Suicidal Thoughts and Me
This World Mental Health Day has the theme of working together to prevent suicide. Today we have a blog from Claire about living with those thoughts and what you can do to help.
Suicidal thoughts are a part of my life
Suicide has played a large part in my mental health journey. I’ve been experiencing suicidal thoughts since I was a teenager, long before I was diagnosed with bipolar. For the most part I’ve got through things with help from family, but on a few occasions I’ve acted on those feelings and been lucky to walk away.
What drives someone to the point where they try taking their own life?
For me there wasn’t an outside force causing the feelings, I wasn’t being bullied or experiencing problems at work. The issue was much deeper, inside of me.
The thoughts are intrusive, they get into every part of your life, they are mean, nasty and persistent. They grind you down until there’s no strength left to fight and as much as you know the thoughts you’re having aren’t real, the things they are telling you are not true, you believe every word and this cycle continues until you give in to them because living any longer is just unimaginable.
My family wanted to know what they could have done to prevent this from happening. Truth is, nothing short of watching me 24/7. They did everything you’re advised to do when someone is suicidal: gave me an open door to talk to them, asked questions, offered help and support, got me outside help. None of this though could compete with the thoughts and feelings I was having.
There are things you can do to help someone who is suicidal.
Sometimes all it takes is someone coming forward to help turn things around. The most important thing I would suggest is to speak to the person you want to help. Be yourself, make it clear you understand they are struggling but don’t dwell on it. Talking about every day things can really make a difference.
Another thing you can do is to help them get help. It’s not easy asking for help and sometimes having a hand to hold while you do it can make the difference. Make a plan with them, how they will cope, with down time especially, and who they will speak to get company from so they aren’t alone with their feelings. Finally, be there for them emotionally, they may have a lot of baggage they need to get off their chest and having someone to talk to really helps.
I still fight suicidal feelings.
I’m fighting them as I write this and they are draining my strength and making it very hard to focus on anything else. As always my family are great checking in with me, offering me help, talking to me about how I’m doing. I have a friend who despite his own troubles is there for me and getting me out of the house. They are all doing what I need and I’m sure I can get through this.
Suicide prevention is so important and reaching out to someone can save their life.