Feeling suicidal after abuse is extremely common. In fact, trauma is statistically one of the top reasons people take their own life.
I wanted to address this in a realistic and honest blog. Because I too have felt suicidal (as have my alters)-and I’ve been able to make it through. My hope with this blog is to help you do the same.
I know that this technique won’t work for everyone, but I do hope you give it a try. It’s highly customizable, actionable, and sustainable. (And it’s not a bandaid, surface-level solution.)
Before jumping in, I do want to put a little disclaimer here. I’m not a trained mental health professional. I’m a fellow survivor with a huge heart and desire to help. This means that, if you’re in a crisis and actively considering taking your own life, you should seek professional help from a therapist, counselor, or go to an emergency room.
Why survivors of abuse struggle with suicidal thoughts
It’s not difficult to pinpoint why us survivors want to die. We live incredibly painful lives. Some of us had one event that flipped our world inside out. Others of us had whole childhoods, marriages, or other long term events shaped by abuse.
I’m in the latter group, having suffered 15 years of abuse from ages 5 to 20. It affected every aspect of my life, even causing me to develop Dissociative Identity Disorder. I essentially share my brain with other people-and we all have struggled with feeling suicidal at one time or another.
No matter what the source of your trauma, it’s impact on you is immense. And the simplest way our brain can figure out a way around the pain is to end everything.
It’s logical. I’m not going to deny that. It makes sense that we’d want to act on one single thing that is certain to stop our pain.
Because, even though there are millions of other ways to lower and even eventually heal our inner agony…they will take time and it’s going to be a game of trial and error. Some will work and some won’t. It’s much more complicated than taking our own life.
But this shouldn’t stop us from trying to heal, because death comes with other certain things.
It’s certain that you’ll never have that joy you deserve, that your heart longs for. You’ll never feel the healing touch of someone who truly loves you. You’ll never be able to tell another survivor “Hey, I did it. I overcame feeling suicidal-you can do it too.”
There are millions of beautiful things you will miss out on if you’re no longer in this world. So, even though it will take work to heal your pain, it’s worth it.
10 sources of pain making you feel suicidal
You’re feeling suicidal because you are holding more pain than feels possible to contain. This means that you need to do one thing-discover ways to start lowering that pain.
If you can take one element of pain and reduce it even just a little bit, you’re shrinking the burden you’re carrying. You’ll get more energy to take the next step and push further into your healing.
So, right now, write down at least ten sources of pain in your life. Things that really hurt, like tough emotions you carry (shame, grief, anger, etc). Or specific beliefs you have (“I’m just going to keep being punished,” “No one will ever love me,” etc). Or even stressful situations!
Whatever it is that hurts you, put it on paper.
Please trust me and do this before reading on. Doing this work is what will help you heal-so it’s paramount that you take a second and dig into it.
Once you’ve written these 10 pain points down, I want you to make ten boxes or columns, each with enough room to make a short list.
For each pain point, write down at least 5 strategies you can use to try and heal it. They could be wild and out there or practical things that work for the majority of people who try it.
Get specific with these. Don’t just journal “therapy.” Instead, write “I’ll talk with my therapist for one month about what it means to doubt that someone will ever love me.”
Specificity is the ground that true change springs from.
Examples of healing strategies for your pain points:
A few common examples of the pains us survivors face (and some solutions to them) are right below.
Chronic pain: weekly massages, epsom salt baths, yoga practice at home, gentle exercise
Loneliness: get a pet, group therapy, meet ups, do work at a cafe or other public space (check out this blog here on overcoming loneliness, too!)
Remember, the more specific you get, the better this entire exercise will work. Clarity is empowering and transformational!
Give yourself time and trust to stop feeling suidical
The most important thing is to actually do each one of these strategies you’ve listed, even if they don’t feel healing from the start.
Sometimes things are tough early on. Meditation can bring up more emotional stress before it helps, because you’re in a place where you can feel unresolved emotions.
In my own life, my chronic pain got way worse when I started a regular yoga practice-because there was so much my body had to release. Now it’s far better.
You need time for these exercises to make an impact. They are changing your life from the start, but you may not feel it until a little later down the road.
With each exercise, give yourself somewhere between 2-4 weeks to do each one, fully dedicating yourself to them. View it like an experiment or a test-you’re a scientist discovering what works to lessen the pain.
(Stop giving an exercise a try early if it directly does you harm, though!)
After you’ve finished at least 5 exercises, check in again on yourself.
Have you noticed less pain since the months before you started that healing work? What helped you stop feeling suicidal the most (keep continuing that exercise!)?
Now, even if you don’t sense a change, don’t give up. This is just a time to check in and acknowledge all the work you are doing-celebrating the fact that you’re changing your life for the better.
When you do notice a change, that’s proof that it’s worth continuing to live.
There is another way beside suicide to lower your pain. And it will allow you to have all those awesome things like future love, dreams, goals, and the other beauties life can offer you.
So what’s the first exercise you’ll start with? Comment below!