Woman looking out of a window

How do I know if I am suicidal?

It might sound like an obvious question. However, when you are struggling with anxiety, it often is not. Just like we worry about worry, some of us worry about whether we are suicidal or not.

We need to start with an important warning. This is a blog post, and I am not a doctor. I cannot diagnose whether you are suicidal or not. For an accurate diagnosis, you need to speak to your GP. The information in this post is designed as a guide to help you work out the next move.

What to do if you need immediate help

If you think you are suicidal and need help immediately, you should contact your emergency services. Typically you can do this by phoning 112 (it varies in some countries, for example in the UK you may use 999, or in the US you can use 911).

There are also support lines you can phone, such as Crisis Line and Samaritans.

What are clear signs of being suicidal

If you have started or thought about making plans for how you would commit suicide, that is a good indicator. For example, if you have looked into the methods or being stockpiling medication, you should speak to your doctor right away.

What are less clear signs

Death shows up a lot for anxious people. Below, I have outlined some scenarios that commonly occur, but are not necessarily a sign of being suicidal.

Thinking about death. Many people with anxiety have a preoccupation with death. They think about how they will die (not specific methods for bringing it about), what will happen after they die and what it will feel like to die.

Being scared of death. Some people get an indescribable fear of being dead. Not about dying, simply about not being alive anymore. This type of thinking is common.

Fantasising about death. Some people experience daydreams about the day they die. It might be an epic Hollywood-style scene filled with action, or a touching scene of the family gathered around the bed as you give out some final wise words.

Imagining your funeral. A lot of people worry about their funeral. However, this is not so much concern about death as it is about social status and popularity. The common worry is who will turn up to your funeral and what they will say.

Conclusion

The only person who can give you a diagnosis is a doctor. Therefore, if you have thought about suicide methods, or made any plans to take your life, you should speak them as soon as possible.

However, if this is not the case, it is useful to remember that people with anxiety think about death a lot. This type of thinking is normal and not necessarily a cause for concern.

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Published 27 February 2017. Written by Chris Worfolk.

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