So… you have reached an unenviable point in your life where you would like to take your own life. Perhaps you have been there many times, but today is just more intense that you have ever felt before.
All you feel is pain and anxiety. Despair and hopelessness consume you… and you just wish that the mind that has gotten you into so much trouble had an ‘off’ switch. You wish that you could ‘think’ yourself out of existence.
Yes, your situation is unique and, yes, your suffering is very great. It is very likely that no-one that is close to you truly understands or appreciates what you are going through. You hurt so much that you ache physically… and no words or condolences can suffice to soothe your agony.
Firstly, I want to express my heartfelt compassion and sympathy for what you are going through.
Now, let’s take a step back and rationalise how you got to this very dark space. Mainly, suicidal thoughts come from one of two things 1. A major traumatic incident or 2. A long course of suffering and adversity or 3. Both of the previous points.
Either way, feeling suicidal isn’t necessarily ‘irrational’ or ‘stupid’ and doesn’t automatically indicate that you have mental health issues. What it does indicate, however, is that your pain is getting to the point of outweighing your coping resources.
So let’s look at it graphically… The scales below represent your emotional state. On the left hand side you have your coping resources and on the right hand side you have your pain.
Coping resources could be anything that helps you to handle an emotional crisis and to maintain the initiative when things get rough. Now, I believe that there are two principal categories of coping resources – the band aids and the medicines.
Band aids are things that you use to get you through times of peak crisis.
- Talking to friends and family or to a helpline
- Chatting to people online
- Breathing exercises
- Journaling or writing a letter to yourself
- Anything else that you could use to distract your mind.
Medicines are things that can help stave off and prevent the crises or serve to minimise their dramatic impact on our emotional stability. The three prominent ‘medicinal’ coping resources that I believe are available to all of us are as follows:
Love doesn’t necessarily need to be love from other people. The more we think about and foster love for others – even those least deserving of our love – the more we will feel its soothing balm in our lives. Love for others doesn’t need to be expressed in some grandiose way… it doesn’t need to be demonstrated with great acts of benevolence or kindness. The key is to love – in thought and in deed – little and often.
Learning something new gives our brain a workout and gives it something to feed on rather than feeding on our problems and negative self-talk. A stagnated brain is like a garden covered in weeds – something easy to get depressed by. By constantly learning, we help to keep our brain ‘in shape’ and feel more empowered to make positive changes in our lives.
Self-acceptance is a big downer for many people as a low self-esteem can lead to feelings of great loneliness and isolation. Constant yearning for connection and acceptance are things that affect many people in society. When we find the pearl of goodness latent inside every one of us and genuinely start to appreciate it and develop it, this serves as a significant catalyst for change and self-acceptance.
As we work on building up our coping resources, we can better equip ourselves for riding out the rough times and we are better able to cope with emotional crises in a balanced frame of mind.
Now the thing with pain is that it’s largely a matter of perspective. I say this more from a rational perspective than from a warm fuzzy emotional perspective. A 10 meter wave looks infinitely more fearsome if you are sitting in the trough and waiting for it to crash mercilessly over you… than if you are looking at it from the vantage point of a light-house keeper perched high in his sanctuary of calm.
You might now say ‘what’s the relevance of perspective?’ Well the thing is that if you are in a crisis and feel that your coping resources are failing you then working on finding perspective to your pain can be very effective…
Time is a very gentle and powerful healer… and will often bring perspective and peace to even the most traumatic of incidents. Recalling earlier experiences of crisis and how you got through them can help shine perspective into your desolate cave of suffering as can listening to others recount feelingly how they survived an emotional Auschwitz.
Whatever it is that has brought you to this place my friend, I want you to know that I truly believe you have the strength to get through it… and to come out the other side with greater strength, wisdom and compassion than ever before.
Cody has studied psychology and self-help strategies for over a decade and is very passionate about helping others to fulfill their potential and live happier lives. You can read more articles from Cody on his blog – www.quantumcoaching.nz/