You may need a suicide prevention plan and not even know it. Here’s a tough fact. Mental illness and addiction are described as insidious and baffling for a reason. They persist even when life is pretty good.

Why does everyone need a suicide prevention plan

We all have demons and they don’t retreat forever. Sometimes you start having fantasies about it all stopping, and that’s when you’re in the danger zone. You can get caught a hundred ways. Maybe your stinking thinking starts with a high-pressure job that puts you off your self-care regime. Maybe it begins with a person who comes into your life and treats you in a way that triggers old stuff. Sometimes you lose a job or a relationship and start to feel vulnerable. Learning how to have self-esteem was no easy feat for me, so when negative events happen that cause us to question our value in the world, our self-destructive brains can throw a rave, and we go right back to old thinking. Because it’s so deeply wired, it never really goes away.

What Happens When You Aren’t Vigilant

This is what happens to me. When I’m not prioritizing recovery, I can start to forget all the things that keep me grounded and stable. I start isolating. Maybe my old thinking has come back in ways that open me up to the wrong kinds of people or advice. It happens without my realizing it. The point is, at my age, after 20 years of recovery experience, I still recently had a series of events that led me back to a place I never want to be. It’s scary. And, it’s dangerous.

When it doesn’t feel weird to have bad thoughts

Suddenly, without even thinking it’s weird, I’ll be working for four days barely eating or sleeping. Then maybe other thoughts start to enter my head as being a good idea. Then I’m starting to fantasize about suicide. It’s that quick and easy.

Having a suicide plan tells you what to do

When my life feels out of control, my first order of business is to call a doctor and make an appointment. I call people in recovery. I confess to people who know how to help me, and I do what they say. We get me back on the beam quickly before any real damage is done. This is probably what I’m proudest of—not my work, or anything superficial—that today I can recognize the signs of my mental health issues coming on and get the help I need to keep me safe and alive.

Growing up in recovery gave me tools

From my personal experience, all I can say is I had to get to a place where when I know I’m going to the bad place; I’m willing to stop what I’m doing and get the help I need no matter the consequences. It takes time, energy, and willingness to take advice from the experts.

If you struggle with suicidal feelings,

If you are someone who struggles with these issues, there is hope. You can learn to be a survivor. Naturally, as with every disease, there is a spectrum and some will be sicker than others. But, if you find yourself graced with the willingness to learn about your issues, get the help you need, even if it means dealing with past struggles, you can get better and better. If finances are a problem, there are literally 12-step programs for everything, and they work for millions of people.

Most of the time, my life is excellent, and I worked hard to discover what that recovery life looks like. But sometimes it gets disrupted, and things happen that cause a relapse in health and wellness, and my demons come back. Luckily, my education in addiction recovery and mental health awareness has taught me what to do—how to get the right help, practice in being willing to do whatever it takes, and the discipline to get myself back to a healthy place quickly.

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Lindsey Glass

Lindsey Glass is the co-founder of Reach Out Recovery. Her 2016 ASAM Media Award winning documentary, The Secret World Of Recovery, has helped to lift the stigma from addiction and recovery and is used in recovery programs nationwide to show what life is like on the other side of addiction. Lindsey's teen prevention documentary, The Silent Majority, was distributed to PBS stations nationwide by American Public Television in 2014-15. Lindsey has written dozens of popular articles on recovery. She is a recovery advocate and frequent keynote speaker. Lindsey is the author of 100 Tips for Growing Up, My 20 Years of Recovery, 2019. Before focusing on recovery, Lindsey was a TV and screenwriter. She has worked in publishing, web development, and marketing.


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