I'm Having Suicidal Thoughts
IF YOU ARE FEELING SUICIDAL RIGHT NOW, PLEASE CALL 1-800-273-TALK IN THE U.S. OR VISIT IASP TO FIND A HELPLINE IN YOUR COUNTRY.
If you’re a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and are thinking about taking your own life, please contact a suicide helpline and read PTSD in Military Veterans for ways you can start feeling better today.
Coping With Suicidal Thoughts — The First Steps:
Step #1: Promise not to do anything right now
Even though you’re in a lot of pain right now, give yourself some distance between thoughts and action. Make a promise to yourself: “I will wait 24 hours (or a week) and won’t do anything drastic during that time.”
Thoughts and actions are two different things — your suicidal thoughts do not have to become a reality. There is no deadline, no one is pushing you to act on these thoughts immediately. Wait. Wait and put some distance between your suicidal thoughts and suicidal action.
Step #2: Avoid drugs and alcohol
Suicidal thoughts can become even stronger if you have taken drugs or alcohol. It is important not to use non-prescription drugs or alcohol when you feel hopeless or are thinking about suicide.
Step #3: Make your home safe
Remove things you could use to hurt yourself, such as pills, knives, razors, or firearms. If you are unable to do so, go to a place where you can feel safe. If you are thinking of overdosing, give your medicines to someone who can return them to you one day at a time as you need them.
Step #4: Have hope — people do get through this
Even people who feel as badly as you are feeling now manage to survive these feelings. Take hope in this. There is a very good chance that you are going to live through these feelings, no matter how much self-loathing, hopelessness, or isolation you are currently experiencing. Just give yourself the time needed and don’t try to go it alone.
Step #5: Don’t keep suicidal thoughts to yourself
Many of us have found that the first step in coping with suicidal thoughts and feelings is sharing them with someone we trust. It may be a friend, a therapist, a member of the clergy, a teacher, a family doctor, a coach, or an experienced counselor at the end of a helpline. Find someone you trust and let them know how bad things are. Don’t let fear, shame, or embarrassment prevent you from seeking help. Just talking about how you got to this point in your life can release a lot of the pressure that’s building up and help you find a way to cope.
5 steps to recovering from suicidal thoughts and feelings
Identify triggers or situations that lead to feelings of despair or generate suicidal thoughts, such as the anniversary of a loss, alcohol, or stress from relationships. Find ways to avoid these places, people or situations.
If you live in the US and don't know who to turn to, 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).
WAYS TO COPE
WITH SUICIDAL THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS
1. Talk with someone every day, preferably face-to-face. Though you feel like withdrawing, ask trusted friends and acquaintances to spend time with you. Or continue to call a crisis helpline and talk about your feelings.
2. Make a safety plan. Develop a set of steps that you can follow during a suicidal crisis. It should include contact numbers for your doctor or therapist, as well as friends and family members who will help in an emergency.
3. Make a written schedule for yourself every day and stick to it, no matter what. Keep a regular routine as much as possible, even when your feelings seem out of control. Get out in the sun or into nature for at least 30 minutes a day.
4. Exercise as vigorously as is safe for you. To get the most benefit, aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day. But you can start small. Three 10-minute bursts of activity can have a positive effect on mood.
5. Make time for things that bring you joy. Even if very few things bring you pleasure at the moment, force yourself to do the things you used to enjoy.
THINGS TO AVOID
WHEN DEALING WITH SUICIDAL THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS
1. Being alone. Solitude can make suicidal thoughts even worse. Visit a friend, or family member, or pick up the phone and call a crisis helpline.
2. Alcohol and drugs. Drugs and alcohol can increase depression, hamper your problem-solving ability, and can make you act impulsively.
3. Doing things that make you feel worse. Listening to sad music, looking at certain photographs, reading old letters, or visiting a loved one’s grave can all increase negative feelings.
4. Thinking about suicide and other negative thoughts. Try not to become preoccupied with suicidal thoughts as this can make them stronger. Don’t think and re-think negative thoughts. Find a distraction. Giving yourself a break from suicidal thoughts can help, even if it’s for a short time.