Feeling Suicidal? Are You in a Crisis?
by Patty Fleener M.S.W.
Are you at high risk at this time to kill yourself? Do you have a plan and the means to commit suicide? Is this a time of crisis?
If so, call 911 RIGHT NOW. You don't really want to die, you just want to stop your pain. You feel stuck and trapped as if there is no other way out. There is! I imagine you are feeling intense emotional pain, so overwhelming that you feel you cannot cope. You feel there is no light at the end of the tunnel. There ALWAYS is.
It's ok to feel the way you are feeling now. It's NOT ok to act on it. There IS love, and peace and joy out there for you, even though you cannot imagine it now.
The emotional pain WILL end. You can get through this. You are at the bottom now and the only way to go is up.
Do not be afraid to call 911. That one phone call can save your life. A law enforcement person will come and knock on your door. Do not be afraid of that person or his/her uniform. They are guardian angels there to transport you to someone you can talk to. It's ok to ask for help. It shows that we are taking care of ourselves by asking for help, when we cannot help ourselves. We are not weak. We are overwhelmed with emotions.
I don't want you to die and neither does anyone else. I want you to get through this horrible time. Know that most of us have felt exactly what you are feeling now. You are not alone!
Have you called 911 yet? Log off the Internet and call them now. You can read the rest of this page another time. Right now, let's save your life. You are worth saving. Do it now..................................
There is a difference between feeling suicidal and feeling suicidal ideation. Being truly suicidal means you are at risk of ending your life. You are in great danger and need help NOW!
Experiencing suicidal ideation means we are feeling like we might want to kill ourselves, but we are NOT at risk at this moment. It means we don't have a plan. It means we are considering it, thinking about it.
If you feel you can make it through today and tonight, call someone. It is so helpful to talk about your feelings. You can call a friend, or a hotline. Do you have a telephone book? If you do, look for a suicide or crisis number in the telephone book and call them now.................................
If you are drunk or high right now, you are not acting rationally right now. Put off this decision until you are sober. Your thought processes and emotions are distorted right now.
Right now, I'm going to expose you to some helpful resources to help you get through this time. I will write more at the end of the resource list.
Here are some other ways to get help besides your phone book:
Mental Health Today Hotline (a list of volunteers who will take your call, or you can email them).
1-800-LIFENET (if you are emotionally distressed or know someone who is).
San Francisco Suicide Prevention Hotline: (415) 781-1500
European Treatment Hotline +31-76-522-7288
Australia - 000
Here are two sites with a list of hotlines:
Suicide Crisis Center (A list of suicide hotlines in the USA, listed by state).
Suicide Helplines "(If you’re feeling depressed or suicidal and need to talk to someone, don't keep it to yourself. Helpline volunteers are trained to listen without judgment, and provide a free and confidential service.
Also, check out my webpage called "Toll free resources"
Especially for teens and their parents:
National Crisis and Suicide Hotline 1 800 + 999-9999
National Youth Crisis Hotline 800-448-4663
Suicide and Crisis Service 1 408 + 683-2482
Teen Help Inc. (La Verkin UT) 800-400-0900
Teenline (Oklahoma City OK) 800-522-8336
Youth Crisis Hotline (Ralto MA) 800-422-0009
IRC: #suicide (often quiet)
Live Java Chat (You will need a Java enabled browser. Chat is open 24 hours a day).
The Samaritans will provide you with emotional support using e-mail:
Send Standard E-mail to The Samaritans
Your E-Mail address is known.
Get help by Anonymous E-mail to The Samaritans
Suicide Support List
To subscribe, send mail to Suicide Support with a message containing any Subject, and the body: subscribe
Pendulum is a mailing list for people diagnosed with bipolar mood disorder (manic depression) and related disorders and their supporters, and some professionals. To subscribe, send mail to Pendulum and in the body write:
Walkers-in-Darkness is a list for people diagnosed with various depressive disorders (unipolar, atypical, and bipolar depression, S.A.D., related disorders). The list also includes sufferers of panic attacks and Borderline Personality Disorder
Send mail to the Depression List and in the body of the letter, say subscribe DEPRESS
To subscribe to xn-divorce say subscribe xn-divorce
If You Are Thinking About Suicide...Read this First (The site speaks directly to the suicidal person. Also includes many resources and advise to people dealing with a suicidal person).
Psych Central (suicide helpline).
Befrienders International "(This web site provides information about befriending and how it can help to prevent suicide. It lists the contact details of hundreds of befriending centers around the world, where people who are feeling suicidal can talk to trained volunteers)."
Emotional Support on the Internet (a large list of support groups on the Net arranged by category).
SA\VE: Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (Includes: FAQs on suicide, symptoms of depression, danger signs of suicide, what to do if a friend is depressed, and a message for the suicide survivors - those left behind).
alt.support.personality - For people with personality disorders (quiet group).
soc.support.depression.crisis - Personal crisis situations
alt.support.depression - Depression & mood disorders
alt.support.depression.manic - Manic depression & bipolar disorders
alt.support.depression.seasonal - Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
soc.support.depression.crisis - Personal crisis situations
soc.support.depression.family - Coping with depressed people
soc.support.depression.manic - Bipolar/manic depression
soc.support.depression.misc - Depression and mood disorders
soc.support.depression.seasonal - Seasonal affective disorder
soc.support.depression.treatment - All treatments of depression
alt.support.depression.teens - Depression support for teens
alt.abuse.recovery - Recovering from all types of abuse
alt.abuse.offender.recovery - Recovery for abuse offenders/perpetrators
alt.support.domestic-violence - Victims of domestic violence
alt.abuse.transcendence - Alternate models of dealing with abuse
alt.sexual.abuse.recovery - Recovering from sexual abuse
alt.sexual.abuse.recovery.d - Above's discussion group
alt.sexual.abuse.recovery.moderated - Moderated version of alt.sexual.abuse.recovery (m) (FAQ)
alt.abuse-recovery - Moderated version:alt.sexual.abuse.recovery alt.support.abuse-partners - Partners of sexual abuse survivors
alt.support.loneliness - Loneliness
soc.support.loneliness - Loneliness
alt.recovery.aa - Recovery and Alcoholics Anonymous
alt.recovery.na - Narcotics Anonymous
alt.recovery - General topics in recovery
alt.recovery.addiction.gambling - Recovering from gambling addictions
alt.recovery.addiction.sexual - Recovering from sexual addictions alt.recovery.adult-children - Adults from dysfunctional families
alt.recovery.compulsive-eat - Compulsive eating & food addiction
alt.support.eating-disord - Eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, etc.)
alt.support.anxiety-panic - Anxiety and panic disorders
alt.recovery.panic-anxiety.self-help - Cognitive approaches to anxiety and panic disorders
alt.support.agoraphobia - Agoraphobia
alt.support.attn-deficit - Attention-deficit disorders
alt.support.big-folks - Fat-acceptance with no dieting talk
soc.support.fat-acceptance - Self-acceptance for fat people/no diet talk
alt.support.chronic-pain - Chronic pain
alt.support.disorders.neurological - Neurological disorders
alt.support.dissociation - Persons w/ dissociative disorders (e.g.- Multiple Personality Disorder
alt.support.grief - Issues of grief and loss
alt.support.marriage - Problems and joys of marriage
alt.support.ocd - Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
alt.support.single-parents - Single parenting solutions & support
alt.support.sleep-disorder - Sleep disorders & problems sleeping
alt.support.social-phobia - Social phobias
alt.support.step-parents - Help being a step-parent
soc.support.transgendered - Transgendered & intersexed persons alt.transgendered
alt.support.trauma-ptsd - Trauma and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
alt.dads-rights - Support and information for single fathers
soc.adoption.adoptees - Adoptees
(From Alt.support.depression FAQ)
On a day-to-day basis, separate from, or concurrently with therapy or medication, we all have our own methods for getting through the worst times as best we can. The following comments and ideas on what to do during depression were solicited from people in the alt.support.depression newsgroup. Sometimes these things work, sometimes they don't. Just keep trying them until you find some techniques that work for you.
Write. Keep a journal. Somehow writing everything down helps keep the misery from running around in circles.
Listen to your favorite "help" songs (a bunch of songs that have strong positive meaning for you)
Read (anything and everything) Go to the library and check out fiction you've wanted to read for a long time; books about depression, spirituality, morality; biographies about people who suffered from depression but still did well with their lives (Winston Churchill and Martin Luther, to name two;).
Sleep for a while
Even when busy, remember to sleep. Notice if what you do before sleeping changes how you sleep.
If you might be a danger to yourself, don't be alone. Find people. If that is not practical, call them up on the phone. If there is no one you feel you can call, suicide hotlines can be helpful, even if you're not quite that badly off yet.
Hug someone or have someone hug you.
Remember to eat. Notice if eating certain things (e.g. sugar or coffee) changes how you feel.
Make yourself a fancy dinner, maybe invite someone over.
Take a bath or a perfumed bubble bath.
Mess around on the computer.
Rent comedy videos.
Go for a long walk
Dancing. Alone in my house or out with a friend.
Eat well. Try to alternate foods you like ( Maybe junk foods) with the stuff you know you should be eating.
Spend some time playing with a child
Buy yourself a gift
Phone a friend
Read the newspaper comics page
Do something unexpectedly nice for someone
Do something unexpectedly nice for yourself.
Go outside and look at the sky.
Get some exercise while you're out, but don't take it too seriously.
Pulling weeds is nice, and so is digging in the dirt.
Sing. If you are worried about responses from critical neighbors, go for a drive and sing as loud as you want in the car. There's something about the physical act of singing old favorites that's very soothing. Maybe the rhythmic breathing that singing enforces does something for you too. Lullabies are especially good.
Pick a small easy task, like sweeping the floor, and do it.
If you can meditate, it's really helpful. But when you're really down you may not be able to meditate. Your ability to meditate will return when the depression lifts. If you are unable to meditate, find some comforting reading and read it out loud.
Feed yourself nourishing food.
Bring in some flowers and look at them.
Exercise, Sports. It is amazing how well some people can play sports even when feeling very miserable.
Pick some action that is so small and specific you know you can do it in the present. This helps you feel better because you actually accomplish something, instead of getting caught up in abstract worries and huge ideas for change. For example say "hi" to someone new if you are trying to be more sociable. Or, clean up one side of a room if you are trying to regain control over your home.
If you're anxious about something you're avoiding, try to get some support to face it.
Getting Up. Many depressions are characterized by guilt, and lots of it. Many of the things that depressed people want to do because of their depressions (staying in bed, not going out) wind up making the depression worse because they end up causing depressed people to feel like they are screwing things up more and more. So if you've had six or seven hours of sleep, try to make yourself get out of bed the moment you wake up...you may not always succeed, but when you do, it's nice to have gotten a head start on the day.
Cleaning the house. This worked for some people me in a big way. When depressions are at their worst, you may find yourself unable to do brain work, but you probably can do body things. One depressed person wrote, "So I spent two weeks cleaning my house, and I mean CLEANING: cupboards scrubbed, walls washed, stuff given away... throughout the two weeks, I kept on thinking "I'm not cleaning it right, this looks terrible, I don't even know how to clean properly", but at the end, I had this sparkling beautiful house!"
Volunteer work. Doing volunteer work on a regular basis seems to keep the demons at bay, somewhat... it can help take the focus off of yourself and put it on people who may have larger problems (even though it doesn't always feel that way).
In general, It is extremely important to try to understand if something you can't seem to accomplish is something you simply CAN'T do because you're depressed (write a computer program, be charming on a date), or whether its something you CAN do, but it's going to be hell (cleaning the house, going for a walk with a friend, getting out of bed). If it turns out to be something you can do, but don't want to, try to do it anyway. You will not always succeed, but try. And when you succeed, it will always amaze you to look back on it afterwards and say "I felt like such shit, but look how well I managed to...!" This last technique, by the way, usually works for body stuff only (cleaning, cooking, etc.). The brain stuff often winds up getting put off until after the depression lifts.
Do not set yourself difficult goals or take on a great deal of responsibility.
Break large tasks into many smaller ones, set some priorities, and do what you can, as you can.
Do not expect too much from yourself. Unrealistic expectations will only increase feelings of failure, as they are impossible to meet. Perfectionism leads to increased depression.
Try to be with other people, it is usually better than being alone.
Participate in activities that may make you feel better. You might try mild exercise, going to a movie, a ball game, or participating in religious or social activities. Don't overdo it or get upset if your mood does not greatly improve right away. Feeling better takes time.
Do not make any major life decisions, such as quitting your job or getting married or separated while depressed. The negative thinking that accompanies depression may lead to horribly wrong decisions. If pressured to make such a decision, explain that you will make the decision as soon as possible after the depression lifts. Remember you are not seeing yourself, the world, or the future in an objective way when you are depressed.
While people may tell you to "snap out" of your depression, that is not possible. The recovery from depression usually requires antidepressant therapy and/or psychotherapy. You cannot simple make yourself "snap out" of the depression. Asking you to "snap out" of a depression makes as much sense as asking someone to "snap out" of diabetes or an under-active thyroid gland.
Remember: Depression makes you have negative thoughts about yourself, about the world, the people in your life, and about the future. Remember that your negative thoughts are not a rational way to think of things. It is as if you are seeing yourself, the world, and the future through a fog of negativity. Do not accept your negative thinking as being true. It is part of the depression and will disappear as your depression responds to treatment. If your negative (hopeless) view of the future leads you to seriously consider suicide, be sure to tell your doctor about this and ask for help. Suicide would be an irreversible act based on your unrealistically hopeless thoughts.
Remember that the feeling that nothing can make depression better is part of the illness of depression. Things are probably not nearly as hopeless as you think they are.
If you are on medication:
a. Take the medication as directed. Keep taking it as directed for as long as directed.
b. Discuss with the doctor ahead of time what happens in case of unacceptable side-effects.
c. Don't stop taking medication or change dosage without discussing it with your doctor, unless you discussed it ahead of time.
d. Remember to check about mixing other things with medication. Ask the prescribing doctor, and/or the pharmacist and/or look it up in the Physician's Desk Reference. Redundancy is good.
e. Except in emergencies, it is a good idea to check what your insurance covers before receiving treatment.
Do not rely on your doctor or therapist to know everything. Do some reading yourself. Some of what is available to read yourself may be wrong, but much of it will shed light on your disorder.
Talk to your doctor if you think your medication is giving undesirable side-effects.
Do ask them if you think an alternative treatment might be more appropriate for you.
Do tell them anything you think it is important to know.
Do feel free to seek out a second opinion from a different qualified medical professional if you feel that you cannot get what you need from the one you have.
Skipping appointments, because you are "too sick to go to the doctor" is generally a bad idea..
If you procrastinate, don't try to get everything done. Start by getting one thing done. Then get the next thing done. Handle one crisis at a time.
If you are trying to remember too many things to do, it is okay to write them down. If you make lists of tasks, work on only one task at a time. Trying to do too many things can be too much. It can be helpful to have a short list of things to do "now" and a longer list of things you have decided not to worry about just yet. When you finish writing the long list, try to forget about it for a while.
If you have a list of things to do, also keep a list of what you have accomplished too, and congratulate yourself each time you get something done. Don't take completed tasks off your to-do list. If you do, you will only have a list of uncompleted tasks. It's useful to have the crossed-off items visible so you can see what you have accomplished
In general, drinking alcohol makes depression worse. Many cold remedies contain alcohol. Read the label. Being on medication may change how alcohol affects you.
Books on the topic of "What to do during Depression": "A Reason to Live," Melody Beattie, Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, IL. 167 pages. This book focuses on reasons to choose life over suicide, but is still useful even if suicide isn't on your mind. In fact, it reads a lot like this portion of the FAQ. An excerpt:
Do two things each day. In times of severe crisis, when you don't want to do anything, do two things each day. Depending on your physical and emotional condition, the two things could be taking a shower and making a phone call, or writing a letter and painting a room.
Get a cat. Cats are clean and quiet, they are often permitted by landlords who won't allow dogs, they are warm and furry.
BACK TO PATTY:
Remember, we are not weak for who we are or how we feel. Research has been done, showing that lack of serotonin in the brain increases our risk of suicide. This is where medication can come in and help us. You see, there IS hope. If you have not found the right medication that works for you yet, keep hanging in there. Sometimes it takes awhile to find that right combination.
Suicide runs in families and we are at greater risk if members of our family have felt suicidal or completed their own suicides. You see again how genetics and brain chemistry influences our lives? There is nothing wrong with our character.
Plus, if we have had a dysfunctional childhood, we have been robbed of being who we really are. Robbed of achieving our true destiny. Perhaps our parents were to blame for our predicament but we have the power to change and to get better. What we do from here on out is up to us.
Perhaps we are just so used to covering up and running from our painful past that eventually causes us to blow up and rage or become suicidal. As we are able to do this, I recommend getting in touch with your pain from the past and as you are able to, feel it. Talk about it. Write it down. When we continually try to hide from this pain, perhaps through addictions, we stay stuck in our behaviors.
If you are feeling depressed, remember that anger is on the other side of the same coin as depression. Anger is always present with depression. The only problem is that the anger we have is directed inward towards ourselves.
There are many constructive ways to release anger, and in doing so perhaps we can relieve some of our depression. We can tear up newspapers while swearing (swearing is powerful stuff). We can put a chair next to us, pretend it is our original or current abuser and say whatever we feel, yell whatever we want. Tell the "person" how angry you are and how much they have hurt you.
Also, we can take pillows and hit them forcefully on our beds. Dont forget the yelling and the swearing. We can take a towel, put it up to our mouth and yell and scream and scream and yell. The towel will soften the sounds especially if you have neighbors.
By now, if you are feeling safe and it is a week day, call and make an appointment with a counselor. Be honest about what is going on with you.
Call your Dr. and let him know you were feeling suicidal.
Call a friend and ask if they can come over and be with you during this time, or if you are ok to drive, ask if you can come over. If you feel you dont have friends or friends that are not supportive, call that hotline. Talk about the event or events that happened. Talk about how you feel. Cry or shout if you need to. Let those feelings come out.
As I said earlier, if you are drunk or high and feel you are unable to get sober, call a drug recovery program in your area. It may be in-patient or out-patient. Let them assess your needs. You can also call: Alcohol/Drug Help Line 800-621-1646. Or, Cocaine Anonymous at: 800-347-8998. Marijuana Anonymous: (800) 766-6779.
You need to be sober before recovery can begin. This should be your second priority, next to not hurting yourself.
Do you feel like cutting right now? If you feel like you MUST hurt yourself right now, get an ice cube and hold it on you. It will cause that pain you long for, but will not injure you in the process. As you are holding that ice cube, call someone.
Remember, you are not alone. Remember, what you are feeling and thinking now are probably distorted. People do care. There is help. You can meet others like you through some of the above resources.
Dont forget to check out my "Resources on the Net" AND "Resources off the Net" page. You could join a BPD email support group as well.
You might feel that no one understands you or how you feel. You are experiencing the "dark night of the soul" and the sun WILL come out. Remember, what you are feeling is temporary. You will feel better soon.
Some of us have a difficult time trusting people. In our childhoods, the very people that we were supposed to trust (parents, caregivers, siblings, teacher, etc.) are the very people that hurt us. Part of getting better is learning to trust.
However, I am asking you to trust me when I say that your life WILL improve and you will feel better. I know you dont want to die, you just want the pain to stop. Stay alive and believe me, the pain WILL stop.
Trust me when I say that you will improve. You are not doomed to feel this way forever.
If you are broke and have no health insurance, go to your county mental health clinic. In some states, there is insurance for low-income people as well. Find out. Also, if you are low income, many times the drug manufacturers will pay for your meds.
Its ok to still feel bad right now. You probably wont snap out of it. Your pain is real and I acknowledge it. Just dont hurt yourself because as you will learn later in your recovery, you are worth saving.
If you are a teen, I encourage you to talk to your parents about how you are feeling. Perhaps you feel they wouldnt understand or they dont care. Give it a shot and see.
Take each moment and each minute at a time, during this crisis and no matter how you feel, call SOMEONE.
If you have any spiritual or religious beliefs, get in touch with them now. If you believe in prayer, this is a good time.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Patty Fleener M.S.W.
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