World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.

I am no stranger to suicidal thoughts.  Many times throughout my life I’ve considered the idea that death would be better than continuing the life I’m living.  I’ve felt that nothing could ever improve and all was hopeless, but I also always thought I was a special kind of person who would never go through with it.  Then I experienced seemingly endless months of severe bipolar episodes.  Depression, then when all felt hopeless it snapped into mania, building over the course of several months until I crashed into a mixed episode filled with agitation and despair.

I had just started receiving help, but the policy was that clients couldn’t be referred for psychiatric treatment until meeting with a therapist three times.  In my second appointment I told the therapist I was going out the next day to buy a gun.  It turns out you can get on the fast track to a psychiatrist if you end up as an inpatient, which I did.

I didn’t want to die, I wanted my misery to end.  As soon as I was put on medication I started to feel better, not because it acted so quickly but because it gave me a reason to hold on a little longer and hope that things would improve.  Even so, I’ve struggled with suicidal thoughts again and again in the time since.

At one point I nearly became one of the statistics presented on my Suicide Pinterest board.  I don’t know what I was thinking, because I made no plan to kill myself, but one day I found myself in the ICU after having taken half a bottle of Benadryl.  I’m quite sure my intention wasn’t to die, but if I had it would have been considered a suicide.

Many times in the past when I felt suicidal I wanted desperately to reach out for help and didn’t know how.  People would tell me that I needed help, and I didn’t need them to tell me that – I needed them to help me get the help.  If you are feeling suicidal there are so many options.  If you can hold out a little longer, there are Community Mental Health Centers where you can arrange an appointment to talk with someone.

If it’s more urgent, there are suicide hotlines (in the US, try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for either a phone call or an online chat; other countries, check this International Suicide Hotlines list).  You can also go to your local emergency room.  This is considered a covered emergency by insurance plans, and if you are uninsured you can apply to have the bill written off by the hospital’s charity program.  If you can’t get yourself to the emergency room, you can call 911 to have an ambulance come get you, or you can call your city police or county sheriff’s office and an officer will come take you to the hospital.  If you can’t make the call yourself, a friend can do it for you.

Please, just reach out to someone before making your final decision.  I won’t say that you shouldn’t commit suicide, but please give people the opportunity to help before you act.

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One thought on “World Suicide Prevention Day

  1. I, too, have struggled with suicidal thoughts for longer than I’d like to remember. The main thing really is help, but not just any kind of help—no straight jackets or psychology students-in-training. But good, solid help from a psychotherapist, who can treat the depression, and help you uncover why it developed in the first place. There is always a reason behind self-hatred. I read recently that the Dalai Lama’s translator had to explain at great length what this idea of self-loathing was, so foreign was it to him and so many other belief systems. If self-loathing is there, something has gone wrong, and may still be going wrong. But the first step always is to treat the depression, and the suicidal thoughts disappear. I wish for you that you find the right help. That you find the doctor out there who is the best one for you. Hang in there.

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