If you are dealing with suicidal thoughts, the first thing you should know is that you are not alone. Many people experience suicidal thoughts and feelings and the great news is that a lot of them are able to overcome these thoughts by following some of the steps that will be highlighted below.
Whether you are experiencing depression, suicidal thoughts and feelings or not, it is important to remember the following:
- Our emotions and thoughts are fleeting and do not define us. If you feel this way now, you should remember that you will not always feel this way about yourself.
- Even though it may be difficult to remember when going through depressive and suicidal episodes, it is crucial for you to know that you are special and that your life is valuable and that there are many things in the world that you can still accomplish which you can’t if you are not here.
- Also, remember that there are people who care deeply about you even if you may not be feeling it while going through a depressive phase. These people will miss you and the light you bring into their lives.
If after remembering all of these you still find yourself contemplating suicide, here are some tips that can be of help:
#1 Calm and Center Yourself
Take several deep breaths (deep inhales and exhales to regain control of your breath – four seconds in, hold for four seconds, and four seconds out then hold for another four, repeat) and don’t commit to yourself to doing anything now. Let there be some distance between the thoughts running through your mind and any action you might be thinking of taking.
Now that you are calm, you can refocus your thoughts and attention to something else. You can use your sense of imagination to picture yourself in a safe space—the safest place you can think of—where nothing can hurt you and you are protected and loved. Alternatively, you can open your eyes and let your mind wander around where you are while you try to take in, through all your senses, the environment you are in. Find something within your immediate environment to focus on as this will help divert your thoughts.
#3 Ask For Help
Once you find that you are sufficiently calm and distracted from the harmful thoughts, please reach out to someone—a friend or family member or even a professional for help. The following a suicide prevention hotlines where you can get some help: Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative: 08091116264; Lagos State Government: 08058820777 and 09030000741; LUTH Suicide Research and Prevention Initiative: 09080217555, 09034400009, 08111909909 and 07013811143. Also, you can connect with people who have survived their suicidal thoughts to learn from their experiences and give yourself hope.
#4 Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
Drugs and alcohol are more likely to exacerbate suicidal thoughts and feelings than make them go away. So, if you find yourself dealing with such thoughts, please avoid alcohol and recreational drugs or those that can affect your mood except they have been scribed by a licensed doctor/psychologist.
#5 Make Lifestyle Changes
This will happen over time but it is advisable to begin now rather than later. Try to get as much rest and sleep as possible while also developing healthy patterns of dealing and coping with stress. It is also advisable to find things you enjoy doing, whether by yourself or with others and do them. It is also useful to make lifestyle changes especially if depression and suicidal thoughts are related to certain circumstances in your life. If the problem feels difficult to handle, start small and seek help in making the necessary changes you need for a better life.
Finally, it is important to seek professional help from a licensed psychologist who can guide you in your recovery process. So remember to speak to a professional.