We often find ourselves caught up in a loop of lasting and recurring self-defeating thoughts. Sometimes, such thoughts may make us feel helpless and vulnerable for a longer duration. Suicidal ideation can also be a recurring pattern for vulnerable individuals. We, therefore, need to develop preventive coping strategies to strengthen one’s resolve against succumbing to such urges. Keep all the below-mentioned measures prepared so that you are armed and ready when another strong wave threatens your safety! This work begins with the development of Safety Nets. To explain the importance of the safety net, I would like to provide you with a metaphor from the circus.
Safety Net 1: Find out all the different triggers that affect your thoughts and actions. Understanding this pattern will help you to anticipate potential triggering and overwhelming situations and take preventive measures accordingly. Stay active during periods of feeling vulnerable or overwhelmed: engage in activities that keep you connected to the here-and-now.
Safety Net 2: Do grounding activities: take a walk, wash the dishes, do a jigsaw puzzle, take another walk.
Safety Net 3: Do not be alone (have someone come over or stay on phone until feeling less impulsive)
Use a survival kit (explained below) to help manage the impulses.
Safety Net 4: Call your therapist or visit an emergency ward of the hospital when feeling immensely helpless and vulnerable.
What is a survival kit:
A survival kit is a collection of different objects which that can ensure your survival no matter how unsafe you feel at present. It is important to put together different things that work for you during emergency situations as at that point in time, it becomes difficult to think clearly. A survival kit might include a card or note written by the therapist, an affirmation, a list of things you could do to keep yourself safe, a note providing specific instructions for you to follow when feeling suicidal, a photograph of someone or something to live for, a transitional object like a stuffed animal, a list of people to call, letters of love and support from your friends, or even a list of reasons to live no matter how strongly you wish to end your life. Remember different things work for different people and therefore you can come up with your own ideas to help yourself in times of distress.