Today it is my pleasure to host guest blogger Melissa Howard. Melissa believes that every suicide is preventable. After losing her younger brother to suicide, she felt compelled to create StopSuicide.info. By providing helpful resources and articles on her website, she hopes to build a lifeline of information. Please take the time to click on material that is hyperlinked.
Mental health is an enormously important issue. Unfortunately, there will be times when one’s mental health goes through adverse changes, subtle or overt, that can have a significant impact on quality of life. If unaddressed or overlooked, it can develop into thoughts of suicide. Being aware of the symptoms is critical to knowing when to seek out support and start healing.
When to Seek Help
It’s hugely important to be vigilant when facing any sort of emotional downturn, even more so if there’s a family history of mental health issues. The impact it can have on your life, work, studies, and relationships can escalate quickly if not addressed, and may lead to thoughts of suicide and self-harm. Symptoms will vary by person, but there are usually common signs that indicate it’s time to seek help. You may find yourself disinterested in things that once gave joy, or even avoiding friends and family. There may be a loss of focus or unexplained crying. You may no longer feel you have the energy to work or study and may even find the act of getting out of bed quite overwhelming. These feelings of listlessness and fatigue can affect every aspect of your life, potentially leading to isolation and a sense of hopelessness. It’s essential to seek professional support, especially so if symptoms have persisted for weeks. Seeking help can be a terrifying prospect, but it will provide immeasurable relief and help treat whatever you’re dealing with. There will be crisis lines, and doctors should have information on what sort of services, such as therapy, are available to you. Such support can provide you with a lot of the tools to help you get better.
Keeping Up Wellness
When you’re facing serious mental health issues, self-care can be incredibly difficult, leaving your physical and emotional well-being neglected. No matter what help you’re receiving, it’s still important to find ways to look after your own needs. Self-care can be very basic, but truly essential. Showering, eating healthily, and staying hydrated are some invaluable things you can do to achieve this. Of course, maintaining an exercise routine can be challenging, but the positive effect it can have on self-esteem and mood can be significant. Opening up is something else that can also be truly beneficial. When facing emotional downturns, it can be easy to withdraw and try to get through everything privately. But if you do have someone in your life that you trust, tell them what you’re going through. Try, also, to stay active, whether that involves a quick walk or hanging out with friends, it can be a welcome change of pace. Another thing to consider is a safety plan. This could contain trusted numbers, emergency contacts, affirming words, and treatment techniques.
Suicide and Addiction
When faced with any downturn in mood, such as depression, it can be tempting for some to alleviate symptoms by taking substances. They might seem like an escape, but that is usually fleeting, and they quickly exacerbate the symptoms and worsen long-term mental health. Substance abuse can also have a harmful effect on relationships, creating more isolation and loneliness, if that is already an issue. This can quickly result in a habitual coping mechanism that can lead to addiction. As substances can remove inhibitions and impair judgement, it can also intensify suicidal thoughts. Research has shown substances to be a major risk factor in thinking about, and attempting, suicide. Indeed, one in three suicides occur under the influence of opioids or alcohol. Addiction, thankfully, is a treatable condition, and recovery itself helps improve mental health.
Don’t feel alone. You do not have to face what you’re going through by yourself. Sometimes it may not seem like it, but these feelings and thoughts are temporary. Thankfully, whatever the cause, it will be treatable, and remember to practice self-care as it will help you manage what you’re going through.
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