Everyday approximately 125 Americans choose to end their lives and succeed. While this statistic is alarming, it’s even more overwhelming to think about the millions more who are contemplating the idea.
While it used to be that people with suicidal thoughts were considered the minority and diagnosed with a mental illness, today, many people who are struggling financially or in their personal lives begin to see suicide as their only way out of a bad situation.
We are all supposed to be imbued with a survival instinct, but with the anxiety and stress of living in a fast-paced world that can feel cold and unfair, it’s no wonder many people self-destruct.
Have you been having suicidal thoughts lately? If so, it may be helpful to learn more about the different kinds so that you can create a plan to combat them.
Suicidal ideation is the thought that everything would be better if you were dead. You might think that the world doesn’t need you here or that people in your life would benefit more from your life insurance policy than your presence.
If this line of thinking feels familiar to you, then you are having thoughts of ideation.
Ideation is the first step down a slippery road. To get ahead of those kinds of thoughts, you need to defeat them.
It may help to keep a journal and write down all of the helpful things that you do for others. If you can’t think of anything, then start creating those moments. It could be something as small as helping a neighbor carry something heavy down the stairs, or as big as stopping to connect with a homeless person that you see on your way to work. The more connections you have with others around you, the more meaningful your day will become.
Helping others allows you to focus on the struggles others are going through rather than getting caught up in the cycle of your own negative thoughts. Eventually, people around you will come to rely on your kindness giving you more reasons to stick around.
Active sucidal thoughts occur when you are making a plan for your death. You may do things like research the most effective ways to kill yourself or start deciding who is going to get your stuff when you are gone. You may also make plans for who will take care of your plants and pets.
If this sounds familiar to you, it’s time to get help from a professional. Trying to get support from your network when you are actively planning your death simply won’t be enough. Other people want to help you, but they may not know the right words or how to jump in and pick up the slack.
While it may feel impersonal reaching out to a therapist or crisis hotline, that’s exactly what you need to do. Otherwise, you are forcing someone in your circle to become responsible for what happens to you.
When you start to seek help for the first time, you may find that the clinics you call don’t have appointments available for months. I know from experience. Try to get on their waiting list to be called if they have any cancellations.
Your last resort option is walking into an emergency room and letting them know what’s going on. Make sure you call the hospital beforehand to make sure they have a behavioral health unit, not all hospitals do.
Once you go into the ER, you will be able to see a psychiatrist immediately who will most likely prescribe you medication. If you express that you are having suicidal thoughts, they will also likely check you in for what some call a grippy sock vacation.
They will ask you to take off your street clothes and put all of your belongings including your cell phone into a paper bag. Then, they will give you a receipt for your stuff and dress you out in a hospital gown and the famous grippy socks.
This is bound to feel like a lowpoint for you even if you know you need the help. Try to have compassion for yourself and be proud that you are taking the first steps towards feeling better.
Before you check in, it’s best to let a few close family members or friends know where you will be. They will be able to bring you supplies like sweatpants and t-shirts to change into and books to read. You will also want to let your workplace know that you have to spend some time in the hospital. You don’t have to let them know the reason and the hospital can give you a note to excuse your absence.
Remember, while it may feel like there are a million more important things you have to do than spend time in a hospital waiting for medications to kick in and having limited contact with the outside world, taking care of your mental health is imperative for your life to change and things to get better. Just take one step at a time.
Intrusive thoughts are one of the most frustrating experiences I have ever had. You’ll be washing your dishes or taking a shower on a perfectly nice day only to be bothered by a thought in your head telling you that you should jump out a window or slit your wrists.
These thoughts spring up at the most random moments and seem like they come from nowhere. They may be in your own voice, or could feel like they are someone else telling you to kill yourself.
If you ever have this type of thought, you may feel like there is something incredibly wrong with you. However, if you were to share your experience with others, you would find that a lot of people experience intrusive thoughts at times.
Could it be a demon talking to your or the devil himself trying to sabotage you? Who knows. Does it really matter where the thought comes from? Not really. It only matters how you respond to an intrusive thought.
You have to gather all of your internal strength and banish the thought from your mind. Tell it no, I have endless reasons to live and begin to picture them in your mind. Think of your family and friends, your goals and dreams, and your life’s mission. Then, go on with your day. If you’re lucky, over time the thoughts will begin to become less frequent and go away on their own.
If that doesn’t happen, then it may be time to consider mental health medication. Over time, frequent intrusive thoughts can become overwhelming. If you feel like you just need them to stop, medication is the way.
Talk to your doctor about the thoughts in detail so that they can help you differentiate between external and internal intrusive thoughts. They can help you figure out if the thoughts are actually hallucinations or if your brain is working against you. Based on the conversation you have, they will prescribe from different categories of medication, so be honest and give as much detail as you can about the experience.