Dealing With Suicide Ideation - A personal story
The loss of a friend, due to medical misdiagnosis and a family trauma at the same time, triggered my depression. For over six weeks, I was in a state of complete sadness, moodiness and loss of pleasure in my favourite hobbies. The images of their death became a constant scene in my head. Enclosed in the four walls of my room undisturbed, with my earphones on, always listening to (hip-hop artist) Biggie’s classic debut album ‘Ready to Die’, with ‘Suicidal thoughts’ my favourite track off of the album.
My depression went undiagnosed for a very long time. I say undiagnosed, but I mean unrecognised. I mean ignored because depression isn’t something we talk about, and neither is it something that shows outwardly in the form of physical pain or injury. Depression is something other people have. It is easy to tell yourself you are not naturally a bright, happy person; that you are just a bit moody, a bit grumpy or a little bit down today. With no one to care, no feelings shared, I sought out a sworn enemy - “Death”. Let life be short, or else shame will be too long. Like a fool I was, it never occurred to me that suicide doesn’t end the pain, it just passes it off to someone else.
Suicidal ideation, also known as suicidal thoughts, is a strange obsession with suicide. The range of suicidal ideation varies greatly from fleeting thoughts to extensive thoughts which accompany detailed planning and role-playing of the imagined scenario. This could sometimes lead to incomplete attempts, that were either executed intentionally to be discovered or to not be completed at all.
You Are Not Alone
Like me, many people consider committing suicide at different points in their lives. There are times in life when we might feel totally hopeless, helpless, and stunned with emotional pain. It can seem like there is no other way out of our problems. We have run out of ideas, possible solutions, our problems seem unsolvable. The pain feels like it will never end. We believe we have run out of options, and suicide is the only answer left. If you are having suicidal thoughts, know that you are not alone. You should also know that feeling suicidal isn’t a character flaw, and it doesn’t mean you are crazy or weak. It only signifies that you are experiencing more pain or sadness than you can cope with right now. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Give yourself the time necessary for things to change and the pain to subside.
How to Deal with Suicide Ideation (Thoughts)
There are different ways of dealing with suicidal thoughts, but it all boils down to one determination to overcome the temporary sensation of suicidal thoughts by increasing our coping mechanism.
Reach Out to Someone
People are sometimes tensed up, embarrassed and scared of talking about the fact that they are having suicidal thoughts. You should never try to manage suicidal feelings on your own. Just talking about how you feel and how you got to this point in your life can be a huge relief and help you find a way to cope with the pain you are currently experiencing. Professional help and support from loved ones can make it easier to overcome any challenges that are causing suicidal thoughts. There are also numerous organizations and support groups that can help you cope with suicidal feelings. One example is the Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI), who can help you recognise that suicide isn’t the right way to deal with stressful life events.
Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
It is quite tempting to abuse drugs and alcohol during turbulent times. This might only make suicidal thoughts become stronger and your behavior more impulsive, significantly increasing the likelihood of attempting suicide. So, it is important to avoid drugs and alcohol while feeling helpless, hopeless and having suicidal thoughts.
Be Positive About Yourself
Regardless of how difficult or worse your situation may look, know that there is a way out, and that there is a great chance that you are going to survive your suicidal feelings. No matter how much pain you may be experiencing, always stay hopeful and positive about yourself. Try making lists of all the positive things about your life, things people envy about you and read them to yourself any time you are stormed with suicidal thoughts. Give yourself the time you need and “never walk alone”.
Stay Away From Dangerous Objects
It is very important to get rid of things that could be used to hurt or kill yourself e.g. triggers such as guns, razor blades, knives, ropes. Get rid of any items you could use to harm yourself from your home. If you are unable to do this, go to a place where you can feel safe and never isolate yourself.
Finally, it is essential that you address the source(s) of your suicidal thoughts as far as possible. This may include mental disorders such as depression or alcohol dependence, a difficult life situation, or painful memories. Discuss this with your physician or another healthcare professional, who will help you to identify the most appropriate form of help available. And remember “The person who completes suicide, dies once. Those left behind die a thousand deaths, trying to relive those terrible moments and understand… Why?”
- RISING SUN (suicide prevention in the Arctic region) http://bit.ly/2Np9ntY
- Giving LIFE a chance http://bit.ly/2NTie3Z
- Pesticide Regulation for Suicide Prevention http://bit.ly/2oIEToO
- RISING SUN has produced an online Toolkit on how to measure the impact and effectiveness of suicide prevention in Indigenous groups. 5 levels of intervention a) Family b) Individual c) Clinic d) National/Regional e) Community http://bit.ly/RISINGSUNTOOLKIT
- Suicide Prevention Webinar from Dr Saxena Shekhar, Director of WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse: http://bit.ly/2eO6ljx
- WHO Suicide Prevention Factsheet, available in 6 languages including info on key facts, prevention & control & challenges http://bit.ly/2oIyREG
- WHO have also released a Community Engagement Toolkit http://bit.ly/2oKVLv1
- The Yellow Tulip Project represents happiness & hope. They also remind founder Julia Hansen of her two best friends who she lost to suicide when she was 16. Check out the Organisation http://bit.ly/2Jl1GCZ and the inspiring TEDx talk http://bit.ly/2JhLVwy