The holidays are here! Thanksgiving is behind us and now we get to spend the next month or more listening to Christmas carols and hearing about how great humanity is and how happy everyone should be.
Unfortunately, not everyone can feel so bright and bubbly. For many of us, this marks another special day alone. Another memory missed with our children or loved ones. The days are getting shorter, the nights longer, and we sit here thinking about all that we’ve lost – all that’s been taken from us. The happy music and promises of peace feel like a slap in the face when you’re dealing with abuse and alienation.
For some of us, this will mean more days of sadness, depression, and anxiety. But for some, it can mean something even darker. It can be difficult to find a reason to go on. Suicide can sound like an easy way to end the pain.
Crisis workers report that they see a dramatic increase in depression rates and people reaching out for help during the holidays, because of all the stress and loneliness. Those who are already prone to depression and suicidal thoughts – people like those who suffer from PTSD – are at an even higher risk.
No matter how bad things seem, suicide is not the answer. If you are having suicidal thoughts or feelings, STOP. Remember, feelings – even these horrible feelings you have now – are temporary. They will go away and it will get better.
Here are some action steps if you have any suicidal thoughts or feelings.
- Promise not to do anything right now. As bad as it is, realize that suicide is permanent. Give yourself time to let the feelings pass. Even if you just promise yourself a day or a week – don’t act in the moment.
- Remember that suicide doesn’t stop the pain – it just transfers it to someone else. You may feel like you’re alone and there’s no one who cares, but they do. If you kill yourself, the pain and anguish you feel are just put onto them. Don’t put your loved ones through that.
- Give yourself a safe space. If you feel like you’re starting to struggle, get rid of anything that could make it easier to commit suicide. Remove medicines, knives, guns, and anything else that could be harmful. Or go somewhere else where you feel safer. Sometimes a change of scenery can help anyway.
- Most importantly, talk to someone. If you have a therapist, call them. If not, turn to your friends or family, let them help you. You can also call or text with a crisis hotline where they will talk you through what to do and how to face those feelings. But whatever you do, don’t try to handle it by yourself.
Suicidal thoughts and feelings are very serious. Don’t wait until you start to act before you take steps to deal with them. For more help, go to http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1-800-273-8255 to talk to a crisis counselor today.