If you are considering hurting yourself, please call 1-800-273-TALK

Two Major Signs of Suicidal Thought

Depression is hard. It zaps your energy, makes it difficult to focus, and makes the whole world seem dark and unwelcoming. Dealing with negative emotions all the time, such as sadness, frustration, or confusion, is exhausting. Yet restful sleep may not be easy to find.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, please keep an eye out for thoughts of suicide. There are two major signs you will want to watch for: the feeling of being a burden to others and an increased capacity to tolerate physical pain.

Perceived Burden to Others

As someone dealing with depression, there are many times when you want to withdraw from others and simply be by yourself. You don’t want to deal with the social niceties or make small talk. You may not even be able to; it would take way too much energy.

However, when the desire to be alone turns into a belief that others don’t want to be around you or that you are a problem or burden to them, you need to be careful. Yes, there may be times when others are unsure how to behave around you, whether they should try to cheer you up or just leave you be. There may be times when they need to take time to themselves to reenergize. But to think that they would be better off without you simply isn’t true.

Your life is worth more than you think. Don’t believe the lies that depression might be whispering to you.

Increased Tolerance for Physical Pain

Depression hurts, not just emotionally, but physically. Your body grows weary or just aches throughout the day. So why does an increased tolerance for physical pain indicate thoughts of suicide? Because studies show that those who kill themselves have built up a tolerance for pain through previous suicide attempts or self-injury of some sort. They have grown numb to it, in a sense. And this allows them to go against our natural instinct to fight for our life (self-preservation).

For example, someone with a history of cutting has learned to deal with the dizziness and fainting. What started with one small cut may have grown to several larger ones, which might eventually lead to cutting a major artery in an attempt to end their life.

Another example would be an eating disorder like anorexia. Anorexics have disciplined themselves so much that they can refuse food and not eat anything for days (or at the least, eat very little). This also fights against our natural instinct for self-preservation, since one must eat to have the energy to live.

Dangerous behavior can also indicate a tolerance for pain, as such behavior shows a willingness to take risks. This can include things like reckless driving, stunts, and thoughtless experiments.

Concluding Thoughts

If you or someone you know begins showing signs of these two things, it’s important that you take the time to address the issue. That might mean getting counseling, or it could point toward some sort of intervention to ensure the individual doesn’t hurt himself or someone else.

Yes, it might be awkward to ask someone what they are thinking or why they are behaving so recklessly. And it can be incredibly difficult to ask them directly if they are thinking about suicide. But you must overcome the uneasiness of the situation in order to come alongside them and walk with them toward hope and healing.


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