If you’re in recovery, you might feel that you’re on the right track – you’re sober and you’ve cleaned up your life. However, ironically, sometimes when you’re no longer drinking or using drugs, you’re more vulnerable to those challenging thoughts and feelings. All that you pushed away inside while in your addiction begins to surface when you’re clean. This can make recovery difficult, especially if you’re facing suicidal thoughts.
In fact, the inner experiences you have while sober might even cause relapse from time to time. It might bring you to think about and even attempt suicide. Robin Williams, Ernest Hemingway, and Vincent Van Gogh are among the artists who took their life because of a long struggle with substance use, depression, and other forms of mental illness.
Interestingly, some recovering addicts don’t always recognize that they are suicidal. They might recognize that they experience sadness, low self-esteem, and hopelessness. They might have dark thoughts, but not quite recognize that they are in serious mental ill health.
Below are some of the signs that indicate that a person might be contemplating suicide. Research shows that there are many give clear warning signs to suicide. Some of these warning signs are:
- Talking about dying
- A change in personality
- Change in eating habits
- Fear of losing control
- Low self-esteem
- No hope for the future
- Threats of suicide—either direct or indirect
- Verbal hints such as “I won’t be around much longer” or “It’s hopeless
- Obsession with death.Overwhelming sense of guilt, shame or rejection
- Putting affairs in order (for example, giving or throwing away favorite possessions)
- Sudden cheerfulness after a period of depression
- Dramatic change in personality or appearance
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
As you go through this list and if you’re recognizing that you may be in danger of suicidal thoughts and attempts, the following are steps you can take to find safety. You might not have needed to read the above list, you may already know that you’re facing suicide in your recovery. If so, here are some steps to take to find safety.
- Know that you can make it through this. You can stay sober even through this challenge. Your resolve in this belief will help prevent relapses.
- If you’re having thoughts of suicide, it doesn’t mean that you have to act on those feelings. It doesn’t mean that you’re also going to take your life. Instead, you can get the help you need in order to tend to your feelings, your sobriety, and your mental health.
- Healing is going to take time. Give yourself the space and length of time you need to heal. When it gets challenging, know that you’re moving through a process.
- Arriving at mental health doesn’t have a formula. Your experience is not going to be the same as others’. You have every right to whatever you need to support your sober living and your mental health.
- Now is not the time to make any major decisions. Let yourself tend to your mental health and sobriety.
- Seek out people who are willing to listen to your pain, stories, questions, and feelings. Seek out those who are willing to listen and who respect and understand your need to express your feelings. To do this, you may talk to your sponsor, a family member, a friend, or a mental health professional.
- Healing is going to twist and turn. It’s not a linear process. You might feel like you’re doing better and then take a few steps back. This is normal and even those setbacks are a part of your process in healing.
- If you have attempted suicide, recognize that there are some friends and family that might avoid you because they don’t know how to respond to something as intense as suicide. They won’t know what to say or how to respond. Instead, they might choose to stay away from the circumstance altogether by not spending time with you. Although this might feel hurtful or uncomfortable, try not to take it personally.
Suicide is an intense experience. If you’re facing suicidal thoughts in your recovery, it’s essential that you can support from a mental health professional today.
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