Trigger Warning/ Content warning:
Suicide, suicidal feelings.
Hi folks! Han from HATW here. This post is a tough one for me to write but one I feel is worthwhile. Basically, I’ve been a little quiet the last few months on the Heads front because I’ve been having a bit of a rough time.
A rough time might be a little bit of an understatement. I think it’s safe to say my mental health had taken a big dip. I was spending long days and nights crying- unable to cope with memories from the past, traumas that have happened over the years and an overwhelming sense that I was a burden to everyone around me and completely useless at everything.
Things got pretty bad and I didn’t know what to do or where to turn because I was so clouded by the heaviness of my depression. There were moments of light when I’d make a break through in therapy or moments of laughter when catching up with my pals or going to a gig or festival.
It was in those moments where I felt a little more positive that I’d furiously scribble down some ideas or plans for when I had a low point again. Thus, my super catchy titled “I’m feeling super low and really rubbish and like I maybe don’t want to be here Action Plan to make these times a little easier” was born. On this years World Suicide Prevention Day, I thought I’d share it with you in the hope it helps or maybe even plants some seeds of self-care for you if you’re feeling ‘not great’ so to speak. This isn’t going to work for everyone and I can certainly respect that everything I suggest below is quite low level intervention-wise but it’s worked for me so far and gotten me through those low times. It might help you or someone you care about. It might not; but it’s worth a shot.
When I feel like my emotions are out of control and I’m not 100% sure what could happen, I get myself somewhere safe. I go where I feel comfortable. This could be a friends house so I’m around people who care about me, or even just putting myself to bed to make sure I’m out of harms way. If it’s the middle of the day and you’re out and about go to your favorite cafe, or to somewhere with beautiful nature, or an open space. Whatever floats your boat. This is not the time to walk around at night or put myself in potentially dangerous situations.
I try and relax myself as much as possible. That could be having a nice hot bath, popping a hot water bottle in bed with me, or just wrapping myself up in my duvet and listening to some quiet chilled music. I’ll often crack out films from my youth that I find comforting (see The Goonies, Hocus Pocus, anything from the Mighty Ducks oeuvre), and heck if there’s a dog near by I’ll surely have them glued to my lap for a cuddle. Even though I might be having a big old cry I will take this opportunity to make myself as comfy and cosy as possible so that maybe I can just sleep through it. I always feel better after a nap. My head feels clearer and I feel less chaotic and more able to rationalise my feelings. There’s a few suggestions of other things to try here.
When I’m at crisis point I’ll often sit there absolutely distraught looking at my phone just wishing for someone to reach out. I find it hard to want to put my stuff on to someone else. But I know from losing friends to suicide personally, that your loved ones would do anything to make that burden easier… if they are aware of it. Everyone has busy, complicated lives and we aren’t always 100% focused on those around us, or the subtle hints that they might be struggling. When I’m in a bad way, I find it impossible to reach out but it’s something I’m working on. When I’m in a good place I let my friends know I’ve been at crisis point and they always say “message anytime! Call me for a chat if you feel like this again”. So I try and hold on to that. I’ll open up to my boyfriend and tell him when I need space and when I need that extra support and kindness. I’ll message pals and say I’m having a bit of a rough patch. Letting those in your life know what you need is a good start, or even just saying “I’m struggling right now” is a good place to begin building from.
Whilst it’s great to have those around you clued in when you’re struggling with negative thoughts, it’s also important to try and do something about it to keep you as safe as possible. Speaking to or messaging a helpline is not as daunting as it sounds and is a good way to just vent and get things off your chest. Here’s a list of some other helplines to check out on our website:
H E L P L I N E S
Speaking to your GP and letting them know you’re having intense low points might help you get on a counselling waiting list or might introduce the option of medicine. I personally, will always make a point of discussing any suicidal feelings with my therapist (I go private to Affordable Talk Cardiff – a slightly shorter session at half the price of regular counselling I’ve had before). They will listen, try and help you get to the root of these feelings, and then suggest things you can do to help yourself. If you are in immediate danger and are making plans to complete suicide then we suggest you contact the Samaritans and they will advise you on what you need to do – you can reach them on 116 123. If you have seriously harmed yourself or have taken a drug overdose or ingested anything toxic then contact 999 immediately.
In these ‘up’ times I make lists of rad things that have happened since my last low point that I would have missed if I wasn’t here, or things that are awesome and keep me going.
– Had an awesome chat with Becky that made me feel a lot better.
– Had a laugh DJing with Karl and Rob on the weekend.
– Found out that Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer are potentially touring together and this might come to the UK!
– Went swimming.
– Mum and Dad are going through a tough time and need me here to show them some love and give them some support.
Just writing things down helps me visualise the good times and the reasons to keep going or things I would miss. Even if they are really simple and small. Focus on the good stuff, the stuff that gets you going and makes you want to be alive.
I wish I could sit here and tell you that I’m never going to feel like this again, and that everything’s fine now. It’s not, but I have to keep going for so many reasons. Reasons I list often and force myself to look at. My good friend Luke told me today that his goal is “to have less bad days than I did the year before, because you’re never not going to have a bad day, you just have to have less.” And I think that’s something rad to work towards.
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