How to Deal with Bipolar Disorder and Suicidal Thoughts

How to cope with those scary and dangerous thoughts that are part of bipolar disorder plus what to do about suicidal thoughts,  thoughts of suicide.

How to cope with those scary and dangerous thoughts that are part of bipolar disorder PLUS what to do about suicidal thoughts (thoughts of suicide).

Gold Standard for Treating Bipolar Disorder (part 17)

Bipolar disorder creates some terrible, scary and often dangerous thoughts. The first thing to remember when you experience these thoughts is that they are a normal part of this illness. People with bipolar disorder all over the world have similar thoughts. Once you recognize the specific thoughts you have when you're ill, you can remember them, realize it's bipolar disorder speaking and then counteract them with realistic thoughts.

This can be very hard to do at first, especially if these thoughts have been in your life for years, but a change can be made. For example, if you have the thought, "I have no friends. I'll be lonely forever.' You can do the following: remind yourself that you may feel this way when you're depressed as it's a normal part of depression. You can then look at the thought realistically and break the hold the thought has on your brain. You can say to yourself:

"Wait a minute. I have friends and I have always had friends. And truthfully, there is no way that I will be alone forever. If I make even just a few changes in my life by taking meds and doing what I can to deal with the depression naturally, there is a good chance I can get better and make more friends. I will not listen to this thought. I will keep trying to manage depression."

You can then get on with your day. And when the next mood swing starts, you can do the same technique. This may sound simplistic, but it works.

What if I Have Suicidal Thoughts?

Suicidal thoughts are scary and overwhelming, but they are a normal part of bipolar disorder. It helps if you can see suicidal thoughts as a sign that you want to end the pain caused by bipolar disorder mood swings-not that you want to end your life. Treating bipolar disorder more effectively and comprehensively can reduce suicidal thoughts significantly. There are two kinds of suicidal thoughts:

The first are passive thoughts. These include thoughts such as, I wish I were dead. Things would be better if I were dead. What is the point to my life? I wish I could just walk in front of that bus and die. These thoughts express a wish to die but not a personal method.

Though passive suicidal thoughts must be addressed and talked about with a healthcare professional, they are not as severe as the active suicidal thoughts that come with a specific plan for suicide. Active suicidal thoughts are dangerous and need immediate and professional attention. They include thoughts such as I'm going to kill myself tomorrow. I'm going to buy a gun. There is no point to life. I'm going to end it now. It really can't be said enough that active suicidal thoughts must be taken very, very seriously and treated immediately. It helps to somehow remind yourself, even when the thoughts are at their most desperate and you really do feel it would be much better if you were dead, that it's bipolar disorder talking. Talk to someone and treat your thoughts as a sign of an illness.

If you had serious pneumonia and were scared you were going to die, you would get help. You need to do the same for suicidal thoughts. Call your doctor, ask for help and take care of yourself. You can prevent yourself from killing yourself by having a plan in place that you create now that can be used as soon as you have the first thoughts of suicide.

next: Do I Need a Therapist? (part 18)

APA Reference
Fast, J. (2009, February 13). How to Deal with Bipolar Disorder and Suicidal Thoughts, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 16 from

Last Updated: June 2, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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