How I Manage Suicidal Thoughts

I would like to share the plan I use to manage and live with psychotic, suicidal thoughts.

My first suicidal thoughts were at age 19 after a breakup. I didn’t know I had bipolar and a psychotic disorder.

The thoughts were so shocking and so different than anything I had ever experienced, I simply assumed that everyone had them and I just didn’t know how to manage it very well.

That shows you how not talking about suicidal thoughts in the general public keeps so many of us in the dark when it comes to the workings of our brains.

I remember all of my suicidal episodes. It is such a profound experience that a person can’t understand it unless they’ve been through it.

I manage these thoughts through the plan I use in my books:

1️⃣I know exactly what my suicidal thoughts say to me. They really don’t change.

2️⃣ As soon as they show up, I have a plan ready that includes talking back to the suicidal thoughts, checking my meds and asking for help if needed.

3️⃣ When I say we can learn to live with suicidal thoughts, this doesn’t mean that I don’t try every day to prevent them. But when they show up, especially accompanied by psychosis, I am ready for them.

What if we approach suicidal thoughts in the same way we approach a diabetic crisis?

I have a friend with insulin dependent diabetes and watched her go through an insulin crisis while she was sitting in front of me.

Her lips went gray. She started to pass out. But during this whole thing she was telling me what she needed. Her husband was in the other room. I called for him and he did exactly what they do every time this happens. They had a plan.

It’s no different when someone with bipolar disorder or depression has suicidal thoughts.

Our brain chemistry isn’t working. These thoughts are normal when we’re sick and if we have a managementment plan in place we can tolerate and manage the thoughts. Tolerating means feeling the pain and knowing it is illness.

I know the pain and fear of suicidal episodes. I manage them in the same way I manage all bipolar symptoms.

We can do this.


Further reading:  Three Strategies to Talk with Kids About Suicidal Thoughts from Psychology Today.


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