Learn to heal and take back your life after a attempting suicide

Surviving a suicide attempt is one of the most life altering events a person can go through. It’s common for those in this experience to have mixed emotions, confusion, and a devastating sense of being lost. The following is practical information for those who are currently in that state. Hopefully, it will help you get questions answered and effectively provide a sense of direction where you’ll find clarity and healing.


Do

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  • embrace whatever you’re feeling as a valid emotion
  • prepare for conversations with loved ones
  • get professional help
  • oppose suicidal thoughts
Don't

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  • ignore problems that contributed to, or resulted from, your suicide attempt
  • isolate yourself from people who care about and can help you
  • try to control the way people react to your suicide attempt
  • make rash placements of blame

Christopher Crosby‘s recommendation to ExpertBeacon readers: Do

Do embrace whatever you’re feeling as a valid emotion

After surviving a suicide attempt, the first few days in recovery are likely to be some of the most confusing and emotional days of your life. You may be overwhelmed with a variety of emotions, spanning anywhere from anxious highs to debilitating lows. In some cases, individuals battle a vacant numbness and feel nothing at all. Whether you have feelings of happiness, anger, guilt, embarrassment, or shame, it’s important to understand that whatever you are feeling is normal.

Do prepare for conversations with loved ones

Having dealt with the initial trauma internally, the next step will likely be to face the daunting task of talking to concerned friends and family members about your suicide attempt. These are delicate conversations. Prepare for them according to your comfort level. Here are some general tips to help you think through navigating these conversations:

  • Try to decide which specific individuals you trust to be supportive and respectful of your privacy. You are not obligated, especially at this point in your recovery, to divulge information to everyone and anyone. Be selective.
  • Based on your relationship with those you intend to share, and what you know about them individually, do your best to anticipate what their overall countenance will be and the types of questions they’ll likely be prompted to ask. For example, you may be asked, “Why did you want to commit suicide,” or “How did you attempt suicide?” This will help you prepare mentally and emotionally, and give you a chance to rehearse the types of answers you believe would be best.
  • Decide how much information about your attempt you’re comfortable sharing. While you might be willing to share more information with some than with others, reminiscing about such a traumatic event that’s so fresh in your mind can catch you off guard. Instead of jeopardizing a stable mindset, remember that you have the right to tell people what questions you’re comfortable answering.
  • It’s often recommended to avoid illustrating any graphic details about the attempt itself with friends and family who might not be able to emotionally handle it. This kind of information is best shared with a therapist or other trained medical professional. Instead of risking a stable mindset, it’s important to remember you have the right to tell people if you’re not comfortable answering certain questions.

Do get professional help

Finding professional help is one of the most important steps to take after surviving a suicide attempt. There are people with extensive training who can help you understand the mental and emotional factors leading to your attempt, and provide a foundation for maximizing your well-being in the future. Understand there are different types of therapy, and that you’ll need to do some research in order to make sure the help you find meets your specific need. If you don’t already have a therapist or counselor you trust, it can be intimidating. If you are unsure of how to begin this process, here are some basic steps for you or a loved one:

  • If you are at hospital recovery center being treated for your suicide attempt, ask medical staff for a recommendation.
  • If you have insurance, they may be able to give you recommendations of various mental health clinics where your health insurance is accepted.
  • Call the office of your primary care physician and ask for recommendations. A doctor you’ve seen regularly may have helpful insights as to which therapist suits your individual needs.
  • You can find recommendations by calling your local crisis center or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Do oppose suicidal thoughts

When we are upset, it’s easy to have an emotional response that’s not rationally thought through. When the moment passes, we wonder why we reacted in such an extreme way, or how we even got to that point. Instead of driving yourself into deeper despair, do your best to recognize and dissect those thoughts. Examples of those thoughts may be:

  • They’d be better off without me.
  • My life will never get better.
  • Nobody would miss me if I was gone.

Evaluate why you began thinking those thoughts in the first place. Do you feel unloved? Do you feel inadequate in your relationships? Is there a specific person who tends to provoke these thoughts? Talk to your therapist or counselor about these thoughts. They’ll know how to help you understand what triggers the desire to take your own life, and you will be better prepared to counter them in the future.


Christopher Crosby‘s professional advice to ExpertBeacon readers: Don't

Do not ignore problems that contributed to, or resulted from, your suicide attempt

The days, weeks, and months following a suicide attempt are when you need the most care and support. It can be tempting to ignore the causes and consequences of the attempt as a defense mechanism against the overwhelming compilation of negative emotions. This approach may work for a short period of time, but eventually it will only keep you and those who have been impacted from necessary healing. If you are willing to do the hard work of being honest and open about your life, you will be closer to being genuinely happy than you ever believed possible.

Do not isolate yourself from people who care about and can help you

Hiding your thoughts, feelings, and emotions from people who care about you is common among those who are likely to, or have tried to attempt suicide. It’s important to root out the reasons why you tend to push people away. Sometimes, people are afraid that a face-to-face interaction with family members they’ve disappointed will be too painful. Other times, people still harbor anger towards loved ones they think provoked their attempt at suicide in the first place. While relationship restoration may seem too difficult at this point, one of the most crucial things to do in this healing process is to learn how to be honest about what you think and feel. Breaking the habit of isolating yourself in these times will only improve your life and overall well-being.

Do not try to control the way people react to your suicide attempt

Sadly, some conversations you have with people can take a turn for the worse. Friends or family members might be angry with you, and find it difficult to compose themselves to provide the support you need. Responses may even come across hostile, and hurtful things may be said. If this is the case, do your best to not take remarks too personally. They’re likely to have been extremely fearful thinking how close they came to losing you, or angry you thought they’d be better off without you. Remember in moments like this, that they have been affected greatly as well, and may not be equipped with the necessary emotional control to respond in a helpful way. More importantly, understand you have no control over, nor are you responsible for, the reactions of others.

Do not make rash placements of blame

Blaming yourself entirely for what’s going on in your life right now is equally as unhelpful as placing it all on others. You may feel disappointed in yourself, but it’s impossible that you got to this point without external factors, which are out of your control, having an impact. Those factors may be individuals in your life, but even if they’ve had a hand in provoking responses in you, it’s highly unlikely they’re deserving of all the blame. People in your life are just as powerless over all your actions, as you are over theirs.


Summary

This difficult chapter in one’s life is likely to be agonizingly stressful. Suicide attempts and all the factors leading up to it are traumatic. Having the courage to seek professional help, and creating a support system of friends and family, can transform this painful experience into a catalyst for change.

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