Suicidal thoughts - Today
How can I help myself now?
Don’t make a decision today
You don’t need to act on your thoughts right now. The option of taking your own life isn’t going to go away. You can make this decision tomorrow, next week or next month if you still want to.
Try to focus on just getting through today and not the rest of your life.
You may have had these thoughts before but you feel less able to cope today. You might find that you are more able to cope in a few days.
Look at your crisis plan
Follow your crisis plan if you have one. You may have made a crisis plan with the help of a health professional or made your own.
If you don’t have a crisis plan you could make one. You can start to think of some things which you will find helpful. Keep this plan safe and change it as you need to. Section 5 of this factsheet gives more information about how to make a crisis plan.
Be aware of your triggers
Triggers are things which might make you feel worse. Triggers are different for different people. You may find that certain music, photos or films make you feel worse. Try to stay away from these.
Stay away from drugs and alcohol
Alcohol affects the parts of your brain that controls judgement, concentration, behaviour and emotions. Drinking alcohol might make you more likely to act on suicidal thoughts.
Drugs affect the way you think and feel. Different drugs have different effects. For example cocaine can make you feel happy and more likely to take risks when you take it. But you may feel depressed after the effects stop. Other drugs can cause hallucinations, confusion and paranoia. You may be more likely to take your own life if you take illegal drugs.
Go to a safe place
Go to a place where you feel safe. Below is a list of place you could try.
- Your bedroom
- Mental health or spiritual centre
- Crisis centre
- Friend’s house
Stay away from things you could use to harm yourself, such as razor blades or pills. If you have a lot of medication you can ask someone to keep it for you until you are back in control of your feelings.
Talk to other people
It could be helpful for you to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. There are different people who can help. You could speak to friends and family or your GP.
Remember to be patient. Your friends and family may want to help but might not know how to straight away. If this happens, you should tell them what you want from them. You may want to talk about how you’re feeling or you may want them to help you get professional help.
If you don’t want to talk to people you know, you could call an emotional support line or use an online support group.
Be around other people
You may find it too difficult to speak to anyone at the moment. That’s ok. But try not to spend too much time alone. You could go to a shopping centre, gym, coffee shop or park. Being around people can help to keep you safe, even if they don’t know how you’re feeling.
You might feel it is impossible not to focus on your suicidal thoughts or why you feel that way. If you focus on your thoughts it might make them feel stronger and harder to cope with. Try doing things that distract you. Think about what you enjoy to do.
Below are some things you could do as a distraction.
- Read a book or magazine
- Watch a film or TV
- Go to a museum
- Walk in a green space like a park
- Draw or paint
- Listen to music
- Listen to nature
- Pay attention to nice smells such as coffee shops, your favourite food, a favourite perfume or soap
- Treat yourself to a food you like and pay close attention to how it tastes, how it feels in your mouth and what you like about it
- Wear something that you feel good in
- Spend time with your pet
- Set small goals to focus on. You could do the laundry, make a cake or tidy or organise something
Make a list
Make a list of all the positive things about yourself and your life. It might be hard to think of these things right now, but try. Think about your strengths and positive things other people have said about you. At the end of every day write down one thing you felt good about, something you did, or something someone did for you.
Exercise can have a good effect on your mood and thinking. Exercise is thought to release dopamine and serotonin. These are ‘feel good’ hormones.
There are different things you could do to relax such as:
- meditation or mindfulness,
- breathing techniques or guided meditation. You can find these through a podcast or an online video website such as YouTube
- having a bath or shower, or
- looking at images that you like such as photographs.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation. It is when you focus on your mind and body. It is a way of paying attention to the present moment. When you practice mindfulness you learn to be more aware of your thoughts and feelings. Once you are more aware of your thoughts and feelings, you can learn to deal with them better.
You can try a breathing exercise to relax, like the one below.
Sit on a chair or on the floor. Keep your back straight and your shoulders back. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Think about how your breathing feels. Slow down your breathing as much as you can. You may find it useful to count as you inhale and exhale. If you start to have upsetting thoughts, bring your focus back to your breathing.
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