By Sarah Hugee, CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank
Mobile Crisis Counselor
Suicide is so hard to talk about. It is even harder to talk about when you are facing those thoughts yourself. It can feel like everything in life is adding more and more pressure until it becomes so heavy that you simply want it all to go away. Life can have you feeling defeated, isolated, and exhausted. Oftentimes, people talk themselves out of sharing these thoughts and feelings with loved ones for numerous reasons: they don’t want to be a burden, they believe others have it harder than themselves, and/or they don’t believe others will really care. While these filters can be loud and overbearing, there are things you can do and people you can talk to to overcome them.
How to help yourself
One of the most important parts of overcoming these heavy thoughts is taking care of yourself. For right now, stay safe for today. You don’t need to act on your thoughts right away. You don’t have to plan out the rest of your life. Those thoughts may come and go throughout your life, but focusing on the present is an ideal way to keep yourself safe.
Developing a crisis plan and following it during times of turmoil helps you stay safe and recover more effectively. Along with a crisis plan, having a personalized crisis box, a location filled with items that make you feel calmer, happier, and grounded, is a great way to support yourself in taking steps away from suicidal thoughts.
Giving yourself a break is a great way to combat suicidal thoughts and feelings. Finding a safe place (bedroom, crisis center, friend’s house, park) away from any triggers can support you in relaxing, distracting, and connecting with others. Relaxation and distraction can look different for everyone. Mindfulness activities such as yoga and meditation are two great tools that can support you in decompressing those thoughts and emotions. Other activities such as walking in nature, smelling and tasting your favorite foods, watching a movie, and singing are some common (but not exclusive) ways to ground yourself into the present moment.
Connecting with others is one of the most crucial parts of staying safe for now. Remember, no matter how you are feeling, there are people who want to listen and help. Let family and friends know what you are going through; they may be able to further support you in staying safe and feeling heard. Other people who can provide emotional support would be a therapist/counselor, teacher, religious/spiritual leader, or someone from a crisis line.
If you or someone you know needs to talk to a counselor immediately, you can reach out to your local mobile crisis team. In the Johnson County area, CommUnity has a Mobile Crisis Outreach team that is available 24/7/365. Call this number 1 (855) 581-8111 and ask for Mobile Crisis. CommUnity also has a crisis chat line where you can call, text, or chat with a crisis counselor. Call or text (855) 325-4296 to get connected. For a crisis center in the Johnson County area, the Guidelink Access Center is also a 24/7/365 service that supports people struggling with mental health and/or substance use crises. Call this number (319) 688-8000 to gather more information.
Suicidal thoughts are overwhelming and isolating, but you are not alone. There is always someone to lean on, personally or professionally. And when those thoughts of being burdensome or worthless or less than start to take over, remind yourself: “I am worth it. I deserve to be heard and loved. I deserve happiness and support.”