Bipolar Depression and Suicide Help

depressed black guyI just received this comment on the blog I wrote on bipolar depression:

” I want to die. Can you help me please. I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and I don’t want to live anymore.”

It’s hard to get these emails- not because they shock me- they don’t, but because I wish I could sit across from the person and tell them why they feel the way they do and that they can get through this.

Since I can’t actually look at the person, I will write him here.

Hi. I’ve been suicidal so many times I can no longer count the episodes.  Suicidal thoughts are a completely normal part of bipolar disorder. We get depressed, manic, anxious and paranoid, just to name a few- and we also get suicidal.

Wanting to die is actually something different than it seems- it’s actually wanting to end the pain that comes with bipolar disorder depression. I can remember being so suicidal that I was rolling on the floor in order not to do something I didn’t really want to do. I’m not kidding about this. The compulsion that comes with suicidal thoughts is what makes it so dangerous.  When I had thoughts of running my car off a bridge, I said out loud, “I don’t want to kill myself! This is not real! This is bipolar lying to me!”  and I kept driving.

Bipolar disorder can be a VERY dangerous illness. It makes you think and do things you don’t really think and don’t really want to do. That’s why it’s so important to separate yourself from the suicidal thoughts.

I see my suicidal thoughts as separate. They are not me- they are bipolar disorder.  I hope you can do that- if you really examine what you’re thinking, you can see that there is a lot of crap going around in your head that doesn’t represent you. It’s not the real you. It’s the illness talking.

Once you can see the you in there and feel the you in there- you can say to yourself, this is bipolar talking and I’m going to get help immediately.

I assure you- you don’t want to kill yourself. You want to get better. I hate suicidal thoughts because they aren’t fair and they are SO tricky.

I’m 49- and I’ve been suicidal off and on since I was 19. I have survived and you can too.

Here is how to get help- first of all, say out loud- “I’m suicidal because I have bipolar disorder. These thoughts are not real. They are a sign that I’m very sick.”

Next- call your doctor immediately.  Say, “This is an emergency. I have bipolar disorder and I’m thinking of killing myself.” This is an honest way to ask for help. If you fell down and broke a leg- you would scream for help. You have to do the same thing now.

If you don’t have access to your doctor- call a suicide hotline-  if you go to you will see suicide numbers on the left side of the page.  There is also a link there for more help on what you’re going through.

If you’re worried for your immediate physical health, call 911. They know what to do. Be honest, “I have bipolar disorder- I’m suicidal and I need help.”  Or, “I’m bipolar and I just took a bottle of pills and I need help ”

You may notice that I’m being very methodical when I talk with you. It’s because I would do the same thing if I saw you bleeding on the side of the road. I would help you and remind you that things are going to be ok. You just need professional help.  I would never expect you to take care of yourself on your own.

Suicidal thoughts are completely normal when you have a mental illness. They are not the real you.  The real you wants help. There is a lot of help out there.  I encourage you to take care of the you that wants to live and not listen to the illness that is lying to you.  I’m alive and well because I do this every time I get suicidal.


7 comments to Bipolar Depression and Suicide Help

  • I’m 44yrs old and I have been going to Doctors for help for years. I just found out I am bipolar. Ive wanted to kill myself from as far back as I can remember and tried a couple of times. Someone found out there was something wrong with me before I knew it and really tried to kill me. I am still alive. People have made fun of me and used my illness against me. It’s like everyone knew but me. It was the last thing I wanted to except. I am on medication now and want to get to know people that are like me. It’s a real hard ride these up and downs. My illness got so bad I became homeless 2007. And I’m planning on getting on with my life with help and medication. Your friend Lydia

  • Allen

    I have been diagnosed with bi-polar after 4 attempts at suicide. Im sat here now, wishing i was not here. Thinking things like my girlfriend could have someone who has loads of money, nice house ect… all the things i dont have. im very tired of life right now, and cannot see it getting any better, or my wealth changing.. definatly not in the near future!
    The thing is, i know deep inside i am better than this. i know i can get a better paid job ect But and i dont know if it is having bi polar, i odnt have the courage to do go for another job. even though i know i can do it. its almost like voices in my head saying, nah, your useless, you cant do it so why bother.

    Is this the bi-polar, or just something else.?


    It’s totally normal to be suicidal when you’re depressed. It’s also normal to feel worthless when you’re depressed! That is literally the definition of depression..

    I was sick all day yesterday from work pressure. Those of us with bipolar disorder often have trouble working. I’ve had trouble with work all of my life. It really attacks your belief in yourself when you can’t work! The only way to get around this is to treat the bipolar first- this means trying for as long as it takes to find the right meds and then… here is the hard part- learn to manage the illness on your own. I do it daily. You have to have a treatment plan that works. My book Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder has a plan as do my other books. I wrote them because I needed them.

    You are NOT lazy. You have a serious, but ultimately treatable illness. Here are some ideas:

    1. Decide to stay where you are right now- work wise- and spend the next three months focusing exclusively on bipolar management

    2. Talk with your girlfriend and explain what bipolar is like- read my book together. Work together. Just as she would do – both of you would do if you had a physical illness.

    3. When the voices start- no matter how strong they are- say, This is not me! This is bipolar disorder. And when I treat the bipolar disorder, i can make these voices go away.

    Things DO get better. I am proof. I never thought I would work again- and now I work a lot. It isn’t easy and I still get sick, but I can work.

    Don’t give up!


  • Hi Julie,

    Thank you for writing this. It’s something I needed to hear. I met you at the DBSA conference this year in Virginia. I actually sat next to you at the Rebecca’s Dream luncheon and you asked if you could use part of my story for your book on teen depression. It’s okay if you don’t remember me. My information was, at the time, on a little blue post-it note stuck somewhere deep in the depths of that big purse of yours. 🙂 You told me I would be a great writer someday. Thanks.

    I am currently going through a bad depression that I managed to push away for most of that weekend. Without sleep it’s kind of hard to know how you feel at all. lol. It’s 4:22am now. I slept ’til 5:30pm today, much later than usual. I’ve fallen into the habit of getting up around 1 or 2. I hate my life.

    I told you at the comedy show when I was following you for a hug that that day marked one month out of the hospital for me. I’ve been in twice this year, totaling 21 days. I am remembering tonight your tremendous positivity. You told me it would be okay and to just keep up hope. I don’t feel like keeping the hope. Yes, it’s my bp talking. What if my bp is right? I know I have so much potential! But I tell myself, “If it’s going to be like this, I don’t want it.” I have been in the hospital 7 times since 2001 and am probably headed there again soon. I am extremely suicidal, researching options and dosages needed to overdose. I even called the Poison Control Center here to ask what some of what I have would do if I took it. I was angry when the man answered my question without asking why. Shouldn’t he be trained to spot things like that? My therapist is refusing to see me next week because I didn’t go to the gym 3xs this week, which he seems to think will cure me. One of my DBSA friends emailed him to make sure he knows what’s going on with me. Hearing that made me expect a call or an email from him, some form of communication, concern. Nothing.

    I feel hopeless. So, in my hours online tonight wandering around YouTube watching stupid cat videos and listening to the rain outside, I thought of you. I thought of you and how much I admired you at the convention and do now, how much I wanted to be like you. If you have some words of hope please send them to me. I could really use them now. Thank you and God Bless.

    Love, Michelle

    • kerry

      Im so sick of feeling sick, and havent even got enough guts to kill myself. Coz im so frightened i cant even do that right. Ive had enough.who where and what to to. I just had enough how sad do i sound. I dont want pitty i just want a way out! Where im not going to put my family through any more pain so it got to be a way out that they will think it was quick and easy. I dont want it to play on thier minds was it long did she suffer. I want them to think it was quick and easy. Something that wont play on thier minds. Plzz gives me some ideas. Coz i dont want them to find me or anyone eles. This is my time to do something tidy for them

  • Thank you so much for this helpful and honest post. I was diagnosed with bipolar in 1989 and have gone through many, many suicidal phases (one such phase landed me in the hospital.) Making a distinction between myself and my bipolar has been very helpful over the years and I think that’s such an important point that you make. My symptoms, like so many other people’s symptoms, can masquerade as character traits. They fool me every time. Anyway, good luck to all.

  • RUssel blackwell

    I am a 49 year old male with bipolar disorder and a history of depression I think with my ilness and with the way my life is I am better off dead ongoing conflict with my father who just don’t understand the ilness saying my mistakes or my lack of mid ovation blaming it on bipolar is a cop out the only advice I can give you is stay away from negative people and people who just don’t want to understand you need to be around supportive people who uplift you and make you feel worth it enough so that one day you find the strength to deal with the ilness and walk on your own two feet I would rather swap my life today and end my pain and suffering meds are suppose to help with the situation but it’s hard when there aren’t positives and I feel I’m a lost cause and nothing I do is ever good enough my self esteem is rock bottom I want to end my life today

  • Hi Julie,
    I am 36 years old and was diagnosed with firstly depression at 21 and then bipolar II at 27. I am really struggling with feelings of suicide and they just keep running through my head. I have had so much going on in the past several months and things became worse the past couple of weeks with my depression and hightened anxiety. I dont know why my thoughts are focusing on suicidal thinking because this actually frightens me. I saw a psychiatric registrar at the community mental health team who prescribed some prn quetiapine for during the day, which I hope will start to help. bipolar symptoms is like being on a rollercoaster and not being able to get off. Regards Sherrilyn

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