How a teen described his suicidal episode

After a stay in a psych hospital following suicidal thoughts with a plan, a 16-year-old high school student described his suicidal intensity as two peaks happening in a twenty-minute period.

He said as the emotional pain got worse (peaked), the more he wanted to end it.

Then it eased off and that was a period where he had more fear and wasn’t so sure he wanted to die (ambivalence about death). Then he said there was one more peak, more intense than the last, when he really felt worthless, that the world would be better off without him. After that, he said he felt like he had a hangover although he had not had anything to drink. It also frightened him.

He managed to endure it without attempting but he very much wanted to tell and texted his counselor, told him, and gave that social worker permission to tell his parents. The young man didn’t want to tell his parents face-to-face.

Since that description, others with lived experience have described it similarly. Not all but many. Some tell me their episodes last five minutes with similar activity and others have said two hours. One person told me most of her episodes throughout her life have been about fifteen minutes with one lone episode lasting seven hours with several peaks and valleys. She said it was unbearable but she survived it and it made the twenty-minute ones easier to endure. This person has since found a medication that quiets those thoughts.

If you have lived experience and are in recovery, do educate us on what yours have been like. I’m grateful to all who have shared their experiences with me so I would understand, so the rest of you might understand.

Quote from a person who suffers from suicidal thoughts currently:

…”I didn’t really understand when you said that moment of actually wanting to hurt yourself doesn’t last long. Today, I experienced it. For a brief moment, I was going to do it and then I was ok. I realize if I can get thru that brief moment then I was still sad and upset but could reason. That was huge because I didn’t understand how it could be so short but I witnessed it.”

The peaks in the episode last about 60-90 seconds or less. Brutal seconds but know that it will fade like all emotions do. And while you won’t feel like skipping through a meadow with a basket of muffins, you will have relief from the intense brain pain.

Published by

AnneMoss Rogers

AnneMoss Rogers is a mental health and suicide education expert, mental health speaker, suicide prevention trainer and consultant. She is author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW. She raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost her younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. She is a motivational speaker who empowers by educating and provides life saving strategies and emotionally healthy coping skills. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now that's the legacy she carries forward in her son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website.

2 thoughts on “How a teen described his suicidal episode”

  1. Hi thank goodness for this website I am so happy I am on the right track thank goodness for your support I was just reading all of this my older brother is in college now he is doing well there but he has been going through a very hard time as a teenager he was bullied constantly in high school my sister was always very abusive towards him but he moved out now and they are better my grandparents were always being mean and dismissive about his mental Illness they told him he has such a great life and he wants to do this to himself he is the only one who is bringing himself down. They even told my brother this is your fault for being the way you are if you cared about us you would not commit suicide. This was a very hard journey for me and him especially since all this happend. I tried to tell them mental illness is a very hard thing to live with you would know if this was you I told my grandparents. It made me feel very sad he also struggles with extreame anxiety fear sadness depression bipolar suicidal thoughts anger and aggression issues focusing issues he is also very traumatized all the years of how he was treated in the school year. He also started isolating himself very much only staying by himself has never wanted to make friends became socially withdrawed he has lost interest in all daily activities to the point where nothing can help him at this point but to get help. He says even to this day I dread talking to anyone and I have continued to have hallucinations and delusions combined with all the stress that take a toll on my social life physical life spiritual life and mental life. We tried many doctors then thank goodness we found the right one at one point he was doing better on meds and with different therapy but the meds made it all worse at one point. Causing him to act out on command delusions very hard he was just like I don’t know what to do it all feels so hard. The one thing made him lash out the most is he got dangerously upset at my sister one night and grandparents because they were being mean to him all together and he came and told me , I am so upset right now I could literally kill them in a thousand ways if I wanted to. I had to get him professional help and we had to go to the ER because I found on his phone and in his room all these pictures and notes of him harming himself and others around him and the world he told me I would never do that I am just in a lot of mental anguish right now but they said definitely if someone becomes dangerously mentally I’ll like that you don’t know where they could take it to what level. We found pictures and notes of drawings of major killings of people he was drawing and depictions and himself. Thank goodness I took him to get tested though and I am writing to you for extra help and support for him he is better but still needs lots of intervention for these kinds of things. I am relieved I could find you thank-you so much you are the best! If I did not get my brother help we don’t know where he could be at this point. They were scared for him to the special doctor said he was a danger to himself and others those days when it was happening one day they said he scored a 13.2 level of suffering mental anguish with suicidal and homicidal tendencies. Do you think that is a dangerously high number I can’t feel that myself but that must feel like terrible mental anguish to him he even told me it feels like the worst thing. I think the worst part about this one is he has multiple mental health problems at one time. They started off very small but then got bigger as went along. The only thing we could do is get him hostipitilized. It has taken a toll on me seeing what he has gone through so terrifying. I will keep updating you on how he is doing. He came back from college he is better but they make sure to watch him carefully because anything could strike. I woke up one night I don’t know what it was there was no noise but something just woke me up it was my gut instinct and I felt panicked when I woke up to and guess what I saw he was headed towards my sisters room with a knife. So SCARY I tried to talk to him he was feeling delusions very hard and the paranoia and suicide turned into homicidal rage. So I told him we need to go to the emergency room immediately he cooperated he talked to me about his feelings thank goodness I took him in the car we got there they had him in there for at least a week. Making sure he was ok. INOVA we went to. I comforted him the whole time I also had my sister stay over at my grandparents while this was going on they said it could be a while but they said he should not be around anyone or any activities for 2 months until this goes away he felt sad and he said he would be better and he wanted to leave the hostility he begged to but I told him and comforted him I’m sorry we can’t this is dangerous to you and others. Just like any other organ in the body I told him if I had been sick with COVID I need to quarantine myself meaning if his brain is not working the correct way right now we need to let it get better. He is doing better though now and I will keep you posted for any changes. Thankyou for your support it helps me to be supportive of him when he goes through this to.

    1. First, I wish I had a brother like you! You are so dedicated!

      He definitely needs meds for the psychosis. Has he ever taken lithium? Homicidal and suicidal thoughts do happen together especially in young men. When in psychosis he has less control over his actions. How the family has treated him has not helped his situation but thankfully he has you. You must be so scared. So he does need meds for the psychotic episodes for sure. Is he bipolar?

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