I Am Suicidal! What Can I Do?
Feeling out of control and suicidal is terrifying, debilitating, and desperately lonely.
You can get through these awful moments. I know; I've done it and so have thousands of other people. Paradoxially, suicide, I believe, is a choice, but your choice ends if you choose it.
The worst moments of feeling suicidal do not usually last very long. If you can hang in there through the gut-wrenching wave of despair, you will stay alive and maintain your ability to choose.
Here are 10 options to help quell the suicidal fury in your mind when you are in crisis.
None of these are meant to heal your pain, and they can help you step away from the edge and make it through to tomorrow. In addition, Thoughts of Suicide will help you understand a little more of your thinking.
Feeling Suicidal and Thinking "I Want to Die"
This 3-minute video helps explain that being suicidal isn't your fault. It's a video about feeling understood and not feeling so alone. It isn't a pitch for my book, although I do show it at the very end, as this thumbnail shows. Please take a look. I've received a number of emails that it has helped people who are struggling. I hope it helps you.
Before you do anything else, take five deep breaths now. During moments when you aren't sure if you can stay alive or not, breath is shallow and the ability to think shuts down.
Inhale to the count of four, hold to the count of four, and exhale to the count of four. Five times. At least.
#2 Make a Phone Call
Call someone. Anyone. Now.
Two options are a Suicide Hotline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255) in the United States or Internationally, the Befrienders.
I've never called the Befrienders, but I have called the Suicide Hotline. It was very scary the first time. If you are not in the actual act of killing yourself or threatening to kill yourself right then, they will not send the police to your door. They are trained to talk with you and help you through the acute moments of despair. You will have to deal with an automated voice and some stupid music at first -- just hang in there. Please do not let fear stop you from making that call.
Call family or friends, your doctor, your therapist, your preacher, or any other supportive person. Talk to someone for at least ten minutes.
As a side note, please do not call someone who is reprimanding, judgmental, or negative. You are probably being excessively hard on yourself as it is.
I know this sounds weird...if you think you want to kill yourself, go into your bathroom and smell every bottle of shampoo and conditioner, every soap, and every lotion you own. Do it slowly and methodically.
If you are still fighting against immediate suicide, do the same thing in your kitchen with spices, herbs, and condiments in the refrigerator.
You will figure out which scents help calm your mind, and you will be breathing deeply in the process, which helps the nervous system relax and your body and mind work better.
When 99% of you feels suicidal, a fraction of a percent change is all it takes to stay alive when the Suicide Voice is taking over.
I know reading can be next-to-impossible when suicide is churning in your mind. It can help if you read to yourself out loud.
This easy-reading book has 28 short chapters to help you through the worst times. It is available on Amazon as a print book and for Kindle, and it's also available as pdf version at ChooseLifeOverSuicide. The site says it isn't available because it's part of Amazon Select. It actually is available for immediate download.
Delve inside the suicidal mind with a raw and naked look at Angerona Love's struggle to stay alive after the fatal suicide of her fiancÃ©. Love has broken the stigma with an insightful perspective of ways she stayed alive when her own mind relentlessly wanted to kill her. Helpful for people considering suicide, the people who love them, and mental health professionals, When Darkness Comes provides increased understanding into the mind of someone battling suicide and offers tips to continue breathing when breathing no longer seems bearable.
#5 Look at a Picture
The voice of suicide has a way of making us think the world is better off without us and that killing ourselves is the best thing for the people we love. No more insidious, awful lie has ever been thought!
Sit down and think hard about the reasons you have to stay alive. Family, pets, friends, guilt, whatever it takes -- think of something worth staying alive for even though your brain is telling you to kill yourself. Write it down.
If you have a physical picture of the person or thing, even better. Hold this image in your mind and use it to fend off the raging storm of suicide in your mind. If the suicidal voice tries to argue otherwise, argue back. Whatever you have stayed alive for up until now is still worth it.
#6 Listen to Music
There is a rule to this one.
You are not to listen to anything that will further depress you. Nor should you listen to anything ultra-cheerful.
You are looking for slightly melancholy songs that contain hope -- songs about overcoming adversity, struggling through to the light -- that sort of thing. My personal favorite when I was struggling is below. It is the right combination of sadness and triumph to have helped me through the worst moments without wanting to puke from cheery, i's-dotted-with-hearts happiness.
Please add your favorites in the Comments section below.
#7 Take a Walk
Get out and walk. A ten-fifteen minute brisk walk can really help. I know it is incredibly difficult to think about going out when you feel horrible, raw, vulnerable, and suicidal; however, it can make the difference between being acutely suicidal and on the brink of killing yourself and just feeling generally lousy, suicidal thoughts.
If you don't want to go out in the public domain, stretch for ten minutes. Our bodies hold our pain and by moving and being active, even for a few minutes, you can release some of that tension.
#8 Get in the Shower
Take a shower. Change the water from comfortably hot to really cold. Do this back and forth a couple of times. The point is to force yourself to feel. It is hard to stay acutely suicidal when you make yourself feel your humanness.
When you turn the water off, dry yourself off, use lotion on your whole body, put on deoderant, and brush your teeth. By the time you've done all this, the worst of the suicidal thinking may well be over.
#9 Distract Yourself with YouTube
This one is easy. Find stupid, short clips on YouTube that have nothing to do with suicide, depression, hopelessness, violence, or negativity. Look up your favorite musicians, comedy, pets, anything to distract your mind through the temporary, suicidal crisis.
#10 Caramelize Onions
This sounds weird too. It worked for me.
Why did it work? Chopping onions caused me to cry, which helped release emotion. Cooking the onions took up time, smelled wonderfully, necessitated my stirring them constantly, and was cheap to do.
It sounds strange, but try it.
1.) To caramelize onions, chop some onions into strips. They will shrink considerably, so if you're going to use them, make a lot. Don't dice them -- leave them as strips.
2.) Put some olive oil and/or butter in a pan and heat over medium heat.
3.) Add the onions and a little salt and pepper. Stir them often as they start to soften. Turn the heat a little lower.
4.) When somewhat soft, add a teaspoon or two of sugar and stir. Brown sugar is best, but not necessary.
5.) Keep stirring them constantly for 20-25 minutes. Scrape the goo off the bottom of the pan as you stir.
6.) When they are golden to medium brown, they're done.
Keep Giving Yourself the Choice
When I was suicidal, someone said to me, "I'm not asking you to take suicide off your list. I just want you to get it out of the number 1 spot."
It was wise advice. As long as suicide is your second option, you will always have the choice. Do whatever it takes, just get suicidal thinking and the desire to kill yourself out of the number 1 spot. If you can put it at number 3 or 4, all the better. Number 2 is good enough.
If you want support and don't know where to turn, please consider a licensed mental health professional to help you through this. If, for whatever reason, that isn't your choice, consider trusting someone with your feelings. Options include religious leaders, a support group, peer support and mentoring, a physician, or other community resources.
You do not have to go through this alone and there are peope ho wwill help and support you with kindness, respect, and compassion.
For some longer-term ideas about how to start climbing out of depression a little every day, please see 10 tips to help depression.
Please share your ideas for getting through the rough moments
A ten-minute distraction can make the difference between suicide and life.