I’ve struggled with depression my whole life. Depression can oftentimes lead to loss of hope, faith, self-harm and the urge to want to end it all. The reality of it is, i’m sure there are lots of people who won’t admit they’ve thought about suicide. It can take a chain of events or even one simple, minuscule event in life to want to act on taking one’s own life.
For me, it was a rough break-up after a three year relationship. I kept thinking to myself death has got to be better than whatever is happening to me right now. I thought it was the only answer and the only way out. I constantly found myself pondering what comes after life? What would happen to me if I did the deed? Try and shut out such thoughts. It took every little bit of strength I had to not act on the urges and let my thoughts become reality. So how do you clear the dark clouds in your head and prevent the thought from becoming an action?
1. Think about who it would affect. As much pain, guilt and grief I was feeling at the time, among other things, I constantly had to think about how much guilt and pain taking my own life would affect my family and friends. It would have been selfish; placing a burden of guilt and blame on them, wondering what more they could have done, when in reality they have done and still do everything they can possibly do for my own well-being. Family and friend support is vital. Don’t shut out and isolate yourself from those who still love you and care about you.
2. Break the silence and seek support from family, friends or professionals. The worst thing you can do is keep your thoughts and emotions bottled up. Think about your thoughts like a volcano. Over time, it builds up and eventually erupts. Don’t let your thoughts lead to the eruption that is suicide. In your darkest hour, you need to surround yourself by people you know that love and care about you. Don’t isolate yourself or push them away. As difficult as it may be, there is nothing wrong with admitting to your family and friends that you’re having thoughts of suicide. Seek professional help- psychiatrist, therapist, etc. and explore the possibility of going on medication.
3. Keep telling yourself the only way to go from where you are now is up. As much as you don’t want to believe it, things will get better over time. It might feel like an eternity but be patient. You’ve already gotten to that breaking point in your life to where you just want to end the suffering. Stop, take a deep breath and push through. I found that taking a “live in the moment” or “one day at a time” approach and mentality would keep myself from looking back and dwelling on the things that brought me to the breaking point.
4. Refrain from drugs and alcohol. I thought going back to my old ways of drinking and doing drugs would make me happier, drown out my sorrows and kill any mental or emotional pain I was feeling. In reality, it only intensified and plunged me into an even deeper oblivion of misery and hopelessness. I was a highly emotional, reckless and looping roller coaster. My family and friends saw a version of me that they had never seen before. I used to be the life of the party, carefree, careless and reckless. I was on top of the world, had everything I could possibly want and ask for not too long ago. Then it felt like a hurricane came through and blew it all away. Now I was the lowliest version of me that even I never thought I could be. I thought drugs and alcohol was the only solution to my problems and only increased my suicidal thoughts. Don’t let drugs, alcohol or suicide become a permanent solution to a temporary problem. If I got through it, you can too.
5. Learn, live, love, laugh, forgive and forget. After all my personal battles with drug addiction, alcoholism, depression and suicidal thoughts, it would have been foolish for me to just give in. I realize now that I truly am battle-tested, battle-scarred and bulletproof. There isn’t anything I haven’t seen, done or been through in my life that I can’t overcome. You can do the same. It just takes time. Take the lessons you learn in life and continue to live. Learn how to love yourself and others- everything else will fall into place. Try to surround yourself with positive people who can lift your spirits up. Try to find a sense of humor, seeing things from a lighter perspective and laugh again. Forgive not only those who have hurt you but forgive yourself for any guilt, blame, regret, anger, mistakes, shame and feelings of failure you may have. Also, forgive yourself for those you may have wronged and hurt. We’re only human. As difficult as it may be, forgiveness to others and yourself can help you find inner peace. Lastly, forget about the events that have brought you to your breaking point. My dad always told me about the monkey with his hand in the jar- LET GO! I know it’s easier said than done but it happened. It’s over. Tomorrow is a new day. Weather the storm and push forward.