Suicide points to a personal crisis that’s often related to a lack of self-expression. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you feeling stuck in a situation you “feel” you can’t get out of?
- Does your life have a purpose?
- Do you get out of bed in the morning because you have important things to accomplish that matter to you?
If you answered no to these questions, it’s common to think “what’s the point?”. This is when thoughts of depression and suicide commonly arise.
Are suicidal thoughts normal? Find out what is considered “normal” behavior
What’s important to understand is the point at which mild thoughts turn into serious considerations. When you start to notice suicidal thoughts are becoming more frequent they need to be addressed immediately.
The following list compare what’s normal vs. suicidal warning signs. It will help you understand if you are at serious risk of taking an action that could result in suicide. You might being having thoughts of suicide but you could be denying the reality that you are really in a state that requires professional help.
- A brief passing thought about suicide from time to time. It could be related to something bad that’s happened or is happening in your life. Often if you are in a rough time and feel like life is hard it’s not abnormal to have a thought or two about not wanting to get up to your day. You may think thoughts like “life is hard, sometimes I wish I were dead”. If the thoughts do not increase in frequency and persist for more than two days or till the situation is dealt with you could be at risk.
- Thoughts about wondering if you’ll be missed if you were to die from time to time
- Feeling depressed about an aspect of your life. It could be related to your: Career, relationships, physical health, or finances.
- 1-2 days of low mood – feeling inexplicably sad for no apparent reason – it could be caused by life circumstances or hormone shifts. If you make it to the three day mark go talk to a doctor
- Binge eating or drinking spats or avoiding people from time to time during times of stress
SUICIDE WARNING SIGNS
- When thoughts about killing yourself increase in frequency. If you think about it at a minimum three times a day for a minimum of two days. If the thoughts are not going away or they are getting worse, get help right away. Talk to someone you can trust or call 911
- Telling someone you’ve been thinking about wanting to die or to killing yourself.
- Searching for ways to kill yourself. If you’ve researched how to kill yourself online or you’ve taken an action like purchasing a gun or storing medication “just in case”
- Thinking and talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live. Your thoughts and feelings are getting worse or have been constant for at least two days
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- If you’re living with physical pain and it’s starts to feel like you can’t deal with anymore. If you try to shut off the pain with sleep or substances this is a major warning sign
- Believing that you are a burden to others. If you’re taking actions in line with these thoughts you might be isolating yourself socially, spending more time alone.
- Using substances like alcohol and/or drugs to get through your day or to sleep at night
- If you aren’t sleeping properly this can affect your mood. It’s normal to have sleepless nights once and a while due to stress. If you haven’t been sleeping well for a minimum of more than two nights in a row and you are not awake for a specific reason that you can pinpoint
- If you’re acting recklessly it shows a carelessness for living. It also is a sign of other illnesses related to mood disorders that involve depression and can lead to suicide. You could be at a high risk of suicide, even if you don’t know it yet.
- Visiting, calling, or sending messages to friends to say goodbye. Or, giving away prized possessions. If you’ve been preparing for death you are at a high risk.
If you feel embarrassed or ridiculous for thinking about death or suicide, that’s normal. It’s not easy to confront these thoughts or deal with them. But, if you see yourself in this list of warning signs don’t wait to get help. Without immediate help, you could get worse fast. Call 911 now or click here to visit a list of crisis support lines.
Lastly, what’s important to remember right now is that your thoughts are not “real” and by taking more healthy actions, they will pass. That’s the first step is telling someone you trust, how you feel.