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Talking to your significant other about your suicidal thoughts is one of the hardest thing you can do. You fear what it will do to them and to your relationship. But it also can help quiet those voices.
I would also like to say that I hope that even if you are not in a relationship, you can relate this to telling a parent, a sibling, a close friend, or anyone else who is important in your life.
Most college students suffer from suicidal thoughts or mental health issues at least one point in their educational career. I was no exception. Long work days, constant stress, and messages that I was not good enough led me to contemplating suicide.
In high school, I graduated as salutatorian. Learning came easily to me and I rarely needed to ask for help. I was excited to move to a new state and learn more about the things I was passionate about. Everyone expected college to be a breeze for me. I new it wouldn't be, though. Hard work is what got me there after all.
My freshman year, I suffered from homesickness and had to get used to living on my own. It was liberating and stressful at the same time. But classes went smoothly and I was enjoying life. I even met a wonderful man who I would fall in love with. We didn't see then what strains our relationship would go through and how strong it would become.
My sophomore year is when the trouble began. I was taking 20 credits a semester and a part of numerous organizations. This is what my family was worried about—I started putting too much pressure on myself. My classes started becoming harder to manage and soon I began to worry about failing. Instead of being able to recognize the difficulty of my courses and class load, I completely blamed myself. I was a failure. I was stupid. Everything I was doing was wrong. While I started shutting down, life continued on without me. I began to fall behind.
To make matters worse, my family was having issues. We were never wealthy and knowing that I had four younger siblings that wanted a chance at college made it difficult spending so much money on my own education. Money was tight and I had no time to get a job.
Suicide started looking like a better idea everyday. I started fantasizing about overdosing on painkillers or jumping from the bridge that ran over the city's train tracks.
All my boyfriend saw were my anger issues and my panic attacks. I felt like no one understood. We got in frequent yelling fights and I told him he had it easy. I was taking out my anger on him and it was not fair. He too had lots of stress but I couldn't see it. To this day I wonder how he was able to stay with me. Perhaps it was because he knew more than I thought.
One night, I decided to tell him about my suicidal thoughts. I had been thinking about it for weeks but worried about what it might do to him. Would he blame himself? Would he be angry at me? Would he leave me?
Before I started talking, he recognized the pain on my face. He pulled me into his arms and told me to tell him what has been on my mind. Hesitantly, I told him about my stress and contemplating suicide. Never did I imagine his reaction. He said that he could tell that I have not been myself and that he would be there for me. The most important thing he told me was that he believed in me. That I was strong for dealing with all of this but also telling him.
It was the hardest thing I ever did—and the best thing I could have done for my own sanity.
Why does talking help?
We tend to bottle up all of our anger, sadness, and stress. Fear of others not understanding or being upset keeps us from expressing the feelings we need to express the most. It is like being in a tank. You feel trapped with the water pouring in. With no way of releasing it, you begin to feel like you are drowning.
Letting others know not only helps you release tension, but also lets others know they need to look out for you. You may think that others don't care about you. It is not that they don't care, they just aren't psychic. While your distress is clear to you, it may not be to others. Let them know what is going on.
Even little stressors can pile up and keep you from thinking clearly. Having an outside perspective can help correct your irrational thinking. Stress makes you hypersensitive to everything. Little inconveniences become detrimental and setbacks become major failures. Having someone who can see the flaws in your thinking helps you recognize these issues.
Tips for Talking About Your Suicidal Thoughts
Start early. Talk to people about what is stressing you out before it becomes a bigger issue. Don't let it pile up.
Talk to someone you trust. Whether it is a significant other, a parent, or anyone else, you should be able to trust the person. This is a serious issue and they need to be able to take it seriously.
Plan how you want to start the discussion. As I stated earlier, making the decision to talk to my boyfriend was the most difficult thing I have ever done. Planning how to approach the situation makes it easier.
Seeking Professional Help
If you are seriously contemplating suicide or having difficulty talking about your issues, talking to a therapist may help. While others may help, having expert on the subject may be beneficial. There are services for everyone. Talk to your insurance to see if they will cover mental health services. If you need immediate help, contact your local suicide hotline or the U.S. national number below.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255