For many who suffer from depression, it is not uncommon to have thoughts of suicide. These thoughts can range from mild to severe, and can change depending on mood, time or day, season, and other factors. No matter how bad you are feeling at the moment, it is important to know that it will pass and you will get better. Suicide is never the answer. It is a permanent mistake, disguised as a solution, to a temporary problem.
What to do if you’re feeling suicidal right now
The first thing to do if you’re currently entertaining thoughts of harming yourself is to do nothing. It’s important to put space between intense emotions and action. Vow to give yourself at least 24 hours to cool down. Next it’s vital that you reach out to someone. It doesn’t matter who - a friend, family member, doctor, therapist - as long as you trust them.
If you want to talk to someone right now, no matter what time it is, who will maintain complete confidentiality and who is trained to talk to those in crisis, you should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). There will be a caring person there to talk to you 24/7/365. It is a safe space with no judgement, only talking.
You can also call suicide hotlines in your specific area. Here is a list of the hotlines, organized by state.
IMAlive.com is another option. It’s an online-only center staffed with people trained in crisis prevention. It’s available 24 hours a day and is a good option if you want to talk, but not on the phone.
“People often turn to suicide because they are seeking relief from pain. Remember that relief is a feeling. And you have to be alive to feel it. You will not feel the relief you so desperately seek, if you are dead,” says Metanoia.org.
How to combat depression and suicidal thoughts in the long term
If you ever have suicidal thoughts, there’s a good chance they are recurring. You need to take steps to rework your lifestyle in order to minimize the underlying cause of your suicidal thoughts, which oftentimes is depression. Depression is not weakness - it’s a medical condition. You should talk to a doctor if you think you’re suffering from depression.
It’s a good idea to avoid drugs and alcohol as well, as they can lead to a situation where you are too under the influence to make rational decisions. Not only that, but their prolonged use exacerbates mental problems - even if they seem to alleviate them in the short-term. If you feel like you have a problem with addiction, try calling one of these recovery and addiction specialty hotlines.
Some stats on suicide
If you are having suicidal thoughts, you are not alone. Worldwide, there is a death by suicide every 40 minutes. It’s every 13 minutes in the United States. One out of every 25 suicide attempts results in a death. Suicide affects people of all ages, but it’s the 3rd leading cause of death for those aged 15-44 worldwide. Depression is the #1 cause of suicide. About 20 million adults suffer from depression in the US, and 25% of young adults will have to deal with depression before they reach the age of 24.
No matter how bad life seems at the moment, suicide is never the answer. Millions of people have battled their suicidal thoughts and now live happy, healthy lives - so you can do it. It may sound cliche, but in this case it’s very accurate to say it’s often darkest before the dawn. Suicide is the one mistake that’s permanent. Everything else is temporary.