Calls to the Void by Liz Beaver

By January 7, 2019Blog

I don’t want to die. I’m not suicidal, yet…

Sometimes I just want to jump off a ledge, crash my car, ingest poison, or cut into my skin to see what’s under there. I just learned recently that sensation has its own title – a “call to the void.”

Most people experience this odd sensation to fling themselves into mortal danger once or twice. Put your hand in that machine press, turn the steering wheel a little more to the left and smash into all those construction horses, jump off the balconywhat would that be like? Most people subsequently shudder and laugh at themselves, thinking, that was weird, and carry on. I do, too.

But when I am having an episode of mental unrest, it comes often and much stronger, as if it’s an actual option in my day. Sure, you could have a cup of tea, or you could have a cup of bleach. You know, whatever.

I never talk too much about it because the subject is taboo, especially for a mom of three in the suburbs. People are bound to think I’m going to be that lady who packs up her kids and the dog into the minivan and drives straight into the ocean. I’m going to get a call asking if I need to talk to somebody or some concerned citizen will report me to child services.

I can’t have the backlash of people thinking I’ve lost my grip, or trying to take my kids away. I know I’m not a danger to anyone. But to utter those words gets you thrown under a cold microscope by your family and friends, as well as strangers. People make assumptions about your life and start diagnosing you with stuff they heard about on a holistic blog site or a murder mystery TV show.

And that’s the rub. I need to say, “Hey I want to take this blade and run it over my skin” to someone, but the way we deal with mental health doesn’t allow me to trust saying that to anyone. I read about it all the time in 140 characters by social media personalities who can broadcast these things and have it come off as tongue-in-cheek, millennial, or edgy. But because I’m a middle-aged mom, it’s just uncomfortable for everyone.

Calls to the void are normal, even for typical people, just like an occasional panic attack, bout of depression, or strange mind-out-of-body sensation. It would make sense that those of us with mental illness experience them louder and stronger than everyone else. It’s a compulsion, not a true desire to die. It is one of those things that I wish we all talked about more, so the ones who experience this don’t feel like they are “dangerous” and so people who are having real suicidal thoughts can come forward and get support, instead of hiding in fear of the ensuing drama and judgment.

People need to feel safe opening up about these weird thoughts that don’t quite fit into a “normal” checklist of casual mental illness. There are those out there who just need someone to reassure them. There are also many who truly need this space so they don’t harm themselves.

As for me, I will always go with the tea. But seriously, let’s talk about the void.


  • Anu says:

    Like, seriously. I have been struggling with discussing homicidal urges – I say stuff in jest or when angry and venting about how so and so pissed me off, and that, unfortunately, is something our society of sarcasm has made quite “normal”, this joking about violence or morbid things, so people brush me off. But where, mental health wise, I used to get suicidal urges like a piano falling on my head, nowadays I’ve recovered from hopelessness and thst gave way to rage. I am working thru that, and will continue to learn deeper existing and new ways too, to get that energy out without doing harm. But until I am to that point down the line, where AM I supposed to put the serious, I could literally reach out and hurt X or Y person? I self talk in the moment, and once even told a store full of people they should be HAPPY I manage my ptsd with a dog instead of a gun (the employee was harassing me about my dog who was service training at the time, whom the employee aggravated, and knowing I felt crappy regardless of the trip out already, I consciously told myself I HAD to get a grip before I calmly asked her to cool it…)…but yes, where do I feel safe reflecting on that incident so as to gain insight as to how beyter to approach the next condescending ahole who I know I ultimately have a. no control over and b. no choice but to at some point again deal with?

    I have a therapist I trust immensely…but I am not confident he wouldn’t have me admitted. I had a group of girls who came together on fb *because we all met in a PHP group while in our various crises*, and they can barely discuss suicide confidently, without immediately apologizing to US, the other “crazies” who we all know in-real-life “get” one another, how the heck we supposed to talk about for the intention of processing and next time shortening the span of homicidal ones?

    I keep saying, while each time I see a new report I am a little scared cause if they snapped how do I know I never will, I can sooooo easily understand how some do. Whether it’s sui or homi, just like child molesters who are trying to NOT act on their urge to harm others, we can’t stop what we can’t even discuss. Sad days, but hopefully soon to pass thanks to BC2M! ♡

  • Erica says:

    I love that you discussed the void. I live in the suburbs and am a mom, but really I’m just a person who has the exact same types of thoughts. When I run and there is a bridge to cross over some interstate or river, I automatically think about jumping. I have to force the thought away to make it across the bridge. Countless times I’ve thought of pushing the pedal to the metal and hitting the base of a bridge or drawing a blade across my neck. Does the blood spurt or pour out? It’s comforting to know it can be discussed and understood that it doesn’t mean action necessarily. But it certainly can’t be discussed with just anyone….still.

  • Liz says:

    Thank you both for being brave. I feel like if we can exhale about some of these things, they cannot become a monster in our heads.

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