Surviving the Holidays After a Suicide Attempt


It has been a little less than a year since my suicide attempt. I spent the holidays last year at a residential treatment facility in Chicago for my mood disorder. I had been struggling awhile in and out of the hospital for depression, and eventually I couldn’t handle it any longer and decided life wasn’t for me. However, I believe a power greater than myself had different plans for me, and I am still here.

While this past year might have been the hardest of my life, it has made me strong, and I know I will be given the strength to get through the holidays even though it can be scary.

There will be a few things I will be remembering during the holidays as a person with a mental illness that I wanted to share with anyone who might be feeling a bit anxious:

1. Be honest with those who love and care about you. For me this is hard. I put on a front and sometimes pretend I am OK when in reality I’m not. I am going to do everything I can to be honest with my family, support group, and treatment team. If I’m feeling overwhelmed I will tell someone I need to take a break.

2. Keep all appointments with your treatment team. This means going to all my therapy appointments and to my group once a week. Even if I have had a long day at work and want to skip, I can’t. These are the people who understand and remind me we are all in this together.

3. Reach out. If I start feeling severely depressed or triggered I need to let someone know right away. There is no need for me to try and get through it by myself.

4. Take medications as prescribed. I notice that the longer I am in recovery, the harder it has been for me to want to take my meds. I have experienced a lot of negative side effects, but right now they are also saving my life. I have to remind myself this whenever I think I don’t need them or I will be fine without them.

5. Sleep. For me this means trying to sleep at least eight hours a night. If I get off schedule on my sleep, my mood really suffers. I also have trouble concentrating and doing anything productive.

While these are things I have to be doing on a daily basis for my recovery, I needed to be reminded during the holidays to be doing them.

I have done a lot, and I mean a lot, of therapy over the past few years, and so I know I have a lot of tools to get through the holidays and transitions that will also be happening in my life soon.

So I hope we can all remember that we are never alone and we are brave enough to face the days that lie ahead, one moment at a time.

“And know when you stumble you’re never alone.”

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

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Thinkstock photo by Logan M Rini


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