Passive and Active Suicidality

This is a blog post about suicide and being suicidal. It may be triggering for some. It’s supposed to be an informative post based on my own experience.

It’s been several months since I’ve been suicidal, but before I started sorting myself out, I was suicidal every day. Now, that doesn’t mean I wanted to kill myself every day, but I lowkey wanted to die. This is active and passive suicidality.

For me, there were three levels of suicidality – “I want to be dead,” “I want to die,” and “I want to kill myself.” Each is more severe than the last, the first is passive, the last is active, and the other is somewhere in between, though closer to passive.

“I want to be dead”
This is passive suicidality. I do not want to do anything to myself, but I wish I didn’t exist. If I could make it so I had never been born, or if I could just stop existing, that is what I would do. I don’t want to harm myself, or take myself out of life. I just don’t want to be there. I thought this was normal – that all people just had times when they didn’t want to exist anymore, and I just felt that way all the time.

“I want to die”
This is still passive suicidality, because I still do not want to kill myself. This is just wishing that I wouldn’t wake up in the morning. Praying an accident would happen to me, like I would get struck by lightning, or hit by a car (but without the urge to walk into the road). The first time I remember feeling like this I was sixteen years old. I was on a field trip for biology class and I wished that the bus would get into an accident that everyone got out of with no harm done to them, except for me. I didn’t want other people hurt, I just wanted to die. I fantasized about jumping out the window of the bus into the road. Though that thought is a little more active, I never wanted to act on it.

“I want to kill myself”
This is active suicidality. This is when you sit there and think, “I’m going to walk in front of a car,” or what I most commonly thought, “I’m going to overdose on my meds” or anything like that. The thinking about it is active, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have intent. It gets really dangerous when you have intent and a plan. When you start counting pills, or saving them, like I did. When you know you just have to make it home at the end of the day and then you can end it all. That’s active suicidality, and it’s really, really scary.

For me, I was too much of a coward or too brave (depending on your point of view) to ever make a suicide attempt. But that doesn’t mean I never had intent and plan. At my worst, I was ready to kill myself.

But you can come forward from there. I’m in a place now where it’s hard to even imagine how I felt back then. Suicide is an entirely preventable illness – for the most part, you just need to get help. That sounds like a daunting task, I know. I reached out to my parents and friends, and then they were the ones to take me to the hospital. I almost never did it by myself. And if you don’t feel you can reach out to family or friends, there’s the suicide hotline and also a text line if you don’t think you can talk on the phone. I’ve even reached once reached out to a stranger over an online video game forum because I needed to talk to someone, but didn’t feel I could talk to my friends or family.

Sometimes it gets to be too much. I understand that. I was there. But you can get through it, and the world is better for having you in it.

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line: Text “START” to 741-741

 

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