Suicide: arrival of the Black Swan
It's said that a person kills herself when the pain of continuing to live outweighs the deep need for life and survival, when it all becomes too much. But is it ever really too much? Here, Aine Tubridy and Michael Corry take the view that a suicide's mind has come to dominate their feelings and emotions and that they can survive if they can activate once again the ability to truly feel
All swans are white, until a black swan comes along. Suicide — intentional self-killing — has been used by human beings for aeons to bring an end to intolerable suffering. We are the only form of life that is self-conscious, that can hate and loathe itself to the very bones, and can plan and execute its own death. Suicide has always been part of the repertoire of human solutions to human problems. There is an abundance of material out there on the subject: statistics, personality profiles, preventive measures, deficiencies of neuro-transmitter substances, psychological post mortems, etc. All are white swans, with many shared attributes in common.
We would like to introduce the Black Swan.
It is therefore not our intention to present the complete, definitive interpretation of every aspect of suicide, from its conception right to its execution, or indeed to offer the ultimate or perfect solution. There can be none. Why? Because suicide, like birth, life and death, is exquisitely personal: no two can be the same. Add in that aspect of us we call our essence or our soul, and it becomes even more inaccessible to outside interpretation and analysis.
We can never fully understand the motives of another human being, or their thinking, for consciousness is by its nature immeasurable and unpredictable, and beyond the reach even of the instruments of science, themselves a product of it. For this very reason any ‘objective' predictions of suicide and absolute methods of control are impossible. It is with this inherent limitation in mind that we can offer merely an option, to be considered by a potential suicide: an invitation to re-examine their stance and entertain something novel.
Poised on the brink
You have come to the point where the only control you feel you can bring to bear on your mental and emotional turmoil is to obliterate yourself and end the suffering. Up to this, you may have gone down the route all desperate people go, that of ‘trying everything' in your search for peace of mind: self-help books on depression, different cocktails of anti-depressant medication, second and third medical opinions, counselling and psychotherapy, self-development workshops, alcohol and recreational drugs, or filling your life with distractions. You may even have attempted suicide before, either on the spur of the moment or following months of careful planning. Or you may, as is equally common, have said nothing to anyone and have taken none of these steps. At this point you may have already worked out precisely your suicide route to the last detail — the method, the day, the time, the hour, making sure to have no interruptions. You have, possibly, even composed your suicide notes and played the video in your mind of people's reaction on finding them.Ready, steady…
Your mind is ceaselessly stalking your problem and looking at it from every possible angle, seeking a solution, obsessively playing over and over the same images, videos, tapes and programmes. Having passed the threshold of what you feel able to endure, you are desperate to end the torment right now. You are absolutely convinced that you cannot go on living any longer, with your life as it is. You are beyond the dark night of the soul.
Feeling deeply hurt and disillusioned by some crushing betrayal, loss, rejection or abandonment, your mind is spinning with a variety of bottom-line conclusions:
"Nothing I do is going to make any difference"
"I don't belong here, the sooner I'm gone the better"
"I can't go on with this charade any more"
"No one cares about me"
"No one understands me, I'm on my own with this"
"This is the only way out"
"I'm such a failure"
With your mind in the driving seat, consuming all your energy, you have become disconnected from your body, unaware of its needs for food, rest and pleasure. With an increasing distance between you and the world, you ignore all efforts by others to engage you, merely going through the motions, without much feeling or empathy for them.
Your heart is closed. You haven't felt any sense of hope, compassion, forgiveness, acceptance, and love for some time.
Helpless, with your will paralysed, it's hard work finding the energy and motivation to do anything creative or new. Hurt by the world, you have recoiled into yourself, becoming locked into your inner world. You are now interfacing only with a movie screen reflecting back to you nothing but your own ineffectiveness, in which you see no hope of ever creating a place for yourself again in the outside world.
You are consumed by a conviction that someone or something is to blame for your misery, and the fires of resentment, bitterness and anger burn brightly. Someone must pay. Once you've branded the culprit your mind plays the video of the impact your death will have on them, that moment when they'll realise they have driven you to suicide. Guilt, shame and the pain of past wrong-doing has eclipsed all purpose or reason to go on. Your anger and self-loathing has reached the point where paying the ultimate price is the only form of suitable punishment to suit your ‘crime'. You are the judge, jury, and prosecutor — and are now planning your execution.
Having fired God, the Ultimate Rescuer, for abandoning you to your misery, cynical thoughts reign supreme. You see life as having lost all meaning, value or moral order, where chaos reigns in a pointless void. You feel the serenity of commitment, of having made your mind up, virtually other-worldly with Providence on your side, floating free of your problems and your ‘old life', disconnected from it and keen to be entering your ‘new one'.It's time to press ‘pause'
We have established that there is a complex process involved in you arriving at such a serious decision as ending your life. You've obviously given it a lot of consideration. You've arrived at the point where the pain of continuing your life far outweighs the fear of ending it, and have made a decision to go ahead.
How did you come to make such a judgement? For most important decisions which are going to have serious consequences, you would usually go through a format. You'd gather in as much information as you could, arrange it all before you so you could see the entire picture in as full a way as possible and, having given due consideration to the pros and cons, you'd make an informed choice.
Let's look at what ‘informed' means.
What difference would it make if you were a bride at the altar, about to marry your beloved, to receive at the eleventh hour some new information you hadn't known of before — that he is in fact already married, and father to two children living in another part of the country, or that he is gay and always has been, or that he will later on refuse to have children, having always disliked them?
What if you were a potential investor, about to entrust your nest egg, hard-earned over decades of conscientious work, in a new venture suggested to you by someone you hardly knew. Would you make a different decision if you knew that in fact the company was one in name only, a complete fiction existing only on paper, and that hundreds of others had lost life savings through it, like you were about to?
The point here is that for any decision-maker such as yourself, having the full picture could change everything. To make an important decision from a restricted vantage point makes you vulnerable to making a mistake which you may regret later, and forever pay the price for.
But marriage and investments are trivial choices compared to that of taking your own life, which is the only truly irreversible act there is. The fact is that there are relevant factors at play in the moment of choice, which you are unaware of, pieces of information which even at this late hour we invite you to consider.
As an individual on the brink of suicide, your mindset has one flaw, one well hidden from you. Your mind has become skewed, and as such is primed to make a serious error. "Not so!" you will object, "only I know the full story, you haven't walked in my shoes, lived inside my skin, felt my pain. If you had you wouldn't be so arrogant as to suggest I'm making the wrong decision. I've been fucked over, over and over, and I just can't take it any more . I'm out of here."
The legitimacy of your argument and the way you feel go without saying. But what is your judgement based on? Your mind? Is it wise to depend for your solution on the instrument which has been the very source of all your distress, a piece of software which contains a virus? Could you trust it? No doubt the bride and the investor trusted theirs too, until those hidden facts were revealed. If their mind remained skewed in favour of doggedly maintaining their course — love is blind after all, and the smell of quick money can eclipse clear thinking — this would render them beyond all sensible cautions to pause and reconsider.
It is fair comment that your mind has taken absolute control. It is as if your personhood and sense of being has been taken over by a dictator which, like all dictators, whether Caesar, Hitler or Mao, will tolerate no questioning or dissent. Can you trust such a mind not to send you on a suicide mission in its name? Unplugged from the mains: the state of disconnection
Suspend your thinking temporarily and consider plan B. Central to the Black Swan approach is a non-intellectual solution to your predicament, one which bypasses your mind.
Your state, your suicidal state, is a reflection of a closed or malfunctioning energy system. (Those who work in vibrational medicine are familiar with such a state, its symptoms and its causes. This will be elaborated on later.) If your energies were in the open state you would not be experiencing such a profound sense of shut-down to life. Consider what happens in the morning when people awaken: there is a building up of energy in the body which animates it for the day ahead. No matter how tired you had been the previous night, this surge is miraculously there for you, allowing you to act out all the various roles you need to during your day. All life forms experience this surge, be they your dog, your cat or your canary, and is ultimately connected to the universal life-force itself which energises the daffodils reliably to appear each year and the sun and moon to faultlessly rotate.
If a computer does not turn on, in an office where all the others do, it's more than likely because it's not plugged in. Your suicidal state, obviously different from your contented family and friends, is trying to tell you something: it's a messenger announcing a similar disconnection from a current of energy in the following specific ways.
- Our survival drive is instinctive, and present in all life-forms. We are plugged into the life force just as surely as all the machines in our kitchen are to the mains. This allows us to keep going, to keep functioning at all costs, no matter how immense the fear, the effort required, the mountain to be scaled. Our record at surviving life-threatening events is legion. We are human beings, and we are here to be, right to the final curtain. In your case the impulse to continue your existence has been eclipsed by the opposing strength of your conviction to terminate and abort the mission.
- What about feelings? We all know some emotionally intelligent people; they're sympathetic and moved by the feelings of others. Because of their empathic nature their orientation is towards the group, the collective, having ‘we' more than ‘me' energy. Aware of their own needs, they are never self-destructive, instead seeking out pleasurable and sensuous experiences, ranging from nice food to sexual intimacies. They are both givers and receivers. Without such energy there is a numbing down and walling off to the world of feeling. Self-mutilation can be a practice that many engage in as the only way of breaking through the numbness, through feeling the pain and seeing the blood.
- Will power and motivation come easily if one's energy is flowing. Tasks get done, ideas are implemented and follow-through occurs in the direction of one's life purpose, hopes and aspirations. One is effective, with a strong sense of personal identity. Frustration, irritability, ineffectiveness, a sense of being overwhelmed, and paralysis of will are commonplace in the disconnected state.
- Let's take love. We locate its energy in the heart, and you have not been experiencing its benefit. Think of someone with an open heart. They possess the qualities of acceptance, trust, hope, non-judgement, forgiveness, and compassion, which appear to flow out of them spontaneously. We would even regard them as having a lot of ‘soul'. Heart energy says "anything is possible" and is open to new things. As we have established, in order to be on the brink of suicide your heart energy has to be shut down.
- Your creative drive is the charge behind all forms of communication and expression. It facilitates free, open and authentic communication, the ability to listen, to tell our story, and to put form on what arises in our imagination. Since your creative juice has dried up, a staleness sets in, where novelty is rare and ways of communication blocked. And therefore you favour silence and secrecy.
- Flexibility of mind is essential on any journey, as it allows us, in the face of obstacles, to factor in necessary adjustments along the way, through a process of checks and balances. As such, we make judgements and decisions as to how best to deal with new demands. "Let me see, how will I tackle this?" In a state of rigidity, with hardening of your attitudes, tunnel-visioned, and with only a one-track mind to guide you, your range of manoeuvrability has shrunk. The irony is that you still unshakeably believe that you are absolutely correct in your judgements and are intolerant of any view to the contrary.
- Having a map of where we're going in life, we develop beliefs and convictions as to how best to make that journey possible. Realising our dreams, becoming the person we want to be, and creating the kind of world we want to live in, gives meaning and purpose to our existence. Since you have lost your connection with your path, all your expectations have evaporated , grinding your life to a total standstill. Such has been the meltdown in your outer world that you've lost the plot. The only thing you now ‘know' is that you need to unplug permanently from the life-force.
Down with the dictator: make the leap of faith
Healing comes in many forms, many of which you have already tried. We invite you to rebel, to overthrown your inner dictator by partaking in the practice of energetic healing methods and other essential actions.
Because your mind has ceased relating to your body, it now wants to part company with it and we have established that the best persuasive arguments are not going to alter its view. So we're not going to work directly with the mind. We're going to take an action approach. Quite simply, we are going to connect the body to the mind once more, and not allow it to ‘go it alone' any longer, holding forth, ranting on, ignoring the body's right to a voice. It's been the dictator for too long, silencing your emotional world, and leaving your body out in the cold. Our intention is to facilitate you to bring the body centre stage, and by doing so to create new emotions, and to eliminate the virus in the software of your mind by laying down new circuits.
The complete energiser kit
1 Move Your Energy by Doing Something Physical
Every day, set your alarm clock, get out of bed, splash your face with cold water, get out of your house as quickly as possible, and start moving. Whether it's walking or jogging. Whether it's on a footpath, on the beach, in a forest, or in a field: just move. Get ahead of your mind, don't give it time to warm up.
2 Afterwards, Take a Shower
Alternate it from being as hot as you can bear to being as cold as you can bear. Do it for as long as you can.
3 Energetic Breath-work
Lengthening the breath: Breathe in, making your inhalation last to a count of eight, filling your entire lungs. As you do so, support this in-breath with the statement: "My inhalation brings silence". Hold for a count of four. Then exhale for a count of eight, and as you do so support the out-breath with the statement: "My exhalation brings peace". Pause again for a count of four. Repeat this cycle for three minutes.
Six-directional breathing: Sit in a quiet room, on an upright chair, feet planted on the ground, hands in your lap. Close your eyes. Visualise the air around you as gold which you are going to breathe in. Start with the front of your body. Take a deep breath, and visualise that you are drawing the air in through the front of your body through tiny pores, as if the skin all over your body was a lung, exhaling out through the back. Now reverse the process by drawing the gold air back in through pores on the back of your body, exhaling it out through the front. Repeat this twice more.
Next, breathe in through the left side of your body, exhaling out through the right, then back in through the right side, exhaling out through the left. Repeat this twice more.
Now inhale the gold air through the top of your body all the way down, to exhale it out through the soles of your feet. Repeat this twice more. And finally, inhale the gold air through the soles of your feet, right up through your body, exhaling it out through the top of your head. Repeat this twice more.
4 Sound Work: Chanting
Focus your attention in the area of your heart (the centre of love and compassion), at the centre of your chest. Take in as deep a breath as you can, and as you exhale make the following sounds using the syllables: HUM — AH — EEE — AH — OLA — OM
Repeat this eight more times, nine in all, all the time focussing on your heart area.
Focus your attention on your solar plexus (centre of will), in the area at the end of your breast bone. Take in a deep breath, and as you exhale repeat the same chant nine times.
Now focus your attention on your mid-abdomen, approximately two fingers distance below your navel (centre of feeling). Take in a deep breath, and as you exhale repeat the same chant nine times.
5 Casting the Burden: Sharing the Problem
First, imagine handing over your problem into the care of a higher power. This can be your spirit, your inner divinity, the universal life-force, or your version of God, whatever you feel represents that concept for you. Now, repeat over and over in your mind the following statement, making whatever adjustments you need to until it fits for you:
"I cast the burden of my pain and suffering (or, the issue of … or, my problem with … or, my difficulty about …) onto my inner divinity (or, your own alternative) so that I may be free to give full expression to my potential."
Examples might go like this. "I cast the burden of my lost relationship onto my spirit, so that I may be free to give full expression to my potential" or "I cast the burden of my tormented mind onto God so that I may be free to give full expression to my potential".
6 Catharsis — Emotional Discharge
Find a way to discharge the destructive energy inside you. Break the circle, stop it going round and round gathering momentum. Empty your mind of it somehow :
turn the music up loud in your car or house, or drive to the beach or the country, and scream your head off till you're exhausted.
- call the Samaritans on 1850 609090 or e-mail email@example.com
- get an immediate acupuncture session — today! It opens the closed circuits in your body and acts like a release valve on a pressure cooker.
Repetition of these practices is vital. Your mind will want you to be assessing what difference they're making, and giving you good reason to give them up, but this can't be entertained. Initially you won't feel like doing the exercises, but so was it with everything you did for the first time.
Your mind is afraid now of losing its dictatorial grip.
The first-thing-in-the-morning activity is non-negotiable. This how it must to unseat the mind from its habit of taking over your very first thought. This moving of your energy or ‘chi' can be undertaken in a layered manner. Start by a minimum of a half hour walk if you're unfit, then work it slowly upwards, then see if you can progress to a slow jog, then make it more vigorous, and for longer, as time goes on. If a different activity such as cycling or swimming attracts you more as a substitute, embrace it.
The breath and sound work ideally should be done three times a day.
Casting the burden is a way of giving the mind a break from having to be the sole problem-solver, and can be repeated over and over, particularly when the suicidal thoughts and the wagging finger and taunts of the dictator are most active.
Catharsis as a means of discharge is as old as time. Be creative, find a way.
All of the above practices are something you can do on your own. You will find that you will notice a shift in the days and weeks after you start. When you have decided to give life another chance, when you've stepped back from the brink, the momentum needs to be kept up, otherwise the dictatorial mind will gain dominance again.
Maybe you would like to try:
The term comes from the Sanskrit word meaning ‘union'. It stands out as one of the only forms of body movement which has as its explicit intention the unification of the mind, body and spirit in a quest for physical and mental wellbeing, and a sense of tranquillity. The very act of going through the series of postures achieves this. Yoga classes are widely available and the input of a trained teacher in the beginning is invaluable. At a later stage, your yoga practice can be carried on by you at home and there are numerous videos and DVDs to help you.
Acupuncture is an ancient form of energetic healing. It restores the free flow of energy which has become blocked and stagnant in depression. With the reactivation of the life force, the heart opens and the vital qualities of hope, compassion and calmness emerge, paving the way for new beginnings
In the hands of a skilled practitioner, homeopathy can be a powerful adjunct in the dark times when one contemplates self-annihilation. The following are some of the main remedies homeopaths use to assist patients in suicidal states, together with the symptom patterns relevant to each:
Anacardium: Paranoid states; torn between two wills; profound melancholy and angry despair.
Arsenicum album: Restless with great mental anguish, fear; obsessed with order; suspicious; oversensitive.
Aurum metallicum: Sense of utter wothlessness, self condemnation; overburdened with responsibility and guilt.
Cimicifuga: Enveloped with despair; darkness and confusion; sense of impending doom; often hormone related.
Hyoscyamus: Suspicious, paranoid delusions; hysterical reactions; delirium; jealous rages.
Ignatia: Full of suppressed grief; feels hopeless; hysterical states; loss of loved ones.
Kali bromatum: Everybody conspiring against him; disgust for life; delusionary states; hallucinations; feels abandoned by all, even God.
Lachesis: Anguished; lost control of mind, tongue; sexual/religious conflicts; feels poisoned, hated despised.
Mercurius: Weary of life; suspiciousness; full of irrational impulses; self mutilation.
Natrum muriaticum: Sensitive and reserved; prolonged, unexpressed grief; desires solitude; dwells constantly on past hurts.
Natrum sulphuricum: Contantly struggles with suicidal impulses; deep melancholy; solitary; depressed, suicidal after head injury.
Nitric acid: Hopeless despair; full of anger about past troubles; hard and vindictive.
Picric acid: Exhausted, burnt out by life's stresses; mentally unable to think, concentrate.
Psorinum: Despondent, despairs of ever recovering; feels abjectly alone, a failure; feels forsaken by all.
Sepia: Worn out by constant demands; emotionally, physically drained; total indifference to life and loved ones.
Veratrum album: Religious delusions and despair; mania; sullen indifference; frenzied excitement.
Hands-on work: Chiropractic work, Cranio-Sacral balancing or Deep Tissue massage: these will release tension from the spine, joints, ligaments, muscles and connective tissue.
The track record of organisations such as Recovery, Grow, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous is beyond dispute. They are accessible, user-friendly and, most importantly, accepting and supportive. You will not be alone for long: they have heard versions of your story many times. If a reconnection with a higher power helps you, shop around and find an outlet that meets this need: church services, prayer meetings, etc.
Get a psychotherapist who is skilled to take you beyond hand-holding and the tissue box, reconnecting you to your survival instinct, to your feeling world, to your will and motivation, your heart, your creativity, your insight and to the bigger picture. The word ‘psychotherapy' derives from the Latin psyche meaning ‘soul' and therapeia meaning ‘attendance'. And you need a soul attendant. If you can find a psychotherapist who can help you appreciate that you are a spiritual being having a human experience, then you have found gold. At the most pivotal moment of your life the key thing you need is someone who is open-hearted and totally accepting of you, no matter what it is you have to say. Someone who will take you at face value without the slightest hint of judgement, disapproval or disquiet. Someone whom you can trust and who will be absolutely confidential — in other words, whatever you tell them stays in the room.
Behind the drive to take your life could be one of the following reasons:
- You're overwhelmed with guilt and shame over something you've done, which may inevitably become public knowledge and for which you may be punished or cause your family great distress.
- You may have had a bad experience with recreational drugs, leaving you paranoid and convinced that you're going mad and will spend your life in a psychiatric hospital.
- You may worry that because you were sexually abused as a child you will turn into a paedophile and abuse other children.
- You may be misinterpreting panic attacks — racing heart, difficulty breathing, dizziness, sweating, fear of dying and escalating levels of anxiety if you can't get out of a place easily — thinking they are the first signs of a mental illness.
- You may imagine that in a moment of loss of control you could harm another person — stab them, strangle them, or even run them down in your car — and that everyone is safer if you're off the planet.
- You may be the target of bullying, sexual harassment, sexual abuse or intimidation, in inescapable situations.
- You may be addicted to a substance like heroin and can no longer carry on with the endless cycle of stealing, lying, prostitution, fending off menacing dealers, and mounting debts.
- You may be confused about your sexual orientation and, for a variety of reasons, unable to cope with being gay, fearing the repercussions of coming out.
- You have experienced an episode of sexual inadequacy and fear that it may be life-long, failing to realise that such occurrences are a common temporary side-effect of performance anxiety, alcohol and some recreational drugs (not to mention certain prescribed drugs, including antidepressants).
- You may have had your heart broken by the love of your life, and without them have no wish to continue living, so great is your pain.
- You may have reached the limit of your endurance in terms of psychologically distressing symptoms, which have been diagnosed as part of a life-long illness for which you have been told you will always need medication and periodic hospitalisation.
- You may be taking SSRI antidepressant medication such as Seroxat, Lexapro, Efexor or Prozac.
- You may be overwhelmed by the responsibility of crossing the line into adulthood and having to take care of yourself — find a job, a place to live, and to totally fund yourself.
- You may be crippled with social awkwardness, feeling that you will never make friends or ever have a boyfriend or girlfriend.
If you have experienced the psychiatric services as an ill wind, don't re-expose yourself to them simply because you feel you've run out of options. There are always other options. You need a new port to sail towards, and a map to guide you in getting there, one that will navigate you away from the rocks of destruction. The process of reconstructing yourself cannot be done overnight. A boat which must remain afloat has to be repaired a plank at a time. A good psychotherapist can help you do this. Alternatively, if circumstances allow, it may be an option to repair it on dry land — time out in a retreat centre, a healing sanctuary, a monastery, a Buddhist meditation centre. Somewhere you feel safe, comfortable and cradled, with willing support available to you. Having given yourself ‘space in the brain' you may still need psychotherapy.
Time out is not unlike the Frog in the Pot story. If you put a frog into a pot of hot water, it will jump out. However, if you put it into a pot of cold water and slowly heat it one degree at a time, the frog will stay where it is and die. What's the difference between the two scenarios? Awareness. The heat in the first pot is such a shock to the system that the frog knows beyond doubt what it has to do to stay alive. The second pot fools it, since the heat builds up too slowly for its radar to even register that it's in trouble until it's too late.
Psychotherapy, while it can help you to repair, rebuild and heal yourself, also has an extra dimension. One that is in the direction of personal liberation, where we may feel for the very first time the qualities of inner peace and self love. These sentiments are beautifully sculpted in Derek Walcott's poem, Love after Love.
The time will come
when with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again
the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
More on suicide
Information and help
The Samaritans provide dedicated help 24/7 to anyone with a problem which is getting them down; also to friends or family who be concerned about someone they know, and a wealth of information to explode the many myths about suicide.
Ireland 1850 60 90 90
Northern Ireland 08457 90 90 90
Find a branch: Ireland N & S
1Life suicide helpline
1800 247 100
1800 833 634
Suicide or Survive
Tel 0402 41487
What to do
When you are feeling extremely depressed or suicidal, problems do not seem temporary — they seem overwhelming. You feel like things will never get better. But most things do get better, if you wait them out, and get help for the feelings you are experiencing.
Say to yourself, “I will wait 24 hours and won’t do anything drastic during that time.” Or, wait a week.
Some things to consider
• Feeling suicidal does not make you a bad person.
• Thoughts of ending your own life do not necessarily mean that you truly want to die — they mean, rather, that you have more pain than you can cope with right now. The pain of deep depression is intense. It is too much to bear for long periods of time.
• What might be bearable to someone else may not be to you.
• Many kinds of emotional pain may lead to thoughts of suicide.The reasons for this pain are unique to every person, and whether or not the pain is bearable differs from person to person.
Remember: DO NOTHING!
Say to yourself, “I will wait 24 hours and won’t do anything drastic during that time.” Or, wait a week.
Thoughts and actions are two different things — your suicidal thoughts do not have to become a reality. There is no deadline. There’s no time limit, no one pushing you to act on these thoughts right now. Wait. Wait and put some distance between your suicidal thoughts and suicidal action.
There are people who want to support you during this difficult time
You can choose to live, but first it is important that you find some relief from your pain. To do that, you will need to find a way to increase your connections with people who will listen. Even if it doesn’t feel like it right now, there are many people who welcome the chance to support you during this time. They won’t try to argue with you about how miserable you feel or to just “snap out of it”. They will not judge you. They will simply listen and be there for you. Find someone. Now. Use your 24 hours, or your week, to tell someone what’s going on with you.
• Reach out to just one person to start. Find a good friend, or else contact someone like the Samaritans — check the front section of your phone book for a crisis line and call the number immediately.
• Call a trusted friend, family member, doctor or therapist — someone you trust and who is likely to listen.
• Even if your suicidal feelings have subsided, get help for yourself.
• Experiencing that sort of emotional pain is itself a traumatising experience. Finding a support group or therapist can be very helpful in developing strong coping resources for the future.
How to cope with suicidal thoughts and feelings
• Talk with someone every day, preferably face to face.Though you feel like withdrawing, ask trusted friends and acquaintances to spend time with you.
• Be with people who aren’t depressed. This can lift you up and make you feel better.
• If you are thinking of taking an overdose, give your medicines to someone who can give them to you one day at a time.
• Remove any dangerous objects or weapons from your home.
• Avoid alcohol and other drugs of abuse.
• Wait until you are feeling better before doing things you find difficult.
• Make a written schedule for yourself every day and stick to it, no matter what.
• Set priorities for the things that need to be done first. Cross things out on your schedule as you finish them.
• Don’t skip meals. Eat a well-balanced diet that includes protein.
• Eat regular meals — avoid comfort eating as this will make matters worse.
• Get at least eight hours of sleep each night.
• Exercise in a way that makes you perspire.
• Do your yoga routine or attend a yoga class.
• Walk, run, dance, hike or bike – more than once a day if at all possible.
• Get out in the sun or daylight at least 30 minutes a day (can be combined with exercise).
Schedule at least two 30-min. periods for activities that give you pleasure such as:
• Listening to soothing or pleasant music (avoid music that is depressing or advocates suicide, such as heavy metal or certain types of blues music)
• Watching a favourite DVD or video
• Participating in a hobby
• Doing needlework
• Taking a warm bath
• Playing games
• Playing a musical instrument
• Playing with your pet
• Taking a drive or a walk
• Doing relaxation exercises
• Reading a book or magazine