I've decided to do a thread dealing with coping ability and coping resources regarding depression and suicidal thoughts. Let's face it, this is a problem on this site as we get many people here who are depressed, suicidal, or plainly wouldn't mind passing over due to all the difficulties they are currently in (a lot of this has to do with the loss of a loved one).
At some point or another, we've all gone through tough times. But this begs the question as to why some people react awfully while others appear to be much stronger at handling them. Also, we wonder why people with apparent "lesser problems" kill themselves than those with "greater problems."
Coping resources are exactly that - resources (people, activities, etc.) that allow people to cope with the stress of daily life. What a lot of people don't fathom is that suicidal thoughts mostly tend to happen when coping resources are outweighed by one's problems, regardless of how bad the problems are.
What I am going to present here is a number of different things that can be applied to daily life. It is important to note that readers will most likely not be able to utilize all of this info, but you can pick and choose what can apply to your own situation and work with that.
1. Most counselling today is now geared towards applying a holistic approach
Medication and counselling are definitely a part of of it, but they tend to stress more about healthy living now. I ain't going to preach about staying away from junk food completely because I do recommend eating a little bit here and there if you already do, but we can't overboard with the poutine and pizza. For those who don't eat that often - say because your depression has caused you to lose your appetite - there is a good chance that you will encounter a low level of potassium. I'd recommend drinking orange juice, and eating oranges and bananas as your potassium level can be restored fairly quickly. As far as the exercise goes, not everyone can afford a gym membership. Walking is a cheap and effective way to get exercise, and a wonderful to help clear one's mind. Making it a part of your daily routine is a great coping resource.
2. Don't live up to someone else's expectations, but rather live up to your own
We often feel like a failure due to not meeting what someone else expects of us. Society tells us that you are judged by your monetary situation, and your family might be disappointed if you wound up as a waitress instead of a lawyer. But we can't let what others think to rule our lives. This is something I struggled with myself. I am getting better at dealing with this. And remember that people often are quick to judge and slow to praise, but if someone criticizes you, just consider the source.
3. Very simple pleasures can make life worth living
You don't need a Mercedes, 40-foot yacht, and 7-bedroom home to be happy. I realize that many folks out there are limited by their financial means, but the small, simple pleasures of life will often brighten up someone's day. For some, this might mean reading a book or watching a movie. I don't see anything wrong with having the odd beer either, or eating a little pizza or burger once in a while. Best thing to do write down a list of this - something that counsellors will get their clients to do - and use the list to do some things that add happiness to your life. The simple, affordable, small things that anyone can do. Putting on some music works for me, as does a candlelight bath when it's cold outside.
4. For those who like/love their jobs, focus on your job but do not marry it
Working can be therapeutic. Some people hate their jobs though, but if you are someone who likes it, then making yourself goal-oriented to that job and focussing on it more can relieve stress from other sources. We all need something to strive for and to take our minds off of things.
5. Have one day a week where you get to sleep in
This would most likely be on Sunday. Staying in bed for an extra hour or two. Sunday morning is a great time of the week for many, as life slows down and most are not bothered by others. A good bacon and eggs breakfast is great for Sundays, and going out for breakfast on this day is another simple pleasure that I enjoy.
Keep in mind that not all medications will work for everyone. Sometimes it takes a long time before you find the right one, if you ever find it at all. And there are some medications that have suicidal thoughts as a side effect, or have strict dietary restrictions. Anti-depressants take 3 weeks to kick in, so expect it to be a slow process if you are starting up on prozac or the like. If there is no improvement, telling your doctor is a must. If you can't handle the side effects, telling your doctor is a must.
7. Talk therapy
Getting a good counsellor is the luck of the draw, but this is a good thing in which to partake. Having people really listen to your problems and giving feedback is a great coping resource, and we all need people to talk to at some point.
8. Laughter is the best medicine
I often look online for some funny jokes and other funny stuff. I realize my idea of what is funny is not the same as other members of this site, but all that means is that each individual should search out what makes them laugh. I recommend shows like Family Guy, for those who can handle it.
9. Family and friends
This goes without saying. Sunday dinners with family, or just planning a visit and spending a few hours to talk and vent is good.
10. Try to have people in place to pass on your responsibilities to, if possible, for when it's needed
Even the rock of gibraltar cracked, so we might too. This is sort of a contigency plan, with having trusted people take responsibility of your responsibilities for times when it is needed.
11. Write down the warning signs that you experience when things are breaking down - both for situations that piss you off mildly, and for strong catastrophes
Another technique I learned in counselling. Often enough, these signs include increased irritability, eating less or more than normal, lashing out, withdrawing from people, staying in bed, etc. Writing them out and then looking at them will reinforce these times in your mind, and make you more aware of when things are breaking down.
Other things to consider:
The following is helpful if considering suicide:
http://www.suicidehotlines.com/ (this site contains hotlines for each US state)
If anyone has anything to add, please feel free to do so. I might add other things along the way too.