If you are feeling suicidal
If you are at risk of harm, call 911 now.
Feeling suicidal is not a sign of personal weakness or failure. It is usually the result of a mood disorder, a biological condition which can cause intense sadness, hopelessness and thoughts of suicide. Chemical imbalances in the brain can make us focus on dark memories and to feel hopeless about the future. This illness can be treated, with medication and therapy, to make life worth living again.
- Your feelings of hopelessness are symptoms of the illness. Your mind is lying to you. Suicidal thoughts are not reality.
- Put some distance between your suicidal feelings and suicidal action. Tell yourself, “I will wait three days before I do anything.” Or a week. And then take action toward getting help.
- If you are feeling suicidal, try not to be alone. Call someone you can spend time with. Keep in touch with people who care about you. As depression worsens, we tend to forget how much they care.
- Don’t be afraid or ashamed to talk to someone about your feelings – a health professional, a friend or loved one, a minister or rabbi. Attend a support group. If you don’t have a therapist, find one. If necessary, take yourself to a hospital.
- If you’ve been feeling hopeless, develop a plan of action before you feel suicidal. Keep a list of phone numbers at hand for your doctor, including an after hours number, your therapist, crisis lines, friends and family members.
- Keep a journal and write a little every day about the things and people you value and your hopes for the future. Read what you write to remind yourself of why your life is important.
- If you’ve recently started on antidepressants, be patient while they become effective. If you feel your medication isn’t working, let your doctor know so you can discuss possible alternative treatment.
- Minimize risks. Avoid alcohol: it can induce impulsive and destructive behavior. Make sure you do not have access to firearms or medications you are no longer taking. If possible, have someone keep your medications and give you your daily dose.
- Try to take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, eat well, and take some walks. Make some time each day to enjoy activities that bring you pleasure: music, playing with your pet, gardening.
- Know that people do get through this — even people who feel as badly as you are feeling now.