If you've ever felt like you didn't want to live anymore, you're far from alone. Unfortunately, very few of us don't experience a period of depression at some point in our lives. However, while it's not unusual to feel depressed and hopeless - or even to plan a suicide attempt - when life seems particularly difficult, these feelings should be taken very seriously.
Feeling that you want to give up on life may be just a fleeting emotion, but it can sometimes lead to suicide. So when these feelings arise, it's vital that you reach out to a doctor, teacher, family member or friend. Alternatively, call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 0800 689 5652, where help is always at hand. With the correct treatment, you can start to feel happy and enjoy life again.
Thoughts about suicide are known as suicidal ideation. However, that doesn't just mean taking steps to end your life. You may also experience passive suicidal ideation. This is when you feel you have lost the will to live without making any definite plan to die by suicide. Passive suicidal ideation should be taken seriously because it can be the precursor to developing plans to take one's life.
If you are worried that someone may be having thoughts of suicide, behaviours to look out for include:
Other risk factors for suicidal ideation include mood disorders such as anxiety, bipolar disorder and depressive disorders. It is also linked to hormonal conditions such as postpartum depression and perimenopause. Other risk factors include Borderline Personality Disorder and PTSD.
Life circumstances such as bereavement, divorce, losing one's job or the breakup of a relationship can also make one feel that life is no longer worth living. In addition, situational depression that causes one to have thoughts of suicide can develop when a person has difficulty adjusting to dramatic life changes.
Someone who suffers from a chronic health problem may no longer want to live because of that condition. Other life events that may trigger thoughts of suicide include:
The breakup of a relationship can cause someone to feel like a failure. And staying in a bad relationship or dead-end job may also cause one to think that life isn't worth living.
Unresolved trauma can also cause suicidal ideation. People abused in childhood or who have suffered more recent trauma that has left them with PTSD may feel that the world is not a safe place for them.
Burnout can also trigger suicidal thoughts. A demanding lifestyle with little or no downtime can leave people feeling that life is just a series of tasks. And it's not just people in high-pressure roles such as medicine. Parents and carers can also feel they have no time for self-reflection and lose a sense of themselves.
If you or someone you know feels like they don't want to live any longer, make an appointment with a physician or mental health professional. The first step is to talk about your feelings, and then your doctor can make a diagnosis and discuss which treatment options will work best for you.
It's true that there are some situations, diseases or disorders you have no control over and can't be changed. But you can choose how you react to them. So even if you feel life is dark, there is always light and joy for you to find again as you heal.
The following steps may help you on your road to recovery.
Talk about your feelings to a family member, trusted friend or therapist. Find someone who is supportive and non-judgemental. Asking for help without feeling guilty is essential to the recovery process.
Try to refocus your thoughts away from the negative things in your life. Instead, look for things that can help you discover happiness. For example, make time daily for something you enjoy - small things like watching a movie, taking a bath or listening to music can help you feel more optimistic.
You may find this very challenging at first. But, for many people, exercise, especially outside in nature, helps to decrease stress and boosts self-esteem and confidence. If you haven't exercised recently, start slowly by making time for a short daily stroll.
Bach Flower Mix 65 for dejection can help bring meaning back into your life and block recurring suicidal thoughts. This blend of Bach flowers also boosts your self-belief and helps you to be more attentive to life.
A mantra - a phrase that gives you strength - can help you through tricky situations. Find a quote, phrase or word that strikes a chord. You can say it out loud or, if there are people around, in your head. There are endless options but some that you may find helpful include:
Of course, you must put your own physical and mental health first. But once you have accessed therapy for yourself, try volunteering somewhere you can help others. Helping someone else to be happy has a fantastic way of lifting the darkness from your own life.
The most important decision you can make is to choose happiness. You have options. Even if there are things you can't change, you can change how you respond. Don't let life just happen to you. Fight to make changes and rediscover joy once more.
Do you have enough resilience to face the world out there? Take our quiz to find out how resilient you are and find tips on how to build your mental resilience.
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