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Suicidal ideation is a great teacher

Suicidal ideation is a great teacher.

By Jonathan Merker: Have you ever had suicidal thoughts, feelings, or attempts? Statistically LGBTQ individuals experience these feelings at an alarmingly higher rate compared to hetero/cis individuals (source). I’ve seen countless folks dealing with suicidal feelings in my time as a therapist, and I’ve come to really enjoy when a client comes to me for help with their suicidal ideation.

I know that sounds counter-intuitive; nobody wants to feel suicidal. It’s a horrible state to be in, one I’ve known both personally and witnessed.  And of course, I take no joy in someone’s suffering. So why do I enjoy it when someone comes to me for help feeling suicidal?

Suicidal ideation is a great teacher. When someone sits across from me and says they feel suicidal, after I comprehensively assess that they are not an immediate risk to themself or others, there is a a world of emotions and experiences to explore. The ideation is a great teacher because when you feel it, you likely do have psychological parts of yourself that you are ready to let go of— or, kill, if I may. And that’s a good thing; especially for gay men who have developed maladaptive ways of relating to themselves or others while surviving the hardship of growing up gay in this world.

In therapy we get to safely dive down the rabbit hole of your suicidal feelings. What is the particularity of your ideation? Do you feel so bad that the only way you can imagine not feeling this way is to no longer be present to your experiences? Do you fixate on the type of violence you desire to do to yourself? Have things that used to give you purpose now lack all meaning? 

These are just a few examples, and every question can lead to several significant therapeutic routes we can take to help you make the changes you need to not only stop feeling suicidal but start living a life you’re excited about. 


I want to emphasize, again, that as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Mandated Reporter in Washington State, I thoroughly assess my clients to ensure you are safe when we are working with suicidal ideation — and if you’re not, we will take the best steps for you to ensure your safety. If you’re looking for a therapist and want to talk about your suicidal ideation, make sure your therapist is comfortable and competent with suicidal assessments and feelings. If your therapist is anxious about it they’re going to make you anxious about it and that won’t help anyone. And, most importantly, if you’re feeling suicidal, reach out for help now. There’s no reason to feel so lousy any longer, and the longer you wait to ask for help the more risk you’re putting yourself in. You can schedule a free consultation with me today using the button below, or contact me to request a specific time. 

If you feel you are an immediate risk to yourself or others, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or call 911. 


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