General Question

danimal's avatar

Is thinking about suicide the same thing as thinking about commiting suicide?

Asked by danimal (63points) September 22nd, 2009

Throughout time I have always found myself thinking about suicide. What it would be like to do such an act, I imagine situations where I could leave the biggest imprint of I did decide to do so. How EPIC could i make it? or would i just mastermind a plan on how to do it so nobody will ever really know, a mystery.

I never really actually thought about doing this, but I do realize that the frequency in which I do think about it has a lot to do with my mood. Now while I’m sure I’m not going to commit suicide, I wonder if it is generally unhealthy to think about this, or if its just the same?

Its always just thoughts before somebody does it.

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37 Answers

deni's avatar

I think about suicide because it is an extremely interesting occurence that I can’t even wrap my brain around. I’m not depressed, I’d never kill myself, but it’s mindblowing to think how someone could physically and mentally do such a thing. I don’t think its unhealthy.

I was just wondering if looking at pictures of dead people with extreme interest is unhealthy. But humans are curious, and that’s all you and I are about suicide and corpses, too!

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

If you’re thinking about it constantly, it’s not good.

chyna's avatar

You need to realize that no matter how big the imprint you leave in committing suicide, you won’t be here to know about it. You won’t know how many people were at your funeral, how many people were crying, how beautiful a service it was. Because you will be dead. It is not romantic, it is not beautiful, it is horrible. You leave behind people that are affected for life over your decision to commit suicide. If you are really thinking about taking your life, talk to someone. If you think it will be just a cool thing to do for attention, talk to someone.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I often think the same thing. There is a pattern of suicide in my father’s family. I was intrigued to read of a genetic predisposition that has to do with brain chemistry. Perhaps the thinking about it is an indicator of chemical imbalance, but not one that is profound enough to incite action.

Beta_Orionis's avatar

Although I’ve been depressed many times in my life, and have often thought about similar scenarios, and the thoughts have also coincided with my moods, I know I would never commit suicide. It’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I think it’s more of a mental exercise and a manifestation of weird moods than anything. I’m sure you can call up a number of ridiculous, outrageous, and sometimes downright disturbing or obsurd things that drift across your mind during the course of a day, but none of them are things you’d do in real life. Am I right?

Unless you’re thinking about how great it would be to be gone, etc., I don’t think thoughts about suicide are the same as suicidal thoughts. Being suicidal means you’re seriously contemplating the action, not just pondering the concept.

dpworkin's avatar

It’s called suicidal ideation, and it is a symptom of depression. Depression is very amenable to treatment, which I suggest you seek.

SeventhSense's avatar

Perfectly normal but obsession and planning can be an issue.

DarkScribe's avatar

I wonder about it, back when I was first diagnosed with metastatic cancer I made preparations for it, but now that I have managed to reach remission it is no longer an issue. At the time I regarded it as simply going to sleep – a pleasant experience when tired, but not waking again.

Beta_Orionis's avatar

@chyna while this is a touchy subject, and I know it hits very close to home for many of us and we want to reach out if the situation is serious, I think that by expressing that the thought of action hasn’t occured to him, the o.p. realizes that it impacts those you leave behind and that it is not beautiful, etc.

skfinkel's avatar

I would guess that many people have a moment or two of such deep anger that the best way out or to “show them” would be to kill oneself. Clearly, thinking such thoughts are not the same as acting on them. Most people quickly realize there is little to be gained and much to be lost by suicide. But it sure would cause pain to the ones who love you. Perhaps it would be a good idea to talk with someone about your anger—not because you may do something harmful to yourself, but because you are having such feelings that are not making you feel good.

Kraigmo's avatar

I don’t know the real statistics. But i’ve known far more people to think of their own suicide as a subject in their mind, than who have actually tried it. Some people just like to be aware of all their options if the shtt hits the fan.

ritzcraka's avatar

Don’t do it, man!

ritzcraka's avatar

We need you here!

ritzcraka's avatar

Ailia is taking a while…

ritzcraka's avatar

Ignore that last one.

Ailia's avatar

No it is not the same thing as actually doing it, of course, but if the idea is already plaguing your mind then I think you need to seek help. I’ve known friends and family of people who have commited suicide and that in itself is enough to repulse me forever. Not only that but the idea that you have just forcefully tossed your life into a landfill. Never to be full with life again. Instead of wasting your time with suicidal thoughts, why don’t you help someone else? I know when I’m feeling really blue that if I help someone else it eliminates or takes away my stresses. Even if you’re just thinking about it, I would highly recommend alternatives to such a heinous act. Because as everyone should know, suicide can never be undone. AND I MEAN NEVER. So just keep that in my mind….. @ritzcraka Yeah, but I had to edit it a couple of times to make it okay. Even though I want to say a lot more. As suicide has affected me a lot this past year and I think no one should ever consider it an option no matter what their circumstances are. And I firmly believe that.

casheroo's avatar

No, actually committing suicide would mean you were dead. Thinking about it can’t kill you..but it’s unhealthy.

Syger's avatar

No it is not. Anyone can toy with the idea and have no honest motive or reason behind it.

actually; I’m going to edit that out. I don’t want to deal with defending my thoughts today

dpworkin's avatar

No hate, but I would appreciate a citation, unless you are making a circular argument. Circular argument is a rhetorical fallacy called petitio principii and it is empty of logic.

trailsillustrated's avatar

its called ‘ideation’ and no its not the same-but you need help anyways, cause it’s taking up too much of your time and probably totally frustrating your friends and family.

efritz's avatar

Obviously thinking about doing something will make it more likely that you’ll do it . . . although I’m pretty sure everyone has these thoughts from time to time. I used to have these thoughts too, but only as a sort of revenge fantasy, or just idle thought . . . which in my opinion doesn’t do much harm.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Studies do show that suicidal ideation is a way of mentally practicing suicide. It is not mentally healthy. However just generally thinking about suicide now and again does not mean you will commit it, it is perfectly “normal” and healthy to think about suicide.

The real determination of how healthy or “normal” your thinking about suicide is lies with how much you think about it and how much detail you are using while thinking about it. To me it seems like you are thinking about it a bit to much and in a bit too much detail.

For this reason I would suggest having a simple suicide assessment done by a counselor or just asking this question to a trusted adult. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing either of those things. I don’t know if this applies to you or not but if you are a minor it is good to know that in most areas you could talk with a counselor without your parents being told if you would like to.

DarkScribe's avatar

@Syger No it is not. Anyone can toy with the idea and have no honest motive or reason behind it.

Not when they constantly “toy” with the same idea. The OP starts with “Throughout time I have always…”

Not quite an idle moment toying with a concept – is it?

dpworkin's avatar

At the very least it raises a question. Again, depression is the one mental disease most amenable to treatment, and it can be fatal if left untreated. It would seem the better part of valor to schedule an examination with a therapist.

SeventhSense's avatar

I will be present at my funeral observing everything from a parallel universe but just devoid of my monkey suit.

Adagio's avatar

Sometimes life throws us some pretty curly ones. I think it’s perfectly natural to contemplate suicide when something really difficult is presented to us. Sometimes just knowing that we can actually exit, albeit that the way is final and that a lot of hurt people get left behind in the wake, actually enables us to take another step. Suddenly, staying with it becomes a choice and not something forced upon us. For quite a number of years I have faced a life debilitating illness and suicide is something I think about from time to time, not a lot, but regularly, every few months. I do not think of it as unhealthy but rather a part of coming to terms with what is happening and reminding myself that I can choose to quit if I need to, if it becomes too much. It may be hard for someone else to understand but the realisation is empowering in a way that I cannot explain having said all this I must add that I do not imagine I would ever have the guts to actually commit suicide

I would suggest that anybody who focuses on suicide excessively or obsessively would do well by speaking to a professional about their thought processes. They might find there are other perspectives from which to view a situation that, from their present standpoint, seems too big and completely insurmountable.

seventeen123's avatar

I can understand where you’re coming from. I swear on my life these thoughts turn more serious every time you let yourself “just” think about it.. It turns from “what if” to “how I’d do it” & when you allow yourself to think about suicide you become indifferent to living.
You don’t take much seriously because you’re just like -what the heck i can just kill myself.. & you don’t realize how much you mean to people, because the entire time you’re focused on yourself & how it doesn’t make a difference that you live.
It is very very unhealthy to think this way.
If you don’t put a stop to it it’ll become a really frequent train of thought.
I’ve been there & it’s one of the most dangerous mind situations because you don’t take it as seriously as you should.
It’s not a game. You should really find some help man.

pathfinder's avatar

I though about it allso.The reason why I did not do that was this.If you are alone than you can do that but if you are not don t do that.It is like when you start with live as same as with death.allways existed choise to avoid the suicide.If not….....................

valdasta's avatar

As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

All our actions start in our mind; some of those thoughts are manifested in action, while others we refrain from. Again, we might act on those thoughts, but to a lesser degree or different avenue (e.g. thinking about having your neighbor’s wife, but masturbating instead).

I agree with anyone who has told you that you shouldn’t take your thoughts lightly.

wundayatta's avatar

I’ve written about my issues with suicide a lot here. There is, of course, a kind of hierarchy of ways of thinking about it. Theoretical thinking about it is quite different from planning it. Thinking of it as a way of relieving unrelenting pain is different from thinking of it as a release from temporary pain, or as a way to get revenge on people who have hurt you.

It can also be therapeutic, I believe. It can be really hard for people to think about it this way, but when I was depressed, and it seemed to me that the depression would never lift—ever—I had an experience where I wanted to make a suicide pact with a depressed friend. We were discussing methods, and the more we got into it, the more hysterical it became. Eventually, we were laughing so hard, it hurt. After that, it was hard to take it as seriously as I had before that conversation.

When the thoughts come, so far, I have always had that voice in the back of my head saying ‘yeah, but you’ll never really do it.’ I sure thought about it a lot. It’s also kind of frightening that 20% of people with my brain disorder (bipolar) don’t survive, according to my shrink, who is a pretty big deal researcher in the field (i.e., I think his data are trustworthy).

It still gives me an unsettling feeling, writing about it, as I am here. My heart is feeling heavy—sinking into my tightening stomach. I guess it could be a kind of post traumatic stress syndrome. I think part of the reason I write about it is to desensitize myself to the memories.

One good thing is that it is becoming hard for me to imagine that time when I thought the pain would never end. I’ve come a long way since then. A weird thing is that when I think about it, I feel like Odysseus listening to the Sirens. There’s a part of me, as stupid as it sounds, that wants to be depressed again. There was a certain comfort in giving up all hope. I no longer had to do anything once it became impossible to do anything.

I think that most suicide thinking is about desperately wanting help—usually love and acceptance. Even when the depression is beyond your control, the only thing that seems to make a difference is finding out that people love you or appreciate you. I never believed it, but it did make a difference.

I don’t believe anyone who commits suicide truly wants to do it. I think they believe there is no other choice except unrelenting pain. Sometimes anger, too. Usually it’s just pain, because thinking about the impact that taking your own life has on others often keeps you from doing it. Doing it in anger (at those you believe think they would be better off if you were dead) is a different kind of thing, although also an implicit quest for help.

Well, as you can see, I’ve thought about it in a pathological way. It was beyond theory for me. It was a cure I didn’t want, but sometimes believed was the only option to pain. People kept telling me to wait. It will get better. Just wait. Don’t do anything while you feel this way. You aren’t making the same decisions you would make if you didn’t feel this way (duh).

I don’t know if I wish they had said, “it can get better,” instead of “it will get better.” Does one generate more hope than the other? I think one is more honest, and at a time like that, hearing lies can be helpful, but it can also be counterproductive.

I think that people are great believers that hearing (supposedly) more realistic reminders of the esteem in which one is held can be a way to “talk people down” from the railing of the bridge. I was perfectly aware of the consequences and of another reality, but it didn’t seem to matter. What mattered for me was being able to accept myself as a person who wanted to die. Somehow, giving in to it, helped me get out of it.

I guess that’s why I still think about it and feel it. I am reminding myself that I can’t stop the thoughts. I can only accept that I think and feel this way.

Thoughts, though, are not actions. Plans also are not actions. Thoughts can lead to action. Plans place you even closer to action. Standing on the railing of the bridge (or buying the gun and ammunition, or saving enough pills, or asking someone who loves you to help) puts you even closer. Once you step off the railing or pull the trigger, you’re gone. Pills draw the process out so you have a possibility of being rescued. From what I understand, once the thoughts turn to planning—that’s when you have to start worrying. When the plans bring you to the edge of the point of no return, you gotta really worry. I haven’t been there, yet. I hope I never get there. And if I do, I hope I never pass that point.

I believe that life is really the only gift. Giving it back isn’t very polite. Nor is it revocable. I have grown to think that kindness to others is perhaps the most important thing in life. I would hate to be thought of as essentially a rude person. Even if I weren’t around to know what I had done.

Sorry about rambling on so long about this. Sometimes I think I need to remind myself of why I am doing this. Living, I mean.

toleostoy's avatar

After reading this question I am thinking about suicide without any intention of committing suicide. I’m not wondering how I would do it or anything like that. Does that answer your question at all?

larslines's avatar


It is my belief that people that draws to, or think of suicide. have some unusual quality that all of us should be allowed to have knowledge of. If possible, get out of the dark, and participate. Open a new blog community for the case of Good. – And I mean Good with two oo’s. For all I know, the use of one o might do just as well.

larslines's avatar

The world is made out of…nothing, and by nothing, we understand…

wundayatta's avatar

@larslines That sounds deep, but I don’t really think I understand what you are talking about. What is so unusual about suicidal thinking? What benefit do you think there is from such thinking? What good might come of it?

SeventhSense's avatar

There’s much to learn from the shadow side of personality. Whole societies are affected by ignoring it. Fundamentalist religions have at various times in history repressed it and with results of acts of self destructive terrorism. Picture perfect communities which deny it have birthed Columbine type behavior. The need to understand what we try to hide from ourselves is beneficial to the growth of humanity. Perhaps we can avoid senseless acts of brutality and violence such as war if we can investigate our darkest fantasies and fears exposing them to the light of day. There’s much to be had by going into the dark.

wundayatta's avatar

@SeventhSense I think you have made a very good point. Repression makes it difficult to deal with problems.

zzc's avatar

I have Alzheimer’s disease in my family. I essentially don’t have family. My friends know that, if I develop it, I hope to end my life while still having the where with all to do it. I watched the progression in my aunt and Mom. For a very long time, my Mom knew what was happening to her. It shred my heart. It does not get better.

I have talked two people out of committing suicide by telling them about botched suicides. Men who intend to use a gun in their mouth….but shoot their face off/eye out/do brain damage/ leave two holes where their nose used to be etc. Both said THEY would make it WORK! I went on to explain people are not at their best at such times, there are no assurances. Someone wanting to end the agony, can jump…..but end up with broken legs, ankles, pelvis, skull etc. instead. People who take pills can cause brain or organ damage, not kill themselves and live on, perhaps not lucidly. As one person said, “it’s not romantic”, it can actually make the agony, from which you sought relief, worse. There are botched suicides every day. It’s an incredibly painful, complicated scenario. Being presented with this shockingly frank reality, bought time for both people to be helped.
I think everyone has thought about suicide, if for no other reason than to establish how they feel about it. “Thinking about THINKING ABOUT SUICIDE” can be another step before seriously contemplating suicide for yourself, then there is “A Man With A Plan”, as it’s sometimes referred to That’s an emergency. I believe a person needs to be aware that it’s a red flag to be in the stage of “Thinking about THINKING ABOUT SUICIDE” and get help so it doesn’t progress further.

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