To most of my posts, I add a daily-life tip to consider. They are at the bottom of the related post, so I will not repeat them here except for the most basic ones.
A Case Of Illumination My tips are intended to make some difficult situations just a little more easy, or to help prevent a relapse when depression lurks around the corner. They are founded not on some belief or religion, not on any theoretical base, not on scientific research, and certainly not on all the rapidly-changing fads and fashions in psychiatry. They are based on my own personal experience with my own depressions, my own successes and mistakes in everyday life, and my own common sense conclusions. You will understand that what works for me might not necessarily work in the same way for you, or might in your situation even have unwanted effects. In that case, just ignore my suggestions.
The tips below are general rules.
For my Six Basic Medication Tips, see the Pills Page.
Many tips will be hard to use if you already feel totally paralyzed and out-of-energy, if you are at the bottom of a deep and complete depression. I know. From the bottom of the pit, no one can see over the edges. From the bottom of that pit, we cannot even imagine that one day we may crawl out again.
In a bleak situation like that, we are left with only a few well-known, essential rules:
• rule 1: Don’t act on impulse. Instead of the tempting decision to end everything right now, force yourself to wait at least one more day before making any important decisions. Don’t use those 24 hours of waiting for endlessly circling around in your desperate feelings and thoughts, but try to do something in the meantime that is seemingly trivial and irrelevant. Just try to do something, it doesn’t matter what.
• rule 2: Do seek professional help, even when you feel it will be useless. Call your doctor, a therapist, a clinic, a local help line or an emergency number. Do not postpone that call until the next day.
• rule 3: Don’t isolate yourself. If you are alone, try getting a friend or neighbour to keep you company for a while: even if you feel absolutely convinced that nothing and no one can help you, even if you feel too exhausted to see anyone, do give them a chance.
• rule 4: Keep your actions under control. Try to keep seeing clearly what you are actually doing, every minute again. Keep telling yourself what you are doing right now. Do you normally ever drink that much whisky? Or bang your head with your fists? Or keep walking around with a kitchen knife in your hand? Or take five sleeping pills just to get numb? If you normally would not do such things, then don’t do it now either.
• rule 5: Focus on the actual physical signs of your body instead of the relentless drone of your thoughts. Concentrate on your feet, fingers, back, neck, on your swallowing or your breathing, the sweat in your armpits or a teardrop crawling down your cheek: focus on all small bodily things like that. Just really feeling them for a minute, just this awareness that parts of your body are still functioning more or less normally, may help to get yourself under control.
I have to admit that on very bad days, I often have trouble to remember even these basic rules. In my upcoming posts I will try to offer a few little tricks that sometimes may help to recall the basics when desperation, hopelessness, paralysis, horror, self-hate or panic are taking over.
Even when death looks like the only solution left, life may still turn out to be a better option – given some time and effort. Don’t give up on yourself. Just try to try. One more time. That is exactly what I am trying here, too.
But if you really and arguably and definitely feel death is your only option left, then when you actually go killing yourself, please try not to act in some kind of blind panic (as I stupidly did once myself). In that terrible situation, you do have the moral obligation to keep reminding yourself of the one essential suicide rule. If you have no idea what I mean, read my hidden top-secret page One Suicide Rule.
Of course I do wish you something better.