If you’re feeling suicidal, call for help!
If you’re not ready to make that call, remember that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. When you’re feeling extremely depressed or suicidal, problems don’t seem temporary – they seem overwhelming and permanent. But with time, you will feel better, especially if you reach out for help.
Some things to consider:
Feeling suicidal does not make you a bad person.
Thoughts of ending your own life do not necessarily mean that you truly want to die—they mean, rather, that you have more pain than you can cope with right now. The pain of deep depression is intense. It is too much to bear for long periods of time.
What might be bearable to someone else may not be to you.
Many kinds of emotional pain may lead to thoughts of suicide. The reasons for this pain are unique to every person, and whether or not the pain is bearable differs from person to person. But even if you’re in a lot of pain, give yourself some distance between thoughts and action. Make a promise to yourself, “I will wait 24 hours and won’t do anything drastic during that time.” Or, wait a week.
Thoughts and actions are two different things—your suicidal thoughts do not have to become a reality. There is no deadline. There’s no time limit, no one pushing you to act on these thoughts right now. Wait. Wait and put some distance between your suicidal thoughts and suicidal action.
Reaching out for help
You can choose to live, but first it is important that you find some relief from your pain. To do that, you will need to find a way to increase your connections with people who will listen. Even if it doesn’t feel like it right now, there are many people who want to support you during this difficult time. They won’t try to argue with you about how miserable you feel or to just “snap out of it”. They will not judge you. They will simply listen and be there for you.
Reach out to just one person. Do it now. Use your 24 hours or your week, to tell someone what’s going on with you. You can call a trusted friend, family member, minister, rabbi, doctor, or therapist. It doesn’t matter who it is, as long as it’s someone you trust and who is likely to listen with compassion and acceptance.
If you don’t know who to turn to:
If you reside in Colorado, call Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners at 1-844-493-8255. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the National Hopeline Network at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433). These toll-free crisis hotlines offer 24-hour suicide prevention and support. Your call is free and confidential.
Even if your suicidal feelings have subsided, get help for yourself. Experiencing that sort of emotional pain is itself a traumatizing experience. Finding a support group or therapist can be very helpful in developing strong coping resources for the future.
Ways to cope with suicidal thoughts and feelings
Remember that, while it may feel as if the depression will never end, depression is never a permanent condition. You WILL feel better again. In the meantime, here are some things you can do to cope with your suicidal thoughts and feelings:
- Talk with someone every day, preferably face to face. Though you feel like withdrawing, ask trusted friends and acquaintances to spend time with you.
- Spend time with people who aren’t depressed. This can lift you up and make you feel better.
- If you are thinking of taking an overdose, give your medicines to someone who can give them to you one day at a time.
- Remove any dangerous objects or weapons from your home.
- Avoid alcohol and other drugs. They will only make you feel worse.
- Wait until you are feeling better before doing things you find difficult or unpleasant.
- Make a written schedule for yourself every day and stick to it, no matter what.
- Don’t skip meals, and get at least eight hours of sleep each night.
- Get out in the sun or into nature for at least 30-minutes a day.
- Make time for things that bring you joy.