PTSD and Thoughts of Suicide: How To Cope With Dark Moments

September 14, 2012 Michele Rosenthal

Thoughts of suicide come easier to people living with PTSD. If you've had thoughts of suicide, knowing how to stop them is key. Read this for help that works.

If you struggle with PTSD, then you're no stranger to thoughts about how you could die by suicide to end your pain and anguish. Even the strongest and most resilient person may have moments so challenging the best idea seems to be death. Although you may sink to that dark space, there is a way to pull yourself out, away from thoughts of suicide.

How To Shift Thoughts of Suicide

If you ever wonder if you're the only one with PTSD-driven thoughts of suicide, the answer is no! You are part of a large group struggling to hold onto how to live when life seems so horribly doomed.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the statistics on trauma, PTSD and suicide clearly state a correlation:

A body of research indicates that there is a correlation between trauma and suicidal behaviors. There is evidence that traumatic events such as childhood abuse and other types of trauma may increase a person's suicide risk.... These studies have looked at whether a history of trauma exposure is linked to suicidal behaviors. Studies also suggest that suicide risk is higher in persons with PTSD. For example, research has found that trauma survivors with PTSD have a significantly higher risk of suicide than trauma survivors diagnosed with other psychiatric illness or with no mental pathology (9).

[To read the rest of this article, click here.]

What Can Pull You Back from the Edge?

Yes, I had suicidal thoughts. In this PTSD video, I share why and when, plus how I learned to push those suicidal thoughts aside and go on living.

For help in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Michele is the author of Your Life After Trauma: Powerful Practices to Reclaim Your Identity. Connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and her website,

APA Reference
Rosenthal, M. (2012, September 14). PTSD and Thoughts of Suicide: How To Cope With Dark Moments, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, March 5 from

Author: Michele Rosenthal

August, 1 2018 at 1:56 am

I feel bad for you. There are people who care and care a lot about your struggles. We want to see each other happy. Life is difficult after loss. I am still studying the topography to find my way as well. Stay strong.

May, 24 2015 at 9:13 pm

I was repeatedly rape by my stepfather from 6-12 years of age.
My mother new what was going on and did nothing when I went to her she beat me so bad she then locked me in a cabnet in the basement until I healed most of the time a few days once for 9 days I was not let out for any reason so I sat in my own waste I was given water 1 cup every other day, between this and the years that my stepfather rape me I 40 years later I think at lease once a day that I want to end my pain I live but my soul was murdered 40 years ago.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Michele Rosenthal
June, 2 2015 at 4:00 pm

@Allemanidennis, I'm so sorry for what you experienced. There are many who would understand. Join us: You can connect with some terrific survivors on the road to recovery in the Heal My PTSD forum:

October, 3 2013 at 12:44 am

Seriously? SERIOUSLY? You believe in me. My body's entirely and painfully broken, my doctor just told me that no one but cancer patients will soon be prescribed pain medication and (mind you I am a professional nurse so this is a TRUE pain scale measurement) my daily pain is at a 7 and spikes to jolting electric 8-9 all the way throughout my spine. My brain MRI looks like Swiss Cheese, I have MS, CFIDS/Fibromyaliga, Spondylosis and multisystem autoimmune disease, all service related due to toxins, including Agent Orange and VX, Sarin and Mustard gas I and thousands of other military veterans were exposed to at Ft. McClellan, AL, and I was also repeatedly and brutally gang raped while in the Army, for which those responsible rec'd NO punishment even after I LITERALLY risked my life to report them. I have lost my wonderful career as a NICU RN, my sons have lost their college education, I have been homeless, my friends have long since grown tired of my "inability to show up" for planned events and deserted me and within the past five years both my parents died and and my younger brother too (who did commit suicide, allegedly, after an abusive marriage--yes, it happens to men too, and no our parents were not abusive in any way--they were upper middle class professionals who raised us well to contribute to society, which we did). To top things off I was nearly killed by an anesthesiologist by a massive overdose of medication. There's more, but I've already far surpassed anyone's attention span. The worse thing is, I am STILL treated like a "med seeker" when I say I'm in pain BECAUSE I tried at one time to avoid narcotics and REQUESTED to try Subutex, which is just Butrans in a dosage that actually treats pain! ...little did I know I was labeling myself an addict for the rest of my life for NOT taking narcotics! Doctors are too lazy to just LOOK at my medical/pharmacy record, but it's FINE for them to use my spine, neck to sacrum, as a pin cushion. Why is it again I should stay alive? I contribute nothing and one of my sons has already lost his job because he has to help me move around. I'd be doing everyone a favor.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Michele Rosenthal
October, 16 2013 at 9:22 am

Yes, Michelle, I still believe in you. You have and are dealing with enormous challenges and anyone would be feeling frustrated and even angry by now. My life was a disaster: my mind and body were both broken and none of the top specialists could help. I gave up, hit rock bottom, and then shockingly but very slowly discovered a way to improve my life. It wasn't about healing everything all at once or finding utopia; it was just about beginning to think outside the traditional box and look for (and find) help in unexpected places. I wish I could personally make a difference in how you feel. At the very least, I will believe in your strength, dedication, courage and resilience and hope that those qualities you do possess finally bring you to a path that leads you to feeling better.

March, 15 2013 at 3:58 pm

It's very hard to come out of those times though...I tend to drink when it all is too much and this helps to numb everything at the time...but then at the same time I then take medication to end it all because it seems to be the only way out. Unfortunately I have lived through five overdoses and even though I am in therapy I still feel the same way and am wishing for a better way to go each day.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Michele Rosenthal
March, 18 2013 at 7:39 pm

@Donna -- I know what you mean. I spent a lot of time in therapy still feeling lousy, to say the least. I'm sorry that you're in that space. Eventually I switched to another therapeutic approach altogether because I was getting worse instead of better. Trauma expert, Babette Rothschild, says "You know you're on the right track when you start feeling a little bit better. If you don't start feeling better it's time to make a change in your approach." Of course, I don't know you at all, but I think of Babette's words every time I think about how we manage the recovery process.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 2 2013 at 8:44 am

Thanks for your reply Michelle...means a lot. My psychologist and another person have been assisting me greatly with developing coping strategies etc and I feel safe with them...the only two people I do feel safe with and trust. I have just come out of hospital again and the flashbacks are so intense that I am sinking lower and lower and do not feel as though I can or even want to bring myself back up now. I am constantly thinking of the best ways that will eventually put an end to this craziness in my head and feel an overwhelming need to stay isolated. I have so much going on in my head that I can't follow it up with a positive thought as you said in your video....

Sherri Singhas
December, 4 2012 at 2:03 am

thank you so much for the helpful insight. I suffer from PTSD as a result of childhood physical, emotional and sexual abuse and my late husband committed suicide so in my pain I have made several attempts to end my own life. Thank you again.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Michele Rosenthal
December, 5 2012 at 4:47 pm

@Sherri - I'm so glad the post and video resonated with you. Those dark moments can be so challenging. I hope that going forward you find a way to gain relief. You are carrying a heavy load, my wish for you is to lighten it. There are many ways to approach trauma recovery. Some ideas here:

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