I deal with suicidal thoughts often.
This is something that goes beyond well documented on this page.
Suicidal ideation is something I have experienced since I was a little child. It is a common expression of Bipolar, and it is almost never dangerous.
Sidebar: I have talked about this at length in the past so I will aim for brevity here. Ideation is not good but often not bad. Intention is bad. Planning is bad. Acting is bad. Thinking, not so bad. What I am talking about here is mostly just thinking.
One of the ironic parts of depression is that when you are the most depressed, when suicide seems like it would be the easiest thing, you find very infrequent completions. The energy to finish, or even start, the task isn’t there. People who are cripplingly depressed are not the ones in the most danger. This is part of what makes Bipolar the most dangerous illness for suicide.
A whopping 18% of bipolars will complete suicide, with an incredible 33% success rate. For comparison, the completion rate for the entire population is 3%. Interesting sidenote, Borderline Personality Disorder, often misdiagnosed as Bipolar, leads the suicide attempt category by a wide margin. 3 out of 4 people with BPD will attempt suicide, however the completion rate is much lower than Bipolar or Schizophrenia.
So why? The difference is that bipolars will often come out of a down very suddenly and be filled with energy but still have the depressed thinking from the mood they were just experiencing. Suicidal ideation is now backed by energy and intention and ability and well, almost 1 in 5 people with Bipolar complete the act.
For me, this has held true. All of my worst episodes have come during mixed states, and mixed states are something that I have experienced often.
But the interesting part, the part pertinent to right now, is this: while I haven’t been depressed for a long time, zeroing in on a year, I still have suicidal ideation; all the time, many times a week.
The good part is that there has not been intention there, but I feel like it is always kinda lurking nearby. Three times in this past year, where mood stability has been common place, the intention piled into some ideation and things took a sharp turn very quickly.
As a precaution, I have pretty much stopped drinking, and when I do, I never have more than a couple, and always when I’ve felt good and have people around. Alcohol is a suicide enabler for me. No need to bring it around.
In some ways, I have already preferred the heavy depressed states. The lack of energy and willingness to sleep entire weeks away provided some comfort in safety.
Now I never know when a night will turn more dangerous than ever.