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. When life is unusually bad, they can ignite and become overwhelming.
Why does everyone need a suicide prevention plan?
We all have demons and they don’t retreat forever. Even with a subtle return, you can get caught a hundred different 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. Sometimes a pandemic happens and life as you know it is over. Sometimes find yourself alone or with someone you don’t want to be with…
Learning how to have self-esteem is no easy feat for people in recovery. So, when negative events happen that cause us to question our value in the world, or become afraid of what’s going to happen next, our self-destructive brains can throw a rave, and go right back to old thinking. Because that old toxic thinking is 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 don’t do the things that keep me grounded and stable. I start isolating (emotionally and physically). Maybe my old thinking comes 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 various recovery experience, I can still create a full fantasy of negative thoughts.
Suddenly, without even thinking it’s weird, I’ll become completely convinced that I’m not going to get what I want. I’m going to lose what I have. People don’t like me. My work isn’t any good, etc., etc.. Then, the thoughts go to suicide. It’s that quick and easy. Because it’s something I’ve been doing my whole life.
Having a suicide prevention plan tells you what to do
When my life feels really out of control, my first order of business is to call a doctor and make an appointment. During times like this right now, I call people in recovery. I confess to people who know how to help me, and I do what they say and I get back on the beam as quickly as possible. This is probably what I’m proudest of in life—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.
From my personal experience, all I can say is I had to get to a place in recovery 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 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.