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How to be a friend to someone who is Suicidal

If you feel that your friend is suicidal or is self-harming, here is a guide to help them

The one joke that you shouldn’t laugh on is the one in which a friend jokes about killing themself. If this friend talks about death more than usual, recognize the red flag. Your friend might be depressed and would want to commit suicide.

How to identity if your friend is suicidal:

  • If your friend talks about the pointlessness of life
  • If your friend mentions that he/she has nothing to live for
  • They start giving away their possessions
  • They ask you for ideas to kill themselves

How you can help:

“Do not term your friend as a pessimist and dismiss them,” says Teentalk therapist Avanti Malhotra. She shares an incident she witnessed with her own client. One of her clients, who was a top performer at a big company, committed suicide. Avanti recalls that the client started paying off her loans, wrote a will and sorted out all the finances for the family before committing suicide.

To have a friend who is suicidal can be overwhelming. Not only are you afraid to tell anyone, you might also feel responsible for their well-being. Being in such a position is not easy, rather it is courageous. But do not worry, here are some things you can do to avoid the catastrophe.

  • Point out the positives about life
  • Emphasize that they are young and have their whole life in front of them
  • Talk to them and understand their point of view
  • Confide in a trusted individual; parent, teacher, friend or a family member (see the ‘Who you can talk to’ tool, in the toolkit)

How to move on if you’re friend commits suicide:

In the worst case scenario, if you have in fact lost a friend to suicide, you will probably experience a range of emotions. You might feel shock, guilt, anger and despair. However, here are a few things you can do to lessen the pain.

  • Take your time: “This can’t be happening,” might be your initial reaction. You can take as much time you want to accept and believe the fact that your loved one is gone.
  • Express and vent: Feeling betrayed and helpless are normal outcomes. You should vent your feelings to a trusted friend.
  • Celebrate their memory: Maybe you can plant a tree in the memory of your loved one in your garden or have their photos up on the mantelpiece.

If you have a story to share, Email it to us HERE.

If you have a query, Email it to us HERE.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.

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5 habits that are unknowingly harming you and what to do about it

Some habits such as procrastination and sleeping can be self-harming. Learn how to cope with it before it goes out of hand.

Self-harm is not only physical; there are various ways in which humans harm themselves emotionally. These habits are equally corrosive to your mental and physical well-being as the body stores pain and hurt.

Read on to find out if you’re self-harming yourself by doing any of these:

1. Procrastination
Simply put, procrastination is a gap between intention and action. Take this example for instance.

Me: “I have the Physics assignment due.”
Mind: “We’ll do it after lunch.”
Me: “Lunch is over and done with.”
Mind: “After a nap.”
Me: “The nap lasted for four hours.”
Mind: “After dinner.”
Me: “Forget about it now.”
Mind: *evil grin*

How to tackle it: Someone has rightly said, “If you can complete a task in the next five minutes, you should complete it.” Making a list of tasks and completing them as soon as you can will leave you with less anxiety and worry. It also gives you a sense of satisfaction.

2. Comfort eating
If midnight snacking becomes a daily ritual; it is a cause of concern. While it may seem comforting to indulge in a tubful of Nutella while you’re stressed about the football match tomorrow or anxious about your final exams, making it a way of life can be self-sabotaging.

How to tackle it: The next time you find yourself binge eating, slow down the entire process. Savour each bite of that rich, gooey chocolate cake that melts in your mouth. Once you start to concentrate on the process of eating, the quantity of the food consumed will reduce. Simultaneously, figure out what makes you want to binge, and divert your mind away from food by applying it in other activities, say for instance, listening to music.

3. Excessive sleeping
While a nap is proven to reduce anxiety and clear out the head, excessive sleeping translates into trouble. Sleeping over nine hours can be categorized as “too much sleep,” which requires an intervention.

How to tackle it: Excessive sleeping can be a medical condition called “hypersomnia,” in which case you will have to consult a doctor. If not, you will have to sit by yourself with a pen and paper and write down all the things that you’re worried about. After making the list, write down the date when each task is due. Start with completing the tasks that you’re confident about first. Leave the intimidating ones to do early in the morning.

4. Suppressing emotions
Had a fight with a your girlfriend or cannot get over what your teacher said about you in front of the entire class? Ignoring emotions and placing them on the back burner is a sure-shot way to cause pain to your subconscious. The body stores pain and hurt, hence, you might feel temporarily okay with suppressing the emotion, the result of it will soon uncover in unexpected ways.

How to tackle it: The only way to deal with emotions is to experience them. You have to reason out two things in your head: “What hurt you?” and “what you can do about it.” You can put your ego aside and talk to your girlfriend about the fight. Taking the first step to resolving a problem is a sign of maturity and shows strength of character.

5. Extreme modesty
Modesty means “keeping with measure”. The standard of how modest you are depends a lot on how you’ve been brought up. But there is a line between being reasonably modest and feeling excessively modest. If you find yourself being guilty for being the last speaker in a debate competition thinking that you’re taking everyone’s time or if you’re feeling exposed running in a park or even feeling guilty if you lost a basketball game, you’re harming your self-confidence by being extremely modest.

 

How to tackle it: Separating your performance from others is the first step to tackle extreme modesty. You should take responsibility for your actions and nobody else’s. Furthermore, if you feel judged or exposed in public, remind yourself that “not everyone is looking at you,” many things are only in your head.

Promise yourself that you won’t come in your way.
 

If you have a story to share, Email it to us HERE.

If you have a query, Email it to us HERE.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.

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Disclaimer: TeentalkIndia does not offer emergency services and is not a crisis intervention centre, if you or someone you know is experiencing acute distress or is suicidal/self harming, please contact the nearest hospital or emergency/crisis management services or helplines.