What to Do if You Start to Feel Suicidal
If you feel that you may hurt yourself or someone else please get help now. People want to help you. You are not alone.
Often people with bipolar disorder, depression and other mental illnesses feel suicidal. And people often feel suicidal knowing that they aren’t, actually, going to commit suicide. And while the knowledge that you likely aren’t going to commit suicide might be comforting to some, it sure doesn’t make feeling suicidal any more fun.
Starting to Feel Suicidal
And starting to feel suicidal can begin with little things like feeling crushing depression, unstoppable loneliness or indeed feeling nothing at all. People have different cycles that lead to feeling suicidal. Regardless though, when you start to feel like you want off the planet, there are some things you can do.
Techniques for Dealing with Feeling Suicidal
- Stop the thoughts. I know this is easier said than done but every time a thought arrives in your head that is suicidal you need to say, “Stop.” In fact, it might even help to say it out loud. Yell it if you need to. You need not be held captive by suicidal thoughts.
- Switch thoughts. Once you yell stop, it`s time to switch thoughts. Switch to something you know isn`t connected to suicide. Plot scenarios out ahead of time that work for you.
- Distract. In addition to stopping the suicidal thoughts and switching them to something else, you can distract from the feelings of suicidality. I know doing anything can feel overwhelming at a time like this but maybe you could play fetch with your dog or pet your cat or organize your bookshelf or do the laundry or clean out the fridge. Anything that would not be emotionally activating and yet still will keep you busy.
- Wait. No human being stays suicidal forever. This feeling will pass. Just hang on to whatever you can while you (painfully) wait it out. (Note: this cannot be your only coping technique.)
- Reach out. Yes, even if you’re pretty sure you’re not going to commit suicide you still should reach out. This could be to a friend or family member or to more official sources if you need them. Talking over your dark feelings can make them seem less dark and it’s reassuring when people remind you that they still love and care about you and want you on the planet even if you’re not sure you do.
- Tell your doctor. Again, just because you didn’t attempt suicide doesn’t mean it’s any small thing. Your doctor needs to know if you feel suicidal at all so he or she can make a proper assessment of you mood and your treatment.
And while I’m not really the rah, rah, yay life kind of gal, I do suggest that there are many reasons for each one of us to live and to fight and I believe that every living being on the planet has a drive to stay here. If they didn’t you wouldn’t be reading this right now. So sometimes when you’re not feeling suicidal, maybe you could make a list of all the reasons you do want to stay alive so that list is there for you when you feel suicidal. It’s a personal list and I can’t tell you what will be on yours but remember this – you touch more people than you could ever know and your life matters.
And remember that the part of you that’s telling you to commit suicide is your illness – it’s not you. Your illness is lying to you and making you believe you want to die but you are resisting it right now by reading this. You tell the dark lies to stop. Tell the illness that you don’t believe it. Because you really don’t. You really believe that it’s going to get better and that’s because it is.
There’s no shame in reaching out when you need help. See here for information. It gets better.
Note: I know some people object to the term “commit suicide.” I’m sorry, but that’s the term people use and search for in Google and as people need to be able to find my content, it is the term I will use.
About Natasha Tracy
Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.