World Suicide Prevention Day: Are suicidal thoughts normal? An expert guide on how to deal with them
From taking a stroll to talking to a family member, here are effective ways to deal with suicidal thoughts.
Our brain works non-stop doing a series of functions which also includes thinking a wide variety of thoughts. Some can pertain to managing daily chores, others can be imaginative, creative, analytical or ruminative. Suicidal thoughts, if fleeting in nature, can occur sometimes and usually are not a cause of any worry. However, frequent suicidal thoughts are not normal and need to be addressed. People with depression, chronic pain or drug addicts may have such thoughts. (Also read: World Suicide Prevention Day 2023: Date, history, significance)
"Regardless of age or gender, a passing thought about suicide is something that many may have experienced at some point of time, however, frequent suicidal thoughts are not normal. Before we learn how to deal with them, it is important to understand that having suicidal thoughts does not make a person weak or abnormal and you don’t need to feel guilty or ashamed, no matter your situation," says Dr Sneha Sharma, Consultant, Psychiatry and Drug Deaddiction, Aakash Healthcare, New Delhi.
Dr Sneha says if suicidal thoughts have been on mind for sometime there are certain steps one can take to stay safe before getting further support.
Speaking with an expert is the effective way to deal with thoughts of suicide. A therapist can provide direction in pinpointing potential triggers, researching available treatments, and formulating a safety plan.
On the occasion of World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10), Dr Sneha shares effective ways to deal with suicidal thoughts:
• Speak up
Family members you can trust can listen and provide emotional support. They can also aid in keeping you secure. A crisis counsellor is a good place to start if you're not sure who to contact. They'll compassionately listen and give advice on how to reach out.
• Look for a safe haven
A safe, secure and happy place like a friend’s home, library or other public area helps to prevent working on suicide ideas. You may even try a new room in your own home.
• Avoid access to weapons
Safety also includes having no access to drugs, guns, and other potential suicide things and techniques. If you need to continue taking medicine, a friend or family member can stay with you while you remove these things. So that you don't have access to more tablets, they might provide one dose at a time.
• Steer clear of alcohol and other drugs
Alcohol and other drugs may seem like a good way to dull unpleasant feelings, but you may find that they make depression and suicidal thoughts worse.
• Try grounding strategies
A few grounding exercises include taking a little stroll, petting a pet, and doing 4-7-8 breathing when you're feeling very distressed. Not sure where to begin? A crisis counsellor can also walk you through testing them out over the phone or via text.
• Take a break
You might feel calmer and less anxious by enjoying your favourite food or drink, listening to music, or viewing pictures (or videos) of loved ones and animals.
• Prioritize self-care
Taking care of your bodily requirements may not always help to lessen suicidal thoughts. However, if your bodily requirements are being satisfied, you might find it simpler to control them. Try to eat balanced meals, drink enough of water, engage in some physical exercise (even if it's just moving about the house or stretching), and aim for sufficient hours of sleep each night.