Under the Hood

Can You Be Suicidal But Not Want To Die?

When a person shares his or her thoughts that are governed by suicidal tendencies, the people around this person immediately associate it with an intense longing for death.

Having suicidal thoughts, or exhibiting depressive traces, does not always connote wanting an immediate suspension of life. Being suicidal is thought of by the general public in black and white terms. It is either a person who has these destructive thoughts wants to end his or her life, or the person who does not have these heavy reflections about life wants to live to the fullest.

For society, this kind of situation does not welcome a gray area, an in-between where the individual is free to be both—to be suicidal but not want to die.

Having these outpourings of emotions may arouse confusion. Being both suicidal and not wanting things to end may be a scary feeling. When these surges of emotion begin to take over, the person usually finds himself or herself in a state where a sense of control is not present. Others who have undergone this situation describe it as having a close resemblance to drowning. When this happens, the person is lost in utter helplessness.

It is a lot easier to encapsulate these two states in a poetic analogy: It is like swimming under the warm glow of the noonday sun, and everyone else is adrift in their happiness until a massive wave arrives to take everything jubilant, leaving nothing but total darkness.

Individuals who find themselves being in this particular passiveness do not usually seek help from other people because of not knowing what reaction will emerge. This is completely normal, and it is important to be open about it, especially with medical professionals.

When a person is carrying all these negative thoughts, it does not immediately suggest the desire to end life. However, it is still a serious matter because being wrapped tightly around these intense emotions can have damaging effects on the person.

In conclusion, undivided love and support are necessary to help the person in his or her dark times.

Psychologist A child with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder holds his head by explaining the content of his drawings to the psychologist at the Lazare camp for internally displaced people (IDP) in Kaga Bandoro on May 23, 2019. FLORENT VERGNES/AFP/Getty Images