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Suicidal Thoughts; 5 Tips to Consider

***If you have serious thoughts about harming yourself or ending your life, please visit your local emergency room, or reach out to 800 273 TALK,  211, or text 988 or 741741 for immediate assistance. You are not alone.***

Suicidal thoughts can come around for many different reasons. Some common thoughts are “not wanting to be here anymore” or that “life is too hard.”

At times, these thoughts come around due to going through a crisis, such as losing a job, a breakup of a relationship, or going through a financial hardship that seems too hard to overcome. 

Depression is a very common underlying factor, as well as other mental health untreated diagnoses, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc. Substance and alcohol abuse can also be a factor in suicidal thoughts.

These feelings and thoughts can be scary, bothersome, and hinder day-to-day living. 

Please consider the following tips:

  1. Consider seeking professional help or resources.

We all need help from time to time, especially when feeling very down or having suicidal thoughts. In these instances, it is important to consider your options for professional help. Perhaps you are distant from family, don’t have friends who know what’s going on, or maybe you are not comfortable telling people you know how you are truly feeling. That’s okay. There are options outside of your existing network. One possibility is therapy. A therapist can walk beside you in your experience, help you understand what is happening, and assist you with solutions. Therapists use certain models of therapy to address suicidality, such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy-Brief Suicide Intervention (DBT-BSI), Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for suicidality, and Collaborative Assessment Management of Suicidality (CAMS) intervention, among others. You may also consider seeing a psychiatrist for medication management. Even if you don’t intend to take medications, the psychiatrist can help you with a plan moving forward and make important recommendations depending on your situation. You can also consider reaching out to a national suicide hotline at 800 273 TALK, 211, or text 988 or 741741 especially if in need to talk to someone outside of business hours. Having suicidal thoughts doesn’t mean that you are actively suicidal per se or even a threat to yourself, but the suicide hotline can still be useful for you. It provides you the option of speaking with someone for free and anonymously. Additionally, there might be something that has really been bothering you, not as the primary issue, but it's intensifying the current feelings. Perhaps you were already down about a relationship breakup or losing your job, but suicidal thoughts increased after migraines began and persisted. For example, if you identify something (e.g., persistent migraines) that intensifies feelings of wanting to die, then prioritize effective relief (e.g., seeking medical care) rather than ignoring or dismissing what you are going through. 

  1. Attend to your relationships. 

As humans, we are relational creatures and need to be connected to others. Perhaps you have had a consistent conflict with your partner, are single but wish to have a partner, or maybe your children are grown and you are feeling the effects of an “empty nest.” In any instance, it is important to evaluate how your interpersonal connections are going. Whether with your partner, your neighbor, friends, co-workers, extended family, etc. when the important relationships in your life are “on the rocks,” it can greatly impact your mood and overall well-being. Although common, relationship struggles can create a threat to our well-being as well as to those in our relationship network. It can be a challenge to reach out when you are feeling very down and don’t know how to address or respond to important relationships that may feel as if they are unraveling. If you don’t know what to do, you may consider making contact with the person(s) involved and telling them “I don’t know what to do” and letting them know that you care about the relationship and would like to resolve tensions or disputes. While not easy, it might be worth it. Resolving relationship tensions can allow you to feel more connected, and thus more likely to assist with reconnecting with purpose.

  1. Consider how balanced your life is, and if there are changes you can make.

Maybe you are doing very well in your career and are spending a lot of time at work. If you have a successful career, abundant resources, and are generally physically healthy, yet still experience suicidal ideation, then your work life balance could be a factor for difficulty. How can you evaluate balance in your life? You might consider different “domains” or areas of life that apply to everyone, such as social and emotional well-being. Your career is amazing, but how is your social life? Are you connected to friends? And how are your family relationships? Perhaps you have been so focused on your career that other areas of life have been pushed to the side. You cannot maintain a perfect balance all the time, but it can be helpful to evaluate where you might improve. While your career is important, so are other areas of your life. You are the best person to decide where and when your attention can be re-focused. It is important to remember that small changes can make a big difference in your well-being over time. 

  1. Focus on your self-care

Consider taking care of yourself and ensuring that your physical needs are met. You may be at your best when you feel good physically. You may find that it is easier to manage those thoughts when you have a well-balanced meal and stay hydrated. It is hard to keep up sometimes, especially when you have a busy schedule, but it is good to include some forms of physical activity such as stretching or even keeping it simple with moving around your house. Sleep is important also for your self-care. Try to aim for at least 7-9 hours of sleep. Limit alcohol intake as it increases unwanted emotions and may actually worsen depression and suicidal thoughts.

  1. Work on a safety plan

Ever wondered how to be safe in a crisis? Safety planning can go a long way toward feeling safe in a difficult situation. A safety plan consists of recognizing triggers or early signs of suicidal thoughts. Include a list of support whether it is from loved ones or professionals like a therapist, your local urgent care, or attending group therapy. Recognize coping techniques whether it is music, art, exercise, or activities or places that you enjoy. 

Overall, it is important to remember that you are not alone and that many people experience feelings and suicidal thoughts. Although feeling isolated and stuck can make it hard to remember that you are not alone, you can experience improvements by attending to your relationships, evaluating areas of life that would allow for more balance, and reaching out for professional help. Most importantly, there are many people who care about your well-being, are willing to lend a hand, and can ultimately be a resource to you.  

For more tips, please check out our other tips here: . You can always find us at 954-903-1676 for counseling services. 

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