When you are alone and in crisis, the crushing loneliness you feel is overwhelming. Wanting to talk to someone you love about your thoughts and feelings is natural, but it’s also unfortunately not always an option. In these situations, you can use your coping skills, including writing or calling a warmline or hotline.
If you are alone and what you need at the moment is to verbalize your experience, I suggest writing down your feelings first. I find this is best done when you just write freestyle, with no regard to sentence structure, punctuation, or continuity of thoughts: just let it all pour out however it wants to. It may make you cry, but you will find a little bit of peace when you finish writing, and your thoughts won’t be as tangled. Writing is a good way to calm yourself down, even when the act of writing makes you upset. You’re getting the poison out on paper, where you can see it and realize that these thoughts are not who you are: they are something that is happening to you right now, and you will have different thoughts after these. Thoughts are happenings, and you are not made up of your thoughts. They do not have to rule your world. Thoughts come and go, and are impermanent, even though some of them are repetitive, commonly like “I’d feel better dead.” Or “I’m worthless.”
Hotlines and Warmlines
Warmlines are for less severe situations than feeling suicidal, so you don’t have to worry about taking someone’s time away from suicidal people. This is actually an unproductive and problematic thought: the thought that you don’t deserve help. However, I know this kind of thinking happens often when you feel worthless and undeserving of love or help, so I want to encourage you to make yourself call.
You are the person most likely to save your life, and any time you consider death as your only option, your thinking is not perfectly crystal clear. This is always a good time to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. You get to talk to a real person who can help you sort out your feelings and situation, and will talk to you as long as you need. If you feel you may commit suicide, call this number: 1-800–273–8255. Or if you would rather text, try this Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741.
You deserve help, and help is available at any time, day or night. Seize any tiny moment of doubt in your plan to die, and call. These people are trained at calming you down. They are often people who have been suicidal themselves and will relate in a very visceral way to your feelings and situation. They will most likely make you feel better enough to call off your plan to die.
I know there are people and situations in which suicide is a good solution, but this is a tiny minority, mostly reserved for people already dying soon in a painful way. You are most likely not one of these people, even though death seems completely appealing in the moment. Some people need suicide, and I’m not going to pretend that it’s never appropriate. But again, this is a tiny minority of situations, and most situations and people do not qualify for the “good idea” group. This means you. If you’re not already dying, your suicide would do more much more harm than you are currently feeling. It sucks to feel guilty about the idea of hurting people with your death, but no matter how you address it, suicide is devastating, and yours may be devastating to many people. Think of your parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, classmates, friends in real life, friends on twitter, friends on Facebook, people you’ve dated in the past, people who grew up with you, your employer, your coworkers, every close confidant you’ve had in your life, and all the adults who formed you.
When you die, you just switch off. No more anything. It’s not relief, it’s non-being. It’s nothing. And while nothingness is sort of the reward you get for living, a suicide is harder on your friends and loved ones than a natural death because everyone feels they should have done something. Everyone feels guilty, like they failed you. That regret will follow them for years, possibly their lifetime. Many parents of suicide victims even commit suicide themselves because they simply cannot bear the feeling that they failed their child. They naturally, though often unfairly, feel responsible for the preventable death of their own offspring. Even if your parents are failing you currently and you think they would be better off if you were dead, that’s not true. Even parents who are blase, indifferent, or mean to their children would be devastated in a way that you cannot imagine unless you’ve experienced a suicide of someone you loved and felt responsible for.
I have survived two suicide attempts: one by hanging and another by overdosing on lithium. They were sincere attempts, but both were thwarted. My attempt by hanging was in a psychiatric hospital unit, but my neck didn’t break and a nurse found me before I passed out and she cut me down. I remember wailing like a wounded animal. I was furious that they had taken my escape away from me. The second attempt was ruined by my neglect to take into account vomiting. I took twice the amount than the recommended amount for overdose. I passed out, but vomited in my sleep. I woke up while throwing up and took another dose, but my stomach couldn’t take it. I had enough in my system to keep me unconscious for 12 hours, but ultimately, it failed.
I know the feeling of considering death for months at a time. The daily fight with myself where I go from desperately needing to die and feeling overwhelming guilt about the damage I know I will cause. I consider all my options for a successful exit and pretty quickly find one that works. Crying in these months is pretty much constant. My soul is on fire, but I have an ice-cold knife stuck in my chest. When I can’t sleep at night, I use every bit of my willpower to resist going into the kitchen and using our sharpest knife to quickly slit my throat. I know what it feels like to come to believe that love does not exist.
But back to hotlines and warmlines; call. Just call. The suicide prevention hotlines (and there are several) are a safe place for you to express yourself. You will not get taken away by the police because of admitting you are suicidal. You can be completely open, honest, and unreserved. You can talk about your plan. It’s really refreshing. I’ve called a few times, and it felt so good to talk to someone that I knew cared even though they’d never met me. They were wonderful and soothing. They always succeeded in talking me down. I even admitted to having a plan, and no police showed up at my door. That rarely happens; in recent research into the suicide prevention line, when I interviewed a hotline worker, I was told that the police were involved in a tiny percent of callers: please don’t be afraid because you think you will be taken away. That is another problematic thought.
When you are upset but alone, use many coping skills, especially writing, or call someone. Please. You can feel better; it’s always possible to feel better than upset or depressed. If you need to talk, there are people available every day and every night, at any time.
The following are phone numbers for suicide hotlines and crisis warmlines. Suicide hotlines are primarily only two organizations, but they are both available 24/7. You can look up all warmlines by going to warmline.org. The warmlines I’ve listed are the ones that accept calls from any state, but on warmline.org you will find listings of local lines available in each state. Some warmlines have open hours and closed hours, so check the listings I’ve posted. Their available hours are below.
This is a list of warmlines for people in crisis; the warmlines listed below are available nationwide. Local numbers can be found on warmline.org
- A Kind Voiceis a topic based call-in line staffed by volunteers. If you’re feeling a bit alone and would just like to talk with a kind voice about a book you read, a movie or ball game you saw, the news of the day or a range of other topics, please call us at 800.876.2399. We are open from 9AM to 10PM EST, 7 days a week.
- Warmline, Inc. Milwaukee WI(414) 777-4729
Hours: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday thru Monday
- The WarmLine – King CountyServing all of Washington State and national.
Local calls: 206-933-7001
National and out of area calls: 1-877-500-9276
Hours are 7 days a week from 5 PM till 10 PM PST
- Washington County Warm Line(802) 229-8015
Hours: 6pm-11pm Every Day
Takes calls in state and out state
- new! Delaware County Warmline (Delco)tollfree 1-855-464-9342
Hours: Monday-Friday 6pm to midnight; 1pm-11pm weekends
View warmline website by Elwyn
- Cincinnati Warmlineopen 24 hours
(513) 931-WARM or (513) 931-9276
- The Empowerment Center in New York877-HELP-800, 877-4357-800
Available 8 AM – 8 PM M-F (EST)
- Keene Area Warmline866-352-5093
7 pm – 10 pm, 7 days a week
Local crisis number: 603-357-4400
(note: this warmline may be merging with Stepping Stone as of 7/1/09)
Stepping Stone Warmline
603-543-0920 or locally: 888-582-0920
5 pm – 10 pm, 7 days a week
- Western Mass RLC Peer Support Line– Western Mass Recovery Learning Community (WMRLC)Toll Free: (888) 407-4515
Hours: Friday through Monday, 8pm – midnight
Edinburg Center Warmline
617 875 0748
New Hours as of November, 2018:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM
(closed Wednesday and Sunday)
- The Peer Warm Line– Metro Boston Recovery Learning Community (MBRLC)Toll Free: (877) 733-7563
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 4pm – 8 pm
- The Louisiana Warm Line
- The Louisiana Warmline is a noncrisis phone line staffed by trained and certified Peer Support Specialists providing confidential and non-judgmental peer support. The Warmline is open to all adults living in Louisiana who are interested in this service.
- Toll Free: 1-800-730-8375
Hours: Wed-Sun from 5 p.m.-10 p.m.
- Warm Line – Participation Station(859) 252-0058 Lexington area
(877) 840-5167 Bluegrass area
Hours: Monday – Thursday 11:30am-9:00pm; Friday – Saturday 5:00pm-9:00pm.
- Warmline – KEYS Consumer Organization800-933-5397
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday; talk to each individual for fifteen minutes each day.
- Project Return Peer Support Network
Now accepting calls nationwide
Warmline hours 7 days a week 5pm-10pm PST
(888) 448-9777 English
(888) 448-4055 Spanish