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Regular Thoughts Of Killing Myself


For the past year, I have felt regular thoughts of killing myself. Usually with a gun. In the past 2 weeks there is nothing else I can think about. I have still managed to arrive at work (I am a highly skilled professional and calling in sick is not an option.) I have barely been able to take care of my kids and home and animals. I will loose my job and my professional license if I seek help for depression. Is is normal to think of killing one’s self all the time? I have never been a believer in antidepressants as exercise, good eating, physical activity and proper nutrient balance and a low weight usually solve many of the depressive issues. what is your take on this?

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To answer your question, it is not normal to think about killing yourself all the time. It is not even normal to think about killing yourself a couple times a week. It is approaching normal to think about killing yourself very occasionally during times of great stress, but even then, this tends to be a fleeting thought. So, something not very normal is going on right now. You are experiencing a crisis for whatever reason, and you might very well benefit from professional help.

Now, the form professional help may come in if you tell a therapist that you are acutely suicidal is involuntary hospitalization for a few days. Therapists and Doctors have a duty (ethical and legal both) to hospitalize you (or at least put the wheels in motion) if they suspect you are an “acute” danger to yourself. The hospitalization would largely be provided as a means of providing external restraint so that you aren’t able to kill yourself for a few days while the crisis passes. The hospitalization would also function to get you medicated on antidepressants or other medications that the staff psychiatrist thinks will help. Such medications do have a beneficial effect (along with side effects) if they are allowed time to work properly. They are not something to be avoided when you are suicidal all the time. Clearly your other solutions (exercize, healthy eating habits, etc.) aren’t working for you right now. They are helpful at warding off depression, but they aren’t enough in your present circumstance.

The prospect of hospitalization can’t be a happy one for you. The prospect of losing your license might be even worse. However, to my mind anyway, being hospitalized or even losing your license has got to be preferable to dying and traumatizing your kids for life. No one likes to be hospitalized. In this case, however, hospitals exist as a safety net to catch people who might otherwise do themselves in. If you need that net, it isn’t something to avoid.

Whether or not someone with your symptoms absolutely needs that safety net is not entirely clear. Having frequent suicidal thoughts is disturbing, but there is a difference between having thoughts and acting on thoughts. So questions for someone in your shoes have to do with how likely you are to actually act on your impulses. Do you own or have ready access to a gun, for instance? Have you made suicide attempts in the past? The more you have a history of impulsive self-destructive actions and ready access to the tools you would use to harm yourself, the greater your risk.

What is entirely clear is that you really should be professioanlly treated for your depression. You should be evaluated by a doctor (preferably a psychiatrist, but at least a general practitioner) and medicated if that doctor thinks that this will help. You should also be in at least weekly psychotherapy – not because it will help you immediately (psychotherapy takes several months of work to prove effective), but because you need monitoring for safety. Seek out a cognitive behavioral therapist for access to the best available therapy for managing depression.

You can minimize the threat of hospitalization by denying that you have suicidal thoughts or at least that you have a suicidal plan. It’s not a good idea to misrepresent yourself in this situation, however, because the alternative to being hospitalized is perhaps killing yourself and traumatizing your family. If you have a plan and will kill yourself, drive yourself to the emergency room instead and check yourself into the psychiatric ward as an alternative. Tell them that you are suicidal. Don’t wait for a doctor to declare you a danger to self if you know you are in fact a true and acute danger to yourself.

Know that *many* people today are treated for depression. Professionals do not typically lose their license over such an occurance. Those groups that might lose their license (perhaps such as commerical airline pilots) probably would qualify for disability insurance payments, as they could no longer perform their customary work. Even if you are actually at risk for losing your license, it is quite likely that your professional association has programs for “impaired professionals” who handle themselves appropriately (e.g., recognize that something is wrong and voluntarily attend to handling those problems). I would search out the policies in some anonymous fashion (perhaps a friend can research it for you?) so that you learn what the actual penalties are. Do some reality testing before you assume the worst. Again, being in an “impaired professional program” isn’t something that anyone wants to do, but it is preferable to losing everything if that is the alternative.

More "Ask Dr. Dombeck" View Columnists

  • Cassie

    Actually it has been my experience over the past 2 months that if you are a professional, present yourself as holding it togther, that even if you are feeling suicidal and disclose it no one seems to follow up on it. I was honest when asked if I had a plan, the means and the motivation but it seemed as though it was just something they ask everyone. I now have the strong impression that you shouldn't in fact disclose the thoughts unless you actually have made an attempt. Since I have no desire for "attention" and have a plan that would make it appear to be something other than a suicide I don't see the point in disclosing it. It is however exhausting to fight the constant thoughts of suicide (not fleeting but steady) and wait for the anti-depressant and counseling to kick in. Even though I know logically it is simply the symptom of depression and a failed attempt at problem solving it feels like it is inevitable. Thankfully I am not impulsive and I don't drink so thus far I have hung on. Frankly, if I had been hospitalized for a few days at any point in the past 2 months it would have exacerbated the situation so I have learned the desire and preparations for now.

  • Anonymous-1

    I understand how you feel. The way that I get through it all is to allow myself to beswept up and distracted by whatever needs to be done. Happiness is the daughter of distraction, so as long as one does not keep idle, the pain can be weighed, measured, found wanting, and eventually ignored. As long as I am kept busy, thoughts of killing myself diminish a bit and temporarily seem ridiculous. I literally live for those temporary moments.

  • mary

    i have struggled a great deal with the thoughts of sucide i have dreamed and thought of how i would do it and when and so on. i tend to think of all those that would be affected but when i am in that space i just tell myself next week and that tends to help me get through that week. i realize that i will someday not wake up after a overdose or a bloodbath from cutting and going to the hospital is the last thing you want to do when your in that space and to be honest all hospitals ever have done for me is a great deal of medications in which i overdose on later? kinda strange to say the least i think most think of sucide when their life isn't what they thought it would be but i have become so good at hiding how i truly feel for the most part and most thinnk the medications simply mess me up and i do at times stuggle with the thoughts in my head, and most of them are thoughts of being in a better place it is as the world needs something but doesn't need me. also i feel for the people that are depressed and can't see anything in the future that is happy or positive as i have been there many times myself and although i get so very depressed i can't stand seeing another sad and will do what ever i can to try to cheer them up! I just wish at times i had someone like that in my own life.

  • Chris

    I too obsess about killing myself constantly - It's the first thing I wake up to and often lie awake at night planning over and over again. If anything goes in the slightest bit wrong the answer is "I wish I was dead". My family and the constant pressure to support them are both the cause and the prevention for me. I live for them and them alone! Without them, perhaps I would be released from the pressure and thus the thoughts - I cannot kill myself because I would be failing in my duty of care for them. Catch 22!! No amount of drugs or councelling will remove the problem.

    What is the point of going to the emergency room I KNOW I'm not going to do it...... I just want to stop thinking about it! By the way, to the external observer I'm a successful professional in the top 10% of earnings bracket with "everything I could ever want" - Except a life!

    To the rest like me - you are not alone. I just wonder how many of us there are?

  • Wayne

    I've been kind of on a downer for the last 8 years, doesn't take much to make me feel low, and constantly assess why not to kill myself, my situation isn't bad though and the thought is always there.

    I can't understand why i feel like this. I don't really have any problems but i have a problem with this...

  • Neda

    Reading those comments reminded me of myself, when I was a teenager and I used to plan for suicide many times. But I was not able to do that. Still, I thing that to be alive and to continue is useless and is everyday suffering. I am looking for a reason for living and being happy while you know that after all some day you should go for ever. So , why should we undergo so much suffer named life? It really dose not worth, does it? I am looking for a simple and painless way to kill myself.

  • Anonymous-2

    i 'm a teenager, and i have suicidal thoughts. well, not really suicidal, but i always wish that i would die, or that i never existed. i don't like who i am, because i feel like no one else likes who i am. i'm just so screwed up. whenever i think about myself in the future, i can't see a normal adult, i see an emotionally stunted, insecure, awkward little boy living in a man's body. and i don't wanna grow up into an adult who is me- i can't be the same insecure, emotionally stunted, awkward, childish, useless person i am for the rest of my life. i actually hate myself. i've started having these thoughts more and more regularly, and i don't know when they started- i think that i've had them for years, but there have been periods where i was distracted from them. I do sort of have a plan on how i'd like to die- but i know that i could never follow through- i don't want to feel pain. it's kinda like i'm on autopilot just getting through it all, but if given the choice i know that i would choose not to be alive. i haven't seriously tried to actually kill myself. i just want to live my life somewhere else without all the people that i know. i don't think that i'm depressed- i'm just tired of my life.

  • No Cure for the pain i feel

    I have fibromyalgia and i'm in constant pain and have been for the last year or so, i have a wonderful husband and three beautiful children whom i love dearly, but i feel i'm no good to them when i'm always hurting i feel worthless and inadequate therefore i feel like just ending my life i feel as if i have no purpose here i'm not doing anybody any good al i'm able to do is lay around and sit there. Anything else is too painful for me, although i haven't sought any medical help for this i desperatley need i feel my time is near. Someone please help me or at least point me in the right direction so that i may get the help i need. thank you from someone who needs help in a bad way.

  • Anonymous-3

    I have thoughts of killing myself at least once a week. I dont care about the pain it causes me but I just cant put my children through it. If I didnt have children I would probably have killed myself months ago. Ive always been told that killing yourself is a selfish act. I have never been selfish 1 day of my life and no one cares. My wedding was about my Mother and sister feeling sick. I had no one to help me get dressed. My bachlorette party was cancelled because my sister felt ill. Now everything I do is about my kids and husband. My husband constsantly wants EVERYTHING! I have no time for myself. My Mother and Father probably wouldnt have anything to do with me if I didnt have children. I work and come home and do it all over again. I only have 1 friend and I dont get to talk to her very often. I have gained 60lbs and I have a problem with self loathing. My marriage is not so good right now. My husband started talking to a woman he met on My Space. They message, talk, and texted each other.I feel trapped in the life I am living. I cant say I live life but I exsist and thats about it. I havent felt joy in a long time and I dont know if I could EVER be happy again. I miss my life before husband and kids. I had a feeling of freedom back then that I dont have now. I am left with but an empty shell.

  • sherie

    I too have Fibro. You are not alone! The pain I have takes over my life and that of my family and I too have had thoughts of just ending it all, what good am I if I hurt so bad I can't be involved with my family. Being in the medical field i have to get up every day and go to work and deal with people who have the same issues that I have. Find a Fibro support group as well as a Docotr who "beleives" that Fibro is a reall illness....You need help for your pain and of course the depression that this type of pain brings...Bless your heart....your family would have no life if you were to simply be help I urge you, I understand your pain as i live with this agony every day.

  • FreddyMercury

    Everything u said I am experiencing minus kids n wife. It comes in waves, I can't sleep when it's bad. I know being tired is part of it but I can't sleep. I usually fall to the floor and lay on the carpet for a while. My cat helps. Usually think about it once a day at it's lightest. Once every fifteen min today. People around doesn't make a difference. As stupid as it sounds and I couldn't careless about anyones opinion of it cuz I KNOW it's true I believe I caught depression from my ex after being with her suffering with it for two and a half years. I don't want antidepressants cuz they make you kill yourself. I saved her life once. If I die I'll make to many people upset so I can't. I have to keep suffering. I have sex with almost anyone cuz I'm always so upset I usually don't even think of it as sex. Half the time my mind is filled with terrible self loathing thoughts and they take advantage of me and tell me they care about me. I don't know what I'm doing. I have no one to talk too. I don't want to die. I had a great childhood and my parents and friends are very loving. I have a gun but I would never shoot myself ye that's how I see it happening. As far as thinking I should do it in the back yard so I don't make a mess of the house. I can't let my mom get upset. If I didn't have them I don't think I'd be here. I want to join the marines and let nature work itself out. My life isn't bad at all there's no reason for this.

  • Give your life to him

    To all who feel as if they would be better off dead. Death of the body will come soon enough on its own, you have been given the gift of life. You are here for a reason (not by chance) If you will just give your life and your problems to Jesus Christ, he will stop these thoughts. You have to know once you give this up the problem is no longer your's his. I know some of you think this is crap...But believe me it's not I was once in your shoes.

    Please listen to this because this message is for you.

  • Rick

    I'm 56 years old. I have to fight an urge to kill myself every day! I'm divorced (three times) with 4 chilren and 4 grandchilren and wish to not emotionally harm them in anyway,,,I'm unemployed and uninsured. Do I have any means to treat myself?

  • derek

    im 20 years old. i think about suicide almost everyday. i cant seem to forget about it. i know i havent had the best life. my parents may say different but they will never understand or know everything that has gone on in my life. but i cant ever really come up with good enough reasons not to do it but yet i still havent done it but i do feel as if i am getting closer to doing it each day. what can i do? i dont need to see any doctor or anyone. all they have to say is abunch of bullshit. they dont know how i feel they cant relate to me.

    -only 20

  • Don

    Why do i have to suffer,ive been feeling like killing my family and myself since i was seven im fifteen almost sixteen and i still imagine and have thoughts like this like its played out in my head,ive got to the point where i smoke weed everyydayy to try and help this i dont kno what this is but if someone can please tell me how to get rid of it or what it is if thers even a diagnoses for it,how it can be treated

    Dr. Dombeck's Note: Though the core of your complaint (chronic homicidal and sucidal thoughts) can often be associated with major depression, there are really *a lot* of conditions that might be contributing to the problem. Some of them may be "psychiatric" (e.g., psychotic symptoms, anger or impulsivity problems, obsessionality, etc.), but some of them may be social (e.g., are you being abused now or in the past?). If you want to gain a better idea of what might be wrong, I suggest that you make an appointment with a psychiatrist - a medical doctor specializing in mental health problems who can diagnose what might be wrong. If there is a medical condition influencing your homicidal and suicidal thoughts, this type of medical doctor is in the best position to help you resolve or manage that medical problem. Other mental health professionals (psychologists, clinical social workers) can also diagnose mental problems, but they are not trained to address the medical side of things. Some conditions are generally thought best treated with medical treatments. However, some other conditions can be treated medically or through psychotherapy (such as cognitive behavioral therapy for depression), either way with good results.

    These are *serious* symptoms - possibly lethal if not addressed. I strongly urge you to get yourself diagnosed and to find treatment that helps reduce or eliminate these symptoms.

  • Anonymous-4

    You really haven't heard what the person is saying to you. You have just dismissed them.. How can you know what others will do about this person's license etc. have you worked in the 'real' world? As for the kids. Do you think shaming the person into guilt will stop them form wanting to commit suicide? Hearing and acknowledging the person's feelings might have been a useful place for you to start.

  • Random guy

    Why would you want to kill your own self

    that makes no sense

    just take a deep breath and don't think about it


    by random guy

  • stephen

    Finding my mum hanging when i was 17 years old, i have not been right since i have attempted to kill myself many times and think about doing it when i feel down. My family don't help i have slept on the street when i had no home an all time low. I feel i am just fu**ed up and no one can help my thoughts, im scared that one day no one will b their to cut me down and i will leave my young children behind i am a mess and i need to stop feeling like this

  • absolutely typical

    Absolutely typical. Lets take someone unhappy and force them into a worse situation they want nothing to do with. I find the world to be messed up with people all to willing to make assumptions and force their unwanted views on whoever they can. If i went to someone and tried to talk it out and you forced me i to something i would start by killing you first then snowball from there. Ive felt like this world is shit since as far back as i can remeber. 5 or 6 i went to a professional back then. Pros are just people and most are screwed up too so what do you have to offer. Sites like these enforce the hatred i have for everything. Then i start to think if i do hate it that much why should i kill myself. Your the problem. No you. No problem. SOLVED. pass judgement on yourself. I already know you suck. Good luck with that


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