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Effects of Sharing Our Prior Suicidal Thoughts on Depression

September 12, 2018 Jennifer Smith

Sharing prior suicidal thoughts and experiences can both help and harm depression recovery. When might you want to share; when might you not?

Should you share your suicidal thoughts and experiences? How will the choice to share affect your depression? Whether we face suicidal thoughts or have had one or more suicide attempts, the decision of whether or not to share these experiences affects us and how we deal with our depression. 

Should We Share Our Suicidal Thoughts and Experiences or Not?

When Sharing Suicidal Thoughts and Experiences Helps Depression

There can be an upside to sharing our experiences with suicidal thoughts and ideation. I've often found sharing my story to be therapeutic for me in dealing with my depression. I have felt stronger in my ability to heal because I've used an experience in which I almost lost my life to suicide to fight back and become the strong person that I am today. When I verbalize that to others, I feel empowered. By sharing our suicide survival stories, we're making it known that we are stronger than our depression.

I've also felt humbled and grateful for the opportunities that sharing my story has given me to reach others. Writing and speaking openly about my depression and struggles with suicidal thoughts has made others comfortable about approaching me with their similar struggles. We can offer understanding to those who are facing depression and other mental health issues. By doing so, we can encourage them to get the professional help they need.

Finally, talking about our depression and struggles with suicidal thoughts can help reduce the stigma surrounding both. As we engage others in discussions about mental health issues, we can teach them through our experiences and help eradicate any misconceptions they may have about depression and suicide

When Sharing Suicidal Thoughts and Experiences Hurts Depression

For some of us, and this has been true for me at times, opening up about our pain and struggles can cause us to have a setback in our recovery journey. It can reveal some wounds that we weren't quite ready to deal with. Sharing our depression or suicide survival stories publicly can bring the most painful memories of our past into our present and cause us unnecessary hurt.

Another drawback of sharing our stories of depression and thoughts of suicide is the negative or even hateful and judgemental reactions of others. Negative reactions could range anywhere from someone ignoring or belittling us to making non-helpful statements such as "We all feel sad sometimes," or "You'll snap out of it." That's mild, however, compared to what else can be said.

Some people are surprisingly cruel. I've been subject to some harsh, condemning proclamations about my eternity and soul, and I've also heard countless other harmful, ignorant statements directed toward me about depression and suicidal thoughts. Even though I know the truth, hearing things like this is hurtful and can easily cause a setback in my recovery, as it would for many of us battling depression. If we're already struggling, hearing things like that could be enough to send us over the edge. So, clearly, one reason we may choose not to share our depression and suicide survival stories is because of these types of responses we may get from some people. 

Deciding whether or not to share your depression story and experiences with suicidal thoughts is personal and individual. Neither choice is wrong. A combination of both is what I've chosen. I choose whether or not to share my story depending on how I'm feeling depression-wise and also based on just my overall mood in general at the time. Another factor in my decision is the person to whom I'm speaking; I only share with people I deem safe and worthy of truly knowing me. Remember, you are in charge of your recovery. You get to tell your story or not. It's up to you.

If you feel you may hurt yourself or someone else, call 9-1-1 immediately. 

If you need help with distressing thoughts (including suicidal thoughts), call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 

For more information on suicide, please see our suicide resources here.

Please watch this video for an encouraging message about holding on, even on the darkest days of your depression. Better days are ahead. Never give up.

APA Reference
Smith, J. (2018, September 12). Effects of Sharing Our Prior Suicidal Thoughts on Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2018/9/effects-of-sharing-our-prior-suicidal-thoughts-on-depression



Author: Jennifer Smith

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