Do you struggle with chronic suicidal feelings? I have almost every day since age 8, and I’m not alone in that. It’s a common challenge those of us who have survived child abuse face—especially when we live with conditions like borderline personality disorder or complex PTSD.
No matter the source of your own chronic suicidal thoughts, this video talks about a unique and radically healing coping technique. It’s how you can intentionally cultivate moments of joy. It can greatly restore your desire to keep going. And it makes life a heck of a lot more enjoyable, even with this chronic symptom!
It’s based in lived experience and years of research into joy, by the way. So, this isn’t toxic positivity!
Transcript (edited for readability):
Hello hello! It’s Calion here and I’m really excited to talk about today’s topic, which is being chronically suicidal and how to use joy as a technique to get through that, as well as how to feel joyous even when you’re living with this chronic symptom. This is something that I live with, because I have borderline personality disorder. That’s a pretty common symptom that comes up for a lot of people who live with this condition. It’s also really common for a lot of us abuse survivors because we hold a lot of pain after what we went through.
So being chronically suicidal can look like anything from having these passive intrusive thoughts, where you’re just sort of like vaguely considering things sometimes. Or it can be all the way through like full-blown urges that you have to cope with on a very regular basis.
I’ve had a range between them and it really depends on a lot of different factors in my life. I do want to specify before really jumping into this vlog that this is not really meant for people who are in active crisis. So this is for people who have you know chronic suicidal feelings. I also want to add that if you start feeling like you’re approaching any sort of crisis or this conversation is difficult for you, please disengage, please step back. Please make sure that you rely on your support system or your crisis plan as well, okay?
“So jumping in!”
When it comes to coping with chronic suicidal feelings, the first thing that I do is understand it. So, for me, I’ve kind of created this scale from like 0% to 100%. 100 would be like in an active crisis, like I’m attempting. Something, um, 0 would be like I have absolutely no intrusive thoughts, I’m feeling pretty good. Um, not necessarily great but like suicidal urges, thoughts, intrusive things, anything like that is totally gone. So that would be a 0.
So it’s really good to kind of have this idea, um, no matter how you conceptualize your scale of symptoms. Whether that’s just like, “Oh, I know that I’m in like warning zone if I’m feeling this. Or “Oh, this is just, like, things are getting more intense, but I’m okay” and “This is just like, okay. This is my daily experience and I’m fine.”
I’d really recommend trying to create a scal for you. That can really help you understand when you need to seek outside help, as well as when you can do techniques for yourself and when you really need to dive into the techniques that you know help you, as well. That’s what I’ll be talking about in this video. A technique basically where you can cultivate joy to be able to handle and cope with this chronic suicidal feelings. It makes life a hell of a lot more more worth living.
“The principle behind this is that joy and actions that create a feeling of joy can be an act of self-care.”
With that sort of self-care you can end up reducing a lot of those suicidal feelings or at least having something that helps you cope with them. I’ve done this and it’s helped re-regulate my emotions. It’s helped bring me back a little bit closer to my baseline. It’s helped just give me something that held me stable while I was struggling with those symptoms. And that can be super super essential when we can’t stop these symptoms, because they’re just a part of a condition that we live with. Maybe over time we can heal with recovery. We can use techniques that will reduce those or perhaps even eliminate them, that might not be immediately possible.
So what can you do to help live around that? Basically that’s the whole principle of this vlog. So I talk a lot about joy on my channel because that’s kind of my thing. It’s been something that has been absolutely essential for my healing journey and everything like that. So, just so you know, if you subscribe or you check out past videos, there’s a lot of stuff on joy. There will be a lot more coming up too on techniques to feel it. On, you know, what it really is and what it isn’t, and all that sort of stuff. So be sure to subscribe!
Some examples of joy:
But right now I want to jump into some, like, examples of joy. The first thing I really want to say is that joy is not some complicated difficult thing to access. It’s something that is actually really simple and found in very accessible activities. One of the things that I love doing is just making myself a cup of coffee that I really like. It’s a nice flavor. It’s, you know, homemade and everything like that. It’s this little care process of making it and then sipping at it, and I sip it very very mindfully… [takes a sip of coffee]
See? So that little action right there is a way of cultivating joy. It’s basically focusing on something that’s pleasant and being present with that. So this could be sitting in front of the sun on a cold winter day. Or it could be taking a brief walk because you like the feeling of the breeze on you, or it could be watching a puppy video. It could be hugging someone that you love, lingering in that that embrace for a little bit longer. It can be a tasty snack that you have, maybe you’re doing that while you’re working. It can be, wrapping yourself in a blanket that you love. Whatever it is, basically joy is just something that cultivates these sort of feelings. So feelings of hope, feelings of comfort, feelings of care, of compassion, of peace. You know, things like that.
“So when it comes to cultivating joy, it’s all about creating activities and situations and environments that bring those feelings up, even if it’s just a little flicker of it.”
Because that little flicker of that feeling is really a lot more expansive than you think it would be. This is something that I remember really experiencing when I was in the midst of trauma, where a little bit of sunlight fall on me in the middle of a really traumatic situation. I was still with my abuser, like living with her. I’d have this fall on me and I was just like, in that moment, a little bit peaceful. A little bit comforted, just by that ray of sunlight.
And that’s when I started to recognize, “Oh, that’s a moment of joy!” So that’s a really key thing here, is that joy is not this constant state of being. It’s not like happiness. It’s not an emotion. Basically, it’s something that we can intentionally cultivate. And that’s a huge shift from how a lot of people talk about joy. It makes joy accessible to those of us who deal with big challenges like trauma or chronic suicidal feelings or things like that.
“So, above all, I want to reassure you that no matter where you’re at, this joy is something that you can cultivate even if it’s just like a little flicker of a moment or something like that.”
So how does this all work, right? Because I said that joy isn’t an emotion, so it’s not like you’re trying to overcome these feelings by forcing yourself to be happy or doing any of that sort of BS, spiritual bypassing, toxic positivity stuff. Basically, when you experience these little glimmers of joy in your life, and when you’re intentionally seeking them out and seeking to create them, you’re creating this situation where it brings in balance.
So basically it’s like, “Okay, you’re dealing with these intense painful chronic suicidal thoughts, right? Not fun, obviously. Once in a while you throw a little bit of joy into your life and you just keep doing things that are intentionally cultivating that. And it fuels more, as well, but in the moment when you’re infusing some of that joy in, it doesn’t erase or overwrite those feelings and that symptom. I mean, it would be great if it did, but that’s just not how it works! Instead it brings a sense of balance.
“Now you’re experiencing these difficult symptoms and these difficult thoughts and you’re feeling something pleasant.”
And that brings balance. It brings a sense of, “Oh okay, there’s more to my experience than just this hurt.” That is such an essential thing, because if all that you’re feeling is hurt, it’s really hard to get through the next day.
But if you’re feeling something that brings you outside of that hurt, even if for just a moment. This has been so incredibly freeing for me. It’s showed me that, despite all of the pain that I carry—so the pain from the abuse that I went through, from the trafficking that I went through, from years of not having autonomy over my own body—and the pain that I hold from that and the lingering pain from conditions like BPD that intensify my negative emotions and create these chronic suicidal feelings, all of that pain is suddenly a little bit more balanced.
I’m suddenly like, “Wait there’s more to my life than that hurt.” That is so incredibly freeing and beautiful and so, like, comforting. Because that’s the hardest part of this, at least from my lived experience and I think from a lot of people that I’ve spoken with as well.
“The hardest part is feeling like there’s nothing beyond our pain. This intentional act of cultivating joy gives us something different. It gives us something beyond our pain.”
So now I’d really love to hear from you, if you’re willing to contribute in a comment! Whether you live with these chronic suicidal feelings or not, what are some intentional ways that you can cultivate joy in your life? Are there little moments, little things, you can do for yourself? Little things that create that sense of hope or comfort or compassion or peace or something pleasant? I would love if you listed one or a few ways to do this in the comments. That’ll also give other people more ideas of how they can cultivate joy in their own life! Which, in this case, could really be helpful in recovery and in continuing to live and continuing to push towards making your life better and giving yourself that energy to really recover.
So, of course if you liked this video, please give it a like. And if you also enjoyed this I would love if you subscribe to my channel. I make a lot of videos on topics like this. On joy and on recovery and on different perspectives that a lot of people who work in trauma recovery fields, whether as peer support or as therapists and mental health professionals, don’t really talk about.
So if you want a realistic take on trauma recovery from someone who’s really been in the thick of it, and in some of the really really painful situations that people can experience, then please do subscribe to this channel. And also check out my links below! There are a whole bunch of resources in the description. So go ahead and like and subscribe and check out those links! And, of course, I hope that you have a wonderful day!