Life, on paper, seems simple. Feed yourself, water yourself, clean yourself, keep people around you that you love, and the most simplest one of them all – stay alive for as long as possible. Life pretty much is just like a game, with the difference being that we don’t get a second shot if it ends. Every 40 seconds someone in the world dies from suicide, bringing back the reality that life is not a game.
I am terrified of dying. Every six months I go through my ‘oh shit, I’m going to die one day’ phase. I’m scared about what comes after. Do I really want to be here for eternity or does it make life more precious if there isn’t anything after? This fear hasn’t stopped me from having suicidal thoughts and occasions where I have near attempted. Matt Haigh put it perfectly when he said it’s not that I want to die, it’s that I don’t want to be here. After I tell people this I usually compare it to that scene in SpongeBob where Squidward is just in a white room. There isn’t many people I know who haven’t had these thoughts and I fully believe we should be taught how to cope with them and how to help those who have them from a young age.
Opening up to others:
This year I was told by someone I loved that my suicidal thoughts was ‘too much guilt on their shoulders’ and that ‘if I ever did anything they would have to live with that for the rest of their life’. I want to point out the harsh reality that you may get this reaction if you tell someone about these thoughts, and I also want to point out if they do say this to you then you cut them out of your life immediately. You have to create a support system for yourself and it’s not selfish to drop people who are going to make things worse or try to make you feel guilty. Opening up to others is going to show you who cares, because when I told my best friend I was having these thoughts she picked me up within 15 minutes and made sure I was alright (well, her husband did – thanks for being a fast driver Scott). My other closest friend gave me the key to her house and said I always have a place to go. It can be frightening and heart breaking to open up to those around you, but please do, you’re going to find out who genuinely cares for you.
Focussing on now:
People always seem to say things like ‘what about the things you’ll miss?’ or ‘think about the future’. Do you know how difficult it is to sit and think about the thing’s you’ll miss when you can’t even see yourself having a future. Sometimes people look at me like I’m mad because the smallest thing makes me happy, I seen a baby rabbit in the woods the other day and nothing could have ruined my day. I actively try to make the smallest things in life give me joy because I have been in the position where I could not feel happiness. So my advice to anyone who may just be starting to get help for suicidal thoughts, stop putting so much energy into focussing on the future at focus on one day at a time. Pick out the smallest things each day and write down what made you happy, it could be anything from the sound of rain on the window to a cup of tea that hit the right spot. Focussing on the future constantly makes us try and predict what is going to happen and to me, it’s not healthy.
Acceptance of the situation:
The hardest thing to do is to accept that you need help. You can cry, scream and talk about your issues with other people but until you actually physically admit to yourself that you need help, things are not going to get better. Admitting that you need help means that you want to better yourself which (hopefully) changes your mentality, because you’re actively trying to make a difference to your life. For me, I was scared to admit I needed help because I didn’t want people to think I was attention seeking and it is terrifying the first time you admit you need help. I am so proud of everyone who has gotten the courage to do it. Everything takes practice, it’s took me about four years so be able to message a friend when I’m in need and even writing this now I still worry people may just see it as attention seeking. Feelings like this don’t just disappear, but they can be worked on over time.
Don’t let people tell you how to feel:
There isn’t a ‘wrong way’ to feel suicidal. Something I think about is when people say things like ‘but they seem so happy’. The first time I ever felt suicidal, I was still happy. It’s a confusing thing to explain, but I would still go out with friends and laugh and I did feel genuine happiness at the time, but then I would go home and my thoughts would spiral out of control. I feel like we have been told to look out for the signs so many times that we forget people can easily hide the signs. Of course still keep an eye out, look to see if they seem disassociated during conversations or if their personality/energy has seemed to change recently, but in the eyes of my friends I only showed one sign and that was gradual absence. Apart from that I was still happy, bubbly, making plans with everyone etc. Everyone has a different experience with suicidal thoughts and don’t let anyone dismiss them just because you haven’t shown any ‘signs’.
Confidence might actually be key:
Something that fortunately worked for me is the ‘fake it until you make it’ road. Granted, you do have to put yourself into situations where you can practice this, but it’s worth it. I’ve found that as my confidence has grown I began to enjoy life more, people always ask me why I’m so confident and my only answer is ‘why wouldn’t I be?’. I believe self love and confidence is a huge step towards quieting your suicidal thoughts, and the way I see it is I have to spend the rest of my life with myself, so why wouldn’t I love myself? The best way to gain your confidence is to put yourself into situations you never thought you could do and one day you will catch yourself being confident without even thinking about it. The reason I mention confidence is because whenever I do something I couldn’t have done 2/3/4 years ago, even six months ago, I get an enormous sense of pride and that feeling pushes me to do it again. So I don’t get my suicidal thoughts, I start thinking about how good I’m going to feel after I show off my confidence again.
Acceptance of the self:
Finally, I just mentioned self love in my last paragraph but I want to talk about self acceptance. From hearing other people’s stories, some suicidal thoughts stem from hating/disliking themselves and I feel there is currently a lot of pressure to jump from self-hate to self-love. Self acceptance is a fantastic first step. You don’t have to push yourself to love everything about your body and mind, but you can take that first step into looking at yourself and knowing you are fine with what is in front of you. We all have insecurities and I have found the easiest way to deal with them is to look and then and think, ‘well, they’re not going to change, so I’m just going to be okay with them’. You don’t have to love every inch of yourself, you just have to take that first step in being comfortable in your own skin and mind. Again, I do think it’s a big first step to help with suicidal thoughts because you aren’t constantly thinking about what you can change about yourself and you can start appreciating how amazing your body and mind is for getting you this far in life.
Here’s a few very small steps you can start off with to help you on your way;
- Set little goals, such as brushing your teeth or showering each day. You can even have goals like making your food from scratch, or reading 3 pages of a book every day. Completing small goals will help give you a sense of accomplishment.
- Walk, be it for 15 minutes or two hours. I always recommend this when people feel anxious as for me it gets rid of what I call ‘anxiety adrenaline’. Physical activity has been proven to help with depression and from experience I can say it helped me.
- Write down 3 things every couple of days that has made you happy. I don’t do this every day but you can if you want, doing this at the end of each/every other night makes you actively look for things you can write down.
- Compliment yourself. Compliment yourself on literally anything, from how amazing your mind is to the fact you like the colour of your eyes. I know how difficult it can be sometimes but even loving/liking a small part of yourself is going to get you a long way.
I’m going to post some links to places you can get help for suicidal thoughts and a couple of other links on things I’ve spoke about.
SHOUT – Shout is a 24/7 crisis text team where someone will answer immediately, they are fully trained and will help you through anything when you are having a difficult time. Text SHOUT to 85258.
Samaritans – Samaritans is also a 24/7 service, you can either ring up or you can email in. The Samaritans is probably better for those who would like to physically speak to someone.
Suicide Stop – Suicide Stop is a free international chat room where you can anonymously talk about your feelings, they also have links for suicide hotlines and therapy too.
Ted Talks, I know some people find Ted Talks ‘cringey’ but honestly, if you actually sit and listen they do help. The first one I linked is by CeCe Olisa who talks about gaining confidence in herself and her body. Brittany Packnett says ‘confidence is the necessary spark before everything that follows’ and I could not agree more. Have a look into some Ted Talks before you dismiss them, you might be surprised.
This post by Psych Central has been the best I’ve seen on explaining self acceptance and giving tips on it, to me self acceptance is the first step to self love, without the pressure to jump straight into it.
This has been one big post today, but with us now going back into a second lockdown I hope it’s been useful to hear someone else’s story and see a couple of places you can get help. See you guys when I have another little break down and pour it into writing x
Everything I’ve wrote today is from personal experience and what has helped me in the past ❤