"I want to kill myself"


Active Member
difficult child 1 has been saying those words or variations thereof for a few weeks. He has said things like that in the past, but it would be forgotten about for at least a few months before he said it again. Now he is saying it a few times a week. The therapist thinks its difficult child 1's way of saying I'm hurt and upset; that he doesn't really mean to kill himself. I'm still worried about it because the thought is in there enough to be verablized. difficult child 1 will say it at the smallest upset too. He doesn't want to work or he doesn't want the consequence. Once, he said it in a very calm matter-of-fact manner. He wasn't upset about anything. Just all of a sudden "I want to kill myself with that knife." If I draw attention to it the words become a power struggle. After the therapist talked to him about it he told me "I won't say 'I want to kill myself' if you wouldn't pick me up from where I don't want to be picked up from". (I had made him leave the playground earlier that day, and he didn't want to go.) So, I don't fuss much when he says that. Mostly, I acknowledge the upset and tell him he still has to have the consequence or do the work. After a few min. of being very upset he is fine and happy.

Anyone been in this situation? What did you do or wish you had done in hindsite?


Emily, my three kids have all said this at different times. It has always been an expression of hopelessness and helplessness. It has always been interpreted by their psychiatrists as not being medicated properly. I have to believe that's the case with your difficult child.

Any stimulant like Metadate can exacerbate anxiety and cause depression. If your difficult child has a diagnosis of BiPolar (BP), why isn't he on a mood stabilizer? Can you talk to the psychiatrist (not the therapist) about what's going on?


My son will use that phrase as a manipulation. If he gets frustrated about something, usually not getting his way, he'll throw that out. When I calmly talk about this with him, he admits he really doesn't want to. He's been saying it since he was about 5 or 6 I guess. He's never said it in a serious way, it's always been as a manipulation or expression of frustration. For instance, the other day we were arguing (yes, he drew me into the game) and all of a sudden he says to me "well, FINE, I guess I'll just kill myself then. That would work out good for you WOULDN'T it!). I have to resist the urge to always comfort him and tell him "I'm sorry". He already blames me for everything as it is and he needs to learn to accept consequences, feelings etc.


New Member
This is a phrase that surfaces from time to time around here often for what seem like very over the top and absurd reasons.

Tonight, for example, I saw that Seb sent an email to his friend that contained foul language. When I explained that he actually sent the email to his friends whole family as parents of 7 year olds typically monitor email, he said "I want to kill myself, I hate myself". Similarly he expressed the sentiment after finding out he had an infected blister on his toe the other day: "Why did I have to grow up to be this way? I want to die". He said that he wanted to "jump off a cliff and die before I'd wear a tie tp the funeral". When speculating about life at 18 Seb said: "I'll probably be dead then". Death comes up a lot here.

Sometimes it seems horrific to me (my mother had repeat suicide attempts, my great grandfather was a suicide). Other times it just seems dramatic. I watch it closely. We don't have an Early Onset Bi-Polar (EOBP) diagnosis but I suspect Seb is cylothymic. I also don't seriously think he wants to die-- I think he tends towards the dramatic and he knows that any reference to suicide pushed my buttons. He once said: "Mom, seriously. Do you really think I'd ever actually try to commit suicide?".

One can only hope...


Active Member
He isn't on a mood stablizer because the last one made the depression worse, so the psychiatrist stopped the mood stablizer and upped the respirdal. He didn't want to start anything because he wants to know what symptoms are being helped by what and what side-effects are being caused by what. We've got another appointment the end of the month.


New Member
My oldest difficult child has used this since he was in Kindergarten. If he gets in trouble at school, its the first thing that comes out of his mouth. I think you're right to acknowledge that hes upset, because I would agree, this is him verbalizing that to the best of his ability. Zoloft helped my oldest, but he still does it, just not as often. I know how scary it is to hear.


Well-Known Member
I was told to always take it seriously. At the very least, I report it to a psychiatrist (NOT a therapist).I'd rather be safe than sorry. ADHD medications, including STraterra, can cause wild moodswings in people with bipolar--I have bipolar, took Ritalin, and it wasn't pretty!)

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
If it's happening that often, I agree with MWM. I would call the psychiatrist and let him/her know what is going on.


New Member
I would definitely mention it to your psychiatrist, but outside earshot of your difficult child. Our difficult child has also verbalized this since kindergarten - usually followed by "then you would be better off - you'd only have easy child", etc. He does not have a plan in place (i.e. cliff, knife, etc.) and at other times has also has said he would really never do it.

I agree that it is a statement made (in our difficult child's case) out of frustration and depression, but one that makes my blood run cold none the less. I have over the years, learned not to react to the statement like I did when he first started saying it - because I think when he first said it it was out of sheer frustration and then I suspect he may have continued saying it because of my reaction. He will still resort to it during some of his most difficult times.

Definitely something you want to take seriously - and discuss with psychiatrist.

Hugs to you - hope you get some aid from the doctor.

Mrs Smith

New Member
We hear the same kind of talk. I'm never sure if it's mood instability that could be corrected with a medication change or if it's a difficulty with labelling emotions or both. I'll say to him... do you really want to kill yourself or are you just angry? frustrated? disappointed? embarassed?

I think if it happens alot, I would be very concerned.


Active Member
We've been hearing those words since difficult child was about 5. It's hard to not take it seriously, but I try not to react when he says it. When he calms down, we talk about it. He also threatens to kill other people, like me, his sister or brother. Same thing - I'm 95% sure he doesn't really mean it, but how can we ever be sure.

Now that he's getting older, when he's calm I try to talk to him about how his threats are hurting him as much or more than anyone else. We can't leave him alone with his little sister, simply because of the threats. If he threatens to kill himself, he can't go into his room alone because how do we know he didn't really mean it? If he threatens to run away, same thing. With my difficult child, he says it to hurt us, so if I can get him to realize it is not getting him what he wants, and is actually causing him trouble, maybe he will change as he gets older.

We always tell the psychiatrist, his therapist and sometimes I tell his resource teacher if he says something like that in the morning before school. I don't really believe he'll follow up, but he is just impulsive and ODD enough that he might try, even though he really doesn't want to just to prove something to us.



My son has said this serveral times, I think it's just to get a reaction (which he definitely gets!) but we always take it seriously. The frustration I have is when I talk to him about it, "This would really hurt us, we really need to take it seriously...etc." His basic response is, "So?" He does say, "It's not like I'd ever do it." but still, it's HORRIBLE to hear. We just took him to the ER because of it and we'll continue to do that so I hope he'll see the seriousness of it all.


Mom? What's a difficult child?
Emily- As you probably remember K has this issue as well. She says it unprovoked and at times out of nowhere, she will become completely depressed and say she wants to die or her long life to end. I agree with Smallworld that it is a sense of hopelessness. For us I think K is so confused as to what is going on in her head and why she is feeling the way she is that she just wants it to end... I just had a talk with the psychiatric hospital this a.m about this.
But not to scare you, but this is part of the reason why K is partially hospitalized right now. because her talk of wanting to die was not a tantrum, they call it suicidal ideation. While everyone involved thinks she will not really try to kill herself, we don't know how she will react in the future. We need to teach her NOW how to deal with these feelings and help her become stable. It took us a long time to get anyone to take us seriously. When one of our young ones is saying this and it is not "just a tantrum" in a teen, I would take it seriously, because even if they will not hurt themselves, they are still asking for help.

Good luck and I hope you are feeling OK!!!