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I’m Having Suicidal Thoughts: What Is Suicidal Ideation?

Lido Wellness Center Blog

I’m Having Suicidal Thoughts: What Is Suicidal Ideation?

June 8, 2023

The hope is that we can live with purpose. We can find joy, and we can look forward to another day. But it is just not always the case. Some people have not had joy or happiness in so long that they feel like maybe it isn’t even a possibility. And it might even get to the point that they decide that there is so much pain; it is just better to try to stop it all. Suicidal thoughts, or contemplating suicide, is a serious mental health concern. It’s scary for the person having them and those who love them.

Understanding suicidal thoughts is a difficult prospect. But there are some ways you can reflect and inspect to find out where they might be coming from and recognize when they might become dangerous. As well as where to get help when things feel like they are at their worst.

*Please note: If you are thinking, “I have Suicidal Thoughts,” we want to help. But If you are experiencing suicidal ideation, reaching out to mental health professionals or trusted individuals in your life is crucial. Use crisis resources like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (dial 988 on your phone) or Crisis Text Line if immediate help is needed. Remember, it’s not a sign of weakness to seek help but a brave step toward healing.

Understanding Suicidal Thoughts

Suicidal ideation is another way to talk about suicidal thoughts. It refers to thinking about self-harm, ranging from fleeting considerations to detailed plans.

There could be lots of reasons for a person to consider suicide. Some of the most common stem from chronic depression or anxiety. These conditions are overwhelming, and it seems like there is no way out or any hope. Stressful life events also may play a part, such as losing a job or a loved one. Trauma is also extremely painful and can impact a person daily, making someone feel trapped in a cage of their past.

Ultimately thoughts of suicide occur when despair, hopelessness, or unbearable pain feel like they are never going away. There is no way to cope with what is happening or what has happened, and the person feels they have no other options to alleviate their suffering.

Recognizing Suicide Danger

Suicidal ideation becomes more dangerous when passive thoughts become active plans or actions. Is there a plan in place? As well, have they lost or had protection removed? Protective measures are people who care about them or a safe environment to find the ability to self-soothe.

There are some other signs to look for:

Crisis: has there been a loss in their life or a traumatic event?

Previous attempts: previous attempts are a clear sign—especially if they were recent.

Mental health: are there other mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, or personality disorders?

Access: do they have access to lethal means, e.g., Firearms or medications?

Help for Someone Who Says, “I’m Having Suicidal Thoughts”

Identifying signs of suicidal ideation in loved ones can be challenging. Look for changes in behavior, expressions of hopelessness, or references to death or suicide. Look for the above signs and notice if they spend their time in isolation.

But the most important is that they feel safe to talk to you. If you fear for someone’s life, ask them. Hiding from it or pretending it is not there creates more pain.

What do you ask? Keep it straightforward:

Ask: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”

Approaching a loved one who is experiencing suicidal thoughts requires compassion and care. Be ready to listen and offer nonjudgmental support. Make sure you have some resources available and options for professional help.

Treatment Options for Suicidal Ideation

Numerous treatment options exist for managing suicidal ideation. Psychotherapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy, can help people build the skills to learn how to cope with these thoughts. Medications, particularly antidepressants, can be helpful for various mental health disorders.

In acute cases, an intervention may be necessary. This might include hospitalization or residential treatment programs. These provide a safe environment and intensive treatment to navigate the crisis.

Support networks such as family or friends that love the person are crucial. While mental health professionals offer necessary therapeutic interventions and support groups provide a space to share experiences and learn from others who’ve faced similar struggles, loved ones offer ongoing support, reminding the individual they are not alone.

Getting Help With Suicidal Thoughts

When someone is thinking of suicide or is afraid of their thoughts, it is time to take action. It is always a big deal and should be considered an emergency. Understanding when it is most dangerous is important, but even more, understanding the options for yourself or your loved one is vital. At Lido Wellness, we have professionals that can help. Again, if you are thinking of harming yourself right now, call 911 or the 988. But if you are scared of the underlying factors or see your despair getting deeper and deeper, please call Lido Wellness today. Recovery is possible. There is hope. Our team can help you find the path toward a life worth living with joy and purpose.

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- Alumnus, Lido Wellness Center

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