Depression brings about a lot of changes in a person's mind and body, such as feelings of apathy and hopelessness, and headaches and body pain. These changes are typically overwhelming and most of us need to rely on some coping mechanisms to be able to simply function on a day to day basis. Unfortunately, not all coping mechanisms are healthy and can harm the individual, even causing death if left unchecked. Suicidal ideation is one such negative coping mechanism that is best avoided by a depressive. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
Healthy sleep in recovery from mental illness is absolutely vital, but do you know when you're using sleep as a coping mechanism and when you're using it as avoidance? It can be a very fine line, but in this post and video, I talk about some of the good signs and red flags when it comes to healthy sleep in recovery from mental illness.
Years ago, I was the queen of passivity, but the dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) FAST skill helped me overcome it. It used to be that I avoided conflict and difficult conversations at all costs and refused to put my needs and desires first. I would come up with scripts in my head of what to say; however, as soon as an intense conversation would begin, I felt my self-respect fade away ("Show Yourself Respect: How to Communicate with Confidence"). I wished that I could trade in my copious amounts of passivity for self-respect, but something always got in the way. Fortunately, in the past year, I have learned how to maintain self-respect during a conflict by following a few simple steps set out by the DBT FAST skill.
Suicide can be a tough topic to discuss among those suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Though around 56% of people with PTSD experience suicidal thoughts, ideation, or actions, admitting to having those feelings can feel shameful. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
How can we honor someone who has died by suicide? Since suicide is unfortunately common (it’s the second leading cause of death in the US for people aged 15 to 34), it’s likely we all know someone who has died by suicide. A death in that manner can be a sensitive topic. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
The feeling that life is meaningless can lead to suicidal ideation. This ideation is thoughts about suicide without the intention to follow through with it. While suicidal ideation is common and can pass quickly, it can become dangerous if it is not treated. I find writing to be a healthy way to cope with suicidal ideation. Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to use writing as a healthy coping technique. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
We don't talk about anxiety and suicide very often. In fact, when we think about suicide, the first association that comes to mind is often depression. The link between suicidality and depression has been documented not only in the research literature but also in much of the media we consume, to the extent that the majority of people are aware of this link. Unfortunately, we are much less aware as a society of the impact that anxiety has on suicide. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
Shame and suicidal thoughts are often part of living with complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), especially after childhood trauma. When you are experiencing shame, those thoughts can become worse. Understanding how to identify shame and have self-compassion can help with suicide prevention. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
Suicide attempts are more prevalent than anyone would like. This means that there is a whole population of people out there who need a different kind of help than the one suicide prevention resources currently offer. This also means that many people may currently be finding themselves alive on the other end of a suicide attempt and wondering, “What happens after a suicide attempt?” (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
Having healthy coping skills and knowing how to practice them can play a major role in suicide prevention. When someone is struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, the pain and confusion he/she feels is often compounded by misinformation, incorrect beliefs, and unhealthy coping skills. Yet, these are often the only things a person suffering from a mental health crisis has at his/her disposal. It's time to change this now by having educational conversations about mental health, suicide, and healthy coping skills. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)