Feelings of despair and hopelessness are quite common in persons with anxiety and depression. But while most of them have thoughts of suicide, only some of them begin to think about it as a real option – the only alternative to the overwhelming distress or unbearable pain they’re feeling.
It’s always necessary to realize that most suicidal young people don’t want to die. Rather, they’ve run out of ways to cope with their pain and all they can see ahead of them in despair. With support, they can find better ways to manage their distress and get through the crisis.
If you have ever come across such suicidal tendencies, here are some tips according to the experts to get rid of the suicidal thoughts.
Ruchika Kanwal, a psychologist at the Karma Center for Counselling & Wellbeing, said there are two types of suicidal thoughts — suicidal ideation and death wish.
“Death wish is when people are having passive thoughts about not wanting to live. Suicidal ideation is when someone is actively contemplating suicide,” she said.
“Suicidal thoughts are seen in those who suffer from chronic mental illnesses or those who are suffering from a physical illness that cannot be cured. Life events like a failed marriage, financial loss or loss of a job could also lead to suicidal thoughts,” she added.
Johnson Thomas, the director of suicide prevention helpline Aasra, said, “A majority, say 80%, of our callers, express suicidal ideation.”
People who have suicidal thoughts aren’t sure of dealing with them.
According to the experts, the extreme step is almost always taken as an impulse and can be prevented with some steps.
1. Keep a ‘Hope Box’
At Karma Centre, Kanwal said they ask the clients to keep a ‘hope box’ of their fond memories that include their loved ones, best photographs, their achievements to gain hope on life. “We ask them to keep it handy, so that the moment they feel suicidal, going through the photos or smelling the perfume can bring them back to the present. It reminds them of how important they are to these people,” she said.
Though it appears strange, both Kanwal and Thomas emphasize that a deep breath can really help the people to get rid of the suicidal tendencies. “Take slow deep breaths. Inhale, stop for a few seconds and exhale,” said Thomas. Kanwal said, “A lot of people say they feel numb, where they can’t sense anything. Deep breathing slowly gets you back to your senses.”
3. Use all your senses
According to Kanwal, smelling, touching, and feeling objects can help people overcome the idea of suicide.
4. Avoid isolation
According to the experts, it’s always important for people to engage in some activities or interacting with people rather than isolating oneself.
“But we ask clients not to fix just one person, but a couple of people like close family or friends, so that in case one person is not picking up, you can call someone else,” said Kanwal.
5. Go to a public place
Thomas says that it’s always better to visit a public place like a park, or a garden when your friends or family members are out of reach.
6. Don’t wait for the suicidal impulse
According to Kanwal, when someone is down and thought to commit suicide, it may be difficult for them to think of anything positive. So, she said, it is important to practice positive thinking. “Maintain a diary where you write down what was great during the day to train your mind to think positive.”