And, of course, one of the big things I say in bold, underlined letters is that if you’re feeling suicidal you need to tell someone. You absolutely, positively need to reach out for help.
But let’s face it, it’s not easy to admit you’re suicidal, even to yourself, let alone to another person, so how do you tell someone you’re suicidal?
Feeling suicidal is not a small thing. It is not normal to want to take your own life. It is not normal to be thinking about killing yourself. It just isn’t. It might feel “normal” to some people who battle it all the time (I understand) but, believe me, no one deserves to feel like they want to kill themselves.
In addition to wanting to die, feeling suicidal often means:
- Being obsessed with death
- Feeling hopeless
- Feeing like the world would be better off without you
- Making specific suicide plans
- Saying goodbye to people and giving away your possessions
- Writing a suicide note
All of these things are horrific and they’re all really important to notice so that you use them to spur you to get help.
Who to Tell that You Feel Suicidal
This depends on the person but if you feel suicidal and feel like you’re going to act on your suicidal feelings, you need to get professional help right away. Go to an emergency room or call 9-1-1 right now. No playing around. This is your life we’re talking about and your life matters
If you’re not feeling like you’re going to act on your suicidal feelings, you do have your choice of who to tell. My preference would be to tell a mental health professional. Make an appointment with your doctor or therapist and tell them how you feel. I know this can be scary, but these people are trained to help you and your situation. You might also call a helpline as they are also trained to deal with suicidal feelings.
If you feel that you can’t tell a professional, then tell the person closest to you. Tell your parents or best friend. Tell a faith leader or teacher. If you’re under the age of 18, make sure an adult knows because as great as friends are, it’s unlikely that a non-adult is going to be able to handle such a serious situation all that well.
And you might want to tell more than one person. For example, you might tell your friend so that they can come with you when you go to talk to a doctor. In fact, telling more people is often better because the more people that can support you through this challenging time, the better off you’ll likely be.
In part two of this article I talk about how to tell someone you’re feeling suicidal and what happens after you tell someone you’re suicidal.