(This article contains the discussion of suicide. If this may be triggering for you, please consider not reading).
Feeling suicidal is not a character defect, and it doesn’t mean that you are crazy, weak, or flawed; it only means that you have more pain than you can cope with at the moment.
This pain may seem overwhelming and permanent at the moment, but with time and support, you can overcome your problems and the pain and suicidal feelings will go by.
Many kinds of emotional pain can lead to thoughts of suicide, and the reasons for this pain are unique to each one of us. Also, the ability to cope with the pain differs from person to person, as we are all different.
There are, however, some common causes that may lead us to experience suicidal thoughts and feelings, but remember that, no matter how much pain you’re experiencing right now, you’re not alone.
Some of the finest, most admired, needed, and talented people have been where you are now, and many of us have thought about taking our own lives when we’ve felt overwhelmed by depression and devoid of all hope.
But the pain of depression can be treated, hope can be renewed, and no matter what your situation, there are people who need you; there are places where you can make a difference, and there are experiences that can remind you that life is worth living.
It takes real courage to face death and step back from the brink, and you can use that courage to face life, to learn coping skills for overcoming depression, and for finding the strength to keep going.
A Suicidal Crisis Is Almost Always Temporary
Although it might seem as if your pain and unhappiness will never end, it is important to realize that suicidal crises are usually temporary, and solutions are often found.
Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and as such, not worth using. Give yourself the time necessary for things to transform and the pain to subside.
Mental health conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder are all treatable with lifestyle changes, therapy, and medication. Most people who seek help can improve their situation and recover, and even if you have received treatment for a disorder before, know that it’s often necessary to try different approaches before finding the right solution or combination of solutions.
Don’t give up before you’ve found the solution that works for you, as virtually all problems can be treated or managed.
How To Cope With Suicidal Thoughts
- Set limits on how much time you spend talking about this topic on social media and in your daily life.
- Reach out for support, since reaching out to someone you trust, whether a friend, family member, teacher, coach or professional, can help calm distress and initiate healing.
- Know that your feelings are valid, as oftentimes, our triggers are based upon a very real element, such as genetic makeup, emotion regulation, past experiences, or ability to cope/ coping skills at the moment.
- Try not to do anything at the moment. Even though you’re in a lot of pain, give yourself some distance between thoughts and action, and make a promise to yourself to wait 24 hours without doing anything drastic during that time.
- Thoughts and actions are two different things, and your suicidal thoughts do not have to become a reality. There is no deadline, and you should put some distance between your suicidal thoughts and suicidal action.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol, as suicidal thoughts can become even stronger if you have taken drugs or alcohol. Please, remember not to use nonprescription drugs or alcohol when you feel hopeless or are thinking about suicide.
- Treat yourself as you would a friend; think if a close friend were struggling with triggers, what would you tell them? How would you talk to them? I bet you will be gentle and kind to your friend if they were struggling especially, as they deserve to feel better.
- Get out in the sun or into nature for at least 30 minutes a day, and exercise as vigorously as is safe for you. To get the most benefit, aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day. However, three 10-minute bursts of activity can have a positive effect on mood.
- Remember your personal goals; you may have always wanted to travel to some places, own a unique pet, move to another place, learn a new hobby, start a family, etc… You can write your personal goals down to make them more memorable.
How To Talk To Someone About Your Suicidal Thoughts
Admitting your suicidal thoughts to another person can be difficult, but you can utilize the following strategies:
- Tell the person exactly what you are telling yourself, and if you have a suicide plan, talk to them about it.
- Try to be more literal as phrases such as, ‘I can’t take it anymore’ or ‘I’m done’ are vague and do not illustrate how serious things really are.
- If it is too difficult for you to talk about, try writing it down and handing a note to the person you trust, or send them a text or mail and sit with them while they read it.
Habits To Enhance Your Practice Of Self-Care
- Don’t beat yourself up, but forgive yourself for any perceived mistakes you’ve made. We are all human and we all make mistakes; don’t let yours consume you.
- Make some time each day for you and only you. Many of us spend all day around other people, forgetting that we all need time for ourselves. Set aside some time and just be with you. It could be while reading a book, writing, or listening to music. Some call this meditation.
- Practice saying “no”, as that helps create space for ourselves to focus on us, not on another task to complete.
- Create reasons to smile, as smiling causes the release of feel-good neurotransmitters (dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin).
5 steps to recovery
- Identify triggers or situations that lead to feelings of despair or generate suicidal thoughts, and find ways to avoid these places, people, or situations. Such situations may include the anniversary of a loss, alcohol, or stress from relationships.
- Take care of yourself, eat right, don’t skip meals, and get plenty of sleep. Exercise is also important, as it releases endorphins, relieves stress, and promotes emotional well-being.
- Build a support network, and surround yourself with positive influences and people who make you feel good about yourself. This will help you stay positive and on the recovery track.
- Develop new activities and interests, and find new hobbies, volunteer activities, or work that gives you a sense of meaning and purpose. When you’re doing things you find fulfilling, you’ll feel better about yourself and feelings of desolation and hopelessness are less likely to return.
- Learn to deal with stress in a healthy way. Such ways may include exercising, meditating, using sensory strategies to relax, practicing simple breathing exercises, etc…
You May Like: Ways To Improve Your Emotional and Mental Health
We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.