” I want to die. Can you help me please. I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and I don’t want to live anymore.”
It’s hard to get these emails- not because they shock me- they don’t, but because I wish I could sit across from the person and tell them why they feel the way they do and that they can get through this.
Since I can’t actually look at the person, I will write him here.
Hi. I’ve been suicidal so many times I can no longer count the episodes. Suicidal thoughts are a completely normal part of bipolar disorder. We get depressed, manic, anxious and paranoid, just to name a few- and we also get suicidal.
Wanting to die is actually something different than it seems- it’s actually wanting to end the pain that comes with bipolar disorder depression. I can remember being so suicidal that I was rolling on the floor in order not to do something I didn’t really want to do. I’m not kidding about this. The compulsion that comes with suicidal thoughts is what makes it so dangerous. When I had thoughts of running my car off a bridge, I said out loud, “I don’t want to kill myself! This is not real! This is bipolar lying to me!” and I kept driving.
Bipolar disorder can be a VERY dangerous illness. It makes you think and do things you don’t really think and don’t really want to do. That’s why it’s so important to separate yourself from the suicidal thoughts.
I see my suicidal thoughts as separate. They are not me- they are bipolar disorder. I hope you can do that- if you really examine what you’re thinking, you can see that there is a lot of crap going around in your head that doesn’t represent you. It’s not the real you. It’s the illness talking.
Once you can see the you in there and feel the you in there- you can say to yourself, this is bipolar talking and I’m going to get help immediately.
I assure you- you don’t want to kill yourself. You want to get better. I hate suicidal thoughts because they aren’t fair and they are SO tricky.
I’m 49- and I’ve been suicidal off and on since I was 19. I have survived and you can too.
Here is how to get help- first of all, say out loud- “I’m suicidal because I have bipolar disorder. These thoughts are not real. They are a sign that I’m very sick.”
Next- call your doctor immediately. Say, “This is an emergency. I have bipolar disorder and I’m thinking of killing myself.” This is an honest way to ask for help. If you fell down and broke a leg- you would scream for help. You have to do the same thing now.
If you don’t have access to your doctor- call a suicide hotline- if you go to www.moodgarden.com you will see suicide numbers on the left side of the page. There is also a link there for more help on what you’re going through.
If you’re worried for your immediate physical health, call 911. They know what to do. Be honest, “I have bipolar disorder- I’m suicidal and I need help.” Or, “I’m bipolar and I just took a bottle of pills and I need help “
You may notice that I’m being very methodical when I talk with you. It’s because I would do the same thing if I saw you bleeding on the side of the road. I would help you and remind you that things are going to be ok. You just need professional help. I would never expect you to take care of yourself on your own.
Suicidal thoughts are completely normal when you have a mental illness. They are not the real you. The real you wants help. There is a lot of help out there. I encourage you to take care of the you that wants to live and not listen to the illness that is lying to you. I’m alive and well because I do this every time I get suicidal.