It’s not uncommon for any one of us to experience suicidal thoughts at some stage in our lives, but everyone may experience them differently. Suicidal thoughts can occur when we experience a trauma such as loss, maybe a bereavement of someone very close to us, a relationship breakdown whether that might be being part of a couple or even a family dispute possibly as a result of betrayal by a loved-one.
Suicidal thoughts may be present because we have irrational thoughts and see ourselves as being worthless, that our existence is a burden on other people and that the world would be better off without us.
They (suicidal thoughts) can be due to feelings of guilt or remorse about an accident or a regrettable action. Sometimes people feel nothing at all, a void or emptiness with no foreseeable hope of this changing.
Suicidal thoughts make no preferences on what culture you are from, where you live, what your faith is, whether you are gender specific or not, what age you are. Having these thoughts does not make you a bad person or show any weakness in your ‘make-up’.
Many of us experiencing suicidal thoughts don’t really want to die but we can’t see a way out of the emotional turmoil and pain that we are suffering in the here and now. However, it is important that you realise that change can happen at any time and so those feeling and thoughts may be short lived and you can begin to experience a worthwhile life ahead again.
Remember though that death is permanent.
Suicidal thoughts can lead to:
- A change in our eating habits…eating more or eating less
- There may be a sign of significant weight gain or weight loss
- You might notice feeling physical and mental numbness
- You might begin to feel ‘out of this world’ or a separation from your physical body
- You may feel exhausted and have little energy
- You may feel the need to isolate yourself or to hide away from others
- Your health and physical appearance may also begin to suffer and be neglected
Here are some strategies that may help you when you feel the thoughts coming on.
- Focus on a favourite destination and the good memories you have there.
- Listen to your favourite ‘uplifting’ music
- Scent is also important; smell your favourite perfume/aftershave, food or flowers etc. Lavender whether dried or in oils sooth the mind
- Cook your favourite food and savour the flavour
- Self-sooth so give yourself a hand and arm or head massage
- If you have a cat or dog pay it some attention, stroke your pet
Avoid substances such as alcohol and drugs. Alcohol is a depressant and altering your state of mind will not do you any favours. Stay clear it will only make you feel worse.
Mantra – Self-talk can be positive so tell yourself;
- “I have coped up to now and I can get through this”
- “Time is on my side and things will get better, so make the changes needed”
- “These feelings are temporary”
- “Suicide is for ever”
- “My thoughts are the results of certain chemicals and hormones. I can learn to manage these”
- “My future self will look back at this and thank me for choosing to live”
Journal – List things that give your life purpose, things you enjoy, illustrate things that make you laugh or smile such as jokes you have heard, acknowledge people you find inspirational whether it be those you know personally or public figures and make a list of 3 of their qualities and match them with your own qualities. Type a quote or phrase that inspires you.
Focus – On the ‘Here & Now’ and the not too distant future. Thinking about things too far in front can become overwhelming. Take small steps and don’t try to achieve too much.
Talk – Don’t sit there on your own, pick up the phone and talk to a friend, someone in the family or a neighbour you trust and know. Make an appointment to talk to your GP, seek out a therapist/counsellor/health professional or contact the Samaritans (116123) who are available 24/7. If you feel that you are actively seeking out a suicide plan, please go to A&E where someone can talk to you and refer you into someone that can help you.
Along with some of the issues and concerns we have explored in the beginning of this guide there can be other significant reasons that may cause us to have suicidal thoughts. For instance;
Bullying can be extremely distressing and it is also known to have links with depression, self-harm, anxiety and suicide. When someone is being bullied they can be seen to withdraw from those around them, society as a whole and retreat inside themselves in order to escape the abuse and abuser/s.
Work is an enormous part of our lives where we spend an average of 8 hours a day, 5 days a week earning money for our everyday needs. The connection between our self-worth and the value we place on our work performance is understandably connected. So is it any wonder when things go wrong at work such as our performance, the pressure we might feel or even the risk of losing our jobs, these negative feelings can trickle into our everyday lives and soon spiral out of our control.
Debt is another problems that seems to spiral out of control. It can leave you and your family feeling embarrassed, ashamed and fearful for the future with what would appear as having no way out and sometimes this can lead to the idea of suicide. However, it is important to remember that the UK has many ways in helping with debt such as debt plans, relief orders and bankruptcy. It can feel that you’re controlled by the spiralling debt but it just takes time to release yourself from debt and get back on track with your life.
College Counselling Service – 01226 216 233
Samaritans – 116 123
Citizens Advice Bureau Barnsley (CAB) – 03444 111 444
MIND – 01226 211 188
Papyrus Helpline (young people at risk of suicide) – 0800 068 41 41
Emergency Services 999 Non-emergency 101
Last updated: 20th July 2022