10 Ways My Friends Can Help Me When I'm Feeling Suicidal
I stumbled on an article today about how friends can help when someone was feeling suicidal. For me, this hit a raw nerve, as I still struggle to be honest about my suicidal feelings with others. For a variety of reasons including that I don’t want to scare them and I don’t want to admit myself that those thoughts are coming in loud and strong. I try to let them go, but often that is not an option. And if I am completely honest, I am terrified of someone suggesting I go inpatient again. I have said that wasn’t an option and believe that still to be the case. That being said, yes, with my depression, the suicidal thoughts are there. Lots of them. And as much as I hate to admit it, I do need help when I am at this kind of low. When my head is in an ugly place and I struggle to get out and stay out of bed.
The author of the article I referred to above, suggested that people come up with their own list of things that might help in order to share with friends. So here goes.
1. Remind me my feelings and thoughts are temporary.
They will pass. Remind me I have people who love and care for me.
2. Distract me.
Get me out of my head and talking about other passions of mine including, but not limited to, my kids, my volunteer work, my writing, reading, photography, etc.
3. Talk to me about your life.
Make me feel like I am capable of getting out of my own head for a bit. This makes me feel like I too can be a good friend.
4. Ask me to educate you on my safe people and places.
Ask me to talk to you and tell you who my safe people are and where my safe places are, the people and places that make me feel not so alone.
5. Encourage me to watch a romantic comedy, snuggle with my girls and curl up with a good historical fiction book.
Remind me of things that make me laugh and/or feel good and loved.
6. Reassure me I am not alone.
Remind me others have struggled with similar thoughts and overcome them. And I can too.
7. Offer to text me and check in on me more often.
I may not say it, but hearing from you might be just what I need, even when speaking is difficult. It makes me feel cared about.
8. Be here and present.
Hold my hand. Sit with me. Whether literally or figuratively (my out of town loved ones) help drive out the isolating feelings.
9. Listen non-judgmentally.
Know that what I am saying feels horrible and true at the moment. Please be supportive.
10. Check in and see if my husband and the kids need anything.
It’s not so easy to live with someone who is struggling. And it makes me feel so guilty that I am not doing what I would like to do for them.
Thank you to those of you who have done some, most or all of these things over the past several years, and thank you for those who continue to support me and others who struggle in our difficult times.
Unsplash photo via Alex Perez