1 Tell yourself that you’ll do it later

Did you ever have to do something productive, such as write an article as a freelancer, and you’ll find that you just don’t feel like it and as such you say “I’ll do it tomorrow”, and yet tomorrow never comes? Well it turns out that this strategy works just as well for suicidal thoughts.

So even though you’re in pain now just say to yourself that you’ll do it tomorrow, and won’t do anything about it now because you’ve got better things to do.  

And just repeat this every day. You probably already have great experience with doing this with using procrastination on productive things, so you might as well procrastinate on the unproductive things such as committing suicide.

2 Don’t do drugs!

Although it might be tempting to chug down 2 bottles of whiskey and forget that you had any thoughts at all, much less suicidal thoughts, studies have shown time and time again that  drugs and alcohol  will only provide temporary relief and will result in a much deeper depression afterwards.

3 Make your home suicide-proof

Your risk  of actually committing suicide  = suicidal  thoughts x the means to commit suicide x the opportunity to commit suicide. So if you take out the means and the opportunities out of the equation you’ll essentially make your suicidal thoughts absolutely powerless

Additionally if you make it harder for yourself to kill yourself you’ll ‘do it tomorrow” (see point 1), and then again you’ll do it tomorrow, and again, and again, which will lead to a healthy circle of procrastination.

And it isn’t hard to take away your means. If anything suicide is pretty much hard to do. To do this simply get rid of all pills, knives, razors or firearms from your home, or anything else you could easily use to commit suicide. If you’re unable to do so go to a place  which doesn’t have any of those things

4 Accept your situation

A survey done in 2013 (Dodaimade,2013) has found that acceptances is the single thing that most often alleviates suicidal thoughts.   This includes acceptance of your mental illness, yourself, and your life situation.

Acceptance involves being grateful for, and comfortable in your own skin and with your own life, rather than constantly seeking to be something or someone else.  In fact most people find that by accepting their suicidal thoughts they can become free of them. As shown in this quote

“… to allow yourself the luxury of contemplating suicide as a means of escaping whatever it is that is troubling oneself, is a perfectly rational way to deal with the issue. All I do when I find myself at the “bottom” and about to call it quits, is to consciously say to myself (it is now a well-formed habit); “I’m out of here, I’m going to deck myself, but not right now; I’ll do it tomorrow”

5 Meditation

Mindfulness has been proven to be the number 1 way to get control of your thoughts. And nothing trains mindfulness like a disciplined practice of meditation.  One simple way to do is to simply observe your breath for as long as you can. You can use a  kitchen timer to time yourself for 5 minutes and observe your breath during that period, and then if your attention wanders simply make it go back.   This will in turn train you to notice your suicidal thoughts and move your attention to something else.

 6  Consider spirituality

On a related note most suicidal people have  found that spirituality is a way for them to gain hope and cope with their current situation. So even if you’re an atheist you might consider some form of spiritual practice.

7  If all else fails consider medication

 Antidepressive medication has been found to significantly decrease the prevalence of suicidal thoughts  and most of all it takes no effort to take medication. The problem  is that if someone is in profound suicidal depression and it gets alleviated  by medication he might suddenly find he has the “strength” to do the ultimate act. Which brings us to our next point

8 Above all else, seek help

The truth is that you can’t do everything in life alone, and fighting suicidal thoughts is one of those things. Pretty much every therapist and mental health professional will encourage you to seek professional health if your suicidal thoughts become too serious.

9 Even sharing your suicidal thoughts will someone else will help

Humans are social animals, and as such we more often than not experience at least temporary relief from sharing our thoughts with supportive friends or family. So if you can’t afford a therapist, a friend is better than nothing.

10 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and other forms of psychotherapy

Professional help is highly advised when you fight suicidal thoughts. Cognitive behavioral therapy and other forms of cognitive therapy have been scientifically proven to help in such a situation, and they are widely available.

11  Try to fix the problem that caused the suicidal thoughts

More often than not suicidal thoughts are caused by something that might seem hopeless, but could actually be fixed in some way. If you got a bad grade you could for example re-take the test.

12 Remember, suicide won’t fix anything, and you’ll probably regret it later.

Many people who are troubled with suicidal thoughts feel that their situation is hopeless and that suicide is the only answer or that things will never get better, but at the same time 99% of people who attempted suicide were happy that they failed. This means that the thoughts your depression makes you think are very likely false, and you won’t feel better after taking your life.

13 Remember that you have not always felt or thought this way

Chances are you weren’t depressed for the entirety of your life.  In fact I bet you were probably quite cheery not so long ago.   Remember that time and remember that deep down you’re still that happy man or woman.

One way you can rekindle some of the lost positivity is to…

14 Make a list of all the positive things about yourself and a list of all the positive things about your life

Include in this list the things that prevented you to commit suicide so far. (You’ll find some, although you might ask a friend to help you with that).  

15 Write a  safety plan in case the methods here won’t work

The truth is that without constant psychological supervision almost every self-help therapy will  sometimes fail that’s why it’s good to create a safety time for the times in which you fail to get control of you life in order to  save yourself from yourself. Remember 99% of people who tried to commit suicide regret it, so you have everything to lose if you do so.  

A safety plan should include as discussed removing all means of taking your life from your environment (this means for example revoking your hunter’s license and giving your gun to your uncle for safekeeping)

Sample plan:

1 Read through the list of good things in your life you’ve made earlier

2 Distract yourself by playing a video game, reading a book or watching a film

3 Go to sleep

4 Tell yourself you’ll do it in a week  and then in a week tell yourself you’ll do it in another week.

5  Call a friend or family member

6 Call your psychotherapist

7 Call your psychiatrist

8 IF all else fails get yourself admitted to a mental hospital

References:

Dodemaide, P., & Crisp, B. (2013). Living with suicidal thoughts. Health Sociology Review, 22(3), 308-317. doi:10.5172/hesr.2013.22.3.308