How Pacifism Helps with My Schizoaffective Suicidal Ideation

October 28, 2021 Elizabeth Caudy

Trigger warning: this post involves frank discussion of suicidal ideation.

I am a pacifist. I want to share with you how pacifism serves as a tool to help with my schizoaffective suicidal ideation.

Why This Schizoaffective Is a Pacifist

My maternal grandfather, whom I really looked up to and admired, was a pacifist and a role model for me. One time when I was little, I asked him what causes war. He pulled a couple of one-dollar bills out of his pocket and said, “This is what causes war.”

I was surprised, but I believed him. Wars are about money. Pacifism is about preventing war.

It turned out that, decades later, pacifism also would hold a big place in my toolkit against schizoaffective suicidal ideation. Suicidal ideation means that I’m thinking about suicide, but I don’t have an actual plan to hurt myself. You see, pacifism doesn’t just mean that I’m antiwar. I like the word pacifism, but maybe a more direct word for what I’m talking about would be nonviolent.

You see, because I’m a pacifist, I can’t hurt anyone, including myself. As I’ve shared before, I have a collection of pictures and totems by my bed that I look at when my schizoaffective suicidal ideation comes around. I have two pictures of myself and my husband Tom together, a picture of myself when I was a toddler, a picture of my brother when he was little, a picture of my baby niece, and an assortment of inspirational objects, including a button with a peace sign on it. That button reminds me of my philosophy of pacifism and nonviolence, which has to also apply to how I treat myself.

Schizoaffective Disorder and Kindness

I’m also a big believer in kindness. Now, as those close to me will tell you, I am not very kind to myself, but I’m working on that. I also try my best to be kind to other people.

I remind myself of this philosophy of kindness when I’m grappling with schizoaffective suicidal ideation. If I’m not kind to myself, how can I be kind to other people? And, to put it bluntly, dead, I’m no use to anyone.

So, really, I take these philosophies of pacifism, nonviolence, and kindness and turn them inward. If I’m thinking suicidal thoughts, maybe to distract myself, I’ll make a cup of tea or take a hot bath. Or play my favorite music. Or watch a movie I like. You get the idea. Maybe I wouldn’t have to be a pacifist to think of doing that, but it works for me. After all, I’m still here.

If you feel that you may hurt yourself or someone else, call 9-1-1 immediately.

For more information on suicide, see our suicide information, resources and support section. For additional mental health help, please see our mental health hotline numbers and referral information section.

APA Reference
Caudy, E. (2021, October 28). How Pacifism Helps with My Schizoaffective Suicidal Ideation, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 23 from

Author: Elizabeth Caudy

Elizabeth Caudy was born in 1979 to a writer and a photographer. She has been writing since she was five years old. She has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, Tom. Find Elizabeth on Google+ and on her personal blog.

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