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Suicidal thoughts and feelings can impinge on many people during their lifetime, with no serious consequences. The person can manage the thoughts and feelings in a positive coping manner. However, for some individuals the consistent and incessant thought patterns are continuous.
If you are assailed by suicidal thoughts, the first thing to remember is that many people who have attempted suicide and survived ultimately feel relieved that they did not end their lives. At the time of attempting suicide, they experienced intense feelings of despair and hopelessness because it seemed to them that they had lost control over their lives and that things could never get better. The only thing that they still had some control over was whether they lived or died, and committing suicide seemed like the only option left. This is never true.
What are Suicidal Thoughts?
Some of the thoughts that may accompany suicidal thoughts include:
• I want to escape my suffering.
• I have no other options.
• I am a horrible person and do not deserve to live.
• I have betrayed my loved ones.
• My loved ones would be better off without me.
• I want my loved ones to know how bad I am feeling.
• I want my loved ones to know how bad they have made me feel.
Whatever thoughts you are having, and however bad you are feeling, remember that you have not always felt this way, and that you will not always feel this way. Reach out to an online counsellor if you are experiencing any of these thoughts and they will do our utmost to help you.
What to Do if You Feel Suicidal?
The risk of a person committing suicide is highest in the combined presence of (1) suicidal thoughts, (2) the means to commit suicide, and (3) the opportunity to commit suicide. If you are prone to suicidal thoughts, ensure that the means to commit suicide have been removed. For example, give tablets and sharp objects to someone for safekeeping, or put them in a locked or otherwise inaccessible place. At the same time, ensure that the opportunity to commit suicide is lacking. The surest way of doing this is by remaining in close contact with one or more people, for example, by inviting them to stay with you. Share your thoughts and feelings with these people, and don’t be reluctant to let them help you. If no one is available or no one seems suitable, there are several emergency telephone lines that you can ring at any time. For example, 999 or the Samaritans on 116123 (Ireland and UK). Have a family member or neighbour/friend's number in a convenient location, and do not be afraid to use it.
Do not use alcohol or drugs as these can make your behaviour more impulsive and thereby significantly increase your likelihood of attempting suicide. In particular, do not drink or take drugs alone, or end up alone after drinking or taking drugs. Make a list of all the positive things about yourself and a list of all the positive things about your life, including the things that have so far prevented you from committing suicide. Keep the lists on you, and read them to yourself each time you are assailed by suicidal thoughts. On a separate sheet of paper, write a safety plan for the times when you feel like acting on your suicidal thoughts.
Your safety plan could involve delaying any suicidal attempt by at least 48 hours, and then talking to someone about your thoughts and feelings as soon as possible. Discuss your safety plan with a healthcare professional and commit yourself to it. Sometimes even a single good night’s sleep can significantly alter your outlook, and it is important not to underestimate the importance of sleep. If you are having trouble sleeping, speak to your GP but please refrain from taking another person’s prescribed medications.
Once things are a bit more settled, it is important that you address the cause or causes of your suicidal thoughts in as far as possible. For example, a mental disorder 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.
Turn2Me is not a crisis intervention service yet our philosophy is to help a person find appropriate, safe and trusted care if we are allowed to do so. Please remember though, that if an individual is at imminent risk of debilitating self-harm or end of life stage we are obliged to contact the Gardai or next of kin immediately.
At T2M we will explore a client’s life from a Biopsyosocial perspective (that is looking at the person from: the influence of genetics; psychological manifestations and social influences). We can explore a variety of underlying and possible reasons as to why an individual may experience suicidal ideation. It is important to note that some individuals who do not ‘fit’ the profile of increased risk, who may be termed psychologically healthy or robust, may have experienced a catastrophic event in their lives which then triggers the process of impinging suicidal thoughts and feelings.
At Turn2Me, we have the experience to understand you, assist you and help you. The first step is sometimes the hardest but it might be worth it. Lets Get Talking today and save a life. Yours!