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No longer "depressed," but still suicidal...

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I'm a guy, 31 yrs old.  I've been taking Lexapro for maybe 3 years now.  When I began, I was depressed and suicidal. The Lex has worked very well for me--rather than being "down" all the time, my mood is usually pretty good, and I barely ever get emotional.  My girlfriend tells me I don't seem depressed anymore, and I really don't FEEL depressed anymore.

That said, I'm still suicidal.  I had thought that once the depression passed, these thoughts would disappear along with it.  But despite my vastly improved mood, I still want to kill myself--I just don't feel upset about it anymore!  It's not that my life is so terrible, I just don't feel that it's worth the hassle, don't see what the big deal is.  It's a decision that I've really come to grips with over the past couple of years, and I feel almost completely at peace about it.  I wouldn't even be writing this post, but for a notion that I have some moral obligation to least go through the motions of trying to "save" myself.  This clearly isn't "normal" depression, right?!

The only thing about the prospect of suicide that causes me any distress at all, in fact, is the thought of how it will effect my girlfriend and my family.  That has been very painful for me.  But I came to the conclusion some time ago that I can't keep living my life just for other people--if I can't live it for myself, I shouldn't be living it at all.  I have postponed the act several times, so as not to spoil my brother's wedding, or to wait for my girlfriend to find a new job so she'll be financially independent, etc.  But I also know that there's no such thing as a time that would be convenient to my loved ones for me to kill myself.  I will just have to say goodbye as best I can, and they will have to find a way to accept it.

So there it is.  Has anyone ever heard of a case like this before, where there are serious suicidal intentions without any other real symptoms of depression?  Anyone have any suggestions? 

It doesn't seem to me that switching meds is the answer, since the Lexapro has worked very well at combatting the depression itself.  I'd hate to go through all the withdrawal symptoms without any real reason.

I know everyone loves to suggest therapy, but it's just not for me.  I tried it for the first 6 months or so, twice-a-week, and I hated it.  On the good days it was a complete waste of time; on the bad days it pissed me off and made things worse.  I even tried two different therapists, to see if it was the person that was the problem.  I never learned anything about myself I didn't already know; I didn't gain any useful insights, perspective, or advice--not even once.  I just wasted time spilling my guts to a nitwit who sat there nodding her head, occassionally offering up some inane palliative.  I know therapy can be very helpful for some people, but I just don't think I'm one of those people.

For similar reasons, I just can't imagine calling a suicide hotline or anything like that.  Maybe I could use some help of some sort, but I'm not desperate, and I'm not depressed, so I'm not really sure what sort of help I need.

Absent any other brilliant ideas, I'm now posting my problems on the internet, to be dissected by a bunch of complete strangers.  Ha! (LOL, even though I know it would probably be more appropriate to be sad or crying or something)  If anyone has any experience with a situation like this, personal or otherwise, I'm open to any advice.  If not, no biggee--thx for reading.

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Probably no big help, but I have suicidal thoughts every day. I crave death sometimes to a maddening degree. Sometimes I'm depressed, but mostly I'm just disfunctional and apathetic. I think about death, dream about death, romanticize about death and pretty much live and breath it most days. I am trying to get out of this, but it still takes up a good deal of my thoughts.

As you said, my biggest sorrow is the sadness this will cause my boyfriend and my dad. Andrew, my bf has asked me to try and write down reasons to live. things that I want to do etc....pretty pitiful list so far, but it's a start.  I really don't know how to help you, as I feel that suicide is a personal choice issue.  All that I can offer up is to perhaps deeply consider all of the reasons why you want to end your life. Deep self questioning may turn up some answers. Also, I have found through my own personal experience that some medications,just seem to lower my self preservation. Effexor seems to make my desire to end my life worse, but my doc is reluctant to allow me to quit taking it. Like today, I'm not particularly any mood at all, likely due to the Lamictal, but life just seems like too big of a tangle to face for the rest of my natural life span. I'm too apathetic to go off myself, but the thought is always there. You may actually question if the Lexapro is helping you or giving you suicidal ideations...just because it isn't listed as a side effect, doesn't mean that it may not be the problem. Perhaps doing a little research on Lexapro would turn up some interesting information.

No matter what I hope that you find peace

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On Lexapro, I felt flat, no emotions, not down, not up and not able to kick the "I wish I were dead" thoughts but also no gumption to do ANYTHING.  I stuck it out because we also thought it was helping the depression but when I didn't actually improve, the doc changed rx and now, 6 months later, I truly FEEL better.

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I'm no doc but I think being suicidal is a huge symptom of depression, psychosis or mixed phase.  I know what you mean, been there.  Sometimes its suicidal intrusive thoughts.  Some meds kill intrusive thoughs esp. atypical APs.  Check your options.  Its not good to mess with suicidal ideas, almost died once cause of a smart idea like that. You should talk to your doc asap. 


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Hi, and welcome,

I kind of know what you mean. Even when I'm not depressed, the idea of suicide is kind of default state that exists just beneath consciousness. Whenever things get difficult, there it is.

But, if the Lexapro is doing well for you other than the suicidal thoughts, you owe it to yourself to at least try somethingelse. Switching between SSRIs doesn't generally cause the withdrawal effects that so many people get. And even then, it's somewhere around 30 - 40% of people who experience them. So, it's not a sure thing by a long shot.

Self murder leaves a legacy of sadness, chaos and despair in its wake. That's something I don't want to pass on. If my life is worth anything, maybe it's just to not inflict the end results of my depression onto my family and children.

You are clearly a responder to medicine, based on the good the Lexapro has done you so far. You deserve and are worth more than one shot at medication to manage depression.


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When I talked to my tdoc about this a few weeks ago, she said that it was likely just a matter of habit. I think she's right. I've spent decades thinking about suicide and have tried it a few times. It's my constant companion. Now that I'm emerging (I hope) from a two year depressive episode, I still think of suicide even though I'm having basically even days. PBF suggested atypical APs for intrusive thoughts -- it's worth looking into. I was on Abilify for a while and it did seem to help my intrusive thoughts before it pooped out.

Coming out of a depression, as you are doing on Lexapro, is also a dangerous time for suicide. It's not really surprising that you still consider it to be on the table. That said, you still might want to think of it as a habit of mind that you need to break. When the thought occurs, as my tdoc told me, tell yourself that it's inappropriate. That has worked for me to some degree, but I still think of suicide. But I'm working on it.

For the people in your life it would be just too inexplicable for you to take your life now. If you were in a deep intractable depression it would be understandable to them, but right now it would just leave them so puzzled, bewildered, and self-recriminating. Don't do it.


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Hi CI99, and welcome to the boards!

I can completely relate to the sucidal feelings that you describe.  For a while, tolerated it because it wasn't the same as the complete despair and agony I felt when I was unmedicated, but it wasn't a pleasant existence.

I have since gone back to my pdoc and have had my meds tweaked, and am now feeling much much much much better. So, IMHO, you should go talk to your pdoc.

BTW, whether you decide to switch meds or not, stay with these boards for support.  I'd say that most of us here know how difficult changing medications can be, and folks are pretty helpful on CB.

Take Care,


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Hey there,

I will add my two-cents worth. I think that you have been given quite a few good insights. Suicidal thinking has become a habit for you. You were so used to thinking of it, but it is a habit that can be broken. I say that from someone who has tried it, got better, and kept thinking about suicide all the time. It was my companion, it was the escape route for when things got tough. However, like I said it is a habit and I am breaking that habit. Not all habits are good, especially when picked up in the midst of a depressive episode. Another habit that I picked up and am also learing to change is self-medicating with alcohol. Maybe you can see more clearly that this is just a habit, it doesn't make sense, not when I was down, and not now that I am feeling better. It is still a habit and I am still trying to break it. So the fact of these thoughts persisting does not validate them.

Give yourself some more time. Medications may need to be adjusted, and I personally would suggest having another try at therapy.

I think what you want is peace and to feel better, maybe you are looking at it from the point of view of a cessation of pain and suffering. There are several ways to do that. I will ask that you not count suicide to be one of those ways.

Stick with us. Keep posting and reading, you will find many answers here and when you share you gain.

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CrazyIndeed -

I'm right there with you; the suicidal ideation is the last of my symptoms to leave.  I'm not going to say that I completely disagree with the "habit" theory, but I can tell you that in my case getting rid of the suicidal thoughts has been a matter of finding the right combination of medications.  Effexor smites my depression pretty handily, but I still struggled with suicidal thinking until my pdoc added a little Wellbutrin to my meds.  The thoughts dropped off significantly.

Remember, suicidal ideation is a symptom of depression, and you may find relief with medication, with therapy, or both.  You can get clear of it.


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Thx for the replies, guys. 

For me, it's not so much that suicidal thoughts are just a habit left-over from when I was depressed.  At least that's not the way I experience it. It's not an idea that just pops into my head sometimes when I'm down, or even at random, because that's what i used to think about.  When I'm upset or down, i don't think about hurting myself at all, actually--i'm usually just a little pissed off about whatever the problem is, which i think is normal. 

It's more like i've made a reasoned decision that suicide is what i want--i've thought about it, considered alternatives, settled on it, and come to grips with it 100%.  When i'm thinking about it, i'm usually in a fine mood, actually.  It's just something that requires some thought, like paying the bills each month, or putting together a list for grocery shopping, whatever.  But it's not the kind of thing I can just tell myself, "hey, you're only thinking about this because you were depressed, make yourself stop."  I mean, I've practically been scheduling my life around it.  If it weren't for just plain laziness and procrastination, I'd probably have all my loose ends tied up by now and be ready to go. 

So to me, these just don't seem like idle thoughts left over from when I was depressed.  Which is why, given that i really do feel fine, i didn't think changing medications would make any sense.  It was interesting to hear that a med change like adding some wellbutrin could address suicidal ideation even after depression is gone.  Not sure that scenario really applies to me exactly, but maybe it's worth a shot.  I've got nothing to lose, after all ;)   Thx all.

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What do you do for a living?

You don't have to answer to everyone...but that was the first thing that came to mind as I read your post.

Maybe you just feel like there is no meaning, in an existential sort of way, to your life.  It seems to me that if you were spending your time feeling truly alive (and since occupation takes up alot of our time) you might feel more at peace with your exsistence. 

I don't want to get into the religion blah blah blah crap, but in my opinion, we are all here occupying this particular point in time and space for a reason.  Your body made it this far for the past 31 years to be sitting here reading this at this exact moment.  Maybe you don't believe that...but even in evolutionary terms, you have made it this far for SOME purpose.

And my last thought....maybe it wasn't the therapist...maybe it was the TYPE of therapy you were going to?  CBT is great for recognizing thoughts, relabling, etc....but it sounds like you've got that part.  Maybe you could explore a more deep, existential, logotherapy orientation?

P.S.  Have you read Victor Frankl's, Man's Search for Meaning?  Seems up your alley...

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  • 2 weeks later...


sorry touch subject for me I made it thru to maybe the 3rd paragraph

I say why not involve yourself in a sport or even better a job that is high risk???

When is the last time you had a close call ~~say almost involved in an accident?

What happens, do you treasure life more or is it just a blip on your radar.

I'm not trying to be flip or mean & nasty

My feeling is that when life is almost taken away from us we treasure it

There are lots of adrenaline junkies out and about

they choose high risk jobs, high risk sports and they are considered sane.

So what's up lately?

edited to try and make some sense out of my own post? cause this topic is so stressful for me that I get incoherant as all get out, really ;)

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CrazyIndeed -

The fact that you have settled on suicide, in a rational fashion, as what you want, suggests to me that you are still under the influence of depressive thinking, even though you may not realize it.  Suicide is by definition an irrational act, because it relies upon information (the nature of death) that humankind does not possess. You cannot rationally weigh all factors because information on all factors is not available.  The Cerberus Little Wonder Analytic-O-Matic BrainTM is constantly probing the justifications for my own personal decision, and has yet to find the concrete, unassailable rationale.  I do remember the first time that it seemed obvious to me that suicide was the rational answer, but some little part of my sane mind kicked in and said, "Um... guy... that's just nuts."  And I knew then that the rational argument was just the disease talking.

As biological organisms, we are in fact wired against suicide, as it is antithetical to the survival of our species and our individual survival instincts.  Animals, almost without exception, do not regularly commit suicide as a matter of choice.  Accounts of "suicide" among octopi (a relatively intelligent animal, with mental abilities on a par with a cat's) are explained in an interesting article here, and the myth of lemming suicide is addressed here.  Interpretations of cetacean (whale/dolphin) beachings as suicide are by no means conclusive, and subject to various theories of causes ranging from accident to interference from man-made electromagnetic and sonar interference.  In almost every documented case of an animal appearing to attempt suicide, the causes involve significant unnatural stresses (often human-caused) for which the animal is poorly equipped.  "Suicides" such as spiders that allow their young to eat them are not committing suicide in the way we are discussing; rather, they are responding to an inherent drive to ensure the survival of offspring.

I offer all of this in the hope of challenging that part of your mind that finds suicide such an obvious solution.

And, for a perspective deeper still than science, I would refer you to John Donne:

No man is an island,

Entire of itself.

Each is a piece of the continent,

A part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea,

Europe is the less.

As well as if a promontory were.

As well as if a manner of thine own

Or of thine friend's were.

Each man's death diminishes me,

For I am involved in mankind.

Therefore, send not to know

For whom the bell tolls,

It tolls for thee.


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Hi CI99-

I'm Bipolar 1/psychotic symptoms and a 27-year-old woman. My father committed suicide last year, same DX as me. I can tell you, from the standpoint of someone who has loved and lost, that there has never been anything that has, or ever could, destroy me more inside. Only losing my mother- who is also MDD and a walking suicide or heart attack- could ever do it... Not even my deepest depressions, not downing bottles of Lithium and miscarrying my unborn child, not MY OWN DEPRESSIONS...just mentioning it is still making me shake. I can't go to his house due to PTSD- I found him...

The pain you feel is no where near what you will cause those you love most. Even if every breath of every day for your entire life kills you, it is worth it because you love them, and do it out of love for others and not let your depression?/intrusive thoughts/MIXED EPISODE(??!!) trick you into any other course of action- stay it until you go "naturally". Had he had a heart attack and I found him, I don't think my trauma would be so harsh. I just never loved anyone so much in my whole life. You can't see it from where you are now, in your depressed/intruding thoughts/mixed episode mode, but please believe me, I never knew a more wonderful, beautiful, or exceptional human being. My dad was my life. Literally, every day, no matter how bad, I live for him. I've sat there wtih the fucking razor to my veins instead of the Lithium this time and brought myself back from it, just over and over remembering that pain, that horror that I experience and experienced from his suicide. Never- never could I give someone I love that pain. No matter what, never.

In trying to kill myself, before my dad- I did lose a pregnancy. The wondering and the pain will never go away. Just a taste of the wondering and regret of losing my dad three years later. What if my dad had lost me and his unborn grandchild that night? I wasn't thinking, I never thought...

Just in your mind's eye, see that- see what you would do to them and don't do it to yourself. Get to the pdoc and ask for a very full evaluation. I suspect BP of some flavor, or something else entirely. But your loved ones can't afford you to not get that evaluation, they can't afford you to give up on finding the right meds, the peace of mind you can and willl have when you put your heart into living and really believe in your recovery.

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