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What if I’m Having Suicidal Thoughts?

Depression and suicidal thoughts are common in addiction. If you are having suicidal thoughts, you don’t have to face them alone. Call a friend or family member who will listen. If you are in therapy or a 12 Step program, call your therapist or sponsor. If you can’t call any of those people, or you just don’t want to, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Or you can chat with them online. They’re always open.

There are often two beliefs underlying suicidal thoughts–”I’m worthless,” and “Life is awful and it will never get better.” Neither is true. The belief that your worthless is just a feeling. You can probably come up with a lot of evidence to support that belief, but in your current mood, you can’t see the evidence to contradict it. Also, we are seldom aware of what we mean to other people. Consider for a moment, every person you’ve ever liked, respected, or admired. Did you tell every single one explicitly what he or she meant to you? Probably not. Why do you think you know what you mean to others? People would be deeply hurt by losing you, in ways you might not realize.

And all that “evidence” that you’re worthless? It doesn’t matter. That’s just stuff you’ve done. You can do different things tomorrow. Suicide won’t erase whatever bad you’ve done; it will only make it impossible to do good in the future.

The belief that life is awful and it will never get better is also false. Life may feel awful, and you may really dislike your current circumstances, but if anything, that is evidence life will improve. Things change constantly. If you at the peak intensity of despair and self-loathing, you are not likely to stay there. You have probably felt similar despair before, and if you think about it, you will remember that it didn’t last. It’s true, you’re back in the hole now, but that’s not inevitable. At some point, you will feel a little better and then you can figure out what to do next.

More importantly, if you’re carrying the weight of your whole future at every moment of your life, of course you’ll despair. Not only does that cause tremendous pressure and anxiety, but your current state prevents you from seeing anything good ahead. It’s true you probably won’t chart a course from despair to happiness in five easy steps, but you can and will feel a little better, and from there you can figure out how to feel a little better still.

Life is iterative. It changes unpredictably. You only have to make the best decision you can now, and tomorrow, make the best decision you can then. If you think back on your life, some of the best things were things you never saw coming. You can’t predict the future any more than you can predict the weather six months from now. Your belief that your future will be terrible is not even wrong; it’s meaningless because you fundamentally can’t know. As hard as it is to let go of your bleak vision of your future, letting it go to focus on the present will immediately make you feel better. Only deal with this moment. You can get through it.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox safely and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.