I’ve always compared suicide to being so unbearably ill that you can’t see the forest from the trees. To the person suffering, there are absolutely no other options. It’s a horrible feeling that many people face day in and day out.
I am fortunate that I have been able to learn how to manage my depression and anxiety through a mix of therapy, medication, exercise, and meditation. But it was a long road to get to this place, and I still have to stay vigilant, which is why I want to help other people see that no matter how dark their world may seem to be there is always hope and there is always help available to them.
The act of taking one’s own life isn’t performed solely by the mentally unstable. It happens when a person’s coping mechanisms become overshadowed by grief, despair, and hopelessness.
Read on for ways you can help yourself bring back the light and illuminate a path toward the future.
Suicide Prevention Strategies
Acknowledge your feelings
First and foremost, you must understand that whatever you are feeling is just that: a feeling. And like joy and jubilation, it will subside with time and you will feel other emotions once again. Feelings themselves cannot hurt you and you can progress beyond your emotional state, but you must first admit to yourself how you feel. Do not keep it bottled up inside. Talk to someone . . .
Ask a friend to listen
Open up to a trusted friend, teacher, or relative. Sometimes, all it takes is to get things off your chest to get the ball rolling and take the first steps toward recovery. Know that there are people around you that love you and want to help.
There are therapists in every major city in the United States trained to help people just like you learn to cope with their suicidal thoughts and feelings. More than just a listening ear, a therapist can help you identify the root cause of your concerns about life and help you adjust your reactions to them. Therapists offer advice on way to deal with anxiety, stress, and issues with self-esteem related to body image, sexuality, and relationships.
Make lifestyle changes
Suicidal thoughts are often triggered by environmental factors that can be changed. Issues such as loneliness, alcohol and drug abuse, lack of personal leisure time, and poor diet all affect our overall mood and attitude toward life. Each of these issues — and many more — may be overcome in time by making small changes to your daily habits. If you are lonely, for instance, look for a group of like-minded people. Meetup.com is an exceptional resource for connecting with people across a breadths of interests ranging from classic literature to atheism and line dancing to LARPing. If you are religious, your local church parish can offer a supportive community to connect with new friends.
Diet and exercise also play a part in how we react and interact with the world around us. Studies have shown that depression symptoms improve with regular physical activity. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise releases “feel good” brain chemicals and helps direct your mind away from worry. Exercise is a healthy way to combat stress and anxiety. It also helps build a strong foundation for physical health. Spend some of your active time outdoors for a boost in serotonin and vitamin D, both of which are associated with happiness.
Consider group therapy sessions
You are not alone in your battle against self-harm. Millions of American each year attempt to commit suicide. Thankfully, many of these are unsuccessful and go on to live meaningful and productive lives. The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide, for example, is a valuable resource for finding help, including private and group therapists. Having a community of people who understand where you are emotionally is a huge relief.
Spend more time with family
Familial bonds are hard to break and these bonds help us find strength in times of weakness. You can combat suicidal thoughts by spending time with the ones you love. Not only will you have the chance to talk things through with people who can help, but you will be reminded that you are not alone.
If you need help now, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 24/7 at 800.273.8255.
Photo credit: W.J. Gomez | Pixabay.com
Article by Jennifer Scott
This article was originally published on dialogmagazine.com.