How to Avoid a Suicide Attempt and Cope with Depression
Trigger warning: This post contains an in-depth discussion of how to avoid suicide, suicide itself, suicide attempts, and suicidal thoughts.
I have a plan to avoid another suicide attempt that came from living with major depression. But it's taken three years since almost losing the war against depression to get it together. I'm so thankful to say that I'm still here and that my suicide attempt failed. That "failure" turned out to be one of my greatest victories. I couldn't see it then, but I certainly see it now. The following thoughts are some reflections on the past three years of my life.
How to Avoid Suicide Attempts
Accept that Life with Major Depressive Disorder Is a Marathon
Living with major depressive disorder requires strength and endurance, which I don't always have. Sometimes I need help, and this is one reason why antidepressants have been such an effective weapon in my arsenal. Therapy is also a helpful tool and has given me effective coping skills for when my thoughts get overwhelming and start to spiral out of control.
I didn't have either of these in place prior to my suicide attempt. Ever since going to therapy and taking antidepressants, I haven't attempted suicide again. This is not to say I don't have dark days anymore -- trust me, I do. But now, I'm able to ride them out better. I've learned how to conserve my energy. This is vital when living with depression.
Seek Professional Help Early
I struggled mentally for such a long time before my mind got completely chaotic. I knew things were not right. I was unable to focus on my family and friends. I was losing interest in all the things I enjoyed. I couldn't focus on reading anymore, and I'm an avid reader. I couldn't even focus enough to watch television. I hated being with other people; it only served to remind me how alone I really was. Even with friends, I "knew" I didn't really belong. I couldn't sleep because of thoughts that raced through my head telling me I was worthless, incompetent, pointless, useless, and so on ("What Are the Symptoms of Depression and Depressive Disorder?").
In retrospect, I see I should have sought professional help at this point. I know I waited too long. Even though it's difficult, and I speak from experience, please seek help early. Don't let it get to the point that I did.
Self-Care Can Save Your Life
Self-care, first of all, means making and keeping doctors' appointments. I wasn't doing that in the months leading up to my suicide attempt. Perhaps my general practitioner or gynecologist would have noticed something was off about me, or maybe I would have spoken up or shared some of my mental health struggles with them.
Also, self-care involves taking care of yourself in other ways, too. I already mentioned I was not getting adequate sleep. I certainly wasn't getting proper nutrition. I lost weight in the months leading up to my suicide attempt from not being able to eat. I honestly can't remember whether I was exercising during that period or not; some of it is just a blur.
I definitely wasn't doing anything for myself at that time. There were no bubble baths or long showers with scented candles or nice dinners at my favorite restaurants. I wasn't having lunch dates with friends or shopping days or coffee with co-workers. There was no curling up in my favorite chair with a cup of hot tea or cocoa to read or watch Netflix. Yet, all of this is important. Self-care encompasses every bit of this. Don't neglect any part of you. Do things for you. You matter.
The emergent part is getting immediate help if you're suicidal. Take antidepressants if they're prescribed for you. If therapy is suggested, go. Find a local support group when you're ready. Look for a good online support group. There are resources. I felt so completely alone on that January day in 2017 when I almost lost my life to depression. I never want anyone else to feel that way. You are not alone. I'm glad you are here, and I'm glad I'm here, too.
If you feel that you may hurt yourself or someone else, call 9-1-1 immediately.
For my thoughts on how a friend or family member might have been to help me when I was suicidal, please watch this video.
Smith, J. (2020, January 8). How to Avoid a Suicide Attempt and Cope with Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, September 29 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2020/1/how-to-avoid-a-suicide-attempt-and-cope-with-depression