Practical steps you can take now to fight suicidal thoughts
Disclaimer: This site does not replace or give professional medical and mental health advice.
- Remember, life changes all the time So Hold On. These suicidal ideas WILL pass. Years ago, you did not want to die. Life will change again and in the future you will not want to die. You will have more positives in your life. Humans gradually forget pain as a survival skill we have had for thousands of years. Otherwise, very few mothers would have a second child!
- You would never advise a friend to die! Tell yourself what you would tell a friend. Yes, other people have been helped when feeling like this, or the feelings have finally changed as life changed, allowing them to go on.
- You are somebody’s son or daughter. Would you advise your child to kill themselves when faced with the problems you have?
- You know that if you were drowning, family and friends and professionals would rush to help you. Drowning in suicidal ideas is the same…if they knew, the same people would rush to help you. Can you tell anyone how you feel?
- Feeling a burden or feeling no one cares? That’s not what anyone would say about you at your funeral, so you are being tricked by your depression!
- “They’ll get over it”. Some people will, but close people WILL NOT get over your death. In fact, medical research has shown that your suicide will increase significantly the risk that other members of your family will get depression and other illnesses (like the pain you have now) going on for years. And they will be at increased risk of dying from suicide also! “Suicide does not end with you!”
- Everyone wants to help prevent suicide !! Creating this website involved asking the opinions of lots of different people. The one thing that everyone had in common was that they really, really wanted to help someone. Not once did someone say that they were too busy, or that they had nothing to say. Everyone knows what it is like to hurt or feel pain. Talking gradually reduces emotional pain. There is no problem that can’t be solved. Please talk.
- “Suicide eliminates the possibility of life getting better.”
- “The bravest thing I ever did was continuing my life when I wanted to die”
Am I the only one who thinks this way? No ! You are not alone. You are not weird. An Australian Bureau of Statistics study showed 13% of the population admitted to a total stranger interviewing them that they had thoughts of suicide at some time in their lives! They were alive to report this years later.
Why do ideas of suicide start? There are very tough times in everybody’s life. If the pressures at any time exceed your emotional strength at that time, you begin to feel pain mentally. In some people, a thought creeps in that if you were dead you would not have this pain. And it blots out the future positives of life. The healthy, logical, intelligent bit wants to live and fight back, but the hurt bit keeps suggesting short-term drastic answers. If you have depression, the negatives are accidentally but convincingly magnified. If you follow professional advice online (such as MoodGym, a free service) or with individual help, or even if you just wait long enough, the pain and negative thoughts fade away.
Suicidal ideas are more likely to be invasive, or pushy. They can be frightening. They are not you though. They don’t define you, they are not your fault, and you can get rid of them. See them as an alien attacking you. Every time that you fight off suicidal ideas your defences get a bit stronger. It will become easier, you will gain control, and eventually you won’t even notice the effort, because the ideas have left.
How do you know if you have depression? Well, can you think as clearly as you used to, or can you remember something you read as well as you used to? If the answer is No, you probably have depression or something similar. So it is not your fault You can read a short paper “What is Depression?” on this site (Nicole please hyperlink to this paper, which I will send you to insert on the site somewhere). Depression is like a heart attack. After a period of stress build-up, (just like your arteries build up cholesterol), part of your functioning collapses, causing you great pain and difficulty, and in some cases putting your life at risk. Or you can go to MoodGym (free online)(hyperlink please) or eCouch and it will tell you if you have depression, and give you free treatment.
There are various levels of intensity of suicidal ideas. Here are some suggestions. Maybe you can think of other solutions to buy time until your pain stops, which it always does!
My suicidal ideas are strong:
Okay, this is serious. The “alien” is trying to kill you. Your brain is being taken over and telling you lies. What would you advise a friend in your situation?
- Can you talk to a mental health professional, a GP, a friend, a counsellor, an authority person you know? Talking reduces aloneness and gives you someone else who may be able to help with the problems you have. Tell them how strong your suicidal ideas are on a 0 to 10 scale, or just that they are strong.
- Can you go to the emergency department of any hospital, or phone them? Tell them how strong your suicidal ideas are on a 0 to 10 scale, or just that they are strong.
- Can you use the crisis line numbers on our Home page?
- Can you hang out with a friend or family member, so you are not alone with these thoughts? They just need to let you be with them, not solve your problems. But do talk if you feel you can.
- Can you go to a public place and just be there for half an hour [such as a cafe, a supermarket, a shopping centre,) for distraction, stimulation and human contact while remaining safe?
- Can you get rid of any items you might use to harm yourself?
- Can you avoid the places where you are most at risk ?
- Can you avoid alcohol and illegal drugs at the moment, as they tempt you to act on impulse without logic
- Only deal the largest amount of time that you think you can, so e.g. just focus on the next hour and what you are going to do, nothing past that. If things get really bad then focus on ten minute blocks. Then stretch the time out again.
- Can you download relaxation apps and use them? (may be too hard when you are very distressed)
- Can you do vigorous exercise to release the internal emotions? Alternatively, can you have a long relaxing shower or bath?
- Can you take medication to help you sleep until the suicidal ideas get weaker and you can get help in the morning? Even if you don’t sleep, at least these medications will lessen the pain you are feeling.
My suicidal ideas are gradually building up:
These types of suicidal ideas are nearly always due to depression, a chemical illness inside your brain chemistry. It is similar to diabetes. In the less severe stages, you can fight it if someone shows you how (read on). When it gets bad like severe diabetes, you cannot fix it without help, usually medication, or you wait for it to pass hopefully. Severe depression gives strong suicidal ideas by telling you lies like no one can help, or you are a burden on people around you, or this pain will go on forever. These are lies.
Here are some suggestions:
- Can you avoid thinking about suicide, so you don’t start believing suicidal thoughts are normal thoughts? Can you do mental activities to distract your mind, such as spelling words in reverse or doing maths in your head?
- Can you write down your stresses, and try to write down possible steps to deal with them? This is a good starting point if you see a mental health professional (problem solving therapy).
- Can you do something physical to burn up your frustration? Exercise such as walking or anything more strenuous makes many people feel better.
- Can you read the short paper “What is Depression” on this site ? (hyperlink please) This will tell you if you have depression, which will explain why you have these ideas.
- Can you do a free online course at MoodGym or eCouch (hyperlinks please) ? These courses help you to fight off depression and anxiety, and make you more confident and better able to handle situations and relationships?
You are a unique person with unique problems. This applies to absolutely everyone: please talk. Whatever is going on in your life that is making it this hard, there is someone who wants to hear about it and wants to help you. And there are numerous professionals who desperately want to help you, with lots of free public services.
“We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are.”