Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, see our mental health web guide which can point you to expert advice.

Can I ask a question about suicidal thoughts?

(19 Posts)
Khimaira Tue 15-Oct-13 14:40:48

Please report and delete if this is in the wrong place or offends anyone. I'm genuinely intrigued by something I read today:
To someone who has never experienced suicidal thoughts themselves, the idea that someone would want to take their own life can be very difficult to understand. Survival is the driving instinct behind all life; most living creatures spend their time trying not to die - so why would anyone choose to end their existence?

Are there really people who never think or who have never thought of killing themselves? Is it not normal to think of this, maybe not every day, but every few days or so? Surely everyone has thought out an "escape route" for when it might be needed.

mawbroon Tue 15-Oct-13 15:02:27

I had no MH issues until I became psychotic out of the blue a couple of years ago age 40.

Up until then, no, I had never had thoughts of suicide. Sure, I had tried to imagine why people might do it, and what it might be like actually trying to do it etc, but never with a view to actually committing suicide as a way out IYSWIM.

After the psychosis, I sunk into post psychotic depression and experienced suicidal thoughts. I was really shocked by them because they would flash into my mind and then my rational thinking would process what had just been in my mind and I was shocked and horrified at even thinking such a thing.

I told my psychiatrist straight away and we dealt with it by increasing my ADs, but I can really see how these thoughts could easily take over.

Please, please speak to your doctor if you are having suicidal thoughts.

NanaNina Tue 15-Oct-13 17:53:33

Suicidal thoughts are a symptom of severe depression and 25% of people with severe depression will commit suicide, not always at the first attempt. I don't know if you suffer or have ever suffered from a serious mental illness, but unless you have, you will not know the torment of severe depression/psychosis and other serious mental health conditions.

I think it is far more common for those of us who have/are suffering mental illness, to have suicide ideation, meaning that we are consumed with suicidal thoughts and may have a plan worked out, but at the same time, know that we are unlikely to carry on to commit suicide. Again suicide ideation is a symptom of severe depression. I am talking about depression because I have intermittent depression, some of it severe, and I have no knowledge of other perhaps more debilitating mental illness.

It isn't necessarily that we want to die, we just want the pain to stop. A wise friend told me that if we do actually commit suicide we pass on the pain we have been suffering on to our loved ones, and that gave me something to think about.

dontrunwithscissors Tue 15-Oct-13 17:55:20

Until I had my second daughter, I had never had any suicidal thoughts and could not figure out for the life of me why anyone would kill themselves. It seemed illogical and, quite frankly, I considered it selfish.

I now think differently. I was initially diagnosed with PND after DD2 and then bipolar. I have been tortured with suicidal thoughts at various points over the last 3.5 years and now totally understand that nobody truly chooses to kill themselves.

Khimaira Tue 15-Oct-13 22:06:41

That's really interesting. I genuinely didn't realise people didn't think of killing themselves. Why should I go to the doctor mawbroon? Are you saying that people who think of suicidal thoughts are not thinking rationally? Because it doesn't shock or horrify me, I've thought of it for as long as I can remember, always had a back up plan, just not used it yet. Like what NanaNina says (no, I have never suffered from a serious mental illness) I do have a plan, fits to my current circumstances and place in life. I know I can't use it at the moment because my DD still needs me (she's bf). I know in my case it wouldn't be selfish dontrunwithscissors, I'm a spectacularly useless mum, they would be far better off without me but I'm too selfish and don't want to leave them. I don't find it torturing, more comforting to know what my options are. I can't imagine what it would be like to not think of it to be honest.

mawbroon Wed 16-Oct-13 00:49:18

I am saying you should go to the doctor because suicidal thoughts are not the norm.

Really, they are not.

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 16-Oct-13 01:21:15

Khimaira, please speak to your GP and allow them to assess whether or not what you are experiencing is "normal".

WallyBantersJunkBox Wed 16-Oct-13 01:26:46

No that is completely the opposite way thinking to someone with no MH issues and not a "normal" response.

I am sure you are not a useless mum, and I would urge you to seek some help from your GP.

NanaNina Wed 16-Oct-13 12:07:46

Hi Khimaira - I think what is normal and abnormal is open to interpretation and the differing perceptions of individuals. You seem to have some "issues" (as they say these days) as we all have, and I am wondering if you have low self esteem, as you say you are a "useless mom" and your children would be "better off without you" - though I am sure this is not the case. Can I ask how you were parented and whether you have any trauma from the past, as these things follow us into adult life and can effect how we perceive ourselves, and lead to feelings of worthlessness.

I really don't agree with the posters urging you to see a GP - what on earth do they expect him/her to do? If I have understood you properly you are not depressed, although the things you are talking about are very often experienced by people who are depressed. IF you are depressed or think that you might be, then yes it is not a bad idea to see a GP, but otherwise NO. I think it's a shame you feel you are a "spectacularly useless mom" and maybe you can tell us more about that. Have you ever tried counselling in the past?

Mirages Wed 16-Oct-13 13:17:58

I have always had suicide as a back up plan. Even before I got ill. But that kind of suicidal thoughts are totally different to ones I feel when I am depressed. When I am very depressed I want to die and find it very hard not to kill myself.

I think I have it as a back up plan to make me feel braver. So it does not matter if I fail. who knows...

Khimaira Wed 16-Oct-13 20:54:36

Can't write too much now NanaNina. What do you mean by how was I parented? Pretty much the same as most other people I assume confused

NanaNina Wed 16-Oct-13 21:41:47

I just mean that we tend to parent in the same way that we were, though of course there are exceptions. I'm not sure I understand "pretty much the same as most other people I assume" as every family is different, and sometimes children in the same family are parented differently.

I just wondered whether you felt loved and valued as a child, and whether your parent's loved you unconditionally, as this is what is needed for a child to grow into a person who can be a good parent to their own children. Incidentally I'm not saying that if children were abused or neglected as children, they will go on to do something similar to their own children, though this can be the case.

I think that the way we were parented is extremely important, as this lays down the foundation for our life. If we have been fortunate enough to have had parents who loved and cared for us then it's likely we will grow into adults who are well adjusted and able to be good parents to our own children.

Khimaira Wed 16-Oct-13 22:38:29

Oh, I was thinking you meant along the lines of household rules/ consequences etc which had me confused to any relevance! I was (am) the black sheep of the family. No abuse or neglect, merely a lot of "why can't you be more like [insert relevant sibling name] and annoyance at my inability to succeed at anything I was supposed to etc.

I really don't see the need to go to the doctor, what would they do anyway? Why would she even want to know what I think about? I am not likely to use the plan soon. The only urge I have randomly at the moment is to rip myself apart with a knife, but that I can control! I have seen a counsellor in the past, for three years (at university - basically as a deal, go to the counsellor or we send you home). I am back in contact with him as I needed advice about how to cope with the DC and didn't know who else to ask. He agreed to help on condition I talk to him this time. He says I have no self esteem. He also refers to some things as traumatic but I don't know why because nothing traumatic has happened to me.

I have no patience with the DC's, I don't do any of the activities a sahm should do with them, DC1 is so badly behaved sometimes, refuses to listen or do as he is told that we are no longer invited round to play at other peoples houses (I think, could be me though). I am just failing them. I can't even find a job so I can put them in day care and get them away from me sad

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 16-Oct-13 23:35:58

Nana, you are correct. Notions of normality are open to interpretation.

The thing is, OP is seeking an outside perspective on what is normal. What I and other posters have suggested is that it would be better to seek this in RL.

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 16-Oct-13 23:39:06

Khimaira, have you been seeing your counsellor for 3years continuously? What type of counsellor is he?

Khimaira Thu 17-Oct-13 08:14:42

Dione I did see him for three years when I was at university but that was several years ago now, it was continuous (during the semester) and he was attached to the department I studied in (basically person centred counselling). I would have asked him but he is away at the moment, doing volunteer work in the middle of nowhere. He thought he would be able to receive email, but it turns out he can't get it there. I'm a bit on edge at the moment. Sorry if I've offended anyone.

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 17-Oct-13 09:40:56

Khimaira, it does sound as though you could do with some help and/or someone to talk to. Your GP should be able to point you in the right direction for this. Please give them a call.smile

NanaNina Thu 17-Oct-13 11:45:46

I still don't think the route to help for Khimaira is via the GP. Not sure of others experiences of GPs but nationally most practices are under deluge from increasing numbers of patients. Even if someone is experiencing mild to moderate depression and anxiety, they are only going to be prescribed ADs and I think Kh you are saying you don't feel depressed - have I got that right?

I agree though that you could maybe benefit from more therapy although you say that it was more or less forced upon you when you were at Uni, although it seems it was some help, as you asked for help with managing your children. I don't know if it's a typo but you say he said you had no self esteem and I'm thinking he maybe said low self esteem, which is what "jumps out" in all your posts. The reason is clear when you talk of how it seems you were never "good enough" for you parents and were being compared to your siblings, and "missing out" in the comparison.

Unfortunately the parental "messages" we get as children (in your case "you aren't good enough") stay with us and whir in our heads like tape recordings, though sometimes we are not consciously recalling these things, but they will be there buried in our sub-conscious. Maybe this is what the therapist is perceiving as trauma, I don't know.

I don't know your financial situation (and assume you are a single parent?) but IF you can afford therapy the place to look is the BCAP website (British Counsellors and Therapists) as they will be registered practitioners. Mind they charge around £50 an hour dependent on where you live. I honestly don't think the GP would refer you for counselling, and even if they do, it's usually 6 sessions of CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) which is a therapy based in the "here and now" and the aim is to help people replace negative thoughts with more balanced ones. Sometimes we get negative thoughts spiralling down and down and can't break out of them, which of course makes matters worse. There are loads of books at a reasonable price on Amazon on CBT, so maybe you could have a look to see if it's something that might be useful.

We can't change our past or the "messages" we were given, but we can modify the effect they have upon us in our adult life.

Do you have any RL support, family/friends? Sounds like you can't control your eldest child's behaviour, and again there are many books that can help, and TV programmes but you need to be motivated to do this. You are obviously a bright woman as you went to Uni, - what is your specialist subject (oh sorry sounds like what they say on MasterMInd!)

I didn't go to Uni and I had some very destructive "messages" from teachers at school, that stayed with me for many years. I passed the 11 plus (in the 1950s when everyone took it I think) but only about 10% of children passed, and I went to grammar school. It turned out to be quite the wrong school for me, as I was amongst girls who had mostly come from private schools and were much cleverer than me and more confident. Also they were mostly middle class or what we thought of then as "posh" and spoke differently to me. I came from a respectable working class family but once I had been to parties at their houses, I never invited anyone back to our humble semi!

I left before I took "O" levels and the awful teachers or "mistresses" as they were called (nearly all spinsters) told me I had wasted a place that another girl could have benefitted from and I would never "make anything" of my life. This stayed with me for many years and I followed my sisters into a commercial college and worked in offices for some years. When I was 37 and more confident I applied for a place on a social work course and got a place, and qualified. I worked for the same LA for some 30 years, as a social worker and middle manager and loved every day of my job and finally threw off those messages. SORRY I don't know what's got into me, I don't usually do this. It comes from learning to touch type at that commercial college!!

Khimaira Thu 17-Oct-13 12:47:20

Thanks for you post NanaNina no need to apologise. Wish I could touch type (well, I can I suppose with liberal help from the spell check)! That must have taken a huge amount of courage to change direction. I really really don't see any point in going to the doctor, it would just be a waste of their time which is already stretched enough as it is. He said that I have very low, he hesitated to say it but he would, no self esteem. No, he didn't refer to that as trauma, he said it was very damaging but he was talking about something else when he said that. I am not a single parent and there is no way I can afford that kind of money. No RL support or friends but we will/should get a doctors appointment for DC1 in December - I suspect we might get a speech therapy referral. Yesterday was full blown tantrums in the middle of town, rolling on floor, spitting hitting destroying shop stands blush resulting in me taking DC2 out of the buggy and forcing DC1 into it. Not proud of that. DC2 had me up until 3 this morning (teeth), then DH and DC1 woke us up at 6. She has yet to nap, I'm exhausted and my ears hurt!

I'm not very bright, I managed to scrape through uni, mainly because the counsellor insisted on submitting a letter of special consideration on my behalf. I did a science degree. He is actually very kind, he has said he will help me again, god knows why. I saw him for three years and never once spoke to him (very embarrassed about this now) then call him several years later when I don't know what else to do. All he said was it doesn't matter, it obviously wasn't the right time for him to be able to help me when I was at uni and now maybe it is. I'm sorry for going off on a tangent. I'm struggling a bit at the moment. I would normally ask my counsellor for another appointment when I feel like this, but he is way for another month.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now