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Depression and suicide in bipolar disorder

Trigger warning!

If you have bipolar disorder, you will no doubt have had suicidal ideation which is thinking about death and planning how to take your own life. I say that with assurance because I know how common these thoughts are. It may be a revelation to you, but you are not alone with these negative thoughts. Most people with bipolar think about them.

Death by suicide is fairly common in people with bipolar disorder. The figures vary according to which poll you read, but on average it is between 15 and 22% of people with bipolar that will actually die by suicide. That is almost a quarter. It is shocking! Alarming! Many more, maybe 60%, of people with bipolar will make a suicide attempt, or several, in their lifetime.

These figures are not to be sneezed at, but I think it helps to demystify them to allay a lot of fear and suffering. Suicidal thinking is just another symptom of depression. Yes, it is nothing to get alarmed about, as long as you don’t follow through on your quest. People with bipolar depression often think about death and suicide. It is as common as the other symptoms of bipolar depression:

  • Feelings of guilt, sadness and worthlessness
  • Lack of energy, sleep and appetite
  • No motivation to do anything, even things once enjoyed
  • Slowed down movements, thinking and speaking
  • Thoughts of death and suicide

If you are having these thoughts, I hope you will get help. You can ring the National Crisis Hotline, or talk to someone you trust. Whatever you do, make sure you put away anything that could harm you. Staying safe is paramount.

Don’t be another statistic. Your life is worth much more than that.


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