My Top 10 Tips And Tricks For Managing Suicidal Ideations
Unsolicited advice from a seasoned depressed person on how to manage the urge to kill yourself.
Hi there, I'm Sara, and I am diagnosed with severe endogenous depression, anxiety, and light psychosis, which basically means that my mental illnesses are a part of me and that I will always be depressed for the rest of my life. Yay. This also means that suicidal ideations are very present in my mind. They can be as often as every month, every week, every day, every minute, and every second. Double yay.
So, how do I manage to continuously stay alive when I am suddenly overcome with the urge to off myself? It hasn't been easy, but through years of practice, I've been able to come up with my own list of survival tactics.
For reference, I first started having depressed thoughts when I was around seven, and suicidal thoughts since I was 17. I’ve just turned 25, so that's 18 years IN YOUR FACE depression! Excuse me while I also pat myself on the back for not killing myself for five years running. Hell yeah! *Self-five*
But in all seriousness, when I first found out that I was clinically depressed for life, and that the only way I was going to make it to a natural death was by somehow conquering my depression and making it work for me, I thought two things: 1) Fuck me. 2) If I'm going to go through all of this guaranteed pain for life, then I'm gonna take notes and pass them back to help my fellow depressee's.
I love you all, and I hope these tips and tricks help. Let’s get to it!
1) If you're happy and you know it, it's your meds *clap, clap*.
Now, while medication isn't for everyone, if it is for you, please do take your meds. I used to hate taking mine, and would sometimes skip for weeks at a time (**very bad, do not advise**) because even looking at the pills reminded me that I had a problem. That I was depressed. But, one day, a nurse put it all in perspective for me. He told me that we don't shame someone for having a nutrient deficiency, such as iron, so I shouldn't shame myself for having a serotonin deficiency. Hearing this perspective changed — and saved— my life. Now, I call my meds my happy pills, or my vitamins, and they are a lot easier to swallow (bad pun intended).
2) Keep water by you at all times, and actually drink it.
I really am that friend who's always encouraging you to drink more water, but it's because I mean it! When I'm dehydrated, everything from completing tasks and work assignments to brushing my teeth and standing up feel like challenges. So drink water when you can. Get in the habit of keeping it near you. Keep a glass in every room. Download an app to help you build the healthy habit. Dilute that depression — drink some water!
BONUS: I’ve found that drinking extra water can help reduce the common antidepressant side effect of shaking!
3) Stop beating yourself up for feeling miserable. Give yourself a hug. It's okay to feel completely not okay.
The world is full of ups and downs, so it is completely natural for life to have its ups and downs too. Your feelings are valid. Your sadness, loneliness, and apathy are valid. It's okay to not feel okay, and it's more than okay to feel absolutely miserable. What's not okay is blaming yourself for being human. We are all works in progress, and sometimes you need to breakdown before you can build back up. Give yourself a hug. You've got this, and I believe in you.
4) If you haven't eaten in days, don't worry about starting off with a balanced meal. Sometimes the only way to a salad for dinner is by starting off with chips for breakfast.
When you're depressed, finding the will and ability to eat can be extremely difficult. When I haven't eaten in a day or two, sometimes my anxiety kicks in and tells me that I can only eat a super healthy and well balanced meal to make up for my recent lack of food. But there's no need to be that strict. Eating SOMETHING is much better than eating nothing. Eat the chips. Eat the pasta, pizza, or whatever it is that's going to get your stomach in the mood for more food. Sometimes your stomach needs to be reminded that it's hungry. So go ahead, and treat it to your favorite tastes.
5) Avoid sharp corners in your home decor. I am to sharp objects as birds are to shiny things. Go for rounded corners. Curves are your friends.
If you have frequent and random suicidal ideations like me, then you know what it's like to be minding your business, notice something sharp, and all of a sudden think, "hmm, I should jam that in my eye socket" or "oooOOoo, that looks dangerous, I want to touch it". Now, you can walk away from these urges or combat them with coping mechanisms, OR you can do what I do, and make your place more depressed-person friendly. This means opting for softer corners when you can, working some of your favorite colors into the decor, and indulging in your love for blankets and pillows.
Removing these suicidal temptations and going for a cozy vibe helps me build a safer space for myself and lower the amount of suicidal ideations I have, which in turn leaves me with more energy to manage my daily depression.
6) Play around with different eating lifestyles until you find one that works best for you and your happiness.
I grew up in a mainly carnivorous household, but ever since switching to a mainly vegan diet, my morning depression fog now takes 10-30 minutes to break through as opposed to the original 1-4 hours it would take me. Now, this is not me saying you need to go vegan, but rather that it's good to play around with different eating styles! Find what fuel works best for your body and mind, and you will be amazed by the results.
7) Look for your strengths and play to those. You'd be surprised at some of the hidden superpowers that come with mental illnesses.
Yes, being depressed and anxious has its obvious downsides, but there are some super strengths my mental illnesses DO give me. I’m more empathetic, understanding, and a better listener because I know what it’s like to feel alone, depressed, and miserable. People with mental illnesses can also be extra creative and possess a strong attention to detail, because we naturally notice everything.
My mental disabilities have really hurt me, but they’ve also enabled me to help so many others through tough and scary times, and for that, I’m thankful.
8) Your loved ones LOVE YOU! Send them a text. Say, "Hey, I'm feeling really down right now, and I could use some extra support. Can you help?"
It can feel weird asking someone for help or admitting that you are not doing okay and have doubts about your self worth. Your loved ones LOVE you, and when they offer their help, it’s because they actually want you to take it. I promise, it’s okay and a good thing to ask for help.
You are awesome even when you think you aren’t, you are more loved than you will ever know, and you deserve a happy life.
9) Look in the mirror and recite the names of all of the people in your life who make you happy. All of your loved ones. Keep saying it over and over until you remember you belong here, are needed here, and are wanted here.
You are wanted, you are needed, and you will be okay. You may feel miserable and hopeless now, but please stay. Your loved ones love you, and you have a whole future of loved ones waiting to love you too. You are meant to be here.
10) Make your bed your safe space. Let yourself sleep if you need to. I've definitely used my sheets to hold myself down until the big suicidal waves pass.
Sometimes I’ll experience a depressive episode where it’s like a rapid fire of suicidal ideations on my brain for three days straight. Now, while not everyone is able to take time to themselves, if you are, please feel no shame over staying in bed as long as you need to. You are not being lazy. You are not being a waste of space. And you are not being unproductive and doing nothing. You are staying alive and holding on, and I am so SO proud of you. Visually, it may just look like lying in bed. But mentally, it can feel like moving oceans.
Thank you for reading, thank you for being you, and thank you for staying alive. This world is a better place with you in it.💛
About the author
Mixed, optimistic, and depressed MA-based zillennial just out here trying to make you feel things.
We're all a little messed up, and that's okay. Let's be human together<3
UCLA '18 . Art History . Mythology
Book in Progress: Mess of a Human