Day 261

For a while my friends and I have been planning to make a YouTube film for prevention of suicides. Here is the proposed script for it. It is inspired by I would be grateful for your comments and feedback.

“I am not a therapist. Only someone who knows what it is like to be in pain. Just like you.
I don’t know who you are. But right now you are here, which is good.
You are not alone.

I assume you are feeling pretty bad and considering ending your life.  If it were possible, I would be there with you at this moment, to sit and talk, face to face and heart to heart. But let us just do this for now.

I have 5 practical things that I would like to share with you.

In the deepest darkness of despair, being unsure about dying is okay and normal. The fact that you are still alive right now means you are still a little bit unsure. It means that even while you want to die, at the same time some part of you still wants to live. So let’s hang on to that, and keep going for a little longer.

Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain.

That’s all it’s about. You are not a bad person, or crazy, or weak, or flawed, because you feel suicidal. It doesn’t even mean that you really want to die – it only means that you have more pain than you can cope with right now. If weights are piled on your shoulders you will eventually collapse if enough weights are added, no matter how much you want to remain standing. Willpower has nothing to do with it.

What might be bearable to one person may not be bearable to another. The point at which the pain becomes unbearable depends on what kinds of coping resources you have. Individuals vary greatly in their capacity to withstand pain.

When pain exceeds coping resources, suicidal feelings are the result. Suicide is neither wrong nor right; it is not a defect of character; it is morally neutral. It is simply an imbalance of pain versus coping resources.

The five things to think about are:

  1. Firstly, people do get through this, even people who feel as badly as you are feeling now. Statistically, there is a very good chance that you are going to live. I hope that this information gives you some sense of hope.
  2. Give yourself some distance. Say to yourself, “I will wait 24 hours before I do anything.” Or a week. Remember that feelings and actions are two different things – just because you feel like killing yourself, doesn’t mean that you have to actually do it right this minute. Put some distance between your suicidal feelings and suicidal action. Even if it’s just 24 hours. You have already done it for 5 minutes, just by being here. You can do it for another 5 minutes by acting on the advise here. Keep going, and realize that while you still feel suicidal, you are not, at this moment, acting on it. That is very encouraging to me, and I hope it is to you.
  1. People often turn to suicide because they are seeking relief from pain. Remember that relief is a feeling. And you have to be alive to feel it. You will not feel the relief you so desperately seek if you are dead.
  1. Some people will react badly to your suicidal feelings, either because they are frightened, or angry; they may actually increase your pain instead of helping you, despite their intentions, by saying or doing thoughtless things. You have to understand that their bad reactions are about their fears, not about you.

There are people out there who can be with you in this horrible time, and will not judge you, or argue with you, or send you to a hospital, or try to talk you out of how badly you feel. They will simply care for you. Find one of them. Now. Use your time to tell someone what’s going on with you. It is okay to ask for help.  Try calling:

Samaritans UK- 08457909090

Hopeline UK- 08000684141

Calm UK – 0800585858

Carefully choose a friend or a minister, rabbi, imam or anyone else who is likely to listen.

Don’t give yourself the additional burden of trying to deal with this alone. Just talking about how you got to where you are releases an awful lot of pressure and might be just the thing needed for you to regain your balance.

  1. Suicidal feelings are traumatic. After they subside, you need to continue caring for yourself. Therapy is a really good idea. So are the various self-help groups available both in your community and on the Internet.

Well, it’s been a few minutes and you’re still with me. I’m so glad.

Since you have made it this far, you deserve a reward. I think you should gift yourself a coping resource. Remember, earlier I said that the idea is to make sure you have more coping resources than you have pain. So let’s give you another coping resource, or two, or ten…! until they outnumber your sources of pain.

Now, while this may have given you some small relief, the best coping resource we can give you is another human being to talk with. If you find someone who wants to listen, and tell them how you are feeling and how you got to this point, you will have increased your coping resources by one. Hopefully the first person you choose won’t be the last. There are a lot of people out there who really want to hear from you. It’s time to start looking around for one of them.

Now, I’d like you to call someone. Please.”

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