If You Are Thinking of Suicide

Reviewed May 27, 2017

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Summary

If you are thinking of suicide:

  • Go to a safe place.
  • Ask for immediate emotional support.
  • Get help solving your problems.

Many people are able to call on strong emotional reserves—or  social support—to help them through a difficult time, but not everyone can. 

They may feel anxious, angry, or overwhelmed. Little by little, their emotional pain takes over their thoughts, leaving little room for anything but ways to end their pain.

Is this happening to you? What can you do about it?

Separate the feelings from the thoughts, explains Susan Rose Blauner, a suicide prevention spokesperson who struggled with her own thoughts of suicide for many years. When she tried to stop the “hamster wheel” in her head from repeating the message to end her misery by ending her life, it would just start up again. The feelings need to change in order to control the thoughts.

“Feelings and thoughts are just electrochemical impulses in the brain,” she says in her book, How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me. “It is possible to out think the brain, actively change feelings, and eventually eliminate suicidal thoughts. The reality of suicide is far different from the fantasy.”

Each time she attempted to end her life, Blauner was turned back to safety by something that grabbed her. Twelve years ago, she decided to attack her problems, not herself. She realizes now she did not want to be dead, just rid of the pain. 

There was no one path out of her pain. It took the help from loved ones, therapy, medication, and spirituality to give her the strength to finally push back her thoughts of suicide and get on with her life.

If you find yourself haunted by thoughts of suicide, here is what she recommends:

Write down your thoughts. Keep a journal. What you write down may help you understand yourself better, at some point.

Get to a safe place. If you cannot stop the thoughts in your head, at least plant yourself in a spot that does not provide an easy way out.  
 
Surround yourself with people. The more people, the better, but try to find people you can interact with. 

Tell someone about your thoughts. There must be someone you know whom you can trust. Talk to that person. Say, I’m having thoughts of suicide and feel angry, anxious, and overwhelmed. Do not expect her to solve your problems, just listen and acknowledge them. You will feel better when you realize you are not alone.

Ask for help. Call a suicide prevention hotline or your own crisis counselor.

“Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of courage and a gift to the person you reach out to,” explains Blauner.
 
Develop a crisis plan. This is your own recipe for survival. Develop it with a therapist or someone you trust. When you are in the midst of a crisis, you will find it hard to remember what to do, so carry this information with you. Give copies to your therapist and others who need to know how to help you. Your plan should describe what triggers your thoughts of suicide and what diversions help to halt them.

Line up people to talk to in an emergency and keep their names and numbers nearby. Put them on the refrigerator or program them into your phone. Make it easy to get the help you need. You don’t want to have to go looking for a number when you are in a crisis.

If you don’t have a crisis plan and/or people you can talk to, go to the nearest emergency room. Don’t call. Go.

Look for a support group. There is no reason why you should go through this pain alone. In a support group, you will learn from others while you have a chance to share your own experiences with people who understand what you are going through.
 
Take medication. “Medication gave me a safety net so I could do the work I needed to do to change my life and get better,” Blauner says. “And, now, it helps keep my brain functioning properly.” 

Get help solving your problems. Ultimately, you have to solve your own problems, but a good therapist can speed the process along by teaching you new ways to cope. Ask someone to help you find a good therapist.

Talk back to your repetitive thoughts. Nobody needs to hear you. When part of your brain over fires, getting stuck in one thought, tell it to stop. Take control of the situation. 

Exercise. It is important for you to shift your attention from your head to your body. Do something physical, like dance, walk, or swim. When you move around, you interrupt thought patterns, and that might stop the repetitive thinking long enough for you to start building new, more positive thought patterns.

Eat right. Blauner keeps herself on a low-sugar diet, drinks very little alcohol, and does not use any drugs. She says that regimen helps her maintain equilibrium. You never want to make an important decision while even slightly impaired.

Meditation. Get outside. Smell, feel, hear the beauty around you. Build your spiritual life through organized religion, music, art, yoga, prayer, or whatever works for you.

Find a healthy diversion. Watch a movie, go for a walk. Play with a pet. Clean up your house or car.

Indulge yourself with comfort. Put on your most comfortable clothes. Turn up the heat or air conditioning. Listen to music.

You can learn what others have found helpful and discover what works best for you.

Emergency telephone lifelines

If you are thinking of suicide, contact one of these resources for help.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Immediate free assistance to anyone in suicidal crisis.
(800) 273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
(800) 799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889), text telephone for hearing impaired
(800) 273-TALK (press 1 for military veterans suicide hotline)
(800) 273-TALK (press 2 for suicide hotline in Spanish)
www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Kristin Brooks Hope Center
Links callers to a certified crisis center near the caller's location. Certified by American Association of Suicidology, ensuring compliance with national standards and quality of services.
(800) SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
www.hopeline.com/

By Paula Hartman Cohen
Source: Susan Rose Blauner, award-winning author, public speaker and suicide prevention specialist, Greenfield, MA; Synopsis of Psychiatry by Benjamin J. Sadock, Virginia A. Sadock and Pedro Ruiz, MD, LWW, 11th edition, 2014.
Reviewed by Jenni Myers, LCSW, Director, Corporate Strategy, and Dale Seamans, Executive Editor, Thought Leadership, Beacon Health Options

Summary

If you are thinking of suicide:

  • Go to a safe place.
  • Ask for immediate emotional support.
  • Get help solving your problems.

Many people are able to call on strong emotional reserves—or  social support—to help them through a difficult time, but not everyone can. 

They may feel anxious, angry, or overwhelmed. Little by little, their emotional pain takes over their thoughts, leaving little room for anything but ways to end their pain.

Is this happening to you? What can you do about it?

Separate the feelings from the thoughts, explains Susan Rose Blauner, a suicide prevention spokesperson who struggled with her own thoughts of suicide for many years. When she tried to stop the “hamster wheel” in her head from repeating the message to end her misery by ending her life, it would just start up again. The feelings need to change in order to control the thoughts.

“Feelings and thoughts are just electrochemical impulses in the brain,” she says in her book, How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me. “It is possible to out think the brain, actively change feelings, and eventually eliminate suicidal thoughts. The reality of suicide is far different from the fantasy.”

Each time she attempted to end her life, Blauner was turned back to safety by something that grabbed her. Twelve years ago, she decided to attack her problems, not herself. She realizes now she did not want to be dead, just rid of the pain. 

There was no one path out of her pain. It took the help from loved ones, therapy, medication, and spirituality to give her the strength to finally push back her thoughts of suicide and get on with her life.

If you find yourself haunted by thoughts of suicide, here is what she recommends:

Write down your thoughts. Keep a journal. What you write down may help you understand yourself better, at some point.

Get to a safe place. If you cannot stop the thoughts in your head, at least plant yourself in a spot that does not provide an easy way out.  
 
Surround yourself with people. The more people, the better, but try to find people you can interact with. 

Tell someone about your thoughts. There must be someone you know whom you can trust. Talk to that person. Say, I’m having thoughts of suicide and feel angry, anxious, and overwhelmed. Do not expect her to solve your problems, just listen and acknowledge them. You will feel better when you realize you are not alone.

Ask for help. Call a suicide prevention hotline or your own crisis counselor.

“Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of courage and a gift to the person you reach out to,” explains Blauner.
 
Develop a crisis plan. This is your own recipe for survival. Develop it with a therapist or someone you trust. When you are in the midst of a crisis, you will find it hard to remember what to do, so carry this information with you. Give copies to your therapist and others who need to know how to help you. Your plan should describe what triggers your thoughts of suicide and what diversions help to halt them.

Line up people to talk to in an emergency and keep their names and numbers nearby. Put them on the refrigerator or program them into your phone. Make it easy to get the help you need. You don’t want to have to go looking for a number when you are in a crisis.

If you don’t have a crisis plan and/or people you can talk to, go to the nearest emergency room. Don’t call. Go.

Look for a support group. There is no reason why you should go through this pain alone. In a support group, you will learn from others while you have a chance to share your own experiences with people who understand what you are going through.
 
Take medication. “Medication gave me a safety net so I could do the work I needed to do to change my life and get better,” Blauner says. “And, now, it helps keep my brain functioning properly.” 

Get help solving your problems. Ultimately, you have to solve your own problems, but a good therapist can speed the process along by teaching you new ways to cope. Ask someone to help you find a good therapist.

Talk back to your repetitive thoughts. Nobody needs to hear you. When part of your brain over fires, getting stuck in one thought, tell it to stop. Take control of the situation. 

Exercise. It is important for you to shift your attention from your head to your body. Do something physical, like dance, walk, or swim. When you move around, you interrupt thought patterns, and that might stop the repetitive thinking long enough for you to start building new, more positive thought patterns.

Eat right. Blauner keeps herself on a low-sugar diet, drinks very little alcohol, and does not use any drugs. She says that regimen helps her maintain equilibrium. You never want to make an important decision while even slightly impaired.

Meditation. Get outside. Smell, feel, hear the beauty around you. Build your spiritual life through organized religion, music, art, yoga, prayer, or whatever works for you.

Find a healthy diversion. Watch a movie, go for a walk. Play with a pet. Clean up your house or car.

Indulge yourself with comfort. Put on your most comfortable clothes. Turn up the heat or air conditioning. Listen to music.

You can learn what others have found helpful and discover what works best for you.

Emergency telephone lifelines

If you are thinking of suicide, contact one of these resources for help.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Immediate free assistance to anyone in suicidal crisis.
(800) 273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
(800) 799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889), text telephone for hearing impaired
(800) 273-TALK (press 1 for military veterans suicide hotline)
(800) 273-TALK (press 2 for suicide hotline in Spanish)
www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Kristin Brooks Hope Center
Links callers to a certified crisis center near the caller's location. Certified by American Association of Suicidology, ensuring compliance with national standards and quality of services.
(800) SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
www.hopeline.com/

By Paula Hartman Cohen
Source: Susan Rose Blauner, award-winning author, public speaker and suicide prevention specialist, Greenfield, MA; Synopsis of Psychiatry by Benjamin J. Sadock, Virginia A. Sadock and Pedro Ruiz, MD, LWW, 11th edition, 2014.
Reviewed by Jenni Myers, LCSW, Director, Corporate Strategy, and Dale Seamans, Executive Editor, Thought Leadership, Beacon Health Options

Summary

If you are thinking of suicide:

  • Go to a safe place.
  • Ask for immediate emotional support.
  • Get help solving your problems.

Many people are able to call on strong emotional reserves—or  social support—to help them through a difficult time, but not everyone can. 

They may feel anxious, angry, or overwhelmed. Little by little, their emotional pain takes over their thoughts, leaving little room for anything but ways to end their pain.

Is this happening to you? What can you do about it?

Separate the feelings from the thoughts, explains Susan Rose Blauner, a suicide prevention spokesperson who struggled with her own thoughts of suicide for many years. When she tried to stop the “hamster wheel” in her head from repeating the message to end her misery by ending her life, it would just start up again. The feelings need to change in order to control the thoughts.

“Feelings and thoughts are just electrochemical impulses in the brain,” she says in her book, How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me. “It is possible to out think the brain, actively change feelings, and eventually eliminate suicidal thoughts. The reality of suicide is far different from the fantasy.”

Each time she attempted to end her life, Blauner was turned back to safety by something that grabbed her. Twelve years ago, she decided to attack her problems, not herself. She realizes now she did not want to be dead, just rid of the pain. 

There was no one path out of her pain. It took the help from loved ones, therapy, medication, and spirituality to give her the strength to finally push back her thoughts of suicide and get on with her life.

If you find yourself haunted by thoughts of suicide, here is what she recommends:

Write down your thoughts. Keep a journal. What you write down may help you understand yourself better, at some point.

Get to a safe place. If you cannot stop the thoughts in your head, at least plant yourself in a spot that does not provide an easy way out.  
 
Surround yourself with people. The more people, the better, but try to find people you can interact with. 

Tell someone about your thoughts. There must be someone you know whom you can trust. Talk to that person. Say, I’m having thoughts of suicide and feel angry, anxious, and overwhelmed. Do not expect her to solve your problems, just listen and acknowledge them. You will feel better when you realize you are not alone.

Ask for help. Call a suicide prevention hotline or your own crisis counselor.

“Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of courage and a gift to the person you reach out to,” explains Blauner.
 
Develop a crisis plan. This is your own recipe for survival. Develop it with a therapist or someone you trust. When you are in the midst of a crisis, you will find it hard to remember what to do, so carry this information with you. Give copies to your therapist and others who need to know how to help you. Your plan should describe what triggers your thoughts of suicide and what diversions help to halt them.

Line up people to talk to in an emergency and keep their names and numbers nearby. Put them on the refrigerator or program them into your phone. Make it easy to get the help you need. You don’t want to have to go looking for a number when you are in a crisis.

If you don’t have a crisis plan and/or people you can talk to, go to the nearest emergency room. Don’t call. Go.

Look for a support group. There is no reason why you should go through this pain alone. In a support group, you will learn from others while you have a chance to share your own experiences with people who understand what you are going through.
 
Take medication. “Medication gave me a safety net so I could do the work I needed to do to change my life and get better,” Blauner says. “And, now, it helps keep my brain functioning properly.” 

Get help solving your problems. Ultimately, you have to solve your own problems, but a good therapist can speed the process along by teaching you new ways to cope. Ask someone to help you find a good therapist.

Talk back to your repetitive thoughts. Nobody needs to hear you. When part of your brain over fires, getting stuck in one thought, tell it to stop. Take control of the situation. 

Exercise. It is important for you to shift your attention from your head to your body. Do something physical, like dance, walk, or swim. When you move around, you interrupt thought patterns, and that might stop the repetitive thinking long enough for you to start building new, more positive thought patterns.

Eat right. Blauner keeps herself on a low-sugar diet, drinks very little alcohol, and does not use any drugs. She says that regimen helps her maintain equilibrium. You never want to make an important decision while even slightly impaired.

Meditation. Get outside. Smell, feel, hear the beauty around you. Build your spiritual life through organized religion, music, art, yoga, prayer, or whatever works for you.

Find a healthy diversion. Watch a movie, go for a walk. Play with a pet. Clean up your house or car.

Indulge yourself with comfort. Put on your most comfortable clothes. Turn up the heat or air conditioning. Listen to music.

You can learn what others have found helpful and discover what works best for you.

Emergency telephone lifelines

If you are thinking of suicide, contact one of these resources for help.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Immediate free assistance to anyone in suicidal crisis.
(800) 273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
(800) 799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889), text telephone for hearing impaired
(800) 273-TALK (press 1 for military veterans suicide hotline)
(800) 273-TALK (press 2 for suicide hotline in Spanish)
www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Kristin Brooks Hope Center
Links callers to a certified crisis center near the caller's location. Certified by American Association of Suicidology, ensuring compliance with national standards and quality of services.
(800) SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
www.hopeline.com/

By Paula Hartman Cohen
Source: Susan Rose Blauner, award-winning author, public speaker and suicide prevention specialist, Greenfield, MA; Synopsis of Psychiatry by Benjamin J. Sadock, Virginia A. Sadock and Pedro Ruiz, MD, LWW, 11th edition, 2014.
Reviewed by Jenni Myers, LCSW, Director, Corporate Strategy, and Dale Seamans, Executive Editor, Thought Leadership, Beacon Health Options

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