IMPORTANT NOTE: In this post, I share my deeply personal experience with the suicidal urge—what it taught me, how it saved me, and why I now see it as the beautiful messenger it is. If this concept feels controversial to you, or triggers strong emotion, this article may not be for you. The decision to read it is yours, so please take care of yourself if you decide to engage. If you notice any overwhelming feelings, STOP and get the support you need. If you're currently in crisis or feeling suicidal, call your local crisis or suicide hotline immediately.
I was fourteen years old the first time I felt the suicidal urge.
It came on like a flash flood, like dark water engulfing me.
This wasn’t normal teenage angst.
It was an overwhelming rush of emotional pain that pulled me down and held me under.
Had it been water, I would have fought to save myself. I would have thrashed my way to the surface so I could breathe the sweet breath of life.
But it wasn’t.
It was pain of the highest order. An unyielding garrison that's been misunderstood for centuries.
I know now, that my psyche was ringing the loudest bell it had access to—that it was using the language of my body in a heroic attempt to save me.
LISTEN TO ME! Something's wrong and it must be corrected!
Because something was wrong.
I’d been witnessing the breaking of children for years and was suffocating in
my sense of powerlessness.
My inability to communicate this injustice was so painful, so intolerable, I was coming undone.
By 14, I was on the verge of an emotional breakdown.
That’s the thing about the suicidal urge. It shows up when things have veered so far off course you're in danger of losing yourself.
Karla McLaren, author of The Language of Emotions says it best.
"The suicidal urge appears when the difference between who you are in your deepest self and who you've become in the world is so extreme it can no longer be tolerated." Karla McLaren