I’m Melissa Howard and I’m on a mission to prevent suicide with my website, stopsuicide.info
Suicide Risks and Warning Signs
It’s not always possible to tell when someone is contemplating suicide. Many people keep their thoughts and emotions to themselves, a habit that stems from ideas of themselves as a burden on others. However, sometimes there are little clues people unconsciously leave for others letting them know that there are dark thoughts brewing.
Some common warning signs for suicide include:
- An unusual preoccupation with death
- Talk of suicide, death, self-harm, or statements such as “I wish I was never born”
- Accumulation of lethal means such as guns, pills, drugs, or knives
- Feelings of hopelessness, like nothing will ever get better
- Guilt, shame, and self-hatred
- Unexpectedly getting one’s affairs in order, relinquishing prized possessions
- Social withdrawal
- Hazardous behavior including drug or alcohol abuse, unsafe sex and reckless driving
- A sudden sense of calm after a prolonged depression
People with a history of mental illness and addiction are more likely to commit suicide, as well. Depression and mood disorders are considered the number one risk factor. The imbalance of neurotransmitters often lead to the feelings of hopelessness, shame and self-hatred that spur thoughts of suicide. Add drug and/or alcohol use on top of mental illness, and the person loses the inhibitions that can lead to death. Addiction also has a way of causing external problems with family, money and the law. Left untreated, those dealing with drug and alcohol abuse are more likely to take their own life.
Self-Care for Suicide Prevention
If you are at risk for suicide and have experienced some of the thoughts and emotions listed above, you don’t have to deal with these complicated issues alone. If you are not comfortable turning to a friend or family member for help, there are various resources available for those who need to talk about their thoughts of suicide. Many of the people who volunteer for these hotlines have been in situations like yours and they are ready and willing to help.
Beyond talking to someone, there are many ways we can care for ourselves to help ease painful emotions and prevent suicide. Sometimes it is hard to separate from difficult thoughts. There is no need to push yourself to do more than you can handle. The key to self-care when flooded with suicidal thoughts is being kind to yourself and going slow.
Remember Your Strength
Recognize if you have felt these feelings before in the past and how you were able to get over them. You have faced dark thoughts before and will probably come across them again in the future, but you are strong enough to overcome these thoughts and feel better. It may take time, but you’ve done it before, you can do it again.
Drink Some Water
Water is the essence of life. Getting up, pouring yourself a glass of water, and drinking it is a simple way you can care for your body and mind without over-exerting yourself. Water can also help rehydrate you, which helps if you’ve been crying or if you suffer from physical pains or headaches.
Make an Effort to Relax
How you choose to relax is completely up to you. For some people, the act of drawing a bath and cleaning the body helps to ease the nerves. Others like to lose themselves watching a comedy. Meditation is a great way to relax while also exploring your mindfulness practice. Do what feels right to you.
Suicidal people don’t always come out and say what they are thinking, though there are warning signs and risk factors to look out for. People having thoughts of suicide should reach out to friends, family, or some other form of help that allows them to express how they are feeling. Beyond that, people in major depressive episodes should practice self-care to help them get out of the depths of despair. Simple things like drinking water and taking a bath can help them get through the day and make it to another.