My Experience with Suicidal Thoughts
Trigger warning: This post involves a frank discussion of suicide and a personal experience with suicidal thoughts.
Suicide is difficult to talk about, yet, most of us have experienced suicidal thoughts or grief in the wake of suicide or suicide attempt. Even though we can never fully understand the depths of someone else's experience, it's important to acknowledge how universal experiences with suicide are. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and the purpose of acknowledging suicide is to push through silence and discomfort to remind each other we are not alone.
My Experience with Suicidal Thoughts
The first time I had serious thoughts about suicide was during my senior year of high school. I was trying to eat perfectly "healthy," as I had for the past several years. This time, though, I felt the reality of uncertainty after graduation. I began to eat less and less as the end of the school year came.
When I think about this time, my eating disorder behavior grew out of my feelings of inadequacy. The people around me seemed to know where they were going and what they were going to do. I had no plan, and I felt I had no purpose. When I stepped on the scale to measure my progress, I could focus on something immediate and changeable instead of the unknown future and responsibility ahead of me.
As I became rigid in my routines with food and exercise, I stopped meeting with my friends because I was afraid I would binge eat if there was food around. I spent most of my time alone when I started experiencing suicidal thoughts. I knew I didn't want to live the way I was, but I didn't know how to stop feeling hopeless.
One evening, I decided to meet with my friends because I knew we would all be moving away soon. We all checked in with each other, and I decided to tell them I was feeling suicidal. They listened and helped me connect with a treatment center specializing in treating eating disorders. I am grateful to this day that I asked for help.
Binge Eating Disorder and Suicidal Thoughts
A few years ago, right before I moved to a new state, one of my friends died by suicide. I was living alone for the first time in an unfamiliar city, and the complicated grief and confusion following my friend's death began to settle in.
In the aftermath of my friend's suicide, I felt unsteady and disconnected from the positive things in my life. I did not have words to explain how I was feeling. In retrospect, I felt suicidal. I felt severed from the pace of the world and the people around me. I felt as if there was something wrong with me that made me incapable of functioning as normal people did.
I started restricting food during the day. At night, I'd come home from work and binge eat. The cycle of restricting and binge eating became a routine. I binged to escape the discomfort of loneliness and feeling lost in my life. Binge eating served as a temporary comfort, but most mornings, I woke up feeling lower than the day before.
A change began when I reached out for help. My writing teacher at the time connected me to a therapist who specialized in treating eating disorders. I was able to start sharing all the heaviness I'd been holding onto. My eating slowly became balanced, and I began the process of rebuilding myself.
If you are struggling with binge eating disorder (BED) or experiencing suicidal ideation, please don't wait to ask someone for help. The cycle of binge eating is too much to bear alone. Someone you know might have experienced something similar and might have a specific resource to share with you. Please also visit our resource page to get the help and support you need. If you feel that you may hurt yourself or someone else, call 9-1-1 immediately.
In this video, I talk about experiencing loneliness during recovery. Conversation and connection are lifelines during recovery. I discuss how you can connect with others who are specifically recovering from BED.
If you feel that you may hurt yourself or someone else, call 9-1-1 immediately.
For more information on suicide, see our suicide information, resources, and support section. For additional mental health help, please see our mental health hotline numbers and referral information section.
Parten, E. (2022, September 6). My Experience with Suicidal Thoughts , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, November 30 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/bingeeatingrecovery/2022/9/my-experience-with-suicidal-thoughts