It’s normal to feel sad or irritable for short lengths of time when you’re a teenager. But when those emotions begin to dominate your life with accompanying symptoms of depression and feelings of hopelessness, suicidal thoughts may enter your mind.
According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death among those between the ages of 10 and 24. It’s important to understand suicide is never the solution, even if the solution doesn’t seem clear as you struggle through a difficult time.
Symptoms of Depression
Although not everyone experiences depression in the same way, there are some symptoms that are common to most. Many of the following issues are often accompanied by suicidal thoughts:
- Feelings of constant irritability, sadness or anger
- Not finding any activities or hobbies fun anymore
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Sleeping too long or not long enough
- Frequent, unexplained physical ailments
- The smallest things or nothing at all leading to crying
- Losing or gaining weight without trying to do so
- Inability to focus or concentrate, especially with schoolwork and other responsibilities
- Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
If a few or any of these symptoms apply and include suicidal thoughts or thoughts about death, it is vital to seek help right away.
Help Is Available
The negativity that goes along with feelings of depression can be overwhelming. Sometimes to the point that suicidal thoughts persist and seem to be the only way to solve your misery. If this is true for you, it’s urgent that you share your thoughts with someone, such as a close friend, trusted relative or by calling a confidential suicide prevention hotline. If you’d rather text than talk, the Crisis Text Line is available 24/7. Just text “CONNECT” to 741741. Professionals trained to address these feelings are also a valuable source that can lead to long-term improvements.
Dealing With Suicidal Thoughts
There are some coping mechanisms that can help through tough times. These steps can be accomplished when you’re feeling lost and down but not yet ready to reach out for help.
- Know that there is always another solution and another way out of your present situation. It’s important to understand that the feelings, as difficult as they are, will pass.
- Promise yourself that you’ll wait at least 24 hours before you do anything to harm yourself. During this time period, talk to someone, whether it’s a friend, a parent, a sibling or someone you can call or text on a hotline. You have everything to gain by taking this important step.
- You may not feel up to seeing or interacting with other people, but it’s important to do so. Spend time in-person time those who usually make you feel good. Avoid those who make you feel bad about yourself or who abuse substances, which can exacerbate feelings of hopelessness or depression.
- Limit your time on the internet, social media or playing video games. Instead, make time for friends and extracurricular activities you used to enjoy. Spending time in nature has been proven to decrease feelings of depression. Get outside, you may find your mood shifting once you become active again.
- Stay healthy. That means keep up a regular exercise routine. Eat a healthy diet that includes protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Stay away from alcohol and drugs. Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night, but no more than that. Use an alarm in order to prevent oversleeping.
Having suicidal thoughts is more common than you think, but you can overcome feelings of hopelessness by reaching out for help. Understand that there are ways to address those feelings and that help is available, if you give yourself the opportunity for growth.