Sometimes, we go through such intense emotional pain and misery that we simply want to crawl into a hole and be forgotten. Or to simply sleep and not wake up again so one can escape from the emotional pain and distress. This is especially more pronounced when it appears like there is no hope and the future is bleak, and things won’t ever get better. Thus, in such situations, suicidal thoughts may begin to pop into our heads as a way out of the pain and misery.

However, this is very misleading and not factual. Because things do get better and several individuals who have attempted suicide in the past, but thankfully, survived to tell their stories, are glad they failed as they have gone on to rediscover happiness again.

The key issue we want to address is how to deal with such thoughts when they become persistently intrusive, and one is going through emotional pain. How can one cope with such suicidal thoughts? What can you do? Who can you turn to for help in such circumstances?

It is also important to clarify some common misconceptions. Having suicidal thoughts is not a reflection of weak faith in God or a character defect. It does not mean that you are crazy, weak, or flawed. It only means that you have more emotional pain than you can cope with right now. But with the passage of time and good social and professional support, you can overcome your problems and the emotional anguish and suicidal feelings will pass. No matter how much pain you are experiencing right now, you are not alone.


Many kinds of emotional pain can lead to thoughts of suicide. The reasons for this pain are unique to each one of us, and the ability to cope with the pain differs from person to person. We are all different. There are, however, some common causes that may lead us to experience suicidal thoughts and feelings. The commonest of them all is depression – a medical diagnosis characterized by overwhelming feelings of sadness, fatigue, and loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities. Simple tasks like getting out of bed, taking one’s bath, picking up a phone call, etc become very daunting tasks that seem like too much trouble. And the good thing is that depression is TREATABLE with full recovery.


We have previously covered how to offer support to persons with suicidal thoughts. Today, we focus on what you can do for yourself if suicidal thoughts are occurring to you.Please do not take any impulsive action: The intense emotional pain that you are experiencing can distort your thinking, such that it becomes harder to see possible solutions to problems—so give yourself some time to think for a while and delay sudden actions.

Get immediate help: Do not keep the suicidal feelings to yourself; find someone you trust and share. If you are unable to think of solutions other than suicide, it is not that other solutions do not exist, but rather that you are currently unable to see them. Mental health professionals, friends, or loved ones can help you to see solutions that otherwise may not be apparent to you. Please give them a chance to help.Avoid drugs and alcohol as these tend to cloud your judgment and concentration.

Make your home safe by removing things that can potentially be used for self-harm.Learn coping strategies; with the help of a professional, you can learn coping strategies that are tailored to suit you.Be aware of all your triggers and look beyond the thoughts of suicide.Remember:Suicidal thoughts can occur to anyone. But you DON’T Have to act on them.8t does not end the suffering and pain. It simply transfers the emotional pain, grief, and anguish to your loved ones – family, siblings, friends and colleagues.

Suicidal attempts may leave you injured and, in more pain, and distress than you were experiencing originally…. causing even more misery and regret.And give it time. What if things change for the better tomorrow, next week or next month?No matter what your situation is, there are people who need you, places where you can make a difference and experiences that can remind you that life is worth living. It takes real courage to face death and step back from the brink. You can use that courage to learn coping skills for overcoming depression, and for finding the strength to keep going.

For professional psychological first aid in Nigeria, you can reach out to any of these numbers:Suicide Research and Prevention Initiative (SURPIN). Hotlines: 09080217555, 09034400009, 08111909909 and 07013811143.

Asido Foundation Helpline: 09028080416.Lagos suicide hotlines, by the Lagos State Government. Hotlines: 08058820777 and 09030000741.

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