Let’s begin by mentioning I do NOT have a professional crisis plan, and all these mechanisms to cope are what I made up myself, and therefore may only reflect how they help me. I am writing this post to share ideas that may help others, but also to pinpoint for myself if I ever need a visual guide to look at.
My crisis plan is in place to help me when I experience intrusive thoughts and suicidal ideation. What helps me best is distraction, this is very useful when they begin, and can sometimes prevent the thoughts from becoming too intense. Therefore;
STEP 1: Distraction! -My list of distractions is very long, and I have a written list in a notebook as I need this method most often. If my thoughts are not too bad, I read. Once I am reading it is easy to get lost inside the pages, and a few hours later with a book, can often be enough time for the suicidal thoughts to pass. Other distractions include cleaning, I like to be physically distracted, and cleaning is killing two birds with one stone! Watching netflix/youtube isn’t often helpful for me, but if I get an adult colouring book or my bullet journal, background noise is helpful. I love a good podcast!
STEP 2: ‘ This too shall pass’- I am very comforted by the fact that these thoughts are only temporary. So I often repeat this in my head. Knowing that I only have to get through these moments, and I won’t feel this way soon.
STEP 3: Sleep- I know this isn’t the healthiest option, but if the suicidal thoughts are hard to control, then sleep is my temporary ‘disappear’. I usually only use this option if its night time/after 7pm. I can also use it in the early afternoon as a ‘nap’ but it’s harder to fall asleep during the day, especially with intrusive thoughts, which is why I try to only use this step in the evenings.
STEP 4: Asking for help- This step is a HUGE step for me, and one I do not use often. If I do ask for help, the only person I would contact is my partner. Who can be a massive help! I try not to use this option, and I feel guilty and do not want to burden anyone (despite needing the help, it feels this way to me). Now my management at work know how I can feel ( see last blog post) I have the option to contact him, we are friendly so It wouldn’t seem odd/uncomfortable. I don’t think I would ever reach out, but it’s an option!
STEP 5: Hospital- If I really didn’t feel safe, and wasn’t sure if I could keep myself alive, I would (hope) that I would take myself to the emergency department, or seek immediate professional help in some way. I haven’t used this step before, as I am terrified! Let’s hope I don’t have to either.
Another option I didn’t mention was helplines, there are many mental health and suicidal lines to call if you need support. These can be SO helpful, and area great option if you are alone! If you have any other suggestions, I would love to hear them in the comments.