September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, so I wanted to continue on from my last post and keep the topic going. It’s so important to keep talking about suicide, to raise awareness and hopefully help someone out there.
If you feel that you are in danger right now, you should call the emergency services or go to the hospital, ring your crisis team, call a support line or reach out to someone you trust. The following ideas can help you cope if you feel that you are not in immediate danger and are able to try and manage the feelings you are having.
1. Talk to someone
One of the best things you can do is talk to someone about how you are feeling, whoever you feel most comfortable talking to at the time. Reaching out for help can be extremely difficult when you’re in that state of mind so try not to overthink and just take action; it can be far too easy to talk yourself out of making the call. Having people on speed dial or saved at the top of your contacts list in advance, means that you can just press call before you have a chance to overthink it.
2. Write down how you feel
If you don’t feel like talking to someone else, write down or type how you feel. Getting those feelings out of your head and expressing them somehow, even though it might not feel like it at the time, can really help you to feel less weighed down and can somehow manage to make things seem a little bit less scary.
3. Talk out loud
If you don’t feel like talking to someone else and don’t feel that you are able to concentrate enough to write down what you feel, then speak out loud to yourself. Voice those feelings, it may sound silly but it can have a similar effect; expressing those feelings somehow takes the power out of them a little bit and gives you that control back.
4. Take any prescribed medication for a mental health crisis
Now is the time to take any medication that you may be prescribed to take in the event of a crisis or in times when you need extra help; if you don’t feel safe taking the prescribed amount alone, then asking someone you trust to help is just as valid.
5. Put on some music that lifts your spirits
Putting some music on that you know are your favourite songs to lift your spirits a bit sounds simple but it can help to bring you a bit of comfort. To hear something that you associate with good times can be a really good influence on your mindset.
6. Change your environment
Even if you just change the room you are in, or get outside in nature, changing the environment you are in can help to keep your brain engaged in a positive way and can encourage a different outlook.
7. Do something creative
Creative expression is a wonderful way to get those feelings out, not only does it allow you to express yourself, it engages your body and your brain, it distracts you and it can be very relaxing. Whatever your chosen creative expression is go for it, whether this is writing, dancing, painting, drawing, anything at all.
8. Get active
Whether this is dancing around the house, walking from room to room or getting outside and going for walk, in my case walking with my dogs is my go to, getting active can provide a great engaging distraction.
9. Focus on taking things a few minutes at a time
If it all feels like too much, try to think about what you are going to do in the next few minutes, just taking it a step at a time. Get through this few minutes, then the next, then the next.
10. Take a nap
Sometimes relaxing enough to take a nap is not possible when you’re in this state of mind but if you can, taking a rest or a nap can be very beneficial and can allow you to gain some respite from your feelings.
11. List things that make you happy in your life
Making a list of the things that are good in your life can be a great way to keep yourself busy, to actively look for the positives in your life even if they may feel hard to find and can help you to shift your perspective a little bit; you could write this down, list them out loud or even just list them in your head.
12. List things that you would like to achieve and experience in the future
Considering what you would love to experience or achieve in your future can be a great motivator, no dream is too high, imagine all of the possibilities! Try not to overthink about how you would achieve them, you can figure that out later, but consider what you would want from your life. When you’re safe later, you can make plans to really achieve those goals.
13. Use positive mantras
Repeating positive mantras in your head or out loud can be comforting such as ‘this will pass’, ‘I can do this’, ‘everything will be ok’, anything that you feel is going to be helpful for you. Writing them down in advance if you feel that you would not be able to think of them at the time can be helpful.
14. Cuddle something or someone
If you have someone with you, or a pet, or even a teddy (you’re never too old for one) or a pillow, cuddling something can be very comforting and can help you to feel a little calmer.
15. Focus on what is in your environment right now
Grounding yourself in the environment you are in by listing things that you can see, things that you can hear, things you can taste and smell, things that you feel, can really help to calm you.