Working On Us – Week #7 – Suicidal Ideation

illustration of a brain encircled by the words mental health matters

It’s week #7 for the Working On Us mental health prompt series over at Beckie’s Mental Mess.  Visit her post to see the guidelines to participate.  

Content warning: talk of suicide attempts


Prompt #1 Questions

  1. Have you ever experienced suicidal thoughts?
  2. Have you ever attempted suicide?
  3. Were you ever hospitalized for a suicidal attempt and/or ideation?
  4. When you were hospitalized, what was your experience like?
  5. Do you ever feel suicidal ideation since your release?

My answers:

  1. Have you ever experienced suicidal thoughts?  Yes.  I’ve accepted that this is part of my illness, and likely something that will return again and again in the future.  I suppose a good thing to come of that acceptance is that when I have thoughts of suicide, I’m able to sit with them, and I don’t entertain thoughts of following through on them, at least at first.
  2. Have you ever attempted suicide?  Yes, multiple times.
  3. Were you ever hospitalized for a suicidal attempt and/or ideation?  I had two hospitalizations for a suicide attempt (three if you count a brief stay on a medical unit) and one for suicidal ideation.
  4. When you were hospitalized, what was your experience like?  One of my psych hospitalizations was ok, but I wasn’t suicidal during that one and I was there voluntarily.  My other three hospitalizations were involuntary, and were really negative experiences.  I felt like I was not respected at all, and the level of paternalism and often lack of skill on the part of the staff was really disturbing.
  5. Do you ever feel suicidal ideation since your release?  Yes.  It was pretty bad in 2016, and I had researched and taken steps to obtain means.  The only thing that stopped me was that I wasn’t 100% certain that the method I had in mind would work.  The last time things were really bad was in September of last year.  What stopped me then was the faint hope that my planned trip to Italy might make things a bit better.  It does seem logical, though, to guess that at some point down the road there’s a fairly good chance that my life will end by suicide.

Prompt #2 Picture

wish I had gone with him

I don’t believe in an afterlife, or at least not in the form that this picture suggests.  My way of thinking is more along the lines of the energy in our bodies going back into the earth and helping to sustain the circle of life.  I suppose you could interpret the picture as she’s there with him in his memory, but he doesn’t seem to be paying any attention to him.  Perhaps I’ve always had a bit of a strange relationship with death, but I think the best way to celebrate someone’s memory is by getting out and doing the things you used to love doing with them.  I would rather think about how someone was when they were alive rather than think about how they are dead at a cemetery.

Straight talk on suicide: Reach out - graphic of a flaming phoenix

The straight talk on suicide page has info on suicidal thinking, crisis lines and safety planning, along with straight talk about suicide.

23 thoughts on “Working On Us – Week #7 – Suicidal Ideation”

  1. Ashley, I so appreciate you sharing your experiences regarding this sensitive matter. I’ve been following you since I believe the beginning of our blog, and I know of how you have struggled tremendously with these thoughts.
    Honestly, it broke my heart to read that you still feel like, in the end, you would die because of suicide. In all sincerity, I hope and pray it never comes to that, EVER! You are so respected and loved, I couldn’t imagine you not being here.
    As you know, when I was hospitalized back in Aug 2015, I was facing homelessness. I was never in all my life so scared. Hell, even when I was released and sent to the shelter, I knew the train tracks were only a block away. I’d lay there at night, and listen to that damn train pass and imagine myself laying across the tracks and ending it… It was because I never saw any kind of future left.
    It’s strange, but since I am no longer in a shelter (since April 2017) I still live less than a 1/2 mile away from the train tracks, but now that sound is a comfort to me. It reminds me of the darkest days in my life, and how I survived it.
    What you wrote is sticking out in my mind so much, Ashley. That particular part was the hardest thing to read and imagine in my mind and in my heart because to me, I consider you a real friend to me. I hope if ever you get to that point ever again, you would reach out to me. In fact, I’m going to email you my phone number right now.
    Love you, Ashley!!!

    1. It’s not that I have any wish to die by suicide, it’s just given the pattern of my illness it seems unrealistic to think that it’s not something that will turn up again in the future.

  2. Dearest Ashley,

    I don’t know how to say what I felt reading this post – and especially the lines relating to your future ‘life end’; but I just want you to know I appreciate, respect and even love you as a fellow candid mental health advocate. Please Lord, I am still to heal from Ulla’s transition. Am sorry if I said the wrong or triggering thing

  3. Yes, I think about suicide and always have. No to the rest of the questions because I don’t want to hurt my family, first parents, now children. I was an only child, and now I am my children’s only real parent, since their father is an asshole. I’ve also committed to take care of my kitty and he’s very healthy. But other than those things, life seems so pointless and most days full of aches and pain. Not to mention I’d probably screw it up, lol

  4. I love how you are a mental health advocate.. It inspires me so so much❤️❤️ I also sometimes have suicidal thoughts but I just push them away. This is because if I react to those feelings and emotions then it will hurt the people closer to me. I am here if you ever want to talk

    Ami 💕

  5. I’ve never actually attempted, but have had suicidal ideations many, many times. It is something I often think about on a daily basis, but try not to obsess on. I don’t think I would ever actually try to do it as long as my husband is alive, but if he passed away and I were alone and unable to find sufficient help to carry on, I fear that may end up being my future. I hope not though.

  6. 10 years ago, I held a knife to my heart while 5 months pregnant. Things can sometimes get real sad and dark – it’s a daily conscious choice of hard work to keep me above all that. I am grateful to be where I am now, and also to belong to such a candid and comprehensive tribe online.
    loads of virtual hugs to all

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