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Thoughts of suicide when not ‘suicidal’?

Community Member

I’ve been struggling with depression lately and have been experiencing some very dark moods. I haven’t missed a day of work or caring for my family, even though I barely hold it together some days and my weekends are usually spent recovering. I’ve been on SSRIs for a few months that I feel aren’t working that well and have also scheduled a review with my GP this week. Am also going to ask for counselling just so that I can talk to someone about my issues, as I am not one for burdening friends and family with my problems.

Just recently I have started fantasising about a particular method of suicide. Quite graphic thoughts and planning (I won’t go into detail) that has gotten me so concerned that I now take steps so that I physically couldn’t do it. I don’t actually believe that I could do it, I don’t actually think that I am suicidal, but on some days I feel quite reckless about it, almost as if I’m daring myself to do it. I almost enjoy the thought of it. After the urge has passed I think if my kids and I feel like the worst person in the world.

Is this a common thing for when you’re depressed? Is it perhaps related to the medication?


192 Replies 192

Community Member

Hi Tams20. I think to a certain extent, it's normal(ish). It's a bit tricky to talk about without giving specific situations, which I think is a no-no here on the forums, but I have heard psychologists say that most people have thoughts of doing something reckless out of nowhere. But I'm talking about daily situations you find yourself in where you suddenly think about how easy it would be to cause yourself harm. It has a name apparently, and Edgar Allen Poe wrote about it. It's called the Imp of the Perverse, and essentially, it's an urge to do the worst possible thing in a given situation just because you could. It's about realising how fragile human life is and how easily it could be blotted out.

Having said all that, it generally refers to fleeting thoughts. If it's reached a point where the thought is so consuming that you're actually taking steps to keep yourself safe, I think it's worth exploring with a therapist. It could be related to the medication, I've also heard it can be related to anxiety and not feeling able to manage it.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Tams20~

I'm sorry to hear your life is having this effect on you. At present you have the pressure of the issues you talked about elsewhere and no real confidant at home.

Having that idea of killing yourself can be one of several things, most of which are highly dangerous. I'm no doctor and would not attempt to give this a cause, or try to predict what might happen. All I can say is that you should make full use of you next doctor's appointment and be wholly frank. In fact if you can get in earlier please do so.

If you feel it would be too hard to talk about this face to face then do what I've done in the past and write it down - point form is fine - and share the paper. A long consultation if you can get one.

The reason I'm so concerned is the fact we do not know ourselves as well as we expect. I've been surprised (unpleasantly) with my actions and would imagine other people can too.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear Tams20

Hello. I have seen you around the forum a little. Thank you for sharing your story.

Fantasizing about self harm or suicide I think is common when someone is not travelling well. We all have our various scenarios for when things go a little wrong. When life gets a little tough financially it's easy to dream, as it were, about winning Gold Lotto or being left a fortune by Aunt Joan. We know they are fantasies but they give a little relief at times.

Thoughts of ending your life because you see no future can be attractive. The thought of no more pain is tempting if only fleetingly. While it remains a fleeting thought there is a brief relief. Dwelling on ways and means is more serious. When you see your GP please tell him/her what you are thinking. It's an irony that some antidepressants have a side effect of of suicidal thoughts. See what is listed on the explanatory sheet that comes in the medication container. If there is no sheet then ask your pharmacist or look it up.

All ADs are not equal and while many of these meds suit a large majority, they can be ineffectual for some and/or have unpleasant side effects. It is a matter of trial and error. I know because I have a long history of taking meds which do not suit me and this includes medications for medical conditions other than depression. If I may suggest, can you write down how you feel and when you started to experience the destructive thoughts relative to starting on this medication.

It's good to give your GP a factual account of what is working etc. And more importantly, have the discussion about your thoughts. If you are going to ask for counselling may I suggest you see a psychiatrist. They are the experts in ADs and can offer meds more suitable for you. GP do a fantastic job but if you are having these thoughts it's best to see someone who has more expertise in this area.

I have been going to psychiatrist for several years. My GP prescribed an older medication than an SSRI and it has worked very well, but everyone is not the same. Horses for courses. My psychiatrist is happy with my prescription.

To return to your thoughts, they can be seductive and they can become a habit before you realise. It's really great that you have taken positive steps to remove the temptation. I would love to say stop dwelling on your thoughts and think about something else but it's not that easy, which is why I believe you need the help of a psychiatrist.

I hope you will continue to post here.


Thanks everyone for your support.

I’m going back to the doctor tomorrow. I can’t seem to pull myself out of this hole so I think it’s something I need to do. I will explain the problems I have been having and see what she thinks. Mary, I will ask about the Psychiatrist for getting the meds right... it’s pretty obvious that something is wrong when I feel so much worse than before I started taking them.

I’m certainly not travelling well at the moment but I told my husband and he’s keeping a close eye on me, which is good. I feel a bit better for telling him, as he is best placed to support me. I don’t want my parents to worry and my friends will no doubt make me feel even worse in my ‘hyper-sensitive’ state, I’ll either be disappointed in their reaction or not believe what they say, so unfortunately for him he’s my only option at the moment.



Hello Tams

Thanks for your reply. So pleased you will see your GP tomorrow. It's good that you have told your husband how you feel. This is another safety layer. I am also thankful that your husband has acknowledged your difficulties and is actively helping you. Sometimes partners are a little scared in this situation. Glad to see your husband is coping.

I can appreciate not wanting to distress your parents. In my situation it was my adult children I did not want to upset. Moms never get unwell or only briefly and our children want this to be the case otherwise it shakes their certainty in a world of uncertainties.

You sound a bit like me in being unable to believe others have a genuine regard for us. I have lost count of the number of times I have been asked if I would help a friend in my place and of course the answer is always yes. So why do we disbelieve anyone would want to help us. We are not terribly logical when we are deeply depressed or upset.

so unfortunately for him he’s my only option at the moment. T rather think your husband loves you and wants you to be well. If that means helping you to stay safe then that's OK. I know he cannot remove the thoughts from your mind but what if you were to have a signal of some sort or simply tell him when you are having the dreadful thoughts. Talk about the things that will divert your thoughts and have something handy to do when this happens.

The fewer times you get to consider suicide the better. I understand the reckless feeling, the desire to tempt fate and see how far you can go. That is a dangerous path to follow. One careless moment and your life will be over. You have said this is not what you want so talk with your husband about how to change the recording in your head. Also a good topic for your GP tomorrow.

I have no idea if your GP will suggest a stay in hospital or not. It depends on you to a large extent. Do you have private insurance that would cover this? Your GP may be able to get an emergency appointment with a private psychiatrist who can offer you a bed in a private hospital. Not trying to scare you but it may be something that is raised. My psychiatrist wanted me to go to hospital when I first went to him. Unfortunately I had no insurance so of course could not afford it. I really wish I had been able to go. I was so very depressed and really quite at risk. No husband, living on my own. So I worry about everyone who feels unwell. I hope all goes well tomorrow.


Hi Mary,

Thank you for your concern. I must admit the thought of a hospital stay does scare me a bit... I hadn’t thought about that as a possible outcome of tomorrow.... I’m not sure how comfortable I would be with that to be honest... I don’t feel ‘at risk’ enough for that, but I suppose she may think differently.

I think my husband is a little scared of the situation, his first reaction was to tell me I’m not leaving the house until my doctor’s appointment tomorrow. I reassured him that I am able to resist the urge and he knows I’m actively trying to get help, so I think he feels a bit better. Still worried though. My parents definitely don’t need to know, they live 800km away and would panic.

Thanks again for the support.

Tams x

Community Member
I think I know how you feel. I know 99.9% that I would never do anything but every day a thought pops into my mind that I have to push away. I never come close to acting on it but it’s always there in my periphery

Community Member

Hi Medea78,

My thoughts used to be on the periphery but they are becoming a bit more prominent. I'm starting to worry about whether I can actually continue to resist the urge. Pretty sure it's a poor fit with my meds though, so hopefully I can overcome it fairly easily!


Hello Tams

Didn't mean to scare you with hospital. I was thinking of possible situations and perhaps giving you a heads up. It is highly unlikely you will go to a public hospital because the number of available beds is so low as to be almost non-existent. You would have to be critical to be there and I don't think you are anywhere near that. Hope that helps.

I can imagine your husband's face when you told him. I think he is worried about you, normal.

I am trying to think how I got past that stage. It is doable. I think I talked to various people a great deal and accepted whatever support I could get. I tried not to involve my children as I said above. Far too emotional for them. I also had a skilled psychiatrist who let me ramble on. I realised one day I had not had these thoughts for a while and when I made an effort to think about it I realised I had no need or desire to end my life. It was an amazing revelation.

Now when things go wrong, as they do for everyone, I find I am looking for a way to manage instead of giving up. Actually that annoys me in a way because it is so much harder to keep focussed on what I am going to do next. Maybe you can focus on what you are going to do next when these thoughts return.

So here I am getting better every day even though some days are not very good.