Someone who is experiencing suicidal ideation may feel like their pain is overwhelming and permanent. They may feel like they are in a hopeless or dreadful situation they can’t get out of. If this is the case for you, know that you don’t need to act on your thoughts right now. Know you are not alone.
Many people have had suicidal thoughts and have been in a dark place where they feel helpless with their situation. Some of the finest and talented people have felt depressed and devoid of all hope. If you are feeling suicidal, know that it is not a character defect, and you are not crazy or flawed for having these thoughts. Having suicidal thoughts just means you are experiencing more pain and turmoil than you can cope with right now.
The pain from suicidal ideation and depression can be treated and hope can be renewed. Depression and hopelessness can distort your perceptions and inhibit your ability to make sound decisions. Since your judgment may be altered heavily by these feelings, it is important to recognize the risk factors associated with suicidal ideation.
It is important to know the risk factors so that you or someone you know can recognize the various things that can affect your judgment and lead to suicidal thoughts. Here are some characteristics and situations that make it more likely that someone will consider or attempt suicide.
- Mental disorders and anxiety disorders
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- History of trauma or abuse
- Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
- Life-altering events like a family death, loss of a relationship, and job loss
- Previous suicide attempts
- Isolation from others
Suicidal feelings are the results of treatable problems. There is help for everyone who experiences suicidal ideation. Though they may not feel better overnight, feelings of suicide will eventually lift when the right steps are taken. Here’s what to do when you feel suicidal.
What to do when you feel suicidal
- Watch a movie or TV show
- Read a book or magazine
- Listen to music
- Go for a walk in a safe place
- Meditation and breathing techniques
Reaching out for help
Though it may not immediately feel like it, there are many people in your life who want to be there to help. Talk to someone who won’t try to argue about how you feel, judge you, or tell you to just “snap out of it.” Find someone who will simply listen and be there for you.
Let family or friends know what you are going through. They may be able to offer support and help keep you safe. They may not be able to make you feel better right away, but tell them how you feel. They may help you see your situation in a different way or think of other options.
Choosing to end your life will have a negative effect on those around you. You are needed and loved. Being brave and taking the step to reach out for help will remind you of this. Even people who feel as badly as you are feeling now manage to survive these feelings. There is a very good chance that you are going to live through these feelings, no matter how much self-loathing, hopelessness, or isolation you are currently experiencing. Just give yourself the time needed and don’t try to go it alone.
Warning signs for suicidal ideation
Someone in your life may be experiencing suicidal ideation, so it is important to recognize some of the warning signs. Some warning signs may help you determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. The following may indicate that someone may need help with suicidal thoughts.
- Acting agitated or or anxious
- Exhibiting reckless behavior
- Self-isolation from others
- Talking about feeling hopeless or trapped
- Talking about wanting to die or kill themselves
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Extreme mood swings
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Looking for a way to kill themselves by trying to get a weapon or gun
Helping others with suicidal ideation
If someone you know has been exhibiting any of the warning signs listed above, they may be at risk for suicidal thoughts. Suicide is never inevitable. Help the indiivdual know that suicide is not the answer. Let them know that they are loved, valued, and important. If they feel they are in a hopeless situation, validate their feelings and support them, but let them know that hope lies ahead. Make sure they are safe and cannot harm themselves. Evidence shows that providing support services, talking about suicide, reducing access to means of self-harm, and following up with loved ones are just some of the actions we can all take to help others.
A strong support network will ease an individual’s suicidal thoughts and tendencies. Seeking professional help will also help to treat suicidal ideation.
Receiving professional help and support
Professional help is available. The new suicide and crisis lifeline number is 988 for immediate help and support in emergencies. Since mental disorders play a large role in suicidal ideation, a mental health professional like a doctor or therapist are instrumental in treating suicidal thoughts. Mental health treatment centers are also viable options to help treat someone suffering from suicidal ideation.