When to Ask For Help: Ideation vs Action

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call for help

Emergency Services (US)


National Suicide Prevention Hotline(US)


If you’ve been dealing with depression for a very long time than you know what it feels like to want to die. You’ve probably thought about it more than once. That it would be an end to the seemingly endless pain and suffering you experience on a daily basis. Thinking about it, while it is certainly not good, is drastically different from planning or acting on it. These thoughts may seem harmless enough to you, especially if you’ve been experiencing them multiple times a day as I had (before I started medication). To those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about, this idea might seem incredibly scary. The truth is that when you live in such a depressed state, you get used to the thoughts that come with it. They can even be comforting to a point that you become anxious when you don’t experience them.

However, this is often a very slippery slope that we tread. The constant barrage of thoughts that desire death, passive or otherwise, can quickly become a dangerous situation. For those of you that don’t know, passive suicidal ideation can be classified as thoughts of wanting to die, but not at your own hands. Meaning the thought of wanting to be hit by a garbage truck on your way to work is a passive suicidal ideation. You want to die, but you don’t want to kill yourself. These type of thoughts can very quickly escalate to active suicidal planning if you’re not careful. For those of us that experience any type of suicidal ideation, here are a few warning signs that may mean it’s time to reach out for more serious help.

Losing Enjoyment

If you have a hobby or anything that you really enjoy doing, depression can make this list incredibly smaller. As any and every action takes an enormous amount of energy. So that thing you loved doing, now becomes a chore. However, I’ve found that even at my lowest points, I would always grasp onto at least one thing I still liked doing, that depression didn’t take away from me. However, if that single refuge of joy also becomes a daunting task, it is not a good sign. As I’ve said, depression will take the enjoyment out of almost everything, but if you feel like you’ve lost everything, then you’re headed towards a very dark place. The scariest part of this is that it doesn’t happen quickly. It takes days, months, even years to lose everything that brings you joy. So it takes an incredible amount of vigilance to keep a watchful eye for when depression is taking over. Because without anything to live for, living becomes that much more insatiable.


As I’ve mentioned before in other posts, the act of isolating yourself, if used effectively, can actually be a de-stressing activity. It’s when you completely fall off the map, that it becomes a problem. If you get to the point that you do not want to do anything or be around anyone for a long time, it takes this sometimes positive act and makes it very malicious. You begin to spend too much time in your own head, which we all know, is never a good thing. You’ll begin to become more and more anxious about your friends leaving you because you’re too much work. You’ll start to think that you are meaningless, and a waste of space. This will all just snowball until you can’t take it anymore and let the depression envelop you. This is definitely the time to reach out to someone, anyone, and get some help. If you get to this point, you will be teetering the line between life and death. Being in that place can only make things worse, so it’s best to act while you still have rational thought.

Acquiring Means

If you’ve gotten to this point, it means that you were unable to stop yourself at the prior two. This is by far the most dangerous step of mental deterioration that you can reach. It means that you are actively planning a suicide attempt, whether you acknowledge that fact or not. You’ve begun to look at items on the store shelf, thinking that that would be useful to kill yourself with. You start looking at live improving medications in your cupboard the same way. You start thinking that tree you passed would definitely be enough if you hit it fast enough. Whether you’re stockpiling or looking at things you already have, the prognosis is grim. The pain has accumulated in your body with no other way to expel it. If you are feeling any of these, it is best to seek out immediate help. As you, before you know it, could be looking down the barrel of a literal gun rather than a proverbial one.

Reaching out for help if you’re feeling this way is not a sign of weakness, you’re not giving up. I want to be very clear about that. It’s just that the load you’ve been carrying on your back has become too heavy, your muscles are giving out. You need help, it’s not really a question of wanting it at this point. Take it from someone who has been in your position and gone through with it; you may not be happy to be alive, but you will be someday.

Let’s give each other a helping hand, and if you know someone who needs help, let them know you care. Just that small action could make someone’s day, and it may even save their life.

If you have anything to add, leave a comment, and let’s make sure that those who need it, know that the pain they feel, will someday end.

Featured Image: unsplash-logoTim Marshall

26 Replies to “When to Ask For Help: Ideation vs Action”

  1. Such great information…
    I have a friend that is depressed but can’t go get help since her job does a full background check and even on health and she doesn’t want to loose her job… she comes over and we just talk to her and listen … she really not talking or thinking so much on suicide but I know it can happen fast…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I recommend that your friend look at TalkSpace (or other app based therapy. My understanding is that she can use the service anonymously, and pay a flat weekly fee. I’ve never used it, but I’ve heard that it helps wonders.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. OMG!!! … Thank you so much!!!… This sounds like something she needs and the private aspect too…I will text this to her… I just think the stigma of mental health needs to change… if one needs help and gets it and feels better after treatment the do it… it should not be between getting fired and not having a job and then ending a life…
        I so want to thank you again for this…this gives me hope for her… I think I will wait till I see her so I can talk face to face … I like it that way I can also tell how she is doing like washing her hair clean clothes…
        Hugggggs n ♥♥♥


      2. Oh I am sure this will help at least its a start for her and being in fear of being out of work this is perfect…I hope it helps her out too… and yes thank you I will for sure tell her… I am excited to mention this to her…life has been hard for her for to long without any help …this maybe the key to unlock the door…
        I can’t thank you enough…


  2. SIGECAPS mnemonic for depressive symptoms. 1) Sleeping changes 2) Interest loss 3) Guilt/worthlessness 4) Energy loss 5) Cognition/Concentration changes 6) Appetite changes 7) Psychomotor changes/agitation 8) Suicidal Ideations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, there really are a lot aren’t there. I feel like most of the time you’re in this void so much that you can’t even recognize when you start feeling these symptoms. Thank you so much for your addition!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am worried about my sister at present. Following my mother’s death she has withdrawn from all activities except she did come for lunch with me and my cousin (the second time I asked before there was a reason why my cousin was too much hard work to be around) which she later said she now realised was not true. Having social anxiety myself I could only empathise. I have not asked her if she has been feeling suicidal again (as she did try to take her life in 2013), though suicide prevention courses recommend this subject be broached gently if we have that intuition or fear. How exactly do we know when actually taking time out for quiet reflection is becoming ‘isolating’ though as its a fine line and some sensitive introverts need a lot of quiet time. I have been judged for this at times i did not feel the judgement was entirely fair.


    1. In my own experience dangerous isolation, would be an extended amount of time, several months usually. But also it would be in conjunction with other harmful coping skills, alcohol or drug use, self harm, eating more/less. If you notice any additional warning signs, it might be time to bring up that subject with your sister. Also, always know that you have the option to have her “forcibly” submitted for a physiciatric screening at your local hospital. However, only revert to that as a last resort, as it will almost certainly harm your relationship. Hopefully this helps, I wish you and your sister the best of luck. Just make sure she knows you’re there for her, always.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I may have explained it inappropriately. I am in no way recommending that you institutionalize your sister. That is a desicion that should only be considered in a life or death situation. I am recommending that you do as much for her as you can to let her know that she can come to you when things are really bad. Make sure she understands that there is no judgement, and only love. That you will sit there and listen, or talk the night away if she needs it. The only real option to help someone who is so incredibly depressed, is just to be there, at their disposal, for whatever they need. I agree that you would only do harm by pushing your way into her space, trying to help. Hopefully this clears up the misunderstanding.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks Wolfgang. We are actually both long term depression sufferers but I treated mine with none medical means and therapy. I never judge my sister these days. She is changing as she had a form of NPD and it is now lessening so there is some good change that can come out depressive episodes. Thanks for clearing that up.


  4. This is such a great post. It’s so hard to talk about suicide and suicidal feelings, and this post will help some people to begin that vital dialogue. Personally, I can go from passively thinking about dying to making plans in a really short space of time. Having a support system who understand the signs is really important. Can I just add that if you’re in the UK, you can phone the Samaritans for support any time, night or day. Trained counsellors are just on he other end of the phone. This can save your life. Their phone number is 116 123, and it’s completely free.


    1. Thank you for giving that information, as being located in the US, I’ve tried to locate other countries emergency lines and Suicide Hotlines without much avail. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I hope that someday, like myself, you will find what best manages those thoughts

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As someone who has dealt with this my entire life, I love your post.
    “They can even be comforting to a point that you become anxious when you don’t experience them.” really was my favorite part. I love this. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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