Many people experience suicidal thoughts without realizing what they mean or that they should get help. This was the case for myself.
In college, I seemingly had a perfect life. At 20, I was a student-athlete and straight-A student in good health and with a good support system. Still, I began to experience suicidal thoughts. I would minimize the thoughts and lie to myself about what they really were. I would think things like, “My life isn’t that bad compared to others, so they aren't a big deal.”
I also dismissed these thoughts because of course I wouldn't act on them. Not with such a loving and supportive family. They’re not actually suicidal thoughts, I thought. I was ashamed and tried to convince myself these thoughts weren’t there, which made it hard to admit to myself, let alone to others, that I was having them.
All of this prevented me from getting the help I needed. I wish I’d known then what I know now.
When I was thinking “I don’t want to be alive” or “I hope I won’t wake up” I was having "passive suicidal ideation," which is a wish or hope to die, without acting on the thought. More often, though, I was having "active suicidal ideation," which are actual thoughts of wanting to kill yourself. I even had plans for how to carry it out. And somehow in spite of all of this, I convinced myself I wasn't really having suicidal thoughts.
Through therapy and research, I now know it is not shameful to have suicidal thoughts. I am not broken or messed up because I have them. It took me a long time to realize this, and it is my hope that you can also realize this and get help.
Ashley Kimbrough, Sober Truth Project
And if someone indicates that they may do something to end their life, call 911.
Crisis Text Line: Text "HOME" to 741741
IMAlive: A virtual crisis center that has trained volunteers for immediate support. (www.imalive.org)