Get past the danger zone safely when having suicidal thoughts

Get past the danger zone safely when having suicidal thoughts

People suffering from severe depression or those navigating an especially difficult experience may find themselves having thoughts of suicide. For some of these people, this may be the first time they have considered suicide. For others, they may have had such inclinations before. Typically, there is a small window of time in which the danger of following through with a suicidal act is high. What is most important is to get past that danger zone safely. This article will highlight some of the risks associated with depression that may lead to suicidal thoughts and share some techniques to use yourself or with someone else in this situation.


Do

Do know the risk factors of depression

There are limitless events, feelings and circumstances that increase the chances of suffering from depression. Loss is high on this list. Loss is not limited to death but may also be experienced when loved ones move away, friendships end, when property is lost or severely damaged, when relationships end and when jobs or opportunities disappear.

Loneliness is another risk factor for depression. Loneliness may be situational, for example, when one moves to a new home in a new city, starts or finishes a job or education in a particular institution, or when someone important leaves an individual’s life. Loneliness can also be relational, as in when a teen has been ostracized by a group of friends or someone finds themselves in an unpopular role at work or in school. In order for loneliness to lead to depression, it must be prolonged and significant.

The last risk factor discussed in this article, is hormones. This is primarily an issue for females, but can also affect males. In men, low levels of testosterone are associated with depression. This is easily remedied with testosterone supplementation.

In women, there are three hormonal periods that have serious implications for depression: the premenstrual period, the postpartum period and during perimenopause. At these times, women are very vulnerable to depression. While some women have no or minimal sadness, many women find themselves in the throes of clinical depression. Such severe depression can often lead to suicidal inclinations.

Do reach out to someone you trust

When you are feeling particularly depressed or even suicidal, reaching out to someone you trust can mean the difference between life and death. Most people who feel suicidal do not really want to die. What they really want is for their pain to stop. They have succumbed to the belief that the only way their pain can stop, is to stop living. A trusted friend or relative can you regain a healthier perspective; that your pain can and will ease eventually.

Do seek psychological and/or medical help

If your depression is biologically based, there is much your doctors can do to try to alleviate it. If your depression is psychologically based, a trained and competent psychologist will be able to guide you through the process of understanding yourself, your emotions, reactions and finding coping mechanisms. Just the process of having someone who understands, cares and will listen is helpful. Having someone who knows how to help you cope and heal, is invaluable.

Do remind yourself that time gives you the opportunity to heal

Most people who are depressed and/or suicidal can remember a time when they did not feel that way. In the same way they went from happy to sad over time, they can move from sad to happy. Human beings have a remarkable ability to heal, even after devastating life events. With the right support, giving yourself time to get beyond your saddest and most difficult challenges will offer you opportunities to enjoy life, once again.

Do place yourself in a safe zone

When the urge to commit suicide is strong, it is unlikely your thinking will be totally rational. If you can not be with a friend or relative, or get professional help, as recommended earlier, go to a place where is is unlikely or impossible for you to follow through with suicide. This place should be void of weapons, toxins, dangerous machinery or heights from which you can fall or jump. You know yourself and know whether you would be safer in the company of others or tucked in your bed at home. Remember, the urge to commit suicide is typically short-lived. The dawn of a new day can bring a totally different perspective.


Don't

Do not give in to your impulses

People that are severely depressed and feeling suicidal will often handle the means by which they can bring about their death. Whether this is a weapon (knife or gun), pills or standing near a dangerous ledge, this is a bad and risky idea. Staying away from these items and situations protects you from falling prey to a momentary impulse that can deadly consequences.

Do not allow yourself to be alone

Most suicides happen when people are alone. If you can keep a close and trusted friend or family member with you, that is a great protection. If this is not possible, just being in the company of strangers will reduce the risk of suicide. Venturing to a mall, supermarket or park can break the intensity of a depressed mood long enough to avert the risk of suicide.

Do not keep your feelings secret

When people are struggling with dark feelings, they are frequently inclined to keep them secret. This may be because they are ashamed or feel their feelings are abnormal. In sharing these feelings, an individual gives themselves the opportunity that many others may have experienced similar thoughts and feelings during difficult times in their lives. This can be both validating and reassuring. Seeing how another has recovered and once again found joy in life, can inspire hope.

Do not forget that there are many people who love you and want you around

Even when you feel completely alone, unwanted and unloved, there are people who do care about you. When you are hurt or angry, it is not always easy to believe in that caring, but it does not mean it does not exist. Most people are unable to imagine how many people they have brushed against and how they have impacted their lives. It is very powerful to see the outpouring of love and concern for someone after they have taken their life. If the person could have experienced those feelings before suicide, perhaps they never would have taken that path.


Summary
Jumping cartoon

It is a most heartbreaking situation when someone takes their life. Those that knew the person wish they had known the pain this individual was experiencing. They wish they had the opportunity to help, support, encourage and heal this person. They also know that with time, this depressed individual would have had the opportunity to find happiness and the rewards life has to offer, not just the sadness.

If you, or someone you know is suffering from depression or is hinting at suicide, you must get involved and take action. Even though at the time, the help may not be wanted, eventually, once the crisis has passed, the help will be appreciated.

There are many ways depression, sadness and suicidal feelings can be healed...allowing the person to find their way back to a happy and fulfilling life.


More expert advice about Urgent Mental Issues

Photo Credits: © Monkey Business - Fotolia.com; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com

Deborah R. Wagner, Ph.D.Psychologist

Deborah Wagner, Ph.D. is a diversely trained and experienced licensed psychologist. She earned her doctorate in Developmental Psychology at Yeshiva University while conducting pre- and post-doctoral research at Columbia University College of Phy...

View Full Profile