Coping with suicidal thoughts

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If you are thinking about suicide, you are not alone. Many people have thoughts of suicide, for a number of reasons. Thoughts of suicide can be very scary. You probably feel hurt, confused, overwhelmed and hopeless about your future. You may feel sadness, grief, anger, guilt, shame, or emptiness. You may think that nothing can be done to change your situation. Your feelings may seem like they are just too much to handle right now. It is important to know that thinking about suicide does not mean that you will lose control or act on these thoughts. Having thoughts of suicide does not mean you are weak, or ‘crazy’. Many people think about suicide because they are looking for a way to escape the pain they are feeling.

What should you do if you are seriously thinking about suicide?

Even though your situation seems hopeless and you wonder if you can stand another minute of feeling this bad, there are ways to get through this and feel better. You don’t have to face this situation alone. Help is
available. Here are a few ideas that you can use right now.

Connect with others.
If you are worried that you may lose control or do something to hurt yourself, tell someone. Make sure you are around someone you trust. If you live alone, ask a friend or family member to stay with you. If you don’t know anyone or can’t reach friends or family members, call your local crisis line.

Keep your home safe by getting rid of ways to hurt yourself.
It is important to get rid of things that could be used to hurt or kill yourself, such as pills or razor blades If you are unable to do so, go to a place you can feel safe.

Develop a safety plan.
It is very helpful to have a written safety plan when you have thoughts of hurting yourself. Have a trusted family member, friend, or professional help you to complete this safety plan. Keep this plan somewhere you can see or find easily. Write down the steps you will take to keep yourself safe (see the following example). Follow the steps. If you follow these steps and still do not feel safe, call a crisis line, get yourself to a hospital A&E or call 999

Safety Plan.
If you have thoughts of hurting yourself, start at Step 1. Go through each step until you are safe.

Remember: Suicidal thoughts can be very strong. It may seem they will last forever. With support and time, these thoughts will usually pass. When they pass, you can put energy into sorting out problems that have contributed to you feeling so badly. The hopelessness you may feel now will not last forever. It is important to reach out for help and support. You can get through this difficult time. Since it can be hard to focus and think clearly when you feel suicidal, please copy this and put in places where you can easily use it, such as your purse, wallet or by the phone.

1. Do the following activities to calm/comfort myself: e.g. listening to music, reading, watching TV, chat to friends online, mindfulness meditation.

2. Remind myself of my reasons for living: See List of reasons to live (below)

3. Call a friend or family member:
Name: Phone:

4. Call a backup person if person above is not available:
Name: Phone:

5. Call your GP or mental health provider:
Name: Phone:

6. Call my local crisis line:
Phone:

7. Go somewhere I am safe:

8. Go to the A&E at the nearest hospital.

List of reasons to live.
When we are suicidal we often don’t think clearly. By focusing on the reasons we have to stay alive we can break the cycle of negative thoughts. At a time when I felt emotionally stronger, I compiled a list of reasons to live. I wrote them in a pretty notebook along with photos of loved ones and images to stimulate happier thoughts. I look at this notebook whenever I’m depressed and have suicidal thoughts.

Take further steps to decrease thoughts of suicide

Problem solve.
It is always helpful to think of ways other than suicide that you can solve your problems. Focus on what you can change and try not to stress about what you have no control over.

Make a list of all the problems you are dealing with in your life. Then make a list of all the solutions you can think of to those problems. Dealing with 1 or 2 small problems can help to put an end to immediate feelings of suicide. Once you are thinking more clearly, you can tackle other bigger problems.

Remember things that have helped in the past.
Many people have had thoughts of suicide before. Think of some of the things that helped you feel better when you faced the same types of problems in the past. Some examples are:

Reaching out to family and friends.
*Seeing a professional
*Going to a support group
*Following a safety plan
*Doing something you enjoy
*Not being alone
*Keeping a diary.

Talk to a trusted friend, family member, or professional.
It is important to speak to someone you trust about how you feel. Sometimes just talking about how you feel can help. It is important to be open about all of your thoughts. People often say they are relieved that they shared how they felt with someone. Talking can help you feel less alone.

Get treatment for mental health problems.
Seek professional help, depression and suicidal thoughts are a burden you cannot carry alone.

Take steps to decrease the chance that you will feel suicidal in the future

Get professional support.

Identify high risk triggers or situations.
Think about the situations or factors that increase your feelings of despair and thoughts of suicide. Work to avoid those situations.

Self-care.
Taking good care of yourself is important
to feel better. It is important to do the following:
• eat a healthy diet
• get some exercise every day
• get a good night’s sleep
• decrease or stop using alcohol or drugs, as these can make feelings of depression and suicide worse.

Follow through with prescribed medications.
If you take prescription medications, it is important to make sure you take them as your doctor directed. Speak to your doctor if you don’t feel like your medication is working.

Structure and routine.
Keep a regular routine as much as possible, even when your feelings seem out of control.

Do things you enjoy.
When you are feeling very low, do an activity you enjoy. You may find that very
few things bring you pleasure. Think of things you used to enjoy doing at times you didn’t feel so depressed or suicidal. Do these things, even if they don’t bring you enjoyment right now. Giving yourself
a break from suicide thoughts can help, even if it’s for a short time.

Think of personal goals.
Think of personal goals you have for yourself, or that you’ve had in the past. Giving yourself something to focus on distracts you from your negative thoughts but also gives you a sense of achievement and a reason to wake up in the morning.

If you are feeling suicidal or know someone that is, there are organisations that can help:

https://www.mind.org.uk/…/types-of-ment…/suicidal-feelings/…

https://www.samaritans.org/

https://www.papyrus-uk.org/#

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