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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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I Limited My Social Media Usage And I Challenge You To, Too

My worth is not defined by the amount of likes I get.

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Every morning at 8 a.m., my alarm goes off, I roll over, and the first thing I do is check my Snapchat only to open a bunch of pictures of the top of someone's head, or the wall, or — my favorite — a black screen. This is something we're all guilty of, myself included. We all know that social media is becoming an addiction amongst us, so why do we still use them in an unhealthy way? Why are our friendships defined by who has the longest streak? Why are our perceptions of others based on the most perfectly posed presentations of people? Why is our self-worth dependent on the number of double taps or shares or comments?

My world used to revolve around social media.

Every time I posted a picture on Instagram, I would constantly refresh to see how many likes I had accumulated. The worst part about that is I would get upset if I didn't get any likes in the seconds between each refresh.

If I got bored or had some downtime between classes, I would spend hours just scrolling through the same posts, hoping to find something different.

So much of my life was wrapped up in the superficiality of social media posts to the point where I no longer knew who I was. I would see pictures of my friends who ended up at the same college and feel left out, I would see girls from high school joining sororities, I would see people looking so stunning and having so much fun, and I let that be the thing that influenced how I felt.

Social media consumed me. It made me forget all the wonderful things I have in my life. It made me value a photo opportunity more than just enjoying the moment for what it is. Let me tell you that a moment is no less valuable just because it isn't visually appealing.

I've recently started using the Screen Time feature on my iPhone. I set a two hour per day limit on my social media usage, and when that time is up, I can no longer open the apps. Since then, I've been spending more time face-to-face with the people I care about. I've reconnected with old hobbies. I feel less stressed. I stopped comparing myself to others. I learned to be happy with myself.

I limit my social media usage because all the time I've spent aimlessly scrolling through Instagram is time I could've spent going for a walk and enjoying the warmth of Spring.

I limit my social media usage because I value face-to-face interaction. I value hugs and laughter and all the other things you can't get from a screen.

I limit my social media usage because it hurts my feelings when other people are on their phones when I'm trying to talk to them so how can it be right that I do that to someone else?

I think about how dependent on social media we have become, and it makes me so grateful that the sun is too bright to see our phone screens outside and that the mountains raise too high to have good cell service. I'm grateful that my friends make me laugh so hard that I don't even think to check my phone.

So, I challenge you to separate yourself from your social media. Even if it's just for a day. See how your life changes.

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