Sunday, September 4, 2011

Migraine and Suicide: What To Do When You Are in Crisis (Suicidal)

This week, September 4th through September 10th is the 37th Annual National Suicide Prevention Week. September also happens to be Pain Awareness Month.  In honor of National Suicide Prevention Week and Pain Awareness Month, I will be continuing the series I started with the post Migraine and Suicide. Please check in every day as there will be posts with contribution from the chronic Migraine and chronic pain community on topics related to chronic Migraine/chronic pain and suicide including how to cope when you are close to the end of your rope, personal stories from those who have been there, on suicide and faith, a post especially for loved ones (family, friends, caregivers) and links to other blogs/articles on Migraine and suicide. As I mentioned in my previous post on Migraine and Suicide, my goal is to decrease the stigma of the discussion of suicide so that we might be more supportive in the chronic Migraine/chronic pain community on this issue. So let's get talking. 

If you, or someone you know, is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Click on this link to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s website where you will find information on why you should call, who should call, who and where you are calling, what will happen when you call, and how you can call. It even gives numbers for TTY users for those who are deaf.    

“Anyone who feels sad, hopeless, or suicidal; family and friends who are concerned about a loved one; anyone interested in mental health treatment and service referrals” should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).   I have called this crisis hotline for a friend before and the people I spoke with were very kind, non-judgmental, understanding and helpful people. They talk to people who are suicidal or having suicidal thoughts every day, so if you feel you need to call, please do so right now. They are there to help.

In preparation for this series, I reached out to the chronic Migraine and chronic pain community for input. I will be sharing with you a combination of their thoughts and my own.

The overwhelming consensus of the community is that when you are in crisis (feeling suicidal, at the end of your rope,  depressed), find someone who you trust and contact that person. If you feel there is no one to call, please refer to the above section and call the lifeline

One community member expressed beautifully what I think many of us feel at one point or another about our suicidal thoughts: 
When I'm at the end of my rope, I feel defeated and ashamed. I hate feeling like I've let the chronic pain "win." I feel ashamed for even have a fleeting thought of ending things.
But, do not let such feelings keep you from reaching out. Remind yourself that having suicidal thoughts can be common among chronic Migraine and chronic pain sufferers.  When you have them, it is vital to reach out to someone. Find a trusted person and start talking and keep talking. Keep talking until someone hears you. One member said, “My best friend is my ears and shoulders most days.” When you call the hotline or your trusted person, be honest. One member said when she calls her trusted person, “I talk about my feelings.”

Are you feeling suicidal? Tell them. Tell your trusted person what you need. One community member suggested that you might ask someone if they could come stay with you for the day or for the night if you feel that might be helpful to get you through this difficult period. One time I had a friend ask me to call a behavioral hospital for them to ask questions for them because they didn't feel comfortable doing so at the time. Per my friend's request, I even set up an appointment for them to see a therapist that same day. You never know what is possible if you reach out.  If you have a psychiatrist or a therapist, this would be a good time to reach out to him/her.

Check out the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website. It has a lot of really helpful information for how to get help. Remember, you are not alone.1-800-273-TALK (8255)

For the next post in this series, go to: What To Do When You Are Close To The End of Your Rope.


  1. Kelly, I'm so glad that God is using you to reach out to open up communication about chronic pain and suicide. I look forward to reading your posts this week. Thank you for being so open and passionate about a subject that tends to be hushed.

  2. Kelly,
    You are so strong to take on such a commitment. Thank you for doing this.
    I put a post on my blog (it will show up at 9am Sept 5) encouraging people to come by and check it out.

    It's time to speak out about this.
    It's much more common than we want to believe, yet people don't talk about it.

    Let's talk until someone hears us!