Suicide is a serious issue, the 10th leading cause of death worldwide. For every suicide there is an estimation of 25 suicide attempts, and it’s a difficult topic to talk about, but a necessary one.
I have attempted suicide twice, and, be it by luck or any other reason, I’m still here. The statistic that for every suicide there’s 25 suicide attempts? I would say for every suicide attempt there’s hundreds of days that you seriously consider it. I have them often. And so, to avoid an attempt, I created a list of questions to go through every time I’m considering suicide. This is not a fool proof way, as you can see by my own experience, and it DEFINITELY doesn’t replace adequate medical help. Honestly, these aren’t even ways to make your suicidal feelings go away. But they are ways for you to calm down and take a moment to think, and when you want to kill yourself, it isn’t about finding a long-term solution: It’s about staying alive for now.
Are you on your period? Don’t kill yourself.
Do you hate people invalidating your feelings when you’re on your period? So do I. But fact is, your period does affect your thoughts and your mental health. There’s a lot of hormones, a lot of pain, a lot of discomfort and a lot of crying. Periods are an emotional rollercoaster and it’s so easy to feel terrible and cry and wish you were dead. Please don’t kill yourself while you’re on your period. Wait it out.
Have you eaten and had enough water?
Eating and drinking well doesn’t replace therapy and won’t make your problems go away. But it will make you feel less terrible and more productive, at least for a short while, and maybe at least long enough for you to reach out for help.
Have you exercised?
Yet another stereotype. You’re feeling awful, drained, tired, sad, you’re crying and shaking and I’m telling you to exercise? I mean it. I’ve been there, and if you can, please take a walk around the block. Take a ride on your bike. Play some Wii Sports. It won’t solve your problems and it won’t stop you from feeling suicidal, but it’ll be distracting and for now, that’s enough.
Have you slept enough? Sleep on it.
Someone has almost certainly told you that everything looks better after a good night’s sleep, and it does. Just like with the two ideas above, this idea is pretty useless for curing depression; but it’s saved my life once or twice when I wanted to kill myself and decided to do it in the morning.
Have you talked to your therapist?
Finally, useful advice that will help you in the long term. Get a therapist, visit your old one, go to the suicide ward and get an emergency therapy session. If you don’t have the strength and the drive and just aren’t composed enough, that’s what the tips just above are for: Calming yourself down and giving you just enough time to reach out.
Wait 72 hours
When all else fails: Wait. I’ve told myself often enough: “Wait for 24 hours, kill yourself then. Wait for 48 hours, kill yourself then. Wait for 72 hours, kill yourself then.” And by that time I had been able to reach out. This tip is last on the list because it’s the last thing you’ll want to do and it takes an incredible amount of restraint and rational thought, which simply isn’t available to you in moments of crisis. But at the end of the day, simple things, simply waiting, simply distracting yourself, can save your life.
These are all basic techniques, all simple things that don’t really help in the long term, and if someone told me this is how to cure my depression, I would punch them. But the point now isn’t finding a cure: It’s distracting yourself, fighting for time. Depression won’t go away if you go for a run and eat a salad. But with any luck, by the time you’ve finished your run and eaten your salad, you feel just good enough to keep going for one more day. Just good enough to reach out to friends or family. Or maybe you remember that you need to clean your fridge- another distraction that will keep you alive.
Try to hang on long enough to reach out. The Samaritans in the UK can be reached under 116 123. The USA has a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For the rest of the world, this Wikipedia article lists various numbers that are constantly updated: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_suicide_crisis_lines