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Semi-Suicidal: Don't Want to Die, But Can't Live Like This

September 24, 2019 Megan Griffith

Trigger warning: This post contains a frank discussion of suicide pertaining to feeling semi-suicidal.

September is Suicide Awareness Month, and in honor of that, I want to share my experience with feeling semi-suicidal. My hope is that other people who have occupied this awful in-between space will understand that what they're going through is very real, and someone else has been there too.

What Does It Mean to Be Semi-Suicidal?

Over the last six years, I've been semi-suicidal many times. Semi-suicidal is a state of being where you may experience suicidal thoughts or feelings, but don't necessarily want to die. This looks different for different people, but for me, it typically involves thinking something like, "I don't want to die, but I just can't keep living this way, being this person."

When I am semi-suicidal, I truly don't want to die. I don't want this life to be over, I just want it to be better, but in that moment, it doesn't feel like there's any way for that to happen. Because when I'm semi-suicidal, the problem isn't usually my life, it's me. I'm so inherently wrong in some way that living a good life sounds ridiculous and impossible. I become so ashamed of who I am that I can't imagine living the rest of my life this way, as this person I hate so very much.

How to Deal with Semi-Suicidal Feelings

So how can you keep yourself safe and maybe even feel a bit better when in this semi-suicidal headspace? I recommend these three things:

  1. Accept this is how you're feeling. I've spent a lot of time trying to deny my feelings and I think this is a very common experience when it comes to semi-suicidal feelings specifically. After all, you don't actually want to die, so you're probably fine, right? Wrong. Do not try to ignore these feelings. It's so important that you accept that you're feeling this way so you can take steps to start to feel better.
  2. Tell someone. This is hard because half the time I don't even know what I'm feeling, so I don't really know how to explain it to someone else, plus I don't want to cause them undue stress ("Explaining Depression To A Friend"). But I try to remember that these feelings are big and difficult and it's important for me to reach out to someone to help me deal with them safely.
  3. Send the semi-suicidal feelings to the corner for an hour. This is a strategy I learned in therapy several years ago, and it's a bit tricky because the other two steps have to come first. If not, then you're just avoiding and denying the emotions and that definitely won't help. Once you've acknowledged your feelings and let someone else know how you're feeling, you can treat these semi-suicidal thoughts like a cranky toddler and send them to the corner for an hour with a coloring book and a juice box. You aren't abandoning them or avoiding them, you're just refusing to let them take over your entire house. In an hour, check in on them again. Have they gotten stronger, or are they starting to subside? Monitor the feelings and go to the emergency room if they continue to escalate.

Have you ever felt semi-suicidal? It's more common than you might think, so please feel free to share your story in the comments.

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
Griffith, M. (2019, September 24). Semi-Suicidal: Don't Want to Die, But Can't Live Like This, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, October 7 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2019/9/semi-suicidal-dont-want-to-die-but-cant-live-like-this



Author: Megan Griffith

Find Megan on Facebook, Tumblr and her personal blog.

Nameless
August, 11 2022 at 5:14 pm

I am teetering on the verge of following through as I do not have any way to gain purpose in such a flawed person as I. I have 6 kids (most are adults now with their own kids). I was abused from birth and then molested from age 6. Had my first kid at 18. First husband cheated on me. I spiraled. Got raped and got pregnant from that rape. Had an abortion that I now feel so guilty for. Drugs, promiscuity, risky behaviors, you name it...it was me. I haven't been that person for over 32 years but I often wish I could be because that life protected me from this hurt. Without going into any details, because they just don't matter any more, my kids had a mom who needed to control everything out of fear. I have a husband who is emotionally abusive off and on but never sees it. I am labeled the narcissist because I try to rise up and self-care but it never works. I have a hard time with boundaries because of my fears. I have been to counseling my whole life and all the tools I have been given, all the things I have overcome, don't measure up to when an adult child cuts you out of their life completely because I don't know how to see traps coming from the daughter-in-law. I didn't know there was a power play going on. I just wanted to guide and direct with the knowledge I had being a mom of 6. I am blunt and direct to a fault but have not been able to change that, no matter how many years I've tried. All that is left for me to be silent. Silent and invisible. Not a martyr because I will be criticized for that. Just need to be 'gone' in some way. :'( I can't do this any more. Going to "get help" does absolutely nothing. Victims here are my kids for having a mom with chronic ptsd and trauma. I can't live alone. I am alone. I don't care about friends. I don't care about others who want to care. I wanted a mom and dad who cared. I wanted a husband who cherished me. I wanted kids who understood me and could forgive me as I strive to improve each day. I don't have any of that. No matter how hard I pray, I just won't ever have that. Why am I even here?

Withheld
June, 25 2022 at 2:57 pm

All I am is all I'll ever be...
All I have is pain...
There used to be hope, but being let down again and again has destroyed it.
Nothing ever changes...
All it is is all it will be...
I am tired...
I've had enough.
I'm done.

Jeannie
May, 20 2022 at 3:17 pm

Sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings but I think it is BS to always blame the victim. Essentially the whole psychiatric/self help industry says it's your fault if you feel bad. I feel bad because Evil is winning and there isn't a thing I can do about it. I've tried but I have zero influence on anything.

Oscar Cardozo
January, 20 2022 at 9:44 am

I am going through divorce and am an immigrant. My ex is playing real bad mind games with me. It has sucked for the past 4 months. I don’t feel like living anymore. What’s the point? Constant trauma, constant disappointment and constant fear of being kicked out ! It’s just difficult to live like this.

Rachel
October, 26 2021 at 1:22 am

This is me to an extent. I'll have these thoughts where I believe I am better off dead and that no one will miss me at all if I was to die. Lately, my mental health has been so bad I'm in the state that I want to die, but at the same time, I don't want to. It's a constant battle almost every day.

James
October, 13 2021 at 2:20 pm

I am me. I don't like my male parent.
I am in my 40s.
I feel like I want to go crazy.
You mentioned your male parent...
I don't know me. He took me away and threw me away,
Are you sick?
Yea. I can't have friends.
I live at a shelter.
Why do I let myself beat?
I feel frustrated, stuck.
If I call a crisis line, they won't change my problem.
So what can we do?
I feel alone. I really want my mother.
So go to her.
Can't. J hate living here.
I live outside of Toronto. I hate how people are here.
I don't have a place to go. I don't know how to do things.
My male parent made me a person who listens to his parents and brother.
I turned into a piece of crap.
I just am frustrated. I want to figure this out, j feel alone. People here don't care about people.
It's so humiliating. That's how I become mental. I just want to laugh have a good time!
These guys, it's like..." please why do you smile and care? We don't iike that. "
I feel embarrassed, like I should feel bad for loving. What kind of people live here.
I have nobody.
I wish my mom knew that her sick man messed up my niece and nephew.
He did sick stuff to them.
I can't handle this. My mom can use my help. I wish I could get things done.
Who will listen to me, help.
Southern Ontario is a sick kind of people.
You should want to help each other out.
This is not a good thing.
I want to heal from my trauma..
I feel like losing it.
That's me.
I hate my life here.
Don't know where to go and who..
Thanks,
James

John
January, 5 2022 at 3:07 pm

I have been there before. I know you will live and get better. Why? Because you are not dead yet. Come grab my hand we do this together.

Nia Baugh
October, 4 2021 at 3:12 pm

I am in the closet as being transgender in high school, for PE we can’t wear jumpers or anything so i can’t hide my chest and i physically can’t go on like this. I don’t want to die but i can’t live like this. I don’t have the courage to tell anyone, not even my parents and i don’t know what to do. I’m counting down the years for the end of high school but i don’t know if i can wait that long,

John
January, 5 2022 at 3:12 pm

I was the same way friend. I want to be able to come out myself but need to get stronger first. Fight Fight Fight. I have been in the cage 3 times and it is not a problem for me anymore. I won't go back to the cage because I am stronger eternally.
Hiding, for now, maybe your only option but once you are done with high school you will be able to make it. I promise.

dan toney
October, 6 2020 at 7:34 am

iv had attemped suiscide several times I dont want to die others depend on me but I cant go on like this night after night doctors that treated me for years in 2009 shot himself the rituals of dealing with nictophilia and PD and ILD hating my self for weakness

October, 6 2020 at 1:31 pm

Hey Dan, I'm so sorry you're in so much pain. As you read in the article, I understand to a certain extent. Sometimes it's just all too much and we don't see how it's ever going to get better. Are you seeing a new doctor yet? I've found that the best way for me to manage my suicidal ideation is with lots of therapy and the right medications. I know those things aren't always right for everyone, but from my personal experience, I have to recommend them. But reaching out on sites like HealthPlace is a great idea too. You aren't alone Dan, I promise.

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