“I think about suicide every day, but I’m not planning to kill myself “

Mark Goulston
8 min readMar 22, 2019

Chronic Suicidality and How to Overcome It

“If I didn’t have my suicidality, I would have killed myself years ago” — a patient with Chronic Suicidality

This is another article in our mission, as the creators of the new suicide prevention documentary, Stay Alive, to help those of you who find this a challenge to stay alive.

I first learned about the syndrome of Chronic Suicidality from Mental Health Comedian, Frank King, who has given five TEDx talks and suffers from Major Depression and Chronic Suicidality.

For my more professional audience Chronic Suicidality is the same as Chronic Suicidal Ideation, but the latter sounds more clinical and sterile, whereas the former is what people live.

As Frank speaks about it in his talks, an example of Chronic Suicidality is that you’re having an okay day and then something upsetting or disappointing happens such as not getting a job and you think, “Okay, I can pick myself up and look for another job, get stoned or drunk or I can just kill myself.”

When you think it or say it to yourself, you think or say it calmly and as a matter of fact. You usually don’t say it to others because that would only trigger a bunch of nervous and intrusive questions, so they can reassure themselves that you’re not about to do it.

Such questions although understandable and well intentioned can actually annoy people with Chronic Suicidality, who have lived with it sometimes for years, and make them think: “Damn it, I knew I shouldn’t have told anyone what goes on in my head!” It can actually make them feel worse, because you feel that you have to reassure them that you’re not going to do it. A-a-a-g-h!

What lies beneath Chronic Suicidality?

When you feel upset or mildly disappointed or rejected and so easily think “I feel like killing myself,” what is going on underneath?

When something upsetting or disappointing happens to you, you can quickly feel scared, anxious and within moments even panicky. Let’s say that makes you want to run and there is no place to run, even in your mind.



Mark Goulston

Dr. Goulston is the world's #1 listening coach and author of "Just Listen" which became the top book on listening in the world