A fluctuating process
Thinking about suicide or actually attempting suicide rarely comes out of the blue. It is usually preceded by a process of months or even years. Often, it starts off with suicidal thoughts or the wish to (temporarily) escape from a problematic situation, and gradually evolves to more concrete plans or an actual attempt.
The intensity of suicidal thoughts varies. Thoughts can fluctuate from a more passive death wish (e.g. ‘no longer care about being here’) to concrete suicidal plans. Only a minority of people with suicidal thoughts develop a real intention to commit suicide; of those, more than half actually try to carry out these plans. Yet, even without any concrete plan, 15% of people thinking about suicide make a real attempt.
Suicidal thoughts can be very frightening, especially when they appear uncontrollable. In that case, it feels as if you are constantly burdened by and no longer have any control over them. Accordingly, this can mean you develop tunnel vision.