Are My Suicidal Thoughts Going to Come Back?
Trigger warning: This post involves a frank discussion of suicidal thoughts.
I’ve lived with not wanting to live since before I was a teenager, but my suicidal thoughts have been quiet lately. It’s odd not to have that little voice in the back of my head jumping at every opportunity to tell me how the world would be better off without me. But what does it mean, if anything? Does it mean I’m recovered, and my suicidal thoughts aren’t going to come back?
I’m Not Recovered, I’m in Recovery; Suicidal Thoughts Might Come Back
It’ll help to start by defining how I see recovery. You see, I don’t see recovery as an absence of whatever the ailment, but rather learning to manage mental illness symptoms and still lead a good life. When it comes to mental health issues, I don’t know that “recovered” is a term I’d ever use because it’s definitive. It's an endpoint, but recovery is an ongoing process.
That being said, I don’t think I’m recovered, and I don’t think I’ll never have suicidal thoughts again. I see this as simply a lull in the process—a calm before another storm, perhaps. I’m still in recovery, though, and it’s a storm I can weather.
My Views on Recovery Help Me Prepare for When Suicidal Thoughts Come Back
Because I see recovery as an ongoing process, it keeps me ready for the ups and downs that come with mental health struggles, even suicidal thoughts. Although suicidal thoughts have been a part of my life for a long, long time, they’ve ebbed and flowed in terms of how loud and strong they are. Even now, with this period of quiet, if not silence, I won’t be surprised when the suicidal thoughts come back. Instead, it’ll be like hearing a familiar voice and a sense of, “Ah, this again.”
Maybe it comes across as pessimistic, but I find it more realistic. Given my history with mental health issues, I know they don’t just disappear without a trace. They absolutely ebb and flow, with symptoms sometimes more present, sometimes less, and usually lingering somewhere in the shadows. Given that, I don’t ask myself if my suicidal thoughts are going to come back; I ask when.
When they do return, it won’t be the end of the world, just a new chapter in my life with them. From there, I’ll do what I need to take care of myself or weather through the next storm that suicidal thoughts bring me.
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.
Barton, L. (2022, September 6). Are My Suicidal Thoughts Going to Come Back?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, June 4 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2022/9/are-my-suicidal-thoughts-going-to-come-back