Life throws curveballs, and sometimes those curveballs feel like a whole stadium’s worth. We all experience dark moments, and for some of us, those moments can spiral into thoughts of self-harm or suicide. It’s during these times, when the storm clouds gather and the waves crash against our shores, that a safety plan becomes your anchor.
While January might see an increase in suicide rates, the truth is, suicidal thoughts can strike anyone, at any time. And that’s where having a personalized safety plan comes in. It’s not a magical shield, but it’s a roadmap, a lifeline you weave for yourself in calmer moments, guiding you back to safety when the seas get rough.
So, what exactly is a safety plan?
It’s not a one-size-fits-all document. It’s a tool you customize for yourself, a list of resources, coping strategies, and reminders to help you navigate those dark moments. It’s about knowing what to do, who to call, and how to hold onto hope when everything feels bleak.
Here’s how building your safety plan can be your anchor in the storm:
1. Identifying Your Warning Signs:
Start by understanding your own triggers. What are the thoughts, feelings, or situations that signal a downward spiral for you? Recognizing these warning signs early on gives you time to activate your safety plan before the storm hits full force.
2. Building Your Resource Arsenal:
List down your trusted resources – people you can call or talk to when things feel overwhelming. This could include friends, family, therapists, crisis hotlines like the 988 Lifeline, or even online support groups. Don’t hesitate to include professional help if needed.
3. Crafting Coping Mechanisms:
What activities or techniques help you calm down when anxiety or despair grip you? Deep breathing exercises, listening to calming music, spending time in nature, or engaging in a creative outlet – write down these coping strategies to use in the heat of the moment.
4. Anchoring Yourself in Hope:
Life has a way of throwing surprises. So, create a list of things that bring you joy, even in the darkest times. It could be a future goal you’re excited about, a cherished memory that warms your heart, or simply a small pleasure you can look forward to tomorrow. This hope list can be your beacon in the storm, reminding you that there is light beyond the clouds.
5. Keeping it Accessible:
Your safety plan shouldn’t be gathering dust in a drawer. Keep it somewhere easily accessible, like your phone or a wallet you carry with you. Sharing it with a trusted friend or family member can also provide an extra layer of support.
Building a safety plan is an act of self-care, a way of taking charge of your mental well-being. It’s not a sign of weakness, but a testament to your strength and resilience. It’s about saying “I’m worth fighting for,” and choosing hope even in the face of despair.
Download the document below to start creating your Safety Plan.
If you need help, 988 is always available via text, chat and phone!
If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out for help. You are not alone.
- Call or text 988 for immediate support.
- You can also reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741
- Or visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
Don’t weather the storm alone. Build your anchor, reach for help, and know that there is always hope, even on the darkest days.
Let’s talk about mental health. Let’s break down the stigma. Let’s make sure everyone knows they are not alone, and that there is always a way back to the shore.
Together, we can weather any storm.
Remember, you are not alone.