Chronic illness is a risk factor for suicide but is often explained with depression. Research has shown an increased suicide rate in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome, but specific risk factors have been unexplored. We qualitatively analyzed responses from 29 patients who endorsed suicidal ideation but did not meet depression criteria. Two themes were developed: (1) feeling trapped and (2) loss of self, loss of others, stigma and conflict. Myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome caused patients severe disability, restructured their lives, and inflicted serious pain. Participants emphasized that they were not depressed, but felt trapped by the lack of treatments available.