Living with your thoughts - From SAMH Suicide

What are suicidal thoughts?

If you are reading this then you might be thinking about suicide, and if you are then it is possible you are feeling any number of different emotions.

You know better than anyone else what you have been through, what you are going through and how dark things can get for you. You might not find it helpful to hear somebody tell you that they understand – without being you, how can they understand?. You might just want to be listened to by somebody who appreciates and recognises what you are going through and the place that you are in; or you might want to keep your thoughts to yourself.

Is thinking about suicide normal?

The quick answer is Yes! You may be surprised to know that thinking about suicide is very normal and really common. It is estimated that up to 1 person in 20 is thinking about suicide at any one time.

That means that you are not alone, there are thousands of other people like you; people who might be struggling with thoughts of suicide, who, just like you, feel a whole number of different emotions.

Thinking about suicide is not necessarily about wanting to die; it can be about not wanting to live, which is not the same thing. It can be a feeling that you can’t keep going, it’s too painful, too difficult or you can’t see another solution to the pain or the problems.

How can I live with my thoughts of suicide?

Living with thoughts of suicide is hard, especially when you are at your lowest and darkest. Every task can feel like a huge effort and the feelings of ‘why bother’ can start to mount and create a vicious cycle of thinking.

Being in a place of pain and living with thoughts of suicide is difficult, making the decision to keep going, keep fighting and still be here is tough. But, you’re still here!

If you are still here then you still have something. Something that means you have not acted on your thoughts. What is it in your life that is still keeping you going, maybe even giving you hope?

“I have also tried hard to find what was keeping me here, I thought about the things in my life that I would miss if I wasn’t here (my son growing up), it took me a while but I started looking for them, and holding onto them when I found them. They were, and are, my rock, the things that give me the strength to keep going.”

How can I keep myself safe?

It can feel like a huge responsibility if you are trying to cope alone, however, if you have a plan to keep safe it might make it easier. Your plan might include:

  • Identifying a safe place that you can go, this might be a place with people who you don’t have to interact with if you don’t want to  (24-hour supermarket, library, etc)
  • Identifying helplines that you can call. Some helplines such as Breathing Space and the Samaritans are anonymous. This means you can talk with someone you don’t know about how you are feeling.
  • Thinking about other things that might help – this might be a physical activity or listening to music, for example, something that you find calming or engaging; something you can do which helps to delay you from acting on your thoughts.
  • Having an emergency contact (family or friend) who is aware of your thoughts of suicide and is prepared to support you during a time of crisis. 

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