Recovering from suicidal thoughts

A young person with pink hair is surrounded by images of a sun rising and a flower growing, to represent the process of recovering from suicidal thoughts

T/W This article includes references to suicide and suicidal thoughts. If you are struggling with this, contact our Crisis Messenger 24 hours a day.  You can also contact SamaritansCALM, or Papyrus, who specialise in supporting people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts.  

A young person who volunteers at The Mix wrote this article about their experience of having suicidal thoughts and how they recovered from this.

My experience of suicidal thoughts

I have a few notes pinned in my Notes app. Notes that I use daily, whether it just be a rant note, checklists, or more important notes. But two of the notes I’ve pinned give me a feeling I still can’t put into words. I haven’t had the courage to delete them though. The two notes, addressed to my best friends, are suicide notes.

I can confidently say that I don’t experience suicidal thoughts anymore. I’m in a much better place, away from all that darkness. Finally found my light. So why do I keep these notes? A part of me holds onto them as they remind me of the people I love. It reminds me of the fact that I got through it. I made it and here I am writing about it.

When it started

My first experience was when I was 16. Overdosing, getting taken into hospital, my mum confused as to why I did this. I told myself I wouldn’t attempt again, but life has its ways. When I was 19, my friends were hiding knives away from me, scared I’d do anything to myself at any moment. I can’t use the term ‘life-savers’ lightly to describe my best friends, as they’ve legitimately saved my life a few times too many.

Why am I saying any of this? Why remind me of it all? Because I’m happy now. Somehow. And maybe you need to hear it too. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you will get through it too. I’ve experienced very bad anxiety, OCD and suicidal thoughts and I’m here now. Our own strength might get clouded by our thoughts sometimes, and you might not be able to believe this. But you can find peace. You can find happiness. You can find light.

Support from my friends

For all who support those suffering from anything dark – I appreciate you. We all appreciate you, as you make this world an easier place to live in. Your efforts go a long way, and we all need to learn from you. It can be hard knowing what to do in such situations.

Having experienced suicidal thoughts myself, as well as being a friend to someone experiencing mental health problems, I’ve learnt that the best thing you can do is listen. A lot of the time, people suffering from harmful thoughts, anxiety, depression, OCD and all the many other forms of mental health problems just feel as though they are not worth anyone’s time, or that they shouldn’t speak up about anything. In these cases, it can be hard to get them to open up to you.

My friends never forced me to open up, but always reminded me that they were there for me. This helped me build up trust in them and believe that they were there for me, and not just because they were curious but because they actually cared about me. If any of your friends or family are in such situations, facing mental health problems, I advise you to respect their space but remind them that you are there for them no matter what. It will truly mean a lot.

The importance of opening up

That also leads me on to mention how important it is to know the value of opening up. For those of you going through any hardships, it can feel like the best way to go about it is by bottling up your emotions and not speaking about what is going on. This will mean that no one has the chance to help you. It’s difficult to speak about hardships and may take some time for you to open up – there is no pressure for you to talk about each and every thing immediately.

What’s important is to know that speaking your thoughts and trusting someone to listen (it can be just one person) can be extremely beneficial, as it can feel like a big weight is off your shoulders. Yes, you will possibly carry on feeling the same feelings you were feeling before opening up, but now there will be someone to check up on you and show you the care that you’d want at this time. For those having suicidal thoughts, this can also be a way to keep you safe.

Read our article on who to talk to about your mental health for more tips.

Things I did to help myself recover

As much as others can help us, helping ourselves is extremely beneficial. If you’re able to do stuff to help yourself (which can be very hard for some – you can take just one step at a time), take some inspo from the following!

Here are some of the things that I did to help myself:

  • Journaled all my thoughts: I wrote down everything, including things I found hard to tell my friends. Getting all my thoughts out on paper helped me feel less overwhelmed – I highly recommend this!
  • Spoke to my university department about my mental health and deferred exams: I still completed my exams but at a later date so that I could have time aside from my academics to fully focus on recovering.
  • Cleaned my spaces: I found that it was much easier for me to feel anxious when the space around me was untidy. Tidying up helped me feel more at ease, and I still do this whenever I feel like my anxiety is increasing again.
  • Read self-help books: These include ‘Good Vibes, Good Life: How self-love is the key to unlocking your greatness’, by Vex King (I still go back to this book here and there!).
  • Opened up to my friends.
  • Dance: any form of physical movement is of great help to mental health.
  • Attended therapy: I booked this through my university, with the support of my department. I’m not sure how much this personally helped me as I was only able to attend once I was starting to get better, but it was nice to hear a professional perspective on what I was going through.

A reminder though that healing isn’t linear – there will be bad days and good days. It’s near to impossible to completely change your thoughts and mindset in one go and so it’s fine if you feel as though some days are worse than others while trying to recover.

Being kind to those around you

The funny thing is, so many people who only know me superficially would have expected me to be such a happy person, whilst I was going through the darkest of times. Stuff may seem picture perfect, but you never really know what someone is going through – be wary of this and be kind to others. You never know whose life you might save with an act of kindness.

Just so you know, you’re loved and you’re stronger than you think you are 🙂

Next Steps

  • Anyone can contact the Samaritans on their 24-hour helpline to talk things through. 116 123
  • Papyrus supports young people who are feeling suicidal - you can call, email or text them. Call on 0800 068 41 41.
  • SANE offers support and information to people affected by mental illness. Call their helpline on 0300 304 7000, open 4:30pm - 10:30pm every day.
  • CALM is dedicated to preventing male suicide. Call their national helpline for free on 0800 58 58 58, 5pm-midnight, or visit their webchat service .
  • Our Crisis Messenger provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK. If you’re aged 25 or under, you can text THEMIX to 85258
  • Anyone can contact the Samaritans on their 24-hour helpline to talk things through. 116 123
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.

By Holly Turner

Updated on 02-Feb-2023

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