This post is based on my experience with suicidal thoughts and depression. I do not claim to be a doctor and know all the answers (even though doctors usually don’t know all the answers anyway) I’m simply sharing tips on what would have helped me and could have helped to prevent suicidal thoughts. I’ve seen my mum be depressed for 20+ years, I know whats helped her and what hasn’t. I’m also reading ‘Reasons To Stay Alive’ by Matt Haig; a brilliant author who like myself doesn’t have all the answers but knows from his own experience what it means to want to die and what it means to want to stay alive. I hope this post can help someone, if it helps ones person then it has served it’s purpose.
It’s World Suicide Prevention Day
Yesterday saw world suicide prevention day and although I probably should have posted it yesterday, I didn’t want to hit the publish button until I felt it was fully finished, after all it’s a sensitive and important subject that shouldn’t ever be rushed.
This is to those who know someone who is depressed, like Matt Haig says:
‘suicide is the last stop for many people that have depression’
I myself have felt suicidal at times – I’ve seen the world be only ugly and hopeless. I’ve seen myself as useless and meaningless. This is a common symptom of Hypothyriodism which is what I suffer from. I’ve had this symptom 3 times in my life (first year of high school, second year of uni and graduation year) It’s been 8 months since I last felt like I wanted to truly die and contemplated practical ways of doing so. Luckily I had a very understanding and supportive mum and boyfriend who in the end saved me from myself. And a endocrinologist who finally took me serious and treated me for the condition.
Conspiracy Theories & Cannabis
I want those who know someone or love someone with depression to try and understand that depression is a disease – and like any disease that isn’t treated right, it usually ends in death.
It’s heartbreaking that one of the most common ways to die for men under 35 is still a TABBOO TOPIC! Luckily we have the assets to change these stats by sharing our own stories. Blog posts like this aim to help prevent death by depression. I’m making it a mission of mine to be more open about my condition so others can too get diagnosed and treated; as stated above depression is a main and common symptom of Hypothyroidism and many people go their whole life without being diagnosed or they are told their results are NORMAL. We usually know our own body, is it normal to want to die and want to lay in bed alll day due to extreme mental and physical tiredness?! NOPE! I’d lay in bed for days over thinking everything! the only crutch I had was weed, it helped me block out pain, it prevented me from over thinking and having panic attacks, it essentially numbed me for a time. I DO NOT think weed is a solution to depression or anxiety, in a lot of cases it can make it worse. But for me, at the time, it helped…. until it didn’t and I had to quit before I came reliant on it for life. Not to mention I was getting more paranoid by the minute! When at my lowest; I came up with many consipacry theories because I couldn’t comphend a beautiful world and I certainly couldn’t underhand why no medical professional wanted to treat my already diagnosed condition. I could only see the ugly and the ugly to me was a world that chose PROFIT OVER PEOPLE! in some cases this is true but not all cases. One theory was; ‘they’ don’t want to treat people with Hypothyriodsim because they can make more money off the many many symptoms that Hypothyriosdim brings, especially depression! Despite how crazy some of the theories were I still strongly believe that one. If OPRAH has a lot of trouble getting treated for the condition who are you and I to? THINK BOUT THAT ONE!
Tips to Help
ANYWAY! back to what I was actually getting at;
When I was at my lowest, the littlest of things would hurt me, one word could make me cry all day and sometimes I couldn’t stop. (good tip from mum if your eyes are so swollen and sore from crying) Put 2 spoons in the freezer and hold them on your eyes. It releaves pressure and the cold takes down the swelling, it also feels amazing when you have a migraine!
For the ones who have a friend, boyfriend/girlfriend or colleague who is depressed, there are little ways you can help:
- Don’t say conventional things like ‘we all get down sometimes’ or ‘you don’t look depressed’ ‘Think of how lucky you are’ and even ‘its all going to be okay’ as to someone who is that ill NOTHING IS OKAY! and when people say these things, no matter the good intention of some; it doesn’t help, usually. Instead try things like ‘its okay to not be okay’ ‘lets go for a walk and talk’ or simply listen to them, or if they don’t want to talk, try and enjoy comfortable silence with them instead.
- To help; suggest they get tested for lack of Vitamin D, offer to go with them as this could be unthinkable to someone who has aniexty too. Suggest they get a TSH test for thyroid hormone as depression is a common symptom that is often treated though anti depressants, rather than medication for the condition, And anti depressants don’t always work. Get all the results printed (Gp’s can print them) so you both can research the results. From my experience; DO NOT 100% TRUST THE HEALTH SYSTEM. Mistakes are made and sometimes doctors and health care professionals make them.
- Encourage exercise;a walk outside, a bike ride, something to get the person moving can have amazing effects even when not shown right away. If they have an hobby or craft, ask them to teach yous emoting, take their mind of well their mind! Get the brain going down positive route with reminding them of their unique capabilities.
- Hug them; nothing feels as good as a hug. A long hold to reassure can help, human touch can install calm on a person, I actually learnt this at Selfridges induction; a palm on the shoulder helps calm an angry customer, giving reassurance.
- Make them laugh, watch something or do something funny, laughter is medicine, it realises all kinds of stuff (I’m not a scientist so I don’t know what) but surely its proven to make us feel better! We Are The Millers is a great LOL film.
- Distract their mind. Do something that calms and distracts the mind from thoughts; craft is a great form of therapy, you could make a scrapbook with them, printing off pictures, and sticking pretty things randomly on the pages. Remind them that they weren’t always this low and that they can be happy again no matter how impossible it may seem
- Don’t read them the news! or compare them to what is going on globally. News is usually depressing and extremely real; in my opinion one who is down doesn’t need more reasons to be down. I avoided the news and social media when I was depressed because it was too much, I felt like I wasn’t unfortunate enough to be down, I felt like the world was ugly enough without being reminded about death, violence, rape and starving children. I know how important it is to be globally aware and i do read the news, however I know from experience, it can be too much for someone who is already struggling with the world. Remember the kid in The Sopranos? he was obsessed with world issues and it didn’t help his illness.
- Music, not necessarily happy music but maybe depressing music. I know this sounds crazy and like I’m contradicting the last tip but relating to lyrics is so powerful for an individual. Why do you think the blues was invented? so people could sympathise and relate to each others pain. They’d write and sing about their misfortunate in order to deal with it. Fire in the booth had amazing effects on me when I was depressed, I’d bang one on and feel like I wasn’t alone struggling with my career and self acceptance. I was reminded that no matter how hopeless it seems you can come out stronger and better than you ever imagined. Lana Del Rey knows pain and hurt and many people don’t get her thats why the ones who do LOVE HER! because they understand her so much, they feel her philosophy through her voice and her powerful lyrics. They don’t take her so literal. She’s struggled with alcoholism at just 15 along with depression and anxiety. She gets the struggle to be human. her music has helped me define my relationship with my love and myself so much! Music can help and it doesn’t have to be happy, sometimes someone needs the blues, to embrace the pain and know that it’s okay. Its okay because many artists get it and they want to share their struggle through their work. It’s okay not to be okay!
‘The hardest thing in this world is to live in it’ – Buffy Ann Summers
No truer quote. Yes she’s a fictional character but also a wise one. All she wanted was to be a conventional girl, but she had a responsibility, and a huge one at that; one that changed her path in life. One that made her quit college and struggle financially, mentally and physically every day. She put those she loved in danger every minute and she fought for the world to be a better place one slay at a time. She was right when she stated this to her sister right before sacrificing herself for the greater good. She said this because she needed her sister to go on without her and to fight everyday, to be brave everyday and live. Because this world is hard, and the system, the people, the unethical and unequal structure of earth is deadly. It sometimes hurts so much to get up in the morning and see it, and live in it. Living with your own demons and the ones that suffocate the earth is the hardest thing anyone can do.
‘Be brave, Live’ – Buffy
She was and is my idol! The blonde skinny girl that doesn’t die first; that was Joss Whedon’s goal in the 90s when he was tired of all the horror films that showed the ‘dumb blonde’ dying first and I cannot wait to watch the new Buffy! She will be another contemporay and much needed badass!
ANYWAY! you can help! The little things can have huge impacts. Try some of the things on this list above and if they don’t work, try again and again and again or try other methods. Research and read about what else you can do. Educate yourself on the condition and just because the person smiles once in a while (or everyday) it doesn’t mean their happy.
For the ones who are depressed, I get it. I’ve suffered on and off due to my condition and life circumstance, my mum has had it for majority of my life and I’ve known people around me kill themselves. I have an idea of what helps and what doesn’t and I know it’s hard. I know I know I know, I can talk to you or simply listen if you need me to.
Tips From Matt Haig
You don’t have to be alone. and if you want to talk you can email me or dm me @thestylefeed.co (Insta) or firstname.lastname@example.org
– Keep styling, my lovely style feeders-