blog blogposts depression mental health nalini tranquim suicide Mar 04, 2022
Inside a Suicidal Mind

A dear friend lost her son to suicide.

In my book The Orange Hue’, I open up about my own experiences with suicidal thoughts but I wanted to put this blog together to specifically help two groups of people. Namely:


  1. Those who are navigating suicidal thoughts. My hope is that by sharing my own personal journey, it will bring some relief and maybe even the shift you have been hoping for.
  2. Those who have loved ones who are suicidal. My hope is that this blog will shed some light on what it's like to be in a suicidal state of mind, and will provide some practical steps that you can take to be better equipped and a greater support to your loved one.


As mentioned in my blog 'Depression - Tips to Escape the Pits', I describe my on-and-off struggles with depression over the years and how there was one particular time where I spiraled into the darkest depression I had ever encountered.

It's important to understand that when someone reaches the point where suicide is the only option for relief, their mental state must be in such severe carnage, it would be like standing on the battle field, between two nations at war.

For me, I would wake up in turmoil, my thoughts would be clouded and conflicted throughout the day, but what was even worse was a restful night's sleep wouldn't even settle my troubled mind. I would go to bed exhausted, and I would wake up even more exhausted. And when this goes on for a prolonged period of time, the body begins to give way.

I constantly felt sick in the pit of my stomach. There was no hope in sight. No reprieve. No relief and no answers to the war that raged in my mind. The little things in one's everyday that usually gets done without a second thought like making the kids lunches, getting them ready for school, doing the groceries, the laundry, the afternoon school pickup, followed by dinner, homework and bedtime; becomes unbearably difficult physically, mentally and emotionally. Almost as if you're having to attend a job interview all day, everyday, and then climb Mt Everest at night.

Then when you try and switch your mind off and the TV on, you hear news reports of those who have committed suicide, and it sends your mind into a deeper plummet, whilst it blurts out thoughts like “If THEY have quit, what hope do you have?"

This is where I'm so grateful that my husband noticed my demise. (If you fall under item 2 above, please read on). He became extremely concerned about my well-being and after a two week spiral, he sat me down and asked if I was really okay. This wasn't his first attempt. He had tried several times before, but of course, there was no way I was going to open up about the turmoil I was experiencing, so I would brush him off with a fake smile and say 'Everything's fine.'

This time, he didn't take my brush-off as a good enough answer. 'I know you're not okay', he said. 'So I'm going to ask you, what's going on with my Babe'?

With that, it all came gushing out like an avalanche hurtling down a mountain. I sobbed like a baby. I told him how broken I felt and how he and the boys would be better off without me. I told him I had put all of our paperwork together in the safe just in case, and that I couldn't possibly go on any longer. I had reached the end.

He held me and he listened.

Only when I had no more tears left to cry, and nothing more to say, he gently stroked my back and the comforting yet challenging words that followed, struck a chord so deep, it still sends shivers up my spine when I replay his words in my mind today.

'Maybe you are going through this to help someone else'.

Suddenly in that moment, it was like I woke up from a hellish nightmare. What could possibly be a justifiable reason to end my life? Sure, I’ve experienced seasons that have brought with it it’s own share of trauma. However, my family is still intact, I have a husband who loves me, two incredible sons who adore me, a beautiful roof over my head, food on my table and clothes on my back. I have a church community whom I love, I have joy and laughter. Give me one good reason that makes all of this null and void?

If you are reading this right now and you have been contemplating suicide, I want you to give yourself a break from the chaos just for a moment. I want you to look at what you DO have in your life. What's one GOOD thing about your life right now? Just one. It could be a family member that you hold dear. It could be a friend who loves you no matter what. It could be your animal, or a favorite place. Hold onto that thought as you read the rest of my story.

Since my husband’s statement, the cloud slowly lifted and I regained clarity at last. I must now share with you what I have learned through all of this. As I do, my prayer is that this not only helps those of you who are suicidal, but those of you who are loved ones of someone who is suicidal and you want to be better equipped to understand their suicidal mind.



Here's what I learned.


Suicide itself is not the issue. We say we need to ‘prevent suicide’ but you cannot prevent someone who is suicidal, to simply not commit suicide. It doesn’t solve the underlying issues. It only delays the suffering.  

It’s like begging an alcoholic to stop drinking alcohol. They may stop for a moment to appease you, but the cravings will hit at some point. They won’t be able to help themselves.

Until the addict decides that they want to quit, and positions themselves to get the help they need to deal with the addiction, they risk falling back into their destructive habits over and over again. Part of the rehabilitation and healing process is to get to the root cause of the addiction in the first place.

It’s the same with someone who is suicidal. You may be picking up signs of anxiety or depression in your loved one and so you try and find things to make them laugh. You take them out on dates and do as much fun oriented activities as possible, in the hope that it will fix the problem. All it does is put a bandage on an infectious wound. Sure they may laugh and come across like they are ‘getting over it’ but deep down, the same sinister thoughts rage in the undercurrent. Though currently suppressed, these thoughts will rear their ugly head at some opportune time in the future. Having been there myself, the thoughts are still raging even with the smile on my face.

Like I've said, suicide itself is not the issue. It’s what’s behind it that needs addressing.

I have identified three underlying causes of suicide:

  1. A sense of hopelessness.

  2. A sense of fear.

  3. Not being seen, heard or understood.

Unfortunately, the escalation of hopelessness, fear, not being seen, heard or understood, can result in a very sudden decision to end ones life. Take for example those who are seen jumping from the Twin Towers on 9/11. The world sat in front of their televisions that fateful day, watching horrors unfold that we never envisioned were even possible. What about the innocent ones caught up in the terror? Those who jumped would have made that decision in a split second and acted.

The escalation of hopelessness, fear, not being seen, heard or understood, can also be slow and gradual which means there is a risk of one’s spiral going unnoticed. The most frequented words of those who remain are “We didn’t see it coming”. However, a suicidal act doesn't just start with a suicidal thought. There is a process and you have to rewind. 

Whether the hopelessness stems from the past, or is related to the present, hopelessness convinces you that there is no getting over this.  Be it some sort of abuse that an individual feels too embarrassed to talk about, or undue stress to get certain results or to be a certain person, …the pressure builds and builds internally.

My own son battled with suicidal thoughts and through the process of rewinding and getting to the bottom of the root cause, we discovered that for him, it was the trauma of a medical diagnosis.  The ‘not knowing what was ahead’, the inability to control the outcome, and feeling like he didn’t have the courage to face it, was what led him down the path of suicidal thoughts.

The mind shifts from the trauma/challenge, to simply wanting to escape it. Unfortunately these thoughts of escape overwhelm you. They literally suffocate. I remember the feeling of my chest tightening as I envisioned myself taking my own life. Not only do the thoughts of death drown your mind, but you also become guilt-ridden. You feel so ashamed for entertaining such thoughts.  There is no way you can talk about it to anyone and gradually the thoughts overtake you, becoming all the more intense, that you end up coming to the conclusion that the only escape from your own mind; is to end your life.

What shifted things for me, resulting in me being able to sit here and share this with you, was the fact that my husband could see that I was spiraling. He knew I wasn’t okay and would not let it rest. He didn’t harass me, but he did sit me down and express his concern. He gave me an opportunity to talk.  Bottling things up is so destructive. We are communicative beings, designed for companionship and when we harbour our struggles internally, we go into self-destruct mode.

We not only need educating on the power of the mind and the need for open and honest communication, but also on being able to identify the mental and emotional condition of our loved ones. We cannot leave this to the Doctors and Psychologists. We also cannot leave it to those who are suffering to figure it out alone.

We as humans need to know we have a safe place to be real. To talk about the sludge and grind of life. A place where it won’t be brushed aside, but where we are taken seriously and will be given the tools to help us navigate life.

So what do you do when Mom doesn’t seem her normal chirpy herself? She’s quieter than usual. (Or whatever else you pick up that doesn’t seem quite right). There ARE signs but often they go unnoticed.

Well I hope the following steps help you as they have me:


Practical steps for those who are suicidal:


👉 Break the silence and admit that you are not okay that you have been suicidal. Keeping it quiet is extremely dangerous.

👉 Be willing to do the journey. Even if not for you, do it for the one good thing in your life that I asked you to remember earlier in my blog.

👉 Delete the idea that that the people in your world, (no matter how irritating or disappointing they are) will get over the loss of you. It is a lie. It is devastating for those who remain.

👉 Contact your local Doctor, book an appointment and tell him/her that you are battling with suicidal thoughts and that you need help.

👉 Ask your Doctor to refer you to a psychologist/counselor. You know yourself better than your Doctor does. Don’t wait for him/her to come up with the idea of further support. You know what you need.

👉 Then GO. Don’t just get the referral to the psychologist/counselor. Actually GO.

👉 The best thing you can do is TALK. Be open and brutally honest. Doesn't matter how much or how little snot and tears there is.

👉 Remember: One day at a time. This is a gradual process so take the self-imposed-pressure off that you need to fix things quickly. There’s no KPI to your recovery. Your mental and emotional well-being is what matters here.

Practical steps for the loved ones:


❤️ Regularly check in to see how your family and friends are tracking. We live in a time where everyone is glued to their gadgets. Gather over a family meal, take your girl out for a walk, grab a cuppa with a friend and ask the question  ‘...And how are you really doing’? Don’t hesitate to delve deeper. 

❤️ If and when your family member wants to talk - L I S T E N.  The last thing they want is a list of things that you think they should do. You cannot fix this. All you can do is be there for them and love them through it.

❤️ If there is risk of immediate danger, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

❤️ If there is no immediate danger but you know that things are not right, ask if you can book them an appointment with their Doctor and offer to go with them. Just being there to show your support helps.

❤️ Follow through. This is very important. Support them today but support them tomorrow and the next. Lifeline says “Stay involved” which is covered in their Tool Kit: Helping someone at risk of suicide.

❤️ Remember - this is a gradual process and so you must be willing to do the journey alongside.

❤️ Look after yourself. Check in with your own heart and mind now and then to make sure you are tracking good, and are in a healthy place. It’s like being in an emergency situation on a flight and having to put your own oxygen mask on before helping others with theirs. If you need support as a loved one, reach out to your own Doctor, Psychologist, Pastor or Friend whom you know will honour and respect confidentiality but will be a listening ear for you also.


A song to bring comfort:


During my own struggle, my husband asked if I had listened to my song “New Scars Heal” any time recently. To be honest, when producing a song, you hear it so often that by the time you get it out to the general public, you’ve over-listened to it and so you shift your attentions to the next project. But I have to say, I did put it on and wow, it spoke straight into my soul. New scars really do heal. Listen intently to the words and I pray that it ministers to you the same way it did me, just when I needed it most.


Closing thoughts:


The season you are in right now will not last forever. You have come this far which shows that there is tenacity and resilience within you. It tells me that you are well able to rise above the storm. Rally your loved ones and talk things through. Do not ignore signs of struggle. Mental and emotional wellness is critical in these crazy days we live in. Ditch any thoughts of shame and ask for help if you need it.

It will strengthen and equip you and you will come out stronger and in a far better position to help others. ❤️ Nx


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