How to Use Writing to Cope with Suicidal Ideation
Trigger warning: This post contains a frank discussion of suicidal ideation, and specifically as it pertains to, how to cope with suicidal ideation through journaling.
The feeling that life is meaningless can lead to suicidal ideation. This ideation is thoughts about suicide without the intention to follow through with it. While suicidal ideation is common and can pass quickly, it can become dangerous if it is not treated. I find writing to be a healthy way to cope with suicidal ideation. Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to use writing as a healthy coping technique.
Writing to Cope with Suicidal Ideation: 5 Things to Remember
1. Do not force yourself to write to cope with suicidal ideation.
I hear many writers talk about writing as a “job” — something that they have to do. They think writing all of the time is the only thing that determines their identity as a writer. Without writing, they feel as though they are nothing. No matter how serious you are about writing, it can become more of a punishment than an outlet. When you struggle with depression, putting too much pressure on yourself can add to suicidal ideation instead of reducing it.
2. Use writing as a type of therapy.
Some people think that writing has to be perfect. If you take writing seriously, you probably do this quite frequently. But there is a time to be a serious writer and a time to simply treat yourself as a therapy patient. Write as though you are a patient talking to a therapist.
3. Try not to judge your thoughts when writing to cope with suicidal thoughts.
As you write, you might learn things about yourself that you never even considered. Some of these revelations could be negative and cause you to feel really sad or guilty. Try not to focus on these feelings. Instead, acknowledge the truth to these difficult lessons without judgment. Remember that some of the lessons you learn could help you shape your future in a positive way.
4. Remember that you are not weak.
Experiencing suicidal ideation is really hard, so writing about suicidal ideation takes a lot of strength. I will admit that writing about my own suicidal ideation has made me feel weak at times. It has made me feel ashamed of even thinking about suicide. But by writing about something so sensitive, raw, and honest, I have learned that you can gain so much internal strength. Writing allows you to process even the darkest thoughts. By doing so, you can allow yourself to see life from a new perspective. You can change your thoughts and even get rid of suicidal ideation.
5. Find a place where you feel comfortable to write.
Some people feel uncomfortable writing in public places. That is completely understandable. If you want to write in your bedroom, that could help you avoid distractions. Perhaps writing under a tree in a secluded area will help you feel relaxed. Find the place that is most comfortable for you.
If you have used writing to cope with suicidal ideation, please share some of your own tips in the comments.
If you feel that you may hurt yourself or someone else, call 9-1-1 immediately.
For more information on suicide, see our suicide information, resources and support section. For additional mental health help, please see our mental health hotline numbers and referral information section.
Lueck, M. (2019, September 15). How to Use Writing to Cope with Suicidal Ideation, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, August 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/toughtimes/2019/9/how-to-use-writing-to-cope-with-suicidal-ideation
Author: Martha Lueck
I think writing as a tool for coping and support can be a wonderful practice. I love that you made a point about not judging your thoughts as you write. This may seem like a no-brainer but so often we can slip into judgment without even realizing it or the implications of it. Thank you for sharing.