Having a plan that will deliver you to safety in times of crisis is vitally important. I am living with a very difficult mental illness, because of this I believe it is necessary for me to have a suicide safety plan. I have Bipolar Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, these disorders create a balancing act of anxiety and depression that can feel all-consuming at times. I believe having a suicide safety plan is important. A suicide safety plan is much like a fire evacuation plan; it might never be used, but it could also be vitally important someday. I want to share my plan with you, and encourage you to create your own.
In case you aren’t aware: a suicide safety plan is a contingency plan that a person can initiate if they are having thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Most suicide safety plans contain a series of steps for a person to follow. These steps allow a person to ease into a safe place; mentally and physically. Many people write their plans down. I, however, simply made a promise to myself…
I made a promise to myself
I made a promise to myself in case it ever does come to that. It’s a simple promise: I will watch The Flash, in its entirety, then reassess my situation.
This promise serves several purposes…
A promise with multiple purposes
Watching a multi-season television show in its entirety takes time. This prevents any impulse decisions. It gives me the time I need to readjust my mind. Bipolar Disorder is a difficult illness, it makes me feel things deeply and completely. Sometimes I just need time for the depression and thoughts of worthlessness to pass. This gives me the time I need.
It distracts me. Maybe it won’t on day one, or even day two, but eventually it will distract me. It will distract me from my feelings of worthlessness. It will distract me from my feelings of loneliness. Eventually I will forget them entirely. Until then, I’ll benefit from having something positive to focus on.
Bipolar Disorder can drain the enjoyment from my life. It can be exhausting and defeating in every way imaginable. My depression spirals are typically accompanied by a shame spiral; I think of all the things I wasn’t able to accomplish – the grocery shopping, cleaning, and chores – and I feel ashamed. My shame makes me feel like I don’t deserve to enjoy things. So, it’s nice to inject some enjoyment into my life. It reminds me that I deserve enjoyment and good things.
A personal note
Please, don’t worry about me or panic if you hear that I’m watching The Flash. I re-watch The Flash often, and for a plethora of reasons — it’s a delightful show and it brings me great joy. I’m not sharing this to worry you. I’m sharing this because I think suicide safety plans are important. It is important to care for yourself. It is important to plan for yourself. Much like a fire evacuation plan or flood plan, I believe having a suicide safety plan is vitally important. Furthermore, my plan doesn’t completely end here: if I initiate this plan and it doesn’t work I have a phase two (call support system), and a phase three (call doctor)… I even have a phase four (go to hospital/call ambulance). My point: I plan for my safety, and I will continue planning for my safety.
Make a plan
A suicide safety plan could be the most important plan you make. Please, make a safety plan that fits your needs. Create a plan that helps you ease into a safe place; mentally and physically. You can write your plan down, share it with a loved one, or simply make a promise to yourself. Either way, you deserve to be safe. Make a plan that will deliver you to safety in times of crisis.
I’m not a mental health expert or medical professional. I can’t offer medical advice and I’m not trained to help you in a crisis situation. I sincerely care about you and I want to help. I’ve created a directory of mental health resources, check it out. You matter. If you or a loved one needs immediate help, call 911, immediately.
You may be wondering why I’m sharing such intimate information. I share because someone like me might read this, and I want them to know that they are not alone. If you are like me, and you are reading this — please remember, you are not alone.
Sincerely, Elizabeth – Uncustomary Housewife