How to Stop Suicidal Thoughts

Instructor: Gaines Arnold
This lesson is about how suicidal thoughts do not have to rule a person's thoughts, and how a person can be healthy despite the suicidal thoughts they have. A discussion of how to overcome the thoughts in both the short-term and the long-term is addressed.

The Beginning of Suicidal Thoughts

Damon had no idea when the thoughts first started, but he was overcome with thoughts of suicide right now. He had been one of the new hires, right out of college, into his dream job. The situation was great and his future looked really bright. Then the economy started to tank, so his company had to cut costs. His boss told him, even though you are very valuable to this organization, you are one of our latest hires. People without seniority come first. After just two years on the job, Damon was looking for a new one in a very bad economy.

That wasn't the worst problem. Damon still had car payments and he had just purchased a new condo. When he had a job these weren't extravagances. Damon had made sure to be financially responsible, but he now was unable to make the payments on either one. He was overwhelmed with the realities that were facing him and he had no idea what he was going to do. The depression (feeling hopeless, helpless and exhibiting loss of interest in life) started first and it deepened. Then he started to think that the world might be better off without him.

When it Doesn't Seem Like the Thoughts will Ever Stop

Many people go through this same type of reality. Maybe a man has lost his spouse, maybe a woman has just found out about the cancer that has been growing unchecked for a long time, or maybe someone just doesn't feel like going on anymore. Whatever the issue, many people come to believe that suicide is a viable option for them. Thoughts of suicide, or suicidal ideation (which can be the result of trauma or a chronic mental condition such as depression), do not have to be acted upon. There are ways to stop the thoughts from coming.

  • Don't use drugs as a solution to your thoughts. Some people use drugs and alcohol to escape or numb the pain for a little while, but, if abused, they are not solutions. Alcohol is never a solution. Some drugs such as mood enhancers can help, but they should always be taken under a doctor's care. Abusing these substances can actually increase suicidal thoughts and the chance that you will act on your ideation.
  • Talk to someone about your thoughts. One of the problems with people who have thoughts of suicide is that they keep it to themselves. They think that no one else will understand or that they won't listen anyway. Whether a friend or a professional, talk to someone about the thoughts you are having.
  • Reframe your thoughts. Everyone goes through bouts of depression and anxiety, and a large number of people experience these problems at a clinical level. No matter your problem, someone else has experienced it before and most of those people have come out fine with the help of friends, family and professionals. Think about the fact that many people have overcome this very problem and thrived afterward.
  • Have someone stay with you. If you don't trust yourself, it is better to have someone with you. Be willing to talk about the issues when they arise and let the other person listen. They may not be able to provide helpful advice, but it will at least be a buffer between yourself and trying to complete the thought.
  • Make your house as safe as possible. Many people who have suicidal thoughts will start thinking of ways in which they can harm themselves. If you are thinking of a plan, remove the objects with which you could harm yourself.

How to Stop Thinking About Suicide

Damon is having suicidal thoughts because of his job loss, true, but also because of the lost dream. He had dreams about how his life would go and now it all seems to be in shambles. But, Damon can completely rid himself of these thoughts.

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