I have struggled with suicidal thoughts and attempts since I was a teenager. I am better now, on medication and (almost) regular therapy.
However, whenever this subject comes up, whether it is someone's story, people encouraging others to seek help, or just the mere depiction or mention, it triggers me - I cry almost instantly or I try to suppress it and becomes this very heavy and uncomfortable knot in my throat. So I'm asking: are these symptoms of some sort of PTSD?
As an ending note, I would like to thank all of you on this platform for providing support for people in need. ❤️
Firstly, I want to commend and thank you for reaching out to Asking Jude for help. It takes a lot of courage to not only acknowledge that you may be experiencing these symptoms but to take the steps toward finding a solution. It sounds like you have already overcome so much, and I'm glad to hear that you are taking steps to manage your mental health.
I won’t be able to tell you if this is PTSD, but based on what you’ve shared, it’s possible that these might be very similar symptoms that you are experiencing. People with PTSD experience a wide range of symptoms such as intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, avoidance tendencies, and incredibly strong negative emotions.
Here is a comprehensive article by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) that provides detailed information on PTSD and its symptoms: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ptsd/what-is-ptsd.
If you find that your symptoms align with any of the diagnosis criteria or related conditions, I strongly encourage you to talk to your therapist or a doctor about your concerns and discuss the possibility of a PTSD diagnosis. They can help you understand your symptoms and provide you with a few treatment options. It is entirely possible that these symptoms are related to PTSD, but it's important to remember that there could be other explanations as well. It sounds like the subject of suicide is a trigger for you and may be bringing up painful emotions and memories related to your own experiences. This could be a sign of unresolved trauma or other emotional distress as well, and a therapist might really help with this too.
Remember, that it's okay to ask for help and that you don't have to go through this alone. Aside from your regular therapy sessions, you might find a few of these resources beneficial if you are ever in need of someone to talk to:
Here is a link to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. They will be able to provide you with 24/7 access to a trained professional who might be able to help talk you through these triggers: https://988lifeline.org or call 988.
The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) also provides treatment options for mental health recovery: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/recovery.
In addition to seeking professional help, there are also self-care strategies that you may find helpful in managing your symptoms. This can look very different for everyone, but some examples could be practicing relaxation techniques, such as meditation. Ultimately, though, it is most important to make time for activities that bring you comfort and relaxation. This link might be able to help you practice mindful meditation if this is something you are interested in: https://www.mindful.org/mindfulness-how-to-do-it/.
Emotional triggers can leave anyone feeling incredibly anxious or upset. If you are ever in a situation where you feel that discomfort, I suggest you try a grounding technique. Grounding techniques can be a great way to prevent you from getting overwhelmed by intense emotions or triggering situations. The “5-4-3-2-1” technique can help you use your senses to ground yourself in the present. Start by identifying and naming five things you can see around you, then four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Here is an article that provides detailed information on this technique and its steps: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/behavioral-health-partners/bhp-blog/april-2018/5-4-3-2-1-coping-technique-for-anxiety.aspx.
Focusing on your breath is another way to ground yourself. Try taking slow, deep breaths, counting to three as you inhale and three as you exhale. Here is another helpful guide for this technique: https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/self-help/guides-tools-and-activities/breathing-exercises-for-stress/.
Always remember that recovery is a process, and it's okay to take things one step at a time. Progress takes time and effort, but every small step forward counts. Be patient and kind with yourself, and know that with the right support and resources, you can overcome your challenges and achieve your goals. Don't be discouraged by setbacks or failures– try to use them as opportunities to learn and grow. Keep a positive mindset and believe in yourself, and you will find that you are capable of more than you originally thought you were.
It's important to prioritize your mental health and seek help when you need it. If you ever need someone to talk to, please don't hesitate to reach out.
Thank you for reaching out to us, and I hope everything works out well for you,
Thank you so much, @Liv B ! I'm so sorry you're going through such difficulties. One of our peer counsellors, Mikayla, will be answering your submissions by Thursday (at the latest); however, if you need it sooner, just let us know. Until then, stay strong!