Since September was Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and I’ve been doing some posts on the topic, I decided to continue that this week into World Mental Health Day on the 10th; this year’s topic is Suicide Prevention.
For those of us with bipolar disorder, we are at a very high risk of suicide, it’s an ever-present threat in the background and something that I have come to realise I have to be very aware of in order to stay safe. Being aware of this risk and talking about that openly, putting plans into place to deal with those feelings and to deal with a crisis situation, takes some of the power out of it. Living with a disorder like this, I have to be prepared.
I have been plagued with suicidal ideation since I was a pre-teen and throughout my life. When I’m in a depressive episode it’s almost always there in the background as a thought, sometimes more than others depending on my mood, and even when I’m stable, I’m constantly aware of my mood in order to keep myself safe.
It’s like a constant fight being self-aware, taking medication, monitoring moods, preparing crisis plans, using the techniques and tools I’ve been given through therapy and learnt over the years myself to cope with my symptoms. It’s the fight for my life and I will not give in.
Determination to fight my disorder
It’s not me who wants to die, it’s my bipolar disorder that has those thoughts; I want to live, I want to thrive, I want to survive and I’m determined to fight my disorder the best I can in order to do just that.
I have attempted suicide multiple times over the years and I am so incredibly glad that I was not successful. It’s something that does not just impact the individual but has a ripple effect on their loved ones and everyone around them. It’s a hard subject and that’s why we must talk about it more and more. We must take the stigma and taboo out of it, and in turn make it easier for people to reach out for help, to talk about their feelings, to not be afraid to say ‘I’m suicidal, I need help’.
Breaking down stigma
The more we talk about our feelings, not only when we do feel at risk but everybody feeling more able to talk to each other about how they are feeling and what they are going through, to be more open about struggling, the more we can support each other and erase the stigma around mental health. It’s time to speak up, to ask for help, to tell your story, to help break down these walls and barriers, to raise awareness and to let others know that they are not alone.
You are NOT alone
If you are going through this right now please know that you are not alone, there are so many of us out there who understand what you’re going through. You can get through this, the world needs you; you are worthy and loved. Please reach out for help if you need it.
If you are in immediate danger call the emergency services or go to the nearest hospital.
If you are in crisis, please do reach out to a family member, a friend, your doctor, your mental health team, or call a hotline (I’ve included a list below).
National Suicide Prevention line tel:1-800-273-8255
Austria: 142; for children and young people, 147
Bosnia & Herzegovina: 080 05 03 05
Brazil: 188 for the CVV National Association
Canada: 1.833.456.4566, 5147234000 (Montreal); 18662773553 (outside Montreal)
Estonia: 3726558088; in Russian 3726555688
Finland: 010 195 202
Hong Kong: +852 2382 0000
New Zealand: 0800543354
Portugal: 21 854 07 40/8 . 96 898 21 50
South Africa: 0514445691
United Kingdom: 08457909090
Veterans’ Crisis Line: 1 800 273 8255/ text 838255
Sourced from Internationl bipolar foundation’s website https://ibpf.org/resource/list-international-suicide-hotlines