Experiencing psychiatric symptoms is horrible. Many people who try to live with these symptoms every day sometimes feel so discouraged they want to end their lives. Suicide is never a good idea. Why not?
- Psychiatric symptoms get better. Sometimes they get better even if you don’t do anything about them. But there are many things you can do to help relieve these symptoms. To feel a little better right now, try the following:
- Tell someone how you feel—someone you like and trust. Talk to them until you feel better. Then listen to them while they tell you what is going on in their life.
- Do something you really enjoy—something you love to do—like go for a walk, read a good book, play with your pet, draw a picture or sing a song.
- Get some exercise—any kind of movement will help you feel better. It doesn’t have to be strenuous.
- Eat something healthy like a salad, some fruit, a tuna fish sandwich or a baked potato.
- Develop and use a symptom monitoring and response plan (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) to help yourself get well and stay well.
- When you feel better, you will have many wonderful experiences—warm spring days, snowy winter days, laughs with friends, playing with children, good movies, tasty food, great music, seeing, hearing, feeling. You will miss all these things, and many more, if you are not alive.
- Your family members and friends will be devastated if you end your life. They will never get over it. They will think about it and miss you every day for the rest of their lives. If you have a box of family photographs, choose some photos of the people you love and display them around your house to remind yourself that you never want to hurt these people.
When symptoms are very severe, you may have a hard time making good decisions for yourself. To make it hard to make a bad decision, like ending your life, make suicide hard for yourself by taking these preventive actions:
- Get rid of all the old pills and any firearms you might have around your house.
- Give away your car keys, credit cards and check books when you start to experience symptoms—before they get worse.
There are good people who can help you through these hard times. It may be your family members or friends. Set up a system with them so they will stay with you around the clock when your symptoms are severe. If you don’t have family members or friends who could do this, call your local mental health emergency services and ask them what to do.
The National Hopeline Network 1-800-SUICIDE provides access to trained telephone counselors, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you are suicidal, please read this first.
Mary Ellen Copeland, Ph.D. is an author, educator and mental health recovery advocate, as well as the developer of WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan). To learn more about her books, such as the popular The Depression Workbook and Wellness Recovery Action Plan, her other writings, and WRAP, please visit her website, Mental Health Recovery and WRAP. Reprinted here with permission.