After your attempt, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed, confused and tired and you may still be having thoughts of suicide. While there are no magic answers to feeling better, others who have survived an attempt say that the tips below were helpful for them.
You may still find yourself facing suicidal thoughts after your suicide attempt, even if you have made a decision that you want to live. Suicidal thoughts are often triggered by the need to feel relief from some unbearable pain (physical or emotional) in your life. If the sources of that pain are still present, the need to feel relief will likely be there as well.
Complete a Safety Plan and Keep it Nearby
While suicide may be one way to end the pain you are experiencing, it is a very serious option that can have devastating effects on you and those closest to you. Sometimes stress and depression can prevent you from trying other options to end your pain that may have more positive effects.
It’s hard to think about your future when you are in unbearable pain. A Safety Plan can be a wonderful tool to help you recognize the things in your life that cause you pain and lead to your thoughts of suicide AND help you incorporate other ways of coping with your pain so ultimately you can feel better and be safe.
Using this Safety Plan (include link) can help you to find ways both on your own and with the help of others that can ease your pain and suicidal thoughts. You can also find Safety Planning Apps at (http://www.my3app.org/) or (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/safety-plan/id695122998?mt=8).
Let Others Help You
When possible, you should consider letting others help you. It may be hard to remember things or to make important decisions after your attempt and having someone else to help with these things can reduce your stress. You may want to have someone stay with you until you are feeling better or stay at the home of a family member or friend, especially if being alone might be difficult for you.
Establish a Routine
Establishing a routine is an important part of your recovery. Ensuring that you take care of your physical needs is important. Make a plan that includes eating, exercise and regular sleep. And remember, it’s okay to take things slow.
It’s important to keep appointments, even when you might feel like you don’t want to. Working with a doctors and/or counselors may help you to determine what your needs are after your attempt. It is important to find a doctor or counselor that you feel comfortable with – this may mean trying several options before you find the right match.
Your doctor may prescribe medication, only you can decide if this is an option for you. If you do try medication as an option, remember that it may take several weeks for it to begin working and if you feel an improvement it is important to continue to take the medication as prescribed in order for it to have lasting effects. You may also have to try several different types of medication to find the one that works for you.
Remove things that you might use to Harm Yourself
As an attempt survivor, it is likely that suicide became one of the strategies you developed to end a painful situation you were experiencing. It is natural for human beings to want to avoid pain. When pain is unbearable, you need relief and you probably want it quickly. While suicide may seem like a quick way to end your pain, it can have devastating consequences for you and the people who care about you.
A safety plan can help find alternate ways of relieving your pain that don’t involve ending your life. However, if you forget to use your plan, or it doesn’t make you feel better, having items close to you that you could use to harm yourself can create a dangerous situation. It is important, then, to remove items like guns, excess pills, rope or anything that you may use impulsively, in a moment of unbearable pain.
Limit the Use of Drugs and Alcohol
Many people use drugs or alcohol to help them cope with problems. While drugs and alcohol may initially dull the pain of a difficult situation, ultimately they usually make it worse. Drugs and alcohol impair judgment and cause feelings of depression and anxiety to become more intense.
Keep the Number to a Crisis Hotline Nearby
It is important to be able to talk to a nonjudgmental person who understands your struggles with suicide. Having a counselor or other supportive people to listen is great, but they may not always be available. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1-800-273-8255 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is free of charge. Counselors on the line are trained in suicide prevention and are available to provide a listening ear. Calls to the hotline are confidential and counselors will work with you to find alternatives that you are comfortable with to help keep you safe.