Ketamine Dictionary: Suicidal Ideation

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We all know someone who was taken from us by suicide. However, no one really wants to talk about it.

It’s a touchy subject because it affects everyone, but not talking about suicidal thoughts and what they look like means we are unable to spot them in loved ones in the future.

There is an unrelenting yet completely false belief amongst society at large that talking about suicide makes a person more likely to actually go through with it. This is just not the truth.

We should seek to build an open space to talk about suicide and how to spot suicidal thoughts. If everyone became more aware of what the signs and symptoms look like, we may all be more suited to help those we love when they are suffering.

What is suicidal ideation?

Suicidal ideation is simply the most commonly used medical or professional term for suicidal thoughts. You are forgiven if you have never heard of this term – despite being well-versed in mental health treatment and being familiar with medical terminology, I had not properly heard the term suicidal ideation until I began working in the ketamine space.

Our friends at verywellmind have put together a comprehensive deep-dive into suicidal ideation. Alarmingly, they point out that around 9% of the world’s population will experience suicidal ideation at some point in their life.

This does not mean that only 1 in 10 people experience suicidal ideation (which should be concerning enough on its own), it means that 1 in 10 people are willing to talk about it. There could be any number more people who have had these thoughts but are too ashamed to talk about it.

This is an incredible shame, but it’s not their fault. The general public at large knows next-to-nothing about suicidal thoughts and actions, and the stigma surrounding these subjects is near impenetrable.

What does suicidal ideation look like?

It can vary from person to person, but generally, the more prevalent signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Social isolation or isolation from your close friends and family
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feeling trapped
  • Frequently talking about death or suicide
  • Giving away possessions
  • Mood swings
  • Increased irritability or anger
  • Engaging in risk-taking behavior like substance abuse
  • Acting as if you are saying goodbye to people
  • Feelings of extreme anxiety
  • Accessing the means to kill yourself (whether this be medication, drugs, or a firearm)

Why is this so difficult to talk about?

It’s not just you. It’s everyone. In fact, I find myself extremely uneasy writing this article right now – as if I’m writing about something taboo. We are taught not to bring things like this up in fear that we will further contribute to it.

Talking about suicide and learning more about it is perhaps the best way to help those suffering. We owe each other a responsibility to educate ourselves even though it can be difficult to read about and can conjure up traumatic memories.

Editor’s Note

KetamineNews is a resource designed to raise awareness about mental health treatments. KetamineNews and the word of the authors should not be taken over the word of mental health professionals.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with suicidal ideation, there is help and there are resources. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255 – to receive free, confidential support.

If you’re struggling, reach out. Ask for help. You are important, and you are worth it. You may not be able to solve all your problems on your own, but that’s alright – you don’t have to.

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