I remember having my first suicidal thought at the age of 13. At that time, I had discovered that my brother was gay and my sister and father completely abandoned him because of it. I had been molested by a female when I was young, and this revelation about my brother made me wonder if I was going to be gay, too. At the time, I had no clue how a person became gay.

I went on to have tragedy after tragedy arise in my life. To name just a few, I have lost two children and both of my parents; breast cancer at the age of 40, double mastectomy, chemo, two reconstruction surgeries, discovering at the end of my treatment that my husband had been living a double life for many, many years which led to my divorce, and an almost-successful suicide attempt.

I was on life support for many days and not expected to live. When I did survive, I was so angry that someone had found me in time. I had planned everything to perfection and was literally devastated that I was still on this earth. After many months of seeing a psychiatrist, I still had suicidal thoughts. Only now, suicide was no longer an option.

There was absolutely no way I could put my kids through something so horrific again. What was even worse is that I felt like I truly was alone in my thoughts because I knew people wouldn’t understand how in the world I could still think those thoughts.

There were so many days I did not want to get out of bed. One day, I was having an extreme suicidal episode. I was a nervous wreck; all I wanted to do was figure out a way to die without hurting anyone. I thought to myself that I might be okay if only I could just run far, far away but leave my mind behind. At this time, I was in a fetal position on my bedroom floor, rocking back and forth, trying everything within me to stay alive.

I suddenly had a thought that I just wanted to take a shower. Although I really didn’t want to, I did it. I went on to go ahead and get dressed and put on my makeup and then actually get in my car and drive down the street to get a soft drink. From the moment I got out of the shower, I knew right away that I felt a tad bit better. But by the time I got back home, I felt really good. I immediately made the connection of what I had done to get myself out of that episode of being in the throes of the suicidal thoughts.

All of this made me realize that more times than not, actually surviving is more difficult than when the tragedies took place. I knew I was onto something and I knew somehow, I had the strength within to conquer. So, every time I had one of these episodes, I tried something new. Now, I have a list of actions I can do for myself. I have done this for two years and have had very few episodes like that since. When I do, they are only minor and short-lived. They are also very few and far between.

Here’s my top 10 list of things you can do to get yourself out of a depression or episode of suicidal thoughts:

  1. Get up. Wash your face, take a shower, freshen up, get dressed, get out of the house.
  2. Make your bed. Making your bed sets your intention that you intend on making it one more day.
  3. Go from feeling sick to being sic: Stop, investigate your thoughts to see if they are true or if you are overthinking and being negative, and clear your mind. Do some deep breathing or meditation. There are many apps for both.
  4. Exercise.
  5. Watch YouTube comedy videos.
  6. Open the blinds.
  7. Watch some comedy movies.
  8. Look up videos of babies, puppies or other animals.
  9. Say out loud what you are thinking. Sometimes just hearing yourself say it will bring you some clarity.
  10. Buy yourself flowers as a gift to yourself for making it through one more day.

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