Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in young Americans, and the number of people taking their own lives is on the rise. As outlined in a recent article by Relias Academy, the suicide rate in the US increased by more than 25% between 199 and 2016. Aperson’s risk of committing suicide can depend on a number of social and demographic factors, including being male, separated, divorced, or widowed. Those who are unemployed, employed insecurely, retired, immigrants and refugees are all in the at-risk category.
Even if you don’t fit into a high-risk group, absolutely anybody can suffer from feelings of depression and suicidal thoughts; it doesn’t matter who you are or what you have been through. People can go through traumatic events and come out stronger, whilst others can become depressed during what is seemingly a happy and successful life. Depression is caused by an imbalance of chemicals in your brain, which is not always triggered by circumstances.
Sometimes you may be able to pinpoint exactly why you are feeling down or suicidal, and other times, you may have no idea at all. But suicidal thoughts for any reason are dangerous to ignore. Whatever thoughts you are having, remember that you will not always feel this way.
There are many things that you can do to help yourself overcome suicidal thoughts. Try the following:
#1. Make a Positive List:
When you’re feeling suicidal, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by your negative feelings and become convinced that there is nothing good about your life. Many people commit suicide wholeheartedly believing that nobody will care, which could not be further from the truth.
Make a list of everything that is positive and good in your life. Taking a step back to think about it and write it down can help you regain control of your thoughts and mind once again. Think about the things that have so far prevented you from taking your own life. Maybe your children, your partner, parents, friends, or even your pet? Keep this list on you and read it to yourself each time you begin to experience suicidal thoughts.
#2. Have a Safety Plan:
Along with your list, create a safety plan to keep with you that you can use when you’re feeling overwhelmed by suicidal thoughts. Your safety plan should include things that you are comfortable doing if you begin to think about taking your own life. For example, you could delay any attempt for 48 hours and speak to somebody about your feelings and thoughts as soon as possible. If you are currently undergoing mental health treatment, it’s a good idea to write down your therapist or doctor’s number so that they are more likely to be the first person that you call.
Discuss your suicide safety plan with a healthcare professional. You might also want to confide about it in a close relative or friend who you trust. They may be able to help you commit yourself better to the plan, in addition to agreeing to play a part in it in the event of an emergency situation.
#3. Speak to Somebody:
Most of the time, suicidal thoughts and feelings won’t go away on their own. Talking to somebody is one of the best ways to get over them, as it makes it easier for you to determine your own unhealthy responses, patterns and habits that repeatedly bring you to this point. Talking therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy with a qualified mental health professional will help you come to terms with the reasons behind your thoughts and behaviors.
Speaking to somebody can be challenging because it requires you to be vulnerable and open up about your struggles. However, it’s definitely worth doing and will become much easier and natural for you with every session. If you’re struggling to open up, tell your counselor – you won’t be expected to talk about everything all at once and sessions can be tailored to a pace that you are comfortable with.
#4. Practice Self-Care:
Last but not least, taking the time to look after yourself can help you gain a fresh self-perspective and begin a healthier relationship with yourself. Suffering from depression can often lead to feelings of self-hatred, which makes it difficult for patients to look after themselves in even the simplest of ways. Self-care can be as small as running a hot bubble bath for yourself or getting a hair-cut, to investing in a personal trainer and a tailored meal plan. Don’t forget to make time for yourself and actively engage in doing things that make you feel good.
Looking after yourself does not always come easy when suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts. Speak to your doctor or therapist if you feel that your mental health is impacting your ability to care for yourself.
Suicidal thoughts don’t have to lead to suicide. Be prepared and get the support you deserve to help fight suicidal thoughts.