Sometimes it feels as though there is loss all around us. This sense of loss may stem from death through illness, injury, old age or by choice through suicide. For those who are suffering emotionally and physically and/or experiencing depression, mood instability, anxiety, etc., death by suicide may feel like the only option. It’s an option that may arise from the need for complete emotional escape, avoidance and inability to deal directly with pain.
Our minds can easily trap us by flooding us with overwhelming thoughts and trying to problem solve symptoms of emotional pain and depression. Unfortunately, it is not humanly possible to problem solve depression and life is too complicated to have one perfect solution for everything that we encounter. Our mind may trap us into believing that there is only one solution (a.k.a suicide). When thoughts of suicide enter the mind, we may turn our focus to ways to escape through death instead of focusing our minds on ways to live and work through pain. We may become so immersed in creating a suicide plan and an escape route that we forget that we have have the option to live.
While being empathetic and validating the experience of pain and suffering, I help clients who are suicidal see other alternatives and form a plan to live. Sometimes they have already forgotten that living is an option. A commitment to life, no matter how painful, distressing, frustrating and intolerable it can be, is actually one of the most fulfilling ways to live.
Take time to evaluate your commitment to life and think about resources and supports to utilize when distressing times occur. Arm yourself with these tools (and others too) and remember to use them. Remind yourself that you do not have to act on suicidal thoughts (or any thought for that matter). Attempt to see the beauty of life and find ways to increase your quality of life through social connections, joyful activities, etc. When times get really tough, take your mind away from death and focus on ways to live. If you believe that you have options for life, they will appear. As founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), professor and psychologist Dr. Steven C. Hayes states in his inspirational book title- “Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life.”