Anatomy of Suicidal Thinking

You may or may not know that in November I made an attempt to end my life. (It feels rather bold, unusual and uncomfortable to start a post that way.) Since that event, and before, it’s been a long and difficult road to trudge, to say the least.

In October my husband and I became keenly aware that the depression was becoming severe. I was becoming more frequently plagued with thoughts of suicide and self-harm. (Are you thinking self-harm is just for teenagers? Well, you’re wrong.) In an effort to stave off the beast, I was admitted to a partial hospitalization program where I spent the day with other struggling folks and a therapist for group sessions Monday through Friday for three weeks. I learned a lot, felt very safe there and enjoyed the structure, as much as a severely depressed person can enjoy these things. 

I guess I felt like I was supposed to be all better after that, but I wasn’t and that was frustrating. I began my search for a therapist and went on a couple visits but I felt just as bad as I had before I started the treatment. Efforts to diagnose me accurately and to find medication that would be therapeutic were rather conservative. It’s clear now that neither the treatment nor the medication protocol were as aggressive as they could have been or should have been. 

I was diagnosed with bipolar II, a diagnosis I am still a bit unsure of, as I think I might be of the rapid cycling nature, but bipolar none-the-less. All my life I have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, along with a few other friends like anxiety and ptsd. 

On November 8 I ended up in the ICU after taking a very large amount of a medication I had on hand to treat anxiety that is also used to treat high blood pressure. I spent a couple days there recovering from the effects of the overdose and then I was transferred to the hospital’s psych unit for a couple more days. Since then I have finally found a therapist I think will really work for me, a good psychiatrist and I’ve been on a long journey of medication trial and error.

All of this to say, that after my experiences and with the knowledge I have obtained before, during and after treatment, I came up with what I believe to be a pretty accurate depiction of the anatomy of suicidal thinking. I’m not a doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, therapist or anything close…although I did major in psychology in college, so please treat this info as just what it is, a sick person trying to better understand their illness. 

And so, here it is…

Like my very professional hand-written document? Me too. 

Some may think that my starting premise of a negative or triggering event is inaccurate, but for me this can include the transition of actually becoming depressed rather than a specific event or trigger, that in itself can be the trigger. But, I think that once one is already actually experiencing depression the negative event or experience can be something that stands alone to set suicidal thinking in motion. Additionally, this can happen multiple times or you can be stuck in one long dreadful period of suicidal thinking.

“Normal” or healthy individuals won’t get stuck in the stages of self-loathing/negative thoughts. They will move back to a normal thought pattern. Those of us struggling with mental health issues can get stuck here or at any one of these stages or move on down the road to suicidal thoughts.

What do you think? How accurate is my depiction to you or for you? If you don’t experience a mental health issue maybe this will help you understand part of the thinking and experience of a loved one who does. 

I look forward to hearing your feedback and thanks for reading! I’ll be here, muddling through the muck of all this messy stuff, waiting! 


7 thoughts on “Anatomy of Suicidal Thinking

  1. I’d say this is very accurate. I’m “lucky” in that so far I don’t have a recurring clinical depression but I did experience several Postnatal Depression and Anxiety and I am very suspetible to recurrence of more mild periods of anxiety. I like to think I’m more able to manage these feelings now but you just never know, do you?

    Thanks for sharing this so honestly and I hope you continue to improve. Your blog is really fantastic, btw! x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh postnatal depression and anxiety can be so terrifying and awful. I’m grateful you are on the other side now. All of this stuff is so unknown and scary but when we come together it becomes less so…thank you so much for your kindness and support of my new blog! I’m truly grateful!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, for someone who doesn’t suffer with a mental health issues your depiction of the anatomy of suicidal thinking is enlightening. Who can be better to share their theory than someone who suffers with their mental health?

    Like most people I do get dark days, but nothing that lasts for long, my Dad on the other hand has needed help for depression although it took a long time before he admitted that he needed help and it was a worrying time.

    Thank you for sharing your story.



    1. Thank you so very much for reading and commenting, Debbie! I am grateful for the words you shared. I’m sorry your father has dealt with depression, as I know it is very difficult for family and loved ones, as well. I’m glad you haven’t had to suffer from any lengthened period of depression, as well. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!


  3. Actually beginning a post like this is a writer’s dream: establish a hook so the reader *must* keep reading.

    On a seriouser note, it’s bold to admit that, and your word diagram is perfect flowchart. So easy to understand, especially since I have never experienced that. To a lesser, and perhaps more common, degree, I see thought patterns like this with weight loss. The sense of overwhelming hopelessness, helplessness, and no idea how to fix the mental flailing. Or worse: having lost-then-gained and feeling like a failure all over again.

    But not recognizing the success of doing it once. Not to diminish your challenges, of course, but recognizing that success IS possible is perhaps the most important step.

    That and having a sunny journal to write those thoughts in. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and reminding me of the parallels with weight loss and body image! Indeed, recognizing success is so incredibly important and can be challenging for some, myself included! Blessings to you, I so appreciate the visit and comment. ❀️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome. πŸ™‚ I hope you are finding more peace within yourself and giving yourself permission to spoil yourself with kindness (and naps. or massages. or chocolate…your choice)


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