How To Deal With Suicidal Thoughts When You Have Bipolar Disorder

4 steps to find the light again.
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You’re walking down the street on a sunny day. Playful birds chirp in the sunlight, adding a soundtrack to your stroll. A tiny brown chipmunk, not much bigger than a field mouse, scurries across your path, stopping every few feet to survey its surroundings before moving forward again.

Life is good. The warmth inside inspires your lips to join in and you smile from ear to ear.

Then, without warning, a burly gray beast sneaks up behind you and smashes the back of your head with the biggest rock it can carry.

Your world goes dark. The birds die and fall to the ground. The monster crushes the chipmunk into a red spot on the sidewalk.

That’s what bipolar disorder feels like. While triggers are often to blame, it’s sometimes hard to identify the cause.

Where life felt warm and beautiful just moments ago, you now struggle to see color, and dark gloom increases the gravity tenfold, pulling you to the ground.

Your day can go from dreams of attaining your future goals to doubting you can live through the next hour. The warmth inside turns to self-hatred, and ending it all feels like the only reasonable choice.

Let’s be clear. Ending your life is never the right answer. Never. But that doesn’t mean your internal bipolar voices won’t tell you it is.

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My Fight

My bipolar diagnosis came in 1995. When my doctor said the words, my blood froze in my veins. I was now one of them.

The path to recovery was long and tedious. Dozens of medications and weekly doctor visits ruled my life. I felt like my whole being became one word: bipolar. Nothing else mattered.

In the decades since, I learned how to live a full life with mental illness. Bipolar remained part of my story, but I refused to let it be the only piece people saw.

These days, I work four days a week as a tax preparer and bookkeeper and spend most of my free time creating online content. My blog, SpeakingBipolar.com, has been helping others do the same since it launched in February 2019.

Most of the time, I feel like I have everything under control. The world is a chessboard, and I’m keeping my vital pieces safe.

Then the monster comes. Even when I think there are no rocks around, he finds one and whacks me over the head. He might as well crush the sun, for in one beat of my heart, all light vanishes from my world. All the good I know loses its value, and I struggle to find the desire to even take in air.

One thought consumes my mind: I must stop living.

Watercolor painting of sunrise. | In this post, Scott Ninneman shares his personal account of living with bipolar disorder and suicidal ideation. He talks about how it feels to suffer from these conditions and offers 4 tips for finding the light again. If you're feeling lost in the darkness of bipolar disorder, this post is for you. | #mentalhealth #mentalillness #bipolar
Please share on Pinterest. Graphic created with Canva.

Finding the Light

When the darkness takes over, it’s hard to see any light. But there is always a tiny sliver of hope, even on your bleakest days.

You are not alone. Bipolar disorder affects millions of people all over the world. And while every story is different, we share a lot in common, and those similarities can give you strength.

Here are four ways to find your light again.

1. Admit You Need Help

The first step is admitting you need help. This is not a weakness. It takes more courage to seek help than it does to suffer in silence.

You don’t need anyone to tell you what you’re feeling. You also know the difference between random thoughts of self-harm that are part of everyday life and those with a more serious intent. Admit it to yourself how bad things are so you can take the next steps.

2. Reach Our for Help

Next, reach out to your support system. If you don’t have one, there are plenty of resources available to help you find one. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (call of text 988) is a great place to start.

Try not to be alone while in the darkness. You may want nothing more than solitude, but staying isolated is a risk not worth taking. By spending time with others, they can monitor how you’re doing and keep you safe.

3. Talk to a Professional

Then talk to your doctor, especially if the gloom lasts longer than a few days. They can help you come up with a treatment plan that works for you.

Long-lasting darkness may require a medication or dosage change. Your doctor may also decide to place you in a psychiatric care center for your protection. While this may sound scary, it can save your life.

4. Cling to Hope

Finally, remember that there is hope. Things might not be perfect, but they will get better. You are worth fighting for. Your life has purpose and value.

The darkness you’re feeling right now is a storm full of violent winds, but every storm ends. Let the hope of seeing the sun again give you the power you need to keep fighting.

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The Monster Sleeps

Bipolar disorder feels like a beast ransacking your life. While you can’t completely banish it, you can learn to keep it under control. The better you learn to manage your symptoms, the more often the monster will sleep.

Horrible days will happen, and there will be times you feel like you can’t hold on, but you can. I promise you.

The bipolar beast will sleep again, and you need to battle until he does. Then you can go back to enjoying the singing birds and scurrying wildlife.

Until next time, keep fighting.

Watercolor image of person walking alone in a park during fall. | In this post, Scott Ninneman shares his personal account of living with bipolar disorder and suicidal ideation. He talks about how it feels to suffer from these conditions and offers 4 tips for finding the light again. If you're feeling lost in the darkness of bipolar disorder, this post is for you. | #mentalhealth #mentalillness #bipolar
Please share on Pinterest. Graphic created with Canva.

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you for writing this. All too often posts like this or like the Bipolar ones I write never get read. Yet people who write about cancer are read. It is the prejudice against mental illness. Thank you for speaking out.

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