Does a Suicide Attempt Change Your Outlook on Life?
Like many with bipolar disorder (up to 50%1), I have attempted suicide, but the question is, did that suicide attempt change my outlook on life? This is an interesting question because so many of us have been in this situation. For some, the answer is definitely, “yes,” but for others, I think their suicide attempt didn’t change their outlook on life and, unfortunately, attempt suicide again, or, finally, die of suicide. For me, the answer is both “yes,” and “no.”
A Suicide Attempt Changing Your Outlook on Life – I Want to Live
Some people are very grateful to survive a suicide attempt. For some, they wake up after being hospitalized for their attempt and become entirely thankful for life. It’s an extreme transformation for some. I know of one person who was one of the few to survive the jump off a bridge and this changed him dramatically and, eventually, led him to become a major mental health advocate.
When I woke up from attempting suicide, I did not feel this way. I was not thrilled. I did not find the air sweeter and life more cheery. I found things to be exactly the same, exactly the same painful.
That said, I did have a positive response to attempting suicide in that I realized that the doctor who refused to treat me was entirely wrong and I needed to get around her and get real treatment. My suicide attempt did change my outlook on life in that I realized the doctor was entirely wrong. I wasn’t a lost cause. I wasn’t beyond treatment. Why my suicide attempt changed my outlook on life in that way, I can’t say. But somehow, lying on my kitchen floor, alive after my attempt, I had that realization.
A Suicide Attempt Not Changing Your Outlook on Life
As I said, while I did have an awakening regarding bipolar depression treatment, my life and my pain hadn’t changed in the least. I was also not grateful to be alive and I was still very suicidal. So when a person attempts suicide, my feeling is he or she is still at great risk for suicide and should be treated as such. It should not be assumed that he or she will be glad to be alive. It should not be assumed that the pain has suddenly lessened. Because, of course, after a suicide attempt, your brain and your life circumstances haven’t changed. It’s the same amount of work (perhaps even more) to start feeling better after a suicide attempt as it was before the attempt.
And keep in mind, there are many negative feelings that come with a suicide attempt. So the suicide attempt can actually change one’s outlook on life in a negative way. The person may feel extreme guilt. The person may feel like a failure. The person may feel absolutely abysmal because of the pain he or she has caused others. These feelings can be dealt with and worked through, but you can’t do that if you don’t acknowledge their existence.
My Outlook on Life After My Suicide Attempt
So one’s outlook on life after a suicide attempt can be decidedly negative or positive or, like me, both. I think the lesson is that it’s individual and each person needs to be treated in his or her own way. And the lesson is also that everyone must take a suicide attempt seriously and not assume that a person is grateful for survival. He or she may be. Or, then again, one may take his or her first opportunity to attempt again.
My advice is to talk to a person who has attempted suicide and not just assume you know what he or she is thinking. You don’t. You don’t know how the suicide urge has decreased – or not. I know it’s really hard to talk about an attempt, but that’s the best way to ensure there isn’t another one.
- Medscape, Bipolar Affective Disorder.
Tracy, N. (2017, October 28). Does a Suicide Attempt Change Your Outlook on Life?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, October 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2017/10/does-a-suicide-attempt-change-your-look-on-life
Author: Natasha Tracy
I'm so sorry you're feeling that way right now. I thought my suicidal thoughts would win for years. But they haven't. Keep going, one day and one moment at a time. You can beat those thoughts.
- Natasha Tracy