Bipolar and Suicidal Thoughts

I belong to a few moderated groups on Facebook. They can be so helpful when it comes to getting help and advice when my mood is not being nice to me.

Recently,  I read the comment of a person who is currently suicidal. She is crying all day and does not want to live. I love the insight she has to ask for help during this tough time. I wrote a comment to share what I do when I am suicidal.  I have talked openly about my suicidal thoughts since starting my bipolar disorder work in the late 90s. It is such an important topic and one that is scary for many people. We don’t have to be scared to talk about suicidal thoughts. Instead, let’s see them for what they are… symptoms of an illness. If you have bipolar disorder, you probably have depression. If you have depression, there is a good chance you experience suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Here is the advice I gave – I try to give advice by telling my story.  This allows people to take their own path.


When I am suicidal, which is not always as it used to be, but now a few times a year, I have a list ready that tells the ill me what to do when I am sick.

“Julie, Right now, you are in the middle of a suicidal depression. You can expect the desire to die to be there as well as the desire to just disappear.” 

If you see these as typical depression symptoms, it helps put the focus on ending the suicidal depression from a medical point of view. Just this week, Ketamine has been approved. You are a perfect candidate. Just think of it this way, if a medication can take away the suicidal thoughts, it means it is an illness. Bravo to you for telling people what you need.

I have a list of what people can say to me when I say things such as, “I just want to die. I am an ant on this huge earth and I feel like I’m living in a gutter.”

This is when people, with my permission can say, “Julie, this is how you always talk when your bipolar is raging. You asked me to remind you to Treat Bipolar First and that you need to get help immediately for the suicidal thoughts.”

That pops me out of the very selfish behavior I exhibit when suicidal. I am such a sad sack- my whole life feels like I’m dipped in doom. But it is just a symptom. It is normal that you can’t stop crying. That is a normal symptom of suicidal depression. It is normal that you have the felling that you want to die.  Treat this as the illness it is. Ask for help.

Is it time for a hospital visit?

A medication change?

Ketamine treatment?

Get clinical with yourself. I was suicidal last week. My brain kept saying,“Julie, everyone is upset with you! Your work isn’t any good. You are a speck of dirt. Life will always been this way. You suck and you should die.” I wrote all of this in my journal and then I wrote this…. “Julie, the brain that tells you that you are god’s gift to men when you are manic is the same  brain that is now telling you that you’re a speck of dirt. Don’t listen to either thought. They are both bipolar thoughts and are not REAL. They are fabricated symptoms by an ill brain. Who do you need to call RIGHT NOW and what do you need to do RIGHT NOW to get out of this loathsome, awful, painful depression!!!”

This helps me focus on healing instead of thoughts of dying. I believe in you. Get the help you need. Look at all of the support you have on this wonderful page. There are resources and people out there who will help you get your brain back on track. We can do this!!!!!


PS: Why this picture? It is a reminder of the beauty of the world. Suicidal depression gives us tunnel vision. We turn inward and forget to expand our bodies, mind and eyes to the world. It is important that we look for beauty when we are suicidal. It is part of a plan to get out of the episode.

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