I’m too comfortable talking about suicide

While there has been a big push to be more open about mental health, suicide, self-harm – so that people can actively seek help, I feel like I’ve already gone too far.

I am too comfortable talking about my suicidal experience.

A question that my psychiatrist asks every time during my visit is – “Is life worth living”?

Typically, I say, “yes” with a weak smile on my face. But this week was different.

I said, “I guess.”

He immediately looked at me and asked, “Why do you say that?”

Once again, I bluntly said, “I don’t have a choice, do I?”

Now, I honestly have no idea why I said those things.

Yes, life is worth living, and I choose to live my life because it is worth fighting for. Despite my daily battle with mental health, there are still good things in life and things to look forward to,

I notice how shocked people get when I ever so easily talk about my own suicidal thoughts, or experiences I had in the past. The typical reaction I get includes looking around side to side, making sure no one is listening or staring and giving me a look with sad eyes asking if everything is okay.

For me, talking about my suicidal thoughts in the past – is such a natural conversation. I am “too” comfortable talking about these things in the public, and I thought it was a good thing.

But now, I don’t know anymore. I don’t know if I am scaring others away because I am too comfortable using my “s” word, driving people away from me.

Is there such thing as being “too comfortable” talking about suicide? I don’t know.

Being raised in a culture where people shy away from using the “s” word, I stick out like a sore thumb.

Help. What should I do?

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40 Replies to “I’m too comfortable talking about suicide”

  1. If it is your will to do so, continue speaking freely. Let the taboo become acceptable and the uncomfortable familiar. Your ability to speak comfortably to this topic, may well prove a source of much needed strength and courage to others.
    But of course keep wise council with both your heart and your intellect. Let the wisdom of both be your guide.
    And remember caution and compassion both for others and yourself. <3

  2. Thank you for bringing this up. I have a similar question about discussing suicide experiences of own or referring to others. I have often observed the same reactions from people and this gets me confused on how or what is the right way to respond to a conversation involving suicidal experiences.

    1. It really is a hard topic to discuss outside of your “typical mental health” setting – like in group or outside of your therapists office. I guess this is the first step of navigating as we really do break through the stigma.

      1. I agree. I recently had an interaction with one transgender, who by the way is a sexual minority in my country and they suffer in terms of deprivation of basic rights. Well, this person was sharing with low energy that many times has she considered suicide. I deeply felt concerned and sorry for the poor soul that i politely consoled her and assured her that she is strong and she will make through the difficult times stronger. This alarm me so much that many among us do not even feel easy to talk about it because we as a Society have put ourselves in this position. I hope the situation gets better because it is not a small thing when we talk about mental well-being of anyone at all.

  3. I think it’s a good thing to talk about. The trouble is a lot of people have suicidal thoughts or are really down and I think it helps to talk about these things rather than to dwell on them. Yes people don’t like talking about it and it can make them uncomfortable, but by talking about it you might enable others to talk about it or how their feeling.

  4. For myself, I had to consider the appropriate people and time to share it.
    I only want to share now with people who value my feelings. And I also had to be sure I wasn’t doing it for the shock factor or for attention.
    I too have said to my therapist almost every visit that I dont understand why living matters. Im praying to find my purpose and make a concious effort to choose life. You are stronger than you think and your self talk is powerful. Love yourself. I’ll be saying prayers for you. 💜

  5. People become uncomfortable about topics that make them uncomfortable. Their reactions speak volumes without having a word to say. They become uncomfortable because they don’t know how to handle it. Some you tell feel a sense of responsibility and are uncomfortable in feeling response ‘able’. It’s important to keep talking about it and being comfortable talking about it. Consider using a public platform to raise awareness of suicide where you can share your experience, your feelings, how people react and what to look for. Schools, rehabilitation programs for youth and teenagers. In time, you could even charge a modest fee and get paid to speak. It would benefit individuals, youth organizations, your community, and even nearby cities around you.

    1. I agree. I started my blog to use my online platform to freely talk about this matter! Hope this can be a small step to speak “loudly” about all these thoughts that really do matter

  6. I don’t think the problem is your being too comfortable talking about it; I think the problem is other people being too uncomfortable listening to it. And that’s THEIR problem, not yours. These things – suicide, depression, self-harm – these are facts of life, real things that happen every day, and ignoring it and turning away from that reality is doing a disservice to the people that suffer with them. By opening a dialogue about it – whether people are willing to listen or not – you’re breaking the taboo on these topics. And that can only lead to more discussion, which can lead to help for those who need it. By turning a blind eye, we’re only letting the people who suffer wallow and fall into despair, and that simply isn’t fair.

    1. Thank you for your encouragement! I agree. There has to be a first step that has to be taken to break the taboo and I really hope that’s what I am doing through my conversations.

  7. I talk about my own experience with suicide easily as well. I’m not ashamed that it happened to me. I’m vulnerable. I know it could happen again. I get the thoughts occasionally when I feel insignificant or a burden. I just want others to be aware of this part of me.

    Sent from my iPad

    1. Yes, wanting others to be aware that part of me – I can relate so well. I’m not just a happy bubbly person that they see, but there is also a part of me that can experience those dark and lonely thoughts! Thank you for sharing.

  8. I think the problem is not yours. Change happens when people are pushed out of their comfort zone. Keep pushing.

  9. It’s definitely not your problem. I mean, well, it kind of is your problem, but it’s society that’s at fault, not you.
    Carry on as you are. It’s inspiring that you’re so comfortable talking about it, I only wish I was! But own it.

    1. Thank you!
      Definitely wish it was not part of my story, but I am not afraid to own it and speak up to support others in need. Thank you for your encouragement!

  10. You are strong for talking about it. This shows that you WANT help and improvement. Do whatever you can to ensure fear doesn’t rule your thinking and decision making. Let love lead the way. Love for yourself first – in any way that you can love yourself. Ultimately, every decision we make comes down to a choice between love and fear. Meditate if you must so you can hear the voice of love that is within you. Sometimes it gets drowned out by everything else thrown at you by your condition. The small, calm, quiet voice of love is the one. Remember that you are not your traumas and your condition does not define you. All of us need love and need to be love.
    https://wp.me/pajOQO-5z

  11. I think the problem is when we do not talk about it. It happens everyday and people need to be aware that it can happen and that many people have had their bouts with suicide. The more you speak about the more awareness increases…they’re just uncomfortable.

  12. It’s fine to be open and honest about your life, but some things should be kept private or shared in therapy/groups. Or you can even share your story with another who’s suffering as well. Not everyone needs to know your personal life or business.

    1. That’s true. Not everyone needs to know about these things, and maybe that is something that I need to look back on. Thanks for the comment!

  13. I have concluded that if people are uncomfortable, it’s with themselves. They can’t go there because of some flaw of their own. And if they are unwilling to let you talk about your experiences, then that’s their problem. That’s how I feel anyway. Of course, I’m with you most days–it’s hard to be the reject who talks about hard things and no one else understands. So I feel like i have to limit who I am. As much as I can tell others to be who they are, love who they are–I struggle to do that for myself.

  14. There is a lot of good advice on the comments section, Haelim. For me, I think there is nothing wrong with being open and talking about suicidal thoughts. In my experience not saying that things are not right and that you may feel suicidal has always led to bad things in my own life. I tell people that it is okay to feel that way, and you can fight it. It takes a strong person to be open. I was not always that way and you are so much stronger than I was Haelim. Keep fighting, and know that I am always here to talk.

    1. Thank you James!
      I agree – not talking about it only makes it spiral down to darker thoughts. Talking openly about it really does help me to process my thoughts through, and realize what I was thinking was not going the right direction. Really hoping that this blog is a place where the silenced things can “speak loudly” through this platform!

      1. I believe it is and it can be. Never feel like you can’t talk about anything here. This is a safe place, and always will be.

  15. As long as you speak of it “appropriately” (as in, in a way that doesn’t make it out to be something it isn’t so that it may mislead or trigger people in any way), which, for those of us who have had our run ins with the “s” problem, we usually understand the severity around situations involving it, you should never feel like other people’s discomfort (as mentioned by others in the comments section) should stop you from talking about what you’ve learned to be comfortable talking about. I agree with everyone who has already commented.

  16. Well, I don’t know about scaring people away, but I’m glad that they are people like you in the world. Makes me feel less alone. I’m afraid to be honest about my own suicidal thoughts, not that I would act on them. I have a daughter that counts on me and a loving husband. I wouldn’t do that to them. I’m afraid of talking about my state of mind out loud would hurt them. That’s the last thing I want to do.

  17. Your words are your truth, and your pain happened – I say make them uncomfortable, make them think. Perhaps they are just glancing around wondering if their own pain relating to yours is as visible as it feels. The hard talks need to happen I think. Thank you for the post.

  18. Talk about it when you feel comfortable, or to individuals you feel safe discussing it with. Suicide carries a stigma, yes, but it also carries a weight of helplessness for the other person if they don’t often hear about it.

    Looking forward to good days is all you can do sometimes.

    1. True. As much as I don’t want to admit – it is true that some days, I just got to be hopeful and look forward for the good days to come

  19. In the past I was suicidal and like you I have no issues talking about my past. Have seen those same looks on people’s faces when the subject matter comes up, you are not alone. Good on you for talking about it but as you know many people can’t cope with the ‘S’ word so pick your listeners carefully.

  20. For the most part, the healthier you get as a person the more comfortable you are at accepting your struggles, and clearly stating your emotions. A red flag goes up to others simply because they are concerned about your well-being, so I would not read too much into it. The only time a red flag should go up for you is if these words expressed become serious, not just spur of the moment, but planned out actions or thoughts, otherwise speaking about it is the healthiest thing to do. It is therapeutic to be cared for by those who do not experience the same struggles and to share thoughts with those who also struggle with suicidal thoughts, sometimes other people’s reactions can be misinformed or just plain ignorant, but be patient, can’t we all be ignorant with things we have not experienced first-hand?

  21. My wife took her own life five months ago. She had made an attempt five months before that. We kept it quiet, as she didn’t want the embarrassment of sharing her ‘shame’. Now she’s gone. Would her and I bring more open about it changed anything? Who can say for sure, but it might have.
    Don’t stop talking about suicide.

  22. More times than I like to think about, in the aftermath of suicides I have known of the comments were along the lines of “we had no idea!”. I have thought for years that the social and cultural barriers to talking openly about suicide prevented some of these people from speaking of their pain to anyone and finding an alternative. Use discretion of, course, but we need more people like you. Please don’t change, keep talking.

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