Suicide Is Not Selfish: Hopelessness and Suicidal Ideation

Tony
7 min readJul 27, 2022

Have you ever felt hopeless and in absolute agony?

Now imagine that feeling for 365 days and every second you’re awake. You wake up feeling like there’s no light in the world, and you’re in this absolute abyss without any answers or a way out. That’s not being selfish. It is being exhausted.

How do I know?

I had been fighting depression for eight years since I was 12. Yet, the memory of that first suicide attempt still strikes me because I was holding the kitchen knife inches from my chest. I looked at the knife’s sharp edge, and tears fell from my eyes as I felt fear and pain.

It is not about the fear of judgment that prevents people from speaking out. It is hard telling anybody and your friends what’s going on in your mind when you have depression. You know they will want to help you and want you to feel better soon. But despite their best intentions, the emptiness doesn’t go away.

Living With Chronic Suicidal Ideation

The suicidal ideations leave you with the worst feeling in the world. It is like a parasite that eats away everything beautiful in the world. Even if the world outside is sunny and colorful, it all becomes colorless and gray.

The worst thing about chronic depression is that it disconnects you from the world. You feel like nothing will ever work to get you out of the sickening feeling. It tears down every happy emotion and hashes away every happy memory until you are soulless.

Suicide becomes the only plausible choice. It is what your mind starts making you believe during those long exhausting battles. And it is great at bringing you down since it can reach into your psyche and know your pain and fears. And the worst thing is that your mind whispers them to you every second of the day, even when you want it to stop.

The mind is like an editor in your life, and it tells you:

  • That nothing will ever help you escape its terrorizing grasp.
  • You will never feel normal again, and every close person in your life would be fine without you. It doesn’t help when you already feel so deeply disconnected from people.
  • You don’t believe these thoughts at first. But then it goes on and on and never stops. Finally, you start to wonder, perhaps the thoughts are correct, and I’m flawed beyond repair.

You start to wonder if there is ever a possible end to all this endless battle to live to see a better tomorrow. You become demoralized, your life dysfunctional, your mind brainwashed and dehumanized to connection. The result is inevitable as you feel all hope for a better future becomes wiped away.

Relationship Between Depression and Suicidal Ideation

It’s nice to be able to see another tomorrow. With depression, you learn how precious happiness is. I’m fortunate to have lived as long as I did with chronic depression. But there are millions of others who have chosen the other option.

Depression is, in essence, your mind stuck on a malfunctioning mental script. And people with depression aren’t idiots. They have tried to look for help. They also know that suicide hotlines are out there. But when you’re down on a rut, it all seems like nothing can help. So you look for a quick escape, even if it is impulsive.

There’s a misconception that suicide is something that someone does to themself. But no, suicide is what your mind does to you. For depression, your mind is an excellent tool for 10–20% of the day. But for the other 80%, it wrecks your life with anxiety, worry, and absolute agony.

With worsening symptoms, antidepressants are not a cure-all. And even pills can’t ever take you back to feeling normal again. For many people, pills only work to provide short-term relief from the feelings of anhedonia.

In the past, I always envied those ‘normal’ people who could smile, laugh, and have a good time. But, for me, depression didn’t get better with age. Instead, it worsened with time. As a result, I couldn’t feel any pleasure in things I used to do or be with friends.

It seemed like suffering was endless, and happiness was only momentary. I longed for those little moments when I could get a glimpse of freedom and peace. Only in those spaces of relief was I genuinely myself and not a stranger in a mask.

How to Distract Yourself From Suicidal Ideation

No possible distractions exist that can ever make the feelings go away. Although, at first, video games, books, or other distractions could fill that void. But, sooner or later, the empty feeling would seep through the cracks and rips away any pleasure you have.

You can’t shake it away because depression is not something existing outside of you as the cause. Material comforts or distractions do not equate to happiness. Neither can relationships distract you forever from depression either.

On the last note, I thought before that finding love would help me fill up the empty void. But that’s not how life works. Even if people want to be there for you, they can’t be there 24/7. Life is not a daydream.

And the worst feeling for me was the thought that I was a burden to the people closest to me. I still felt the same despite people’s reassurance or good intentions. And it felt something like a burden because they were trying so hard, but my symptoms stayed the same.

In truth, depression isn’t something my loved one could change for me. And there isn’t something people could do or give to me to make me feel a little less empty inside. It isn’t a lack of love or attention because I’m grateful for the people around me and what they have done to help.

How to Deal With Chronic Suicidal Ideation

I could only speak for myself in this section about what helped me to overcome depression. In many ways, I now see depression in a new light. Despite all the pain, it helped push me inside and break free.

When you’re depressed, this negative script is always inside your head. And I learned that fighting or running away from the thoughts doesn’t help. The only way is to stop resisting or judging whatever thought or image is in your mind.

You need to create a space between yourself and the maladaptive script. Allow yourself to be a witness to the activities of the mind without becoming involved. And a book that has helped me a lot in this process is The Power of Now (amazon affiliate) by Eckhart Tolle.

The book teaches that pain comes from identifying with the activities of the mind. But the moment you stop all judgment and be present with the thoughts, it all dissolves apart. The script feeds on your resistance, but it loses traction when you don’t give it any.

I made it a practice to sit in meditation for 30 minutes each day. In these sessions, I would witness any rising thoughts without interacting with them. And the results weren’t that obvious in the first week. But I am having an easier time than in the past, bringing my attention back to the present.

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Your mind is telling you all these awful things. But remember, the thoughts are not true. You’re okay the way you are, even as you are awkwardly trying to find a place in the world. After all, we are all confused inside and trying to figure the world out. At least I am :)

I wish the best to everyone who is struggling out there in this enormous world. May this article reach out to you somewhere inside. And please respect those great souls who fought every single day and lost in an awful battle with their minds.

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