Coping Statements for Suicidal Thoughts

 

Coping statements

Many people desperately wish to stop their suicidal thoughts. Often, this is possible. You might be able to eliminate suicidal thoughts by healing the depression, stress, hopelessness, self-hatred or whatever forces underlie them.

Yet it might take a while to stop thinking of suicide. For some people, suicidal thoughts just do not stop, or they keep revisiting uninvited whenever bad moods come, no matter how much healing has occurred during good moods.

Fundamentally, we cannot control what thoughts come to us. We can only control how we react to them.

How Do You React to Suicidal Thoughts?

Do you react as though your suicidal thoughts are truth? Because they tell you that you should die, do you believe that you should die?

Do you react as though your suicidal thoughts are a symptom, and nothing else? Because you think of suicide, do you take this as a call to tend to whatever wound creates the thoughts?

I have already written about other ways to react to suicidal thoughts, as well. You can talk back to them, playing the role of defense attorney against the prosecutor in your head calling for the death penalty (as described by David Burns, M.D., in his book Feeling Good).

You can observe your suicidal thoughts mindfully, watching as they pass through your head without feeding them or giving into them.

Another way to react to suicidal thoughts is to soothe yourself by telling yourself what you might tell a close friend or relative in the same situation. Only, this time, you are being a friend to yourself. This coping technique calls for what therapists call “coping statements.”

What Are Coping Statements?

A coping statement is whatever you can tell yourself that will help you to pass safely through the minefield of suicidal thoughts. Examples include:

This will pass.

That is my depression talking, not me.

I will get through this.

Just because my thoughts tell me to kill myself doesn’t mean I really should.

I don’t really want to die, I just want the pain to end.

There are other ways to end my pain, even if I can’t see them right now.

My suicidal thoughts are not rational.

Suicidal thoughts are a symptom, not a solution.

Never Give Up, handwritten on a sticky note

Making Coping Statements Work

There is no limit to the possible coping statements out there. Some websites feature long lists of coping statements, such as this mental health website . You can also find coping statements geared to specific problems, such as anxiety.

The key to using coping statements effectively is to keep repeating them to yourself (silently or not), like a mantra. Some people write their coping statements on sticky notes and leave them on mirrors and doors where they live. Others create “coping cards” with one coping statement or a whole list, and carry them in their wallet.

Repeatedly seeing, saying, or thinking your coping statements will provide a good counterpoint to suicide’s grim yet seductive messages. It also will gradually train your mind to take a more realistic path.

sticky note pinned to cork board with the phrase you matter.

A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Tool

“What you think, you become,” is a powerful statement often misattributed to the Buddha but no less true, regardless of who said it.

Cognitive behavioral therapy operates under the same premise: If you tell yourself the worst will happen, then you will feel anxious and depressed. Tell yourself different things, and you will feel differently. These ideas reinforce the value of talking to yourself with kindness and with intentions to soothe yourself.

Beware of positive thinking or positive affirmations. If you are grossly unhappy with yourself or your life, telling yourself that you are happy will only further rouse the negative thoughts. “No you’re not happy! That’s ridiculous! You are miserable, and here is why.”

Unrealistically positive thinking can hurt. Realistic thinking can help. Rather than telling yourself that you are happy when you actually are miserable or that your life is great when it actually feels awful, it is far more helpful to tell yourself something that you really can believe, such as:

I can’t know that I will feel this way forever.

Based on past experiences, my feelings and situation will probably change.

Life is constantly changing.

I am a work in progress.

Coming Up With Your Own

Although I have thrown out some ideas here, coping statements work best if they really resonate with you. Perhaps some of the coping statements on this page or the websites I provided above do resonate with you. If so, that’s great. If not, try to come up with your own. To do this, ask yourself these questions:

What do I really want someone else to tell me right now?

What would I tell someone else right now who wanted to die by suicide for the same reasons that I do?

What would it help me to tell myself?

What would it help me to truly believe?

Stack of Sticky Notes

An Invitation

I invite you to leave a comment describing what coping statements work best for you!

© 2014 Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW, All Rights Reserved. Written for www.speakingofsuicide.com

Photos purchased from Fotolia.com

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© Copyright 2014 Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW, All rights Reserved. Written For: Speaking of Suicide

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  1. Elizabeth says:

    Thank. For help. God. Bless. Angel

  2. Lisa says:

    Thanks Carl, those are very kind thoughts. I am still not hopeful but I will read the book.

  3. Carl says:

    Hello Angelina, thank you for your message! I know what you mean about feeling alone and isolated. I know that there are childhood trauma support groups out there but I have not found any near me. So I would like to recommend an excellent book to you, “The Courage to Heal, A guide for Women Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse” by Ellen Bass. It is a very good book that has women’s survival stories from childhood sexual abuse. Those stories may help you to not feel so isolated. I read it because, well because guys don’t talk about this and I was desperate to find some connection with others and have some perspective on my own experience.

    I want you to know that you are an incredible person! How do I know this? Because I could not even bear to think about my childhood till later on in life when I was thankfully forced to face it or die. It was like waiting till the night before the final exam to start studying. But here you are, still in high school and having the great courage to face it! Positive quotes on your wall! Searching to heal yourself! Who are you!?! Most of us ignore it, stuff it, get stuck in addictions to manage it, until our lives are completely falling apart. You are so inspiring to me and I feel that you will inspire and help so many people that are suffering because of your great courage and determination to heal yourself.

    I love the quote you shared because it refers to the faith we can have in finding our life’s purpose. Here are some of my favorite quotes. “Don’t believe everything you think.” “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” “Letting go is to give up the hope for a better past.” and “Today I am going to screw up and I’m okay with it.”
    Carl

  4. Karen Peet says:

    The hope box is a really helpful idea. Thank you

  5. Lisa says:

    I am a 55 year old female with a good professional job. I have been depressed since age 12 due to sadistic emotional abuse as a child. In my experience it is harder to talk myself out of suicidal thoughts which each new onset of depression, since there is less and less evidence that hope for the future is valid. Depression is forever.

    • Carl says:

      Hello Lisa. I can completely relate to the feeling that the depression and suicidal thoughts will never end. After much therapy I finally realized that I had absorbed or internalized so much toxic shame and negative beliefs from my childhood abusers that I had never been able to create my self-worth and happiness. This is absolutely normal for anyone who has lived through abuse. We were so vulnerable as children, and they can be so cruel. I never told my parents of the sexual abuse or physical abuse. I completely internalized what they told me, that I was a bad person, that I deserved to be punished, that I should die. That no one would ever love me if they knew the truth about me.

      But two years ago I read a book that changed my cycle of depression and self-hate. Its called THE POWER OF NOW by Eckhart Tolle. In his book he teaches us how to live in the present where our fears of the future cannot hurt us, where our anxiety and pain over the past no longer sabotages us. We are not our minds. Yes my mind continues to have negative thought patterns from my childhood and PTSD but I can look at those thoughts now without being constantly pulled into mental drama, self destruction and depression like before.

      We don’t have to believe everything we think. We don’t have to identify with the mind. I’m not trying to say that this is easy but with work and mindfulness it can be done. Please read the book, it was a lifesaver for me. I really can’t believe that I am still here. Yes I still get triggered into my emotional mind which wants to destroy me, but I now know that I can get back to the present where the mind can’t torment me.

      Best wishes,
      Carl

    • Pam says:

      Lisa and Carl,

      I’m with you both. 63 year old woman, worked in IT most of my life. I love programming computers and started it back when it was a new thing.

      But I suffered disabling bouts of depression and suicidality. Years of meds and therapy helped a lot, yet the depression would come back. Eventually I got to the point where I was always thinking of suicide.

      Also read that Eckhart Tolle book, Carl, and it’s wonderful. But I have actually been practicing mindfulness since I was in college. It’s necessary. But I think my brain was too messed up, and the depression came back as recently as last summer. I admitted myself to a psychiatric hospital in Pittsburgh and requested ECT. Yes, ECT. My mother had it in the late 1950s and later told me she preferred it to medication. Even as bad as it was then.

      ECT got rid of my preoccupation with suicide. I still have some troubles, but I don’t want to kill myself. I don’t even understand why I ever did. What a blessing!

      God bless you both.

      Pam

    • Anonymous says:

      So true Lisa, I’ve lived with depression all my life. I was born like it.

    • klingon jl62 says:

      Lisa – I am a 64 year old woman who has been depressed and suicidal since I was very young also. The best time in my life was the 9 years I moved in to take care of my Mother. She and I became best friends before she died.

      Now I am alone. I have no friends, no spouse, and no children. I am ready for my life to be over.

      Thanks for listening.

  6. angelina says:

    hi. My name is Angelina. i have been suffering with suicidal thought since 6th grade and i am now in 10th grade this year. i am right now 15 feb is my birthday which is not to far away. my bio dad has sexually abused me when i was in 6th grade yes he is locked up and is facing a lot of charges. i have been to many treatments and i still have the thoughts to hurt myself or to kill myself. if theres anyone out there that has found something that has helped them then please comment and let me know thanks.

    • Carl says:

      Hi Angelina, I’m so sorry this happened to you. I was 7 and 8 when I was sexually abused and I assure you that you are absolutely normal for what you have lived through. We just have to learn how to cope and heal. The best thing I’ve done for myself is to do EMDR therapy to rewrite those horrible traumatic moments of my life, and to do yoga. You can follow a yoga session on Youtube. It helps peoples like us who were physically and sexually abused to learn to re-inhabit our bodies. When I start to have suicidal and self hurt thoughts, they can become so overwhelming. I wrote myself an affirmation to read when these thoughts attack and try to destroy me. They are positive thoughts that I want to believe about myself. They are my attempts to push the shame I feel away and put it back on those who really deserve it. Here is my affirmation as an example for you but you may want personalize it for yourself.

      The Voices Within

      My life has been a mystery, but is now becoming clear.
      I seek courage, day by day, to change the voices within me.
      The harmful voices I hear are but shadows of the past, and are false.
      I now know that the abusive voices were from those who abused me.
      Hurt and pain from others fuels the voices that I should not live.
      I no longer accept to carry their hurt and shame. I release it now.
      It is carried shame from others that fuels the voices that I should hurt myself.
      I no longer accept to carry their hurt and shame. I release it now.
      It was the burden of suffering with these voices and pain that fueled my urge to act out.
      I now know the truth and commit this day to treat myself with the love and respect I deserve.
      I am committed to solving the mystery of my life.
      I will study, attend therapy, self-sooth, exercise and meditate to heal myself.
      I am at peace with these voices because I know that they have transformed me into the kind, loving, non-judgmental and accepting person that I am today.
      I can calmly hear these voices, because I now know they are a compass to healing my Inner Child and disowned selves.
      I allow my life to unfold with each lesson that my Inner Twin teaches me.
      I am guided in my every step by Inner Twin who reveals to me what I must know and do.
      I have the courage today to be like water and escape the sting of these abusive voices.
      I have the courage today to change my inner voices to those of peace and love for myself.
      I am a work in progress and am patient in my recovery, however long it takes.
      I know that the Universe intends a happy and meaningful life for me and I accept it now.
      My life is just beginning!

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      What beautiful and meaningful affirmations, Carl. Thank you for sharing! Helping others is a powerful way to find meaning in one’s own suffering, which can be healing for both the helper and the person they are trying to help.

    • angelina says:

      hi Carl!!
      thank you so much for your input. i am glad i can relate to someone. i know it happens to more people then we think but sometimes you still feel like your alone when you cant always have someone there with you 24 7. I really love your writing idea. thank you so much for your loving message. I hope your doing well. I also found that putting positive quotes around your room helps as well i am a BIG quote person. one of my favs right now is… I know im good for something but i just haven’t found it yet.

  7. Waiting says:

    I’ve thought feelings of wanting to die for 15 years….i have taken an overdose of 100 10mg [pills] at the age of 16, was on life support for four days and spent 12 weeks in a mental health ward. I have had help from various mental health teams then at the age of 21 took heroin for the first time as an overdose… Sadly it didn’t kill me but just eased the pain and now I’m an addict receiving treatment. At the age of 27 I attached my self to the power cable of the train lines and spent six months recovering… I just can’t seem to die….look at what I have done to all my loved ones it sickens me. Yet I feel I am forced into existence. Evil things I think of and evil hallucinations have plagued me all my life. What’s the point of this. I have had the diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and now pd. I just know I’m a defect that needs to be killed so now I have sourced someone to end this for everyone the wait to die is painful but knowing it’s soon fills me with joy.

    • Pam says:

      Hello, waiting.

      I hope you are still with us, even though I understand the feeling of joy at the prospect of dying.

      I’m 63, and I have lived with depression and suicidality since I was 13. That’s when I tried to kill myself. 50 years. You can do this.

      I wanted to let you know what helped me. Years of meds and therapy helped me, but the depression would always come back. Eventually I got to the point where I was always thinking of suicide.

      Last summer I admitted myself to a psychiatric hospital in Pittsburgh and requested ECT. Yes, ECT. My mother had it in the late 1950s and later told me she preferred it to medication. Even as bad as it was then.

      ECT got rid of my preoccupation with suicide. I still have some troubles, but I don’t want to kill myself. I remember making plans and ruminating over them. But that now seems so foreign to me.

      Whatever you do, I hope you find some relief. You are not alone.

      Pam

    • Carl says:

      Please,please don’t. I wanted someone to tell me don’t do it but I couldn’t even utter the words. Here you are actually able to express yourself when I couldn’t! You don’t deserve to die! Everything is available to heal you so don’t give up. I came back from the edge, so can you! You can’t seem to die because you are not meant to. You can process your life, EMDR, CBT, DBT and more is available to you. The mind wants to keep us in the past which can be unbearable, but you are not your mind, you are not your past, you are so much more. Study mindfulness so that you can just watch your thoughts come and go without them hijacking you. Please hang on. Carl

  8. bluegirl says:

    I feel like I want to die. I keep reading about suicide hoping that I’d change my mind.

    I feel helpless about everything. I’ve reached out to people, to my loved ones, they did care for a second but then … nothing. It felt like I was just a bad weather passing. I don’t think they took me seriously at all.

    I’m really depressed. I wanted to tell someone important but things went wrong. I wasn’t able to say anything about my concern. That someone even got mad at me. Now we’re not talking. I thought of that note in this post “You Matter”. I don’t feel like I do, to that someone and to my family. It made me more depressed.

    I went through a lot of depressing scenarios but this time I really can’t take it. All I think of is dying.

    My world is falling apart.

    • Pam says:

      Hi, Bluegirl,

      It really sucks when loved ones don’t understand.

      The problem, as you may know, is that they just don’t have a clue. It’s not that they don’t care; it’s that they have not experienced the devastation of having your world fall apart. I think they are literally incapable of helping you because of that.

      But there are so many of us who do understand. And who have come through it alive. The depression may come and go, but you continue to be an important person. You DO matter. It’s just that you haven’t figured out HOW you matter yet. That may take a while, but I believe it will happen.

      Maybe your world is/was falling apart so the pieces can rearrange themselves in a beautiful new way. I hope you are well.

      Pam

  9. Braden says:

    I’ve always suffered from depression, and lately it’s only gotten worse. I didn’t know that reinforcement could help a lot. I’ll have to see if I can get a book or something that can give me some encouragement.

    • angelina says:

      Braden i feel you. you just got to know that there is people out there for you and that its going to be hard and if it passes you can help other people that may have the same problems. i mean im here. i love to help people and im not doing the best right now as well i cant trust people its hard for me to open up to people but im here for you…

  10. Jane says:

    This is such a great question:
    What would I tell someone else right now who wanted to die by suicide for the same reasons that I do?

    I would say: fair enough, completely understandable. But it makes me enraged that you are in so much pain and so few people can help you.

    That the denial and silence about child abuse, especially child rape, is so constant and isolating.

    That hardly any counselors can assist people who were severely, chronically abused as children.

    That this is because for a hundred years psychiatrists have colluded with perpetrators and the denial of society to label us deficient, borderline, maladaptive, wrong, liars, crazy.

    When they could have been understanding trauma and disassociation and helping us instead of harming us.

    That this has served perpetrators and the perpetrators are winning every time one of us kills ourselves.

    So please, let your anger rise up and turn into fury and use that fury to stay alive.

    That’s what I would say.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hi all

    Like many people, I’m dealing with hardcore feelings of depression and suicide after a major breakup in february. This guy was the love of my life.. at least I thought he was… He left me because of his selfsearching path in his faith.. he’s a hardcore christian since a couple of months. He had a job and all and lost it all and then, after I helped him through it all, he found peace and resource in his pratice of his faith.

    So we went separate ways, as he felt he needed to be alone to deal with all of his soul searching, and thinking I wasnt the right one for him since im not as religious as him. It killed me. I would have given anything for him. We also had a abortion in the very beginning of our relationship, it brought us closer.

    But since we split up, I’ve lost my will to live, I dont see how I could love someone again. I wonder where the confident, happy and strong woman that I was is now.. To find out that the man you loved so much thinks of you as “not religious or good enough” for him is terrible. I feel like he hid this part of him. from me. He’s said that he was married to his mom (still lives with her at 33) and that he has no choice but to leave the country to manage the move out of their home when (if) he comes back.

    I feel like I’ve helped him so much to discover himself…and now Im left alone, without him by my side. I cant stop crying and feeling not worthy of love. As terrible as it sounds. He was the light of my days, now we have no contact at all. I feel like the guy that I used to know is long gone.

    We were talking about moving in together.. but he last told me he couldnt live with someone before mariage.. so many lies…

    Im lost.

  12. Jason says:

    I find no purpose in my life anymore. I’ve reached out for help. I’ve reached out to my mother who is a therapist, I’ve received nothing. I don’t know where to turn. I have nothing left, my wife and kids are gone my job sucks. The voice in my head that’s supposed to be the voice of reason is now voicing opinions of how I should just end it all. I hate this voice in my head I want it to stop!

    • Pam says:

      Jason, I feel the same way. I have gotten better in the past and I try to keep hoping I will get better again. But I think of suicide every day, even when I’m healthy. I guess I’ve just been thinking about it so long that it seems like an old friend. It is also my Plan B.

      I have found real help in coping by reading a site titled “Suicide – read this first.” Google will find it for you.

      I also have a blog to which I publish haphazardly, http://www.PricklyPam.com. Maybe you could find something helpful there, just to know you are not alone.

      If you’re not already, I’d strongly suggest meeting with a therapist and a psychiatrist. In my experience, you need both.

      God bless you, Jason.

      Pam

  13. Carol Anne says:

    My precious loving husband of 35 years died of cancer. I don’t want to go on without him. I really do wish it was me instead.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Im…need help… the feeling of wanted to die is much stronger in me….i giving up on school …i started to abandoned my school… i did tell people about my depression …im seeking support and help but instead i get the opposite… evrynight i can’t sleep well..nowadays i tend to get too angry and easily hit anything to and hurt my hand…

  15. w. says:

    Im alone, ive lost my purpose. my children are grown and argumenttive and think im an asshole.

    • Suz says:

      W.
      I can appreciate your thoughts. When I am feeling the same way I struggle for days. If you can, try to do a good deed or help a stranger, neighbour or friend. Something that you see thankfulness in heir eyes will fill you up with hope. Sometimes to help ourselves we must help another.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please dont feel alone. My kids dont really want me in their lives either. I feel your pain. But one day they will need you and want you. You wouldnt want them to be all alone in this world without their mum. Dont give up ?❤

  16. alma says:

    [Crumbling is not an instant’s Act] – Emily Dickinson
    Crumbling is not an instant’s Act
    A fundamental pause
    Dilapidation’s processes
    Are organized Decays –

    ‘Tis first a Cobweb on the Soul
    A Cuticle of Dust
    A Borer in the Axis
    An Elemental Rust –

    Ruin is formal – Devil’s work
    Consecutive and slow –
    Fail in an instant, no man did
    Slipping – is Crash’s law –

  17. alma says:

    To make yourself something less than you can be-that too is a form of suicide.(benjamin lichtenberg)

  18. alma says:

    ”in a sense,both memory and imagination are a negation of time”(vladimir nabokov);”it’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.”(lewis carroll);”i am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart’s affections and the truth of Imagination.”(keats)

  19. alma says:

    “The slave is doomed to worship time and fate and death, because they are greater than anything he finds in himself, and because all his thoughts are of things which they devour.”
    ―Bertrand Russell

  20. alma says:

    I forgot to mention Queen of the night aria-Der Hoelle Rache;Edda Moser’s and Lucia Popp’s interpretations are the best in my opinion.Also in my opinion,the music(ever so relaxing) and the lyrics(a cry for blood and vengeance) don’t match,so perhaps you could try listening to the aria without reading the translation.Doll Song(joan sutherland0,Shadow Song(maria callas),Flower Duet(Mady Mesple),Fruehlinsstimmenwalzer(ingeborg hallstein),Lied der Nachtigall(ingeborg hallstein),Mein Herr Marquis(anneliese rothenberger)Habanera(maria callas)Caro nome(rita streich)Da tempeste(joan sutherland and lucia popp) are also worth a try.Knowing the lyrics isn’t essential,the music,very beautiful and accesible,does everything.everything can be found on youtube for free.you might also like Sumi Jo’s rendition of Caccini’s Ave Maria.hope this helps

  21. alma says:

    A Great Hope Fell – Poem by Emily Dickinson
    A great Hope fell
    You heard no noise
    The Ruin was within
    Oh cunning wreck that told no tale
    And let no Witness in

    The mind was built for mighty Freight
    For dread occasion planned
    How often foundering at Sea
    Ostensibly, on Land

    A not admitting of the wound
    Until it grew so wide
    That all my Life had entered it
    And there were troughs beside

    A closing of the simple lid
    That opened to the sun
    Until the tender Carpenter
    Perpetual nail it down –
    (Emily Dickinson)

  22. alma says:

    Emily Dickinson, 1830 – 1886

    Hope is the thing with feathers
    That perches in the soul,
    And sings the tune without the words,
    And never stops at all,

    And sweetest in the gale is heard;
    And sore must be the storm
    That could abash the little bird
    That kept so many warm.

    I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
    And on the strangest sea;
    Yet, never, in extremity,
    It asked a crumb of me.

  23. alma says:

    “Harlem

    What happens to a dream deferred?

    Does it dry up
    like a raisin in the sun?
    Or fester like a sore–
    And then run?
    Does it stink like rotten meat?
    Or crust and sugar over–
    like a syrupy sweet?

    Maybe it just sags
    like a heavy load.

    Or does it explode?”
    (langston hughes)

  24. alma says:

    From childhood’s hour I have not been
    As others were–I have not seen
    As others saw–I could not bring
    My passions from a common spring–
    From the same source I have not taken
    My sorrow–I could not awaken
    My heart to joy at the same tone–
    And all I lov’d–I lov’d alone–
    Then–in my childhood–in the dawn
    Of a most stormy life–was drawn
    From ev’ry depth of good and ill
    The mystery which binds me still–
    From the torrent, or the fountain–
    From the red cliff of the mountain–
    From the sun that ‘round me roll’d
    In its autumn tint of gold–
    From the lightning in the sky
    As it pass’d me flying by–
    From the thunder, and the storm–
    And the cloud that took the form
    (When the rest of Heaven was blue)
    Of a demon in my view–(e.a.poe)

  25. alma says:

    I don’t know if I’m commenting on the right post,but here goes.I’ve been having suicidal thoughts ever since I was 14 and because of that,I was miserable almost all the time.The turning point for me was the discovery of music and books.They quite literally saved my life.I still have suicidal thoughts,but,as strange as it may sound,I feel much more in control of them than before;Cioran defined my state of mind with uncanny perfection-a person who can neither live nor die,and whose attention never swerves from this double impossibility.This is exactly how I’ve felt all my life.Another quote that I find sobering is one of Emerson’s,if i’m not mistaken.Suicide-the question is whether it is the way out or the way in.My favorite:a book is a suicide postponed.(Cioran)Definitely true for me.Here are some of the books that I frequently turn/return to-The Grim Reader(edited by Maura Spiegel and Richard Tristman,excerpts from books that deal primarily with death,I love this book,every excerpt sends you to another book,great resource),On Suicide(edited by John Miller),The Savage God,by Alfred Alvarez,The Death of Ivan Ilitch,by Leo Tolstoi,Confession,by Leo Tolstoi,Crime and punishment,by F.Dostoievski,Notes from the underground,by Doestoievski,Why does the world exist?,by Jim Holt,Fear,by Gabriel Chevalier,Sonderkommando,by Shlomo Venezia,Krishnamuti’s Freedom from the known and The last freedom,and in a very different vein,but just as good as any of the above-mentioned books is P.G.WODEHOUSE.Just read any of his Blandings or Jeeves and Wooster novels and,before you know,you’ll find yourself laughing or at least smiling.Happily,Wodehouse is highly addictive,so once you’re hooked,there’s no turning back.My favorites are Thank you,Jeeves;Uncle Fred in the springtime,Service with a smile,Leave it to Psmith,Uncle Dynamite;Right ho,Jeeves,Joy in the morning and The code of the Woosters.There is also a collection of stories The world of Jeeves that I absolutely adore.Emily Dickinson’s poems are also a huge help for me.”I measure every Grief I meet/with narrow,probing Eyes/and wonder if it weighs like Mine/or has an Easier size.[…]There’s Grief of Want and Grief of Cold/a sort thy call Despair/there’s Banishment from native Eyes/in sight of Native Air//and though i may not guess the kind/correctly-yet to me/a piercing Comfort it affords/in passing Calvary//to note the fashions of the cross/and how they’re mostly worn/still fascinated to presume/that Some-are like my Own.”As for the music,I must confess I find metal extremely soothing,but I can quite understand that I’m in a minority in this respect.However,to me,Rammstein is the music of the spheres(their latest album unfortunately not included).Enya is another artist I am in massive awe of,Pilgrim;Paint the sky with stars,Evening falls are among the songs I like best,not that one could ever go wrong with Enya.Tarja Turunen is another voice I appreciate;I particularly recommend I feel immortal;Our great divide and Underneath.She used to be in a band called Nightwish and it is definitely something you should check out(just with her as the singer,imho the following two female singers that replaced her are an embarrassment to the band,but that’s just my opinion,plenty of people seem to like them).My favorites-Swansong,Gethsemane,Sleeping sun,Stargazers,Ghost love score,Kinslayer,Slaying the dreamer,Wishmaster.Maria Callas,Joan Sutherland and Leontyne Price are three of my most beloved opera singers and it’s of little consequence if you don’t understand the lyrics or the plot,just try focusing on the music alone and then take it from there once you’re into it.Pavarotti is the tenor everyone knows,but Carlo Bergonzi and Franco Corelli are way better,so you might want to give them a chance to change your life too.Lieder are my ultimate source of solace,but an ever so slight familiarity with the German language is mandatory in order enjoy them fully.Try Der Engel in Kirsten Flagstad’s interpretation and Schmerzen in Astrid Varnay’s.The translations of these two very beautiful songs are to be found on the internet.This post came out longer than intended,please note that I mentioned favorites and made recommendations in order to offer a good place to start,not in order to impose my preferences on other people.There’s a lot more o be shared,but,as I have doubts people will have/take the time to plough through my already massive post,it’s best to stop here.Hope this helps,take care.

  26. Roman says:

    I know what you are going through. I’ve been really low the last year and a half. I’ve had suicidal ideation since middle school, and attempted twice and woke up both times from it without the full realization of what I tried to do. I honestly feel nothing for or from people as long as I could remember even though I try to show it to them just to hold onto relationships, but mostly in my head it’s an agenda without its fruits more like an illusion of filling something empty. I’m honestly believing that I might have Bipolar. The symptoms and signs from informational sources and comments made by family, friends, and coworkers tell me what they see of my behaviors that I don’t notice until I ask them what I did that contradicts with what I thought I did. I’m 22 this month and scared for myself and for people who feel the same way. I know that there are probably many nights where you feel extremely alone with no one out of the huge handful of people that’s on your phone that are willing to speak to you when you are in a really dark shade with nothing to light it when you know that you might do something really terrible to yourself that night. Even if there are people that are aware of how you feel, they’re either too scared or narcissistic to support you in a small way just to at least help you get by, at least by hearing what you have to say instead of them telling you the same broken record of advice like hospitalization, medication, therapists, ECTs, general terms to describe how you feel, people telling you why not do “blah blah” to feel better, and “you have such a decent life, why are you so depressing”. I really distrust people. I’m pretty sure I’m introvert (not entirely sure) but I try to be an extrovert like “normal minded” people in order to cope for a few moments until thoughts come racing telling you that “the people you know don’t really care, they just want to make sure that they feel good about saying it and so that they can use you, you are really nothing to them”, and this thought always keeps coming up even though I try to do normal things and try speaking normal to avoid sounding manic or depressive (but it really hurts to be an actor all the time). I have significant interests in life but they are absolutely no tokens that make me happy, and other things don’t remedy any better except doing dangerous things that put you on the line between now and death that gives you two tangible contrasting views that you can finally see clearly for a brief moment that make you smile sometimes.

    The best healthy things that I’m doing to cope now before possibly seeking help from a talk therapist (which i really need now, I’m aware Bipolar has the tendency to be chronic and unpredictable on the status of a major manic episode that exceeds hypomania) is:

    -Daydreaming your ideas and making it uniquely practical or cool (it also helps you to tell people your ideas to see if they like it or don’t and see how you could make it better).

    -Not looking people in the eye that you don’t have to talk to.

    -420 helps depending where I am on the poles.

    -Snuggling up to really soft thick blankets (in the nude. I know it’s weird but more effective, i sincerely mean that).

    -Cartoons like King of the Hill, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Simpsons, Chowder, or Futurama (NOT Adventure Time or that newer stuff, it’s brain mush) can help on lonely feeling nights before bed to get a good night sleep to feel balanced the next day.

    -Driving around new places during sunlight with music (I know in the state that you must be in makes music blank out pretty much, but there are songs that do understand you and preach what you are going through that gives comfort, but it’s an effort to find. Try listening to songs from bands like 30 Seconds to Mars, Distillers, 3 Days Grace, Massive Attack, Avatar (the band :P) BlessTheFall. You might not like these bands but you might get references of other bands through looking around YouTube that might be better, I don’t know though.

    -Literally sweating it out in a hot car with BBC world news or NPR on the radio.

    -Eating sour-cream and white-cheddar Cod Chips (the actual brand or something of the kind) with thick tomato bisque soup.

    -Eating sharp cheddar cheese with toasted and stale sourdough bread.

    -Eating spicy foods.

    -Taking St. Jobsworths or HTP Time Release pills on anxiety days (I think they sell both at Walgreens but try somewhere cheaper, even Walmart might sell it in store or online, Amazon, etc).

    -Hot bathes with bubble bomb soaps (from Bath and Body Works, or online that that sells a variety like herbal ones to sooth or one to heal the body that in return heals the mind like Green Tea extract soap bombs).

    -Staying hydrated and drinking a few cups of coffee and slurping one shot of Vodka in the morning on depressive days (don’t do this often though otherwise it won’t have an effect anymore and isn’t great for you physically either),

    -Sometimes aroma therapy, but usually the citric fruits or pine cedar scents work better.

    -Writing on yourself with pen or sharpie on your wrist or chest saying either “You Love, I Love, I Grasp Life, Death is My life’s Enemy (this one i drew on my arm or thigh), They Love You, Life= Learn Receive Share, You Will be Needed Soon, etc (write whatever makes you smile, even draw symbols or pictures that matter to you in life that will give you that rare microsecond shiver in your spine that feels like being happy.

    -Talking to strangers for a few moments on your way to something can help too as difficult as it is to just approach someone to talk to even though you are not going to have an empathetic experience. You might find out a little something new during the conversation to think about in that day.

    I have absolutely no trust for psychiatrists, they seem more afraid of you than you being afraid of you, which worsens how you feel about your overall self. I bruise myself a lot on the thigh through punching, I throw myself at walls or doors to deliberately hurt my arms or shoulders, and I starve myself a lot until the point of my stomach twisting and jumping around for something to feed on where I would feed it like a bite of something throughout the day to get by with the starvation coping mode that creates disillusion for me a lot of the time just to think how hungry i am instead of feeling how angry or scared i am. I’ve gotten the courage to start cutting on my other thigh too. DO NOT HURT YOURSELF BY ANY MEANS, PLEASE USE THE ALTERNATIVES THAT I LISTED FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR HEALTH as contradicting & hypocritical of me to say so, but it’s me and I will only really do hideous things like this when I am in a state of loathing who I am and how nobody is here to comfort the demon out of me that is now in control for the time being that I have to hurt out of me before it does me on my crisis days.

    But seriously! You are not alone in this, the issue is we are alone because this topic is taboo (which angers the hell out of me since adolescent suicides or ODs are the second most killer for teens and young adults in the United States) and we feel as though no one will talk to us or just judge us until committing suicide. We are around each other, people like us who need help, mixed in with the “normals” on a daily social basis so we don’t have an idea which of us are going through the same thing making you feel alone in this unless you are or have gone through it and can see the signs and symptoms in others that you have seen in yourself. I’ve destined my own philosophy and principles about life that makes more sense for me, more sense to me on why things are the way they are as well as many scientific facts i try to learn about to incorporate into my ideologies about the meaning of life through practicality and wonder. These ideas have made me fear death even less, which isn’t good in theory for people who need help, but it brings me some pessimistic optimism that seems almost so out of this world that it takes me out of it. The theology I’ve made for myself keeps me balanced whenever I think about ending it and makes me think about it for a long time, which in return buys me time to rethink what I am about to do to myself.

    Honestly for the most part (I know I should, but I literally don’t) I don’t think about anyone with heart to care if they are going to miss me if I go, but what helps a little is if there is one person that you feel like you need to live for in meaning and symbolic form, even if they are already passed, you can spark something in your core to get you through for a time being.

    Bottom-line, you are gonna have internal battles to come, you might even get hurt in those battles, but remember that there is a nurturing part of you that wants you to be alive for the external battles to come where the person next to you or in front of you will need your help even if you won’t feel anything from it, it gives a real sense of purpose and it’s as simple as opening a really tight jar of pickles for ma or grandma when they shout your name for help. Living hurts, I know, and I usually scream I want to die at the top of my lungs (literally I do, not usually with anyone around though, but other times it can turn fun when someone overhears and starts to get concerned and you have to make up a reason for what you said) just to get it out of me until that phrase becomes a broken record after shouting it out of my thoughts in order to get it depleted out of you until it comes back on you later.

    Remember though, you are NOT alone in your battles to come or have already:

    -When your eyes go black paint it white and blink,

    -When shadows creep up on you, blind them standing with the biggest smile that it even scares the Joker,

    -And always laugh at the demon that looks at you through the mirror for it is an animal incarcerated in your zoo that only exists to eat and defecate while you are so much more than that.

    Find someone who has gone through the same thing that you are going through, me, and also others. That someone can help you in a crisis moment (and you’ll maybe experience it one day or already have, but I really hope not, it’s terrible to go through). Knowing someone who understands you through their own experience of it is very comforting and they would have a sense of what to do, even just sit with you till you have upraise from the battle in your war. I don’t know when the war will be won for me, and others like us feel the same, a lot have been fighting for years and can’t see when it’s going to end, and very few have won their wars.

    Don’t give up, find strategies to avoid battles, and to get through the war without much casualties. You’re young and vise versa, so we both have paths that we see and know what will happen in each that look very undesirable, but we need to choose one crappy path to find a smooth one which could be a long or short walk.

    Keep Fighting Young & Burnout Old.

    • Michele says:

      Hi Roman,
      I was researching the topic of Suicide for a talk I’ll be giving. I just read your post. Thank you for ALL the honest, raw and detailed information you shared. You are very brave to put it all out there. I want to recognize you for strength to face and fight your internal battles. You are a true hero (afraid, but facing your fear)! Just want you to know that I read this. I honor your experience. You matter.

    • Brenda says:

      Roman, I can’t thank you enough for your detailed comment.

      My father, uncle and cousin have taken their own lives and it still feels surreal to me that I can even think these thoughts when I know how it effects everyone. I guess it shows how powerful the brain really is, you know it’s not right and you don’t ever want to be in this state but it’s hard to know how to stop it when those feelings come.
      I’ve put it down to the fact that suicide has been quite normalised in my family.

      When I get in this state I often know there’s so many things I could do to feel better but I don’t know where to start and end up feeling frozen to the chair. I’m printing out your list and sticking it to my fridge 🙂

  27. Suzi says:

    The thoughts of suicide comes as a comfort in the morning, almost like a promise to get me through the day. And at night again I promise my self it will happen and fall asleep with less chaos in my mind. And rest easy. The scary moments are when you are willing but your body is not. And you start all over again.
    Perhaps I have a hormone imbalance like ‘oKay’. Perhaps I should talk with a doctor. I’m just not sure which one. Or when.
    But I know the joy you can regain from walking out of this cloud but the cloud is just so much easier to sit in.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Im dealing with someone that came to my life about 2 months ago, we really connected. Later she confessed to me that she had planned to kill herself the day after she went to meet me. She said she couldn’t do it, and that I saved her… She have had some episodes since always at night when she feels lonely and she expressed to me her wishes to stop breathing. The problem is we live and work 2 hours apart and im very scared, she does not talk about this with anyone but me.

  29. oKay says:

    I discovered that mine is mostly hormonal. The week before my period I always feel empty, crazy & ready for this to end. The statement I tell myself is: “This is just temporary and you will not feel this way in 2 weeks.” (even though I argue this is going to recycle again every month). Sometimes it’s not hormonal and it’s just random through the month or during seasonal memories. Again with those times, I remind myself “it’s temporary, it will pass & be ok. Your kids need you to be in their life” Thanks for having this helpful website.

  30. MS says:

    For every day I experience intolerable pain, I am one day closer to finding happiness again.

  31. mfisher says:

    “This too shall pass.”

  32. Lianne Crofts says:

    This is the most wonderful, compassionate – yet practical – site I have come across. Thank you.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      What wonderful feedback, Lianna. Thank you. You just made my day! 🙂

  33. Tamara G. Suttle, M.Ed., LPC says:

    Stacey, I love this idea of writing notes to yourself or others and can’t wait to share this with my clients and colleagues, too! Thanks for sharing such a practical idea with us!

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Tamara! I hope that this post is helpful to others. It is interesting to hear what coping statements people come up with for themselves. What might seem cliche to one person can have profound meaning to another. Whatever works!

  34. Anonymous says:

    I have a fortune from a few years back that I keep in my purse. It says “Never give up.” I find that helps… Even if I disagree with it.

  35. Anonymous says:

    You are important to the people around you and would hurt them more by not being in their lives.

  36. krakenmbp says:

    The meaning of life is to give life meaning

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      That is a fantastic coping statement. Reminds me of a magnet I have on my file cabinet: “To the world you might be just one person, but to one person you might be the world.”

  37. A U BASAVARAJA says:

    knowing about suicide helps to get rid from suicidal ideas

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      Hello A U Basavaraja, there was a time when suicide was a taboo topic. It still is, to a degree, but more and more people are talking about suicide, saying the name, telling their suicidal experiences, sharing their suicide losses, and joining together to fight suicide. You are absolutely right – knowledge about suicide and talking about it are two of our greatest weapons against suicide. Thanks for sharing!

  38. Syster Haa says:

    I go to God with it. Reading & thinking about other things does bring solutions too, but to have an advocate is the BEST.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Don’t you know that sometimes we just snap because of one cruel comment by someone we love who matters to us?

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      “Anonymous,” that is awful that someone you love speaks cruelly to you. I am not sure what you mean about when you say that you just “snap” as a result. Is it that their cruelty provokes suicidal thoughts in you? Or is it that their cruelty exacerbates suicidal thoughts that already were present and makes you want to act on them?

      In any case, coping statements can help. Even if someone makes a cruel remark to you, you do not have to believe it or to get angry at yourself or to take your anger toward them out on yourself. If a child on the playground were being cruelly teased, what would you recommend to him or her? Would it be for them to die by suicide? How about an adult who is told something cruel by a parent or partner? What are other courses of action that you might recommend besides suicide? Could these possibilities apply to you, too?

      Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” I think that statement is a little simplistic, but it does point to a greater truth, and that it is that we must get “hooked” by someone’s words in order for those words to hurt us. If someone says something cruel to me and I know their words are absurd, I just think the person is ridiculous, with no injury done to myself. But if they say something cruel to me that I have also thought about myself, or that I wonder about, or that I believe, then their words will hurt. For these reasons, it can be helpful to remind yourself that you do not need to believe the cruel remark, and that it might be wrong, and that even if it is true, it does not define you, and if in some way it does define you, then you can change — and so on. Talk back, if not to the person, then to the part of yourself that believes their words.

      Finally, perhaps the person you care about is verbally abusing you. This can dramatically undermine your feelings of self worth. If so, I urge you to read about verbal abuse. Here is a good place to start: Are You a Victim of Verbal Abuse?

      I wish you the best in your process, and thanks for sharing!

  40. what a great resource!

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