PTSD and Suicidal Ideation, Suicide
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicidal ideation are linked, and I have to admit that this week I found myself reverting to thoughts of ending my life. When life gets overwhelming, as it has for me lately, it's so easy to slip into thinking that things would be much easier if I just didn't have to feel anymore. Out of the blue, my employers informed me, and the other nurse practitioners I work with, that we will be jobless in six weeks. We were all left in utter shock.
After the announcement, I found myself getting sucked into my habitual suicidal ideation: the downward spiral of negative thoughts connected to my traumatic childhood. I immediately went into a state of hopelessness and helplessness. Suddenly, I was a girl who just wanted to die. Instantaneously, the suicidal ideation of PTSD told me the only way out was a permanent escape.
The Relationship Between PTSD, Suicidal Ideation and Suicide
Studies have shown a strong connection between PTSD and suicide, especially in adult survivors of child sexual and physical abuse. This could be because of the impact of PTSD symptoms, depression that often goes along with PTSD or a lack of emotional regulation in trauma survivors.
Experiencing severe trauma can leave you lacking impulse control. PTSD causes your brain to go into over-reaction mode, keeping you from thinking clearly when you are faced with new threats. This can lead to extreme thinking and the belief that suicide is the answer.
Coping with Suicidal Ideation in PTSD
If you find yourself dealing with suicidal thoughts, it's important to take steps that will interfere with your impulsive thought process. No matter how bleak things may seem, what you're feeling is temporary, Other solutions exist, but you may not be able to see them at the moment. Seek help with a therapist, call a suicide hotline, or reach out to a friend. Often, during this intense time, we need someone else to help us see clearly.
The truth of my situation is that while it is very stressful to lose my job, I am a nurse and there are plenty of options for me. In reality, my situation is not hopeless and I am not helpless, but it took going to my therapist and hearing her objective feedback to help me break out of my instinctual reaction of wanting to permanently end the hurt I was feeling.
When you are in such intense pain that you feel suicide is the only way out, it's easy to shut down and withdraw from the world. If nothing else, please remember that when you want help the least, you need it the most. You are worth fighting for. Reach out here: Suicide Hotline Phone Numbers.
Powell, T. (2018, November 1). PTSD and Suicidal Ideation, Suicide, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, May 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/traumaptsdblog/2018/11/ptsd-and-suicidal-ideation-suicide
Author: Traci Powell
Yup, been there.