When Unsuicidal Turns Suicidal
by Kara L.C. Jones

Unsuicidal adj. 1. the feeling of wanting to die so you can be with your child but not actually wanting to take action to commit suicide. 2. the feeling you have when the doctor says "are you having suicidal thoughts?" and you know if you tell him you just want to be with your child, he'll commit you for being suicidal even though that really isn't the point. 3. the way you feel when someone tells you your child is "in a better place now" and you're thinking "well it sucks here so I wish I was with my child." 4. the feeling of being undead. -unsuicide n.

The very idea of someone being "unsuicidal" seems to terribly upset people, but I think it is a very real phenomenon with bereaved parents. You simply have moments when you just want to be with your kid. You don't necessarily want to die yourself. You aren't planning how to jump and get it over with for yourself. But you are just having the most loooooooooonging moment of aching pain you can imagine when you just want one more moment with your child. I call this moment (and it repeats itself often as parents live life-after-death-of-a-child), "unsuicidal."

But if you think the reality of the "unsuicial" moments are upsetting, then just think how people are when bereaved parents turn to actually planning to commit suicide. I think people freak out for several reasons: 1) they don't want to see yet another person they love, dead; 2) they are frustrated with helpless feelings of having been unable to help the parent enough to stop the suicidal thoughts from coming; 3) they don't know what to do about it.

And the suicidal person may end up feeling even more isolated than they did from the events that led up to that moment. It is so hard to know all that adds up to the suicidal moments. Is it just the grief monster, the bereavement? Is it body chemistry? Is there some support system missing? Is the person so far into depression disorder that they can't even want help anymore?

When we are in the middle of it -- as the suicidal person or as someone who cares about them -- it is too muddy to figure out all by ourselves. We need support and help. And that is okay. Even if you are a bereaved parent who feels you have asked for help and no one is giving it, I encourage you to try again before doing anything else. You may need to reach outside the people in your circle of family and friends -- to a therapist, a crisis line, a support group, something -- before you will find a reflection that is helpful to you. And that is okay.

If you or someone you love is considering suicide, please reach out. Please look at the following resources and try asking for help again.

National Outreach for Suicide Prevention:

Call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) OR see

If you feel you are in a crisis situation or need a mental health referral in the Seattle/King County area of Washington State, please utilize the following:

Crisis Clinic for King County, Washington State


United Way King County Community Resource Partners at:




About the Author
After many years of being just a poet, Kara has recently declared her freedom by becoming a Guerrilla Artist. She now writes, makes handmade books, creates ATC, and is once again doing intentional henna art!!

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