WARNING: This article contains mentions of suicide and suicidal thoughts.

Back in the early months of 2015, I was suffering with depression. At that time, I was revising like mad for my summer exams and having frequent panic attacks. I was severely unhappy. But I thought it was normal or just a side affect of having panic attacks nearly everyday. I didn’t think that my mood was anything to worry about at the time. I kind of ignored it because I was revising, but I was progressively getting worse. As the months went on and my exams got closer, my panic attacks nearly doubled. I’d experienced them multiple times a day, which meant that I was feeling even worse. It lead to me not sleeping properly. Often, I would sit in silence and stare at nothing for hours at a time, not even realising how much time has passed.

However, I was still ignoring it completely. I just convinced myself it was the revision and stress getting to me. I thought I’d feel right as rain again as soon as I finished my exams. Obviously, this didn’t happen. Without revision filling my days, I just felt empty. All of my friends were going out and filling their new found freedom with fun activities. I, on the other hand, was staying in my house, unable to enjoy anything. I used to lock myself in my wardrobe and just stare at the wall, thinking about how much I hated my mind for doing this to me, how I just wanted to stop feeling numb all the time.

It was around this time that I started to feel suicidal. At first, I wasn’t really aware what I was thinking. It was more about making what I was feeling go away. Then I had a moment where I thought the easiest way to stop feeling like this is to die. That opened the floodgates for a plethora of suicidal thoughts. I was actively thinking about different ways to kill myself. I’d written several suicide notes, but I hadn’t done anything. That’s until I attempted suicide on holiday. The fact it was unsuccessful only lead to me feeling worse about myself.

My suicide attempt was the shock I needed to start getting help. In therapy, I learned different ways to control my suicidal thoughts, and how not to let them impact my recovery. The most important thing to do if you are feeling like this is to talk to someone. If you don’t feel like talking to a friend or don’t know who to turn to, call a helpline. If you’re in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the National Hopeline Network at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433). In the UK and Ireland, call the Samaritans at 116 123. For those who live in Australia, call Lifeline Australia at 13 11 14. In other countries, visit IASP or Suicide.org to find a helpline in your country.

Another important thing to do is make a safety plan. This where you develop a set of steps you can follow when you’re feeling suicidal. The plan should include contact numbers for a doctor or therapist, family members and friends that you’ll feel comfortable asking for help. Alternatively, have a helpline written down if you don’t feel like talking to anyone who knows you. Whilst feeling suicidal, it’s important to keep a regular routine. Make a schedule everyday and stick to it. This will ensure that you’ll feel more in control.

Something that really helped me was exercise, especially running. When you run, your brain pumps out two powerful feel-good chemicals, endorphins and endocannabinoids. This gives you a natural high and boosts your mood. It also helps to get you out the house and into nature. You should also make time for things that you enjoy. Even if very few things are enjoyable at the moment, trying to engage in your favorite activities will keep you busy and your mind distracted.

While feeling suicidal, it’s also key to avoid things that are going to make you worse. Such as being alone. Although you might feel like you want to be alone, solitude can make your thoughts even worse. So make sure to spend time with someone who you feel the most comfortable with when you’re feeling low. Listening to sad music and looking at certain photographs can also decrease your mood. Try to avoid running over past situations in your mind. You should also avoid drugs and alcohol as these can increase depression and make you act impulsively.

Even if your suicidal thoughts and feelings have subsided, get help for yourself. Experiencing that sort of emotional pain is itself a traumatising experience. Finding a support group or therapist can be very helpful in decreasing the chances that you will feel suicidal again in the future.

If you are feeling like this, know that you’re not alone. And there isn’t any shame in getting the help you need.

References:

Featured image by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

First image by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

Second image by Xavier Sotomayor on Unsplash

Last image by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

 

 

Edited by Viveca Shearin

7 Comments

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  1. Hi Ash, thanks so much for being so incredibly brave by sharing your story. The part when you mentioned locking yourself up in your wardrobe —I understand what that’s like. I had a breaking point during the fall semester of my senior year in college three years ago and ended up doing the same exact thing on my birthday, but I pretended like I was out having fun so people wouldn’t have to ask what was wrong. Holidays are tough, and so are birthdays when they’re days where we’re expected to have it all together and display happy emotions. It’s hard at times.

    I’m glad you were able to channel the negative times into something productive and amazing like running. I actually feel my best, too, when I move and get outside for a breathe of fresh air. It reminds me of resilience, and all it takes is a moment to get some sort of clarity. Just a few seconds, really. If you’re interested, one book I’ve been meaning to read because the excerpts are just amazing is “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” by Haruki Murakami. It’s his only memoir, but I suppose it’s special because of that, since he writes mainly fiction and short stories. He talks about what it means to him and how it helps him channel into his writing careeer, too.

    Again, just wanted to say thanks for sharing your story and it’s super inspiring. I hope you have a great day! Really and truly! 🙂

  2. Thank you! I really wanted to do this article justice and tell people that they’re not alone and there are always people that can help. I know all about pretending to be okay, sometimes it’s tough to admit that you’re not feeling your best.

    I’m glad you’ve found going outside helpful for you, getting fresh air always helps my mind come back from spiralling thoughts. Thank you for the book recommendation! I’m always on the hunt for new reading material and books like that are right up my alley.

    I hope you have a great day too, thank you for your lovely comment!?

  3. Thank you for sharing your story with us, it must of been tough typing all of that, as that’s sort of reliving those moments. But putting them out there could be cathartic to some people, sharing their experiences and knowing others can empathize.

    Normally I don’t comment on articles like these, I’m here to just roam and read, but I felt the need now as losing hope by the seconds… At least what little hope I do have left. I’ve been hospitalized 3 times and have been to two day programs, have had countless medications or other forms of treatment, multiple therapist, yet nothing seems to work. Nothing abates these suicidal feelings effectively, and I only end up infuriated because of it. I’ve spoken to friends and family, and while communicating with them can be therapeutic, it never helps in the long run. Talking to them now just seems so redundant.

    Life doesn’t stimulate me anymore, activities that formally brought me joy no longer excites me. Video games, listening to music, exercising, writing, none of it does anything to elicit any strong emotions in me like they used to. Reading brings me some solace, but I can’t even bring myself to read for longer periods of time. I’ve given up on my dream of becoming an author… My future looks bleak right now and all I want to do is disappear, or sleep for an eternity. I don’t know what else to do.

    • It was tough, reliving all I felt in those dark moments was difficult but definitely helped in the long run. Going back and processing through my emotions has really helped me come to a place of peace now.

      I’m so sorry to hear about how you’re feeling. I can relate to those thoughts and am truly sorry you’re going through that right now. I’m not an expert on these kinds of things and am only speaking from experience but if you do something drastic you will regret it. I have spent countless nights thinking my life has gone to pot. That it’s pointless me even being here but yet I still am. I know it sounds patronising and stupid but things do really get better. I was where you were and I’m now starting university in two weeks, your life can turn a corner.

      As I said in the article I attempted suicide twice, both times I was obviously unsuccessful and thats something I’m endlessly grateful for. My advice to you (and you can tell me to stick this up my arse if you like) is just to persevere. Depression and suicidal thoughts hang around like a cloud. They can stay for a long time but you just have to weather the storm. If I were you I’d go back to the doctors and express your helplessness. I know you said therapy didn’t work but there are tonnes of different types of therapy and each type is evolving ever day. Please don’t give up hope. If you ever need anyone to talk do don’t hesitate to message me.
      All the best Marc xx

  4. Thank you for sharing and I hope you’re in a better headspace now (and if not, if you’ve had a relapse, warmest hugs).

    If you don’t mind my asking, what are some ways you’ve found work to prevent relapse of suicidal thoughts and severe depression apart from therapy?

    I ask because I am scared of a relapse, as I have attempted twice before, once when in was sixteen and once when I was in undergrad, and was having suicidal thoughts for over six months before I got on medication. While the medication I’m on does work most of the time, it doesn’t entirely work all the time. So it would be helpful to hear what works in terms of preventing myself from ending up in that headspace again. Again thank you for your courage both in getting through that and in sharing what it took to get out of that space.

    • Hi Kate,

      Yes I’m in a much better headspace now, thank you!

      No I don’t mind at all, therapy honestly was a massive help for my I’ll be honest. But what my therapist and I did was help me put things into perspective. As you know when you’re feeling suicidal you tend to worst case scenario everything, which only feeds the suicidal thoughts. To help this I used to write down a negative thought and then combat it with a positive thought. I’d then repeat the positive thought and every time I heard a suicidal or negative thought in my head I’d get out the positive thought and read it. It didn’t always work and there were plenty of times I told her that this was pointless and never going to work but over time it did.

      It might not be helpful for you but that was one of the tools that I found most useful. The fear of relapse is real and something I have definitely felt over the last couple of years. I hope you can bring yourself out of this headspace cos it really does suck. If you ever need anyone to talk to feel free to message me. Thank you for sharing, I wish you all the best xx

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Written by Ash Osborne

Writer for Psych2Go, currently studying Creative Media at College. Hoping to encourage more people to talk about mental health.

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