Feeling suicidal is a place like no other. It’s dark, stifling and desperately lonely. You struggle to get out of bed, or do the simplest things, and it seems like the road only goes one way. I first felt suicidal when I was 15; a point in my life where depression, OCD and a self-harm addiction had crept up on me. I felt unable to fathom why I felt like I wanted to die, when all my friends’ lives were, seemingly, all ‘Sunshine’s and Rainbows’. I was diagnosed with mental health issues, but suicidal ideation – thinking about suicide – isn’t mutually exclusive to depression. It’s a feeling in itself and there can be a multitude of causes. For example, I struggled a lot with suicidal feelings back in January 2021. My ex-boyfriend – with whom I have a lot of history – recently got a new girlfriend, and suddenly I was back in the place that I had been in when I was 15. I felt deeply isolated, cut off from the world and seriously questioning whether I wanted to live a life where I felt like this.
I can write this now from a position of hope; I no longer feel like my life is not worth living. I feel happier in myself and in my right to living a happy life. I wish there was a magic cure, but really, it’s an accumulation of steps that I took to feel this way,
For me, it was finally telling those around me how I felt that really helped me. Suicide isn’t like Harry Potter; it’s not and shouldn’t a be ‘He-Who-Should-Not Be-Named’ situation. Suicide is a scary word, I grant you, but only when you are honest about how you really feel can people learn to understand and help. If the word itself is too much, think about other phrases that do justice to your emotions – “I don’t feel like living”, “I want to go to sleep and not wake up”. Don’t conceal your emotions or feel shame about them. There is nothing, and never will be anything, shameful about feeling suicidal. It’s a human emotion, it’s valid to you and therefore should be valid to everyone else.
The moment you ask for help, the adage ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ comes into fruition. Suicidal thoughts feed off loneliness and isolation; add one person to the mix and you have made headway to defeating those voices inside your head. I talked to my family and friends a lot, I told them as soon as I started to make plans. I sat with them, cried down the phone to them and it helped to really speak about how I was feeling.
There is no ‘How-To’ guide for dealing with suicidal emotions, but there are so many little things that you can do to help yourself:
The typical things that people always say – maintain a good sleep routine, get moving – really do help. Physical health impacts on mental health, so the more you can do to protect the former the better.
Crying. I cried a lot. I continue to cry a lot. Its therapeutic and it gets it all out. It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.
When you feel suicidal do the things you love your hardest to not retreat into yourself and isolate. Go outside, do some yoga or call a friend. Its distraction, yes, but it’s also helping you to ride the wave of emotion.
Manage the physical urges – grab an ice cube, flick an elastic band on your wrist. Embrace the physical sensations that make you feel alive and real.
Seek professional help, they know what they are doing.
Know your right to a happy life. It’s yours and no one can take that away from you. It might feel that way, but it’s not a ‘one solution fits all’ situation. There are so many paths and there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is a bumpy, messy journey but it is one that can be done, and you are not in it alone. Looking at where I am now and where I was then, I see enormous change in myself. I feel stronger, more confident and, most importantly, I have the courage to turn to those around me and ask for help when I need it. I have come this far and so can you.