If you're in that place where you don't see a way out, I know exactly how you feel. I've been there too, twice. It's the worst place in the world to be, I know and I've been to Blackpool (sorry Blackpudlians). It might not seem like there's a way out, but there is. There always is. All hope isn't lost, it just feels like it sometimes. Hope exists in every situation, it just seems a little harder to find. If you're there, or feel like you're getting there, then we've put to get together a top ten list of things to do that might help you.
1. Tell Someone.
When you're feeling that low, the worst thing you can do is bottle it up, so tell someone. By 'someone' we mean anyone who can help. Whether that's a family member, a friend, a medical professional, your counsellor, your therapist or call a suicide hotline, just tell them how you feel. If you didn't realise it before, you'll soon understand that you're not alone. A problem shared is a problem halved, as they say. Take a look at No. 9 for some more 'virtual-style' help.
2. Get Some Help
The second worst thing you can be is alone, so try and get whoever you've called to come to you and, then get them to take you to a hospital (don't drive yourself) where you can get some proper care. If that can't happen, for whatever reason, the get some emergency help. Dial the number relevant to where you are (111 in the UK) and ask them to come and get you. Don't worry about what they may think, they will be genuinely keen to help you, it's what they do. If you are genuinely in danger of killing yourself, then call the relevant emergency number (999 in the UK).
3. Make Your Home Safe
If you think you are in danger of killing yourself, then creating an environment that is safe is key. Remove any sharp objects and if you are considering an overdose, give any medication to someone who can give you them in a safe, coordinated manner. Someone local is preferable so any medication you do need to take regularly is close at hand (but not too close).
4. Long-Term Help
If you begin to feel suicidal, and aren't already under the care of a Doctor, therapist or other mental health professional, then you really should be. Either to prescribe you some medication, some form of therapy or to help you determine why you feel the way you do. If something is triggering these thoughts, then you need a way to manage those triggers and medical professionals are the best place to start.
5. Make A List
If you need a reason to keep going, make a list of everyone who's heart will be broken by you giving up. Add your parents, your siblings, any children, your cousins, your friends, anyone who loves and cares for you. The list will be longer than you might think.
6. Avoid Drugs (including alcohol)
Any drugs, whether illicit or not, can often exacerbate suicidal thoughts, so give them a wide birth. Even if you're not feeling that way, they can make negative feelings feel worse and you really don't want to go there either! Avoid any substances that will change your state of mind, this includes alcohol.
7. Distraction Pieces
No, not the Scroobius Pip podcast, but if you're feeling so low you want to end it, then distract yourself with something you enjoy. Watch your favourite TV show, immerse yourself in your favourite movie, watch your favourite sport, listen to your favourite song or album, prepare or order your favourite meal, in fact do anything else that brings a smile to your face which may have been missing for too long. By distracting yourself with positive thoughts and memories, you'll soon be in a better place.
8. Remember to Remember
However low you feel now, there will have been a time when things didn't seem so dark and you know what, there will be again. Look for those reasons that made you want to get up the next day. You didn't always feel like this and it may well be the last time you feel like this, because things get better. Remind yourself of that with thoughts of the positive things in your life. It might be time you spent with your children, your brothers and / or sisters, your mum and dad, friends, work colleagues. Remember those dreams you had? They are still as relevant today as they were then. Something made you want to get up tomorrow morning and not give up, so dig deep and remember that. Even if you have to dig very deep, it's there.
9. Socially Speaking
There's a lot to be said for social media. Some good, some bad. It's not all pictures of cats and knowing what people had for their dinner. On Twitter, there are a number of initiatives tailored specifically around getting help with you're at your lowest ebb. We have our own project entitled #MHWingMan. Those good samaritans within our community that have the hashtag '#MHWingMan' in their profile have defined themselves as someone willing to help you when you're feeling low. They'll offer support, a shoulder to cry / whinge / rant on without judgement. We all need a wingman, even if it's only virtual.
The great news is that it isn't the only initiative of its kind out there. There's another called #ProjectLG (so go search for it...not RIGHT now, you're reading this!). It was set up by a mental health advocate called Carrie Shade. Anyone who has that hashtag in their bio is someone who has identified themselves as a LifeGuard. This also means they can be contacted by anyone who is feeling suicidal and they'll be there to listen.
It's brilliant example of the fantastic work people, including our own community, do for others through social media. Now, did I ever tell you what I had for dinner or show you a really cute picture of a cat??
10. Temporary Problem. Permanent Solution.
You may have convinced yourself that things won't get better, but I've got some news for you and you might not like it....you're wrong. Very wrong indeed. Maybe the medication you're on isn't working, but there are others to try and, sooner or later, you'll find one that works. Once that's sorted then you'll find a form of therapy or some lifestyle choices that will help and may not even need either of them anymore. It might be a journey, but it's possible. It is absolutely possible. How you feel right now is temporary, but suicide is permanent. That day in the future when you've recovered from this dark place, you'll be so glad you made the right choice.