Bipolar Depression Symptoms

Suicidal Thoughts

What are suicidal thoughts?

Suicidal thoughts result from feelings of hopelessness,46 worthlessness, confusion, and guilt. When a person suffers from bipolar disorder, they may believe that life will never improve and that there is no way out. They may think frequently of death, dying, and possibly, of suicide.

What is it like to suffer from suicidal thoughts?

A person may feel desperate to stop the pain and suffering. Suicidal thoughts could be like: “I would be better off dead – life is terrible, and I have to die anyways”.

During times of depression, a person's outlook on life is unrealistically pessimistic and hopeless.10 Due to intense feelings of misery, mental suffering, and feelings of powerlessness, suicide may seem to be a viable solution even when it is not.

Not everyone who suffers from suicidal thoughts agrees with them. They may not have a desire to die, but still bothered by suicidal thoughts. They disagree and dislike them, yet, are unable to suppress the ruminative and at times compulsive thinking.33

How can I recognize this symptom?

The person experiencing suicidal thinking may express "I'd rather be dead" or "I don't want to be alive." Frequently, however, the person may give little warning of their desire or intent.6

It is important to take note of any unusual behavior, such as when people leave goodbye notes, send goodbye e-mails, or give their personal belongings away.

It may be difficult to realize that a loved one is suicidal. People who suffer from suicidal thoughts may not express them. Therefore, it is important the person suffering from suicidal thoughts see their health professional or treatment team on a regular basis for professional follow up.

Health professionals may assess for the presence of a suicide plan, a history of suicide in the family, past suicide attempts, a person's motivation to stay alive, and if a suicide plan is present, the lethality of such a plan, among other things.

How can friends and family help?

If you are concerned that a family member or you are at risk for suicide, get help immediately. Make sure the individual's treating physician, psychiatrist, or treatment team is aware of the suicidal thoughts.

My Story

I thought I was better off dead. I thought to end it all was the best solution. I made one last call, to the suicide crisis line. I had run out of options, I was at a dead end, and there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I'm glad I phoned. I haven't felt this happy and excited about life in 5 years.

~ Ichiro, Tokyo, TO