I’m going to try my best to talk about my suicidal ideation and depression. Honestly, I still don’t completely understand how to explain.

Let me start by telling you what I call my depressive and suicidal moods/episodes: “Moments.”

I started calling them moments because it helps me remember that the way I’m feeling will pass soon. Even though I can’t understand myself during those moments, I can get through and overcome them. The word helps me build resiliency within myself. 

These moments feel like heavy storm clouds surrounding my head. I’m sad, mad, lazy, unmotivated, and tired. Some days it’s one or the other; some days I’m all of those things at once.

Then this thing called negative self-talk comes into play. Negative self-talk is very dangerous, it really can diminish a person and cause harm. If I am not able to speak positivity into my thoughts, I become stuck into a cycle of negative, intrusive, and harmful thoughts. During these stuck moments I feel blank, but my mind is going 1,000 mph.

When I’m deep into my moments, it’s hard for me to feel my worth.

These don’t always happen in this order or simultaneously, some of these things exist on their own in my mind. I start to just feel a sensation of numbness and loneliness. I began to abuse alcohol and marijuana. I have also used percs (Percocets ) and xans(Xanax) to numb and forget.

In the past, suicidal thoughts consumed me almost every day. I would have waves of sadness and randomly cry with little to no reason. I would cut myself and my hair (if you know me you know I love my hair) to sort of hurt myself but also to feel. My cutting was to focus my pain on something other than my depression and to also punish myself for not being “normal” in a sense.

And if you’re wondering: Yes, I’ve attempted suicide twice.

When speaking to my family about my attempts I felt guilty and ashamed. They didn’t really act like they cared or had much concern, more like they expected that from me. That honestly made me feel hurt and awkward. Until I started to learn that it wasn’t that they didn’t care but that they didn’t understand my mental health.

I’m glad to say I manage my moments way better nowadays. But it doesn’t mean I’m cured; I just understand and am able to identify my depression better. Suicidal ideation is very scary – to be consumed by thoughts of suicide.

About the Author: Deborah “DeeDee” Irby is a Community Outreach and Engagement Specialist with the Evidence-based Practice and Innovation Center and Philadelphia Alliance for Child Trauma Services. She is part of the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) Division of Community Behavioral Health.