Your survival is important, so the first thing to remember is that whatever you need to do in order to get by is okay. (Unless you start doing something illegal I guess.) If you can’t go to work, university, school or whatever it is you do – that’s okay. If you can’t face cleaning your house – that’s okay. If you have a sudden desire to eat a pint of ice-cream – that’s okay. It’s called self-care and is quite frankly a term I’ve heard so much about I’ve grown a little bored of it.
Learn/Practice a skill:
When I was at my worst I baked. I enjoyed baking before, but I was never any good at it but being unwell gave me the opportunity to work on this skill. Not only did it keep my hands busy but I also achieved something which is great for improving your self esteem. If you’re struggling with concentration, pick something practical like this to get you out of your head, and into an activity. It takes up time where you could be pondering how awful your life is – and if I’m honest, mulling in your sadness will only make things worse.
Build a safety net:
You may think that nobody understands but even with this perspective, people can still help. When feeling this low it can be tempting to avoid people altogether and become very secluded, but this won’t help. Sure, some days it’s okay to spend time alone doing something you enjoy, but there are people who will want to help – because you’re precious! So every so often arrange to meet someone, even if you text them twenty minutes before and they only come over for a coffee. It’ll remind you that people care.
Search for the positives:
This can be tricky, so start simple. Name one thing you like about yourself: something you’re good at, a physical feature, are you kind or loyal or funny? If that’s too hard right now try naming one thing you’re grateful for: do you have a roof over your head, hot meals, friends? Even the simplest things count and I promise it gets easier with practise.
What relaxes you? You might find this tough, but take a bit of time to yourself and chill out. Have a bath, watch some TV, read a book; anything that takes your mind off your worries and takes care of you. Just think, you’d do it for someone else you love – love yourself for a change!
Live in the moment:
If the future freaks you out, which it definitely did for me, then focus on what’s happening right now. Rather than planning weeks or days in advance, wake up in the morning and decide what you want to do right now. It doesn’t matter if you’re not productive or if you spend all day in your jammies, the important thing is that you’re focusing on the small things and trying to enjoy them.
Remember what’s precious:
When I was at my lowest I was asked by a doctor what my ‘preventative methods’ were. If I’m honest, there weren’t any that worked right then, but I realised that those things were the most precious things to me. I have lots of little cousins, and I wanted to see them grow up without pain. One of them gave me a fossil, I carried it with me everywhere to remind me that he loved me and looked up to me – to remind me that he needed me in his life. So grab an object that reminds you of something important, and cling to it.
A couple of years ago I was living like this every day in order to survive to the next. You don’t have to think about surviving till you’re sixty, or even until next week, just focus on surviving until tomorrow and deal with the next day when it comes. I know everyone says it’ll get easier, but I can promise you that it does – because I’ve been in that place and I’ve survived.
Here’s some other really useful advice on surviving with suicidal feelings:
If you’re in a crisis and could do with a little more help please call someone. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak, we all need reinforcements now and then.