By: SK Rice and Kayli Thompson
As a survivor of abuse, have you ever thought to yourself any of the following during your healing journey?
“I am tired.”
“I am done.”
“I can’t do this anymore.”
“I feel all alone.”
“When will I feel ‘normal’ again?”
Domesticshelters.org reports that survivors of abuse have suicidal thoughts more often than those who don’t experience abuse. This translates into 23 percent of survivors have attempted suicide as opposed to 3 percent of people who’ve never experienced domestic violence. And it’s not just victims of physical abuse who contemplate suicide, it’s victims of all types of abuse – verbal, emotional, sexual, psychological, etc.
Surviving abuse is traumatic and extremely challenging. It can leave you with physical and emotional scars. And it’s hard to fight the negative thoughts that sometimes fill your mind because it’s all you heard for the duration of your abusive relationship. When those negative thoughts don’t go away, you get tired and you feel drained. You have no one to talk to who understands and you start to feel like you can’t go on living like this, crying all day and feeling worthless.
That’s when the suicidal thoughts come in and take over. And if you don’t take hold of them and seek help, they’ll win, not you.
- Find a support group to be part of and express yourself in safe place with others who have experienced similar situations. This can be a domestic violence group, PTSD group, depression group, or suicide attempts group.
- Find a counselor or therapist who specializes in domestic violence and/or suicide attempts and schedule an appointment. Don’t worry about the finances, several counseling groups or therapist’s offices provide a sliding scale payment based on your income, are willing to arrange a payment plan or offer help getting your insurance company to pay for it. The counselor can help walk you through your thoughts and turn them around.
- If you’re dependent on alcohol or drug substances, realize the role they play in your thoughts and enroll in a group like AA or drug addiction anonymous groups so you can quit with support and help.
- Start practicing positive language. Tell yourself every day you’re beautiful, smart, capable, strong and full of worth simply because you’re alive and a human being. Post positive, encouraging notes around your home such as above your sink, around your mirror, on your dresser or above your bed to remind yourself on a daily basis just how wonderful you are.
- Practice gratitude on a daily basis. Find little things to be thankful for every day and remind yourself that there are so many things to live for.
- Remind yourself that these thoughts you have aren’t coming naturally from you but from what your abuser said to you during your relationship. Your abuser spent a lot of time degrading you, making you feel worthless and like you don’t deserve to live. Remember that before you met your abuser, you didn’t struggle with these thoughts or feelings. They’re ingrained in your head because your abuser put them there. Your abuser is wrong and none of what they said is true. Remind yourself of this every day.
- Talk to someone. Whether it’s confiding in your best friend, dialing the number for the suicide prevention hotline, 800-273-Talk(8255), or calling Break the Silence’s survivor helpline, 855-BTS-1777 – it helps to talk to someone else and get it all out. They don’t have to offer advice, it can just be a listening ear but it’s helpful to talk to someone who can understand and give you loving advice that’s helpful.
You are not crazy, you are also not alone. There are many people out there ready to help you, you just have to tell them. You might be surprised at their response which will be loving, nonjudgmental, kind and ready to help. You can’t do this alone, it takes a community. And as a victim you may not know how to make the suicidal thoughts stop but taking your own life is not the answer.
You have a lot to contribute to this world, you have laughing to do, people to love, inspiration to give and a life to live.