Life can be challenging. The good times can seem like they are too few and far between. The bad times, well, they like to pile on to you when things are already starting to crumble.
It doesn’t seem like it’s ever just one thing, does it? It’s like there’s the one thing, and then another, and then another, and then three more, and then the exhaustion of dealing with all of that garbage just settles on your shoulders.
It’s hard, especially with all of the tragedy and turmoil going on in the world.
How do you find a reason to keep going – a reason to live – even when your brain tells you that it’s not worth it?
If you are in crisis and believe you may pose a risk to yourself, please stop reading and visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website or call 1-800-273-8255.
1. “And this too shall pass.”
A small, simple phrase that contains a universe of meaning and emotion. All things change, for better or worse. Sometimes they’re great, sometimes they are not so great – but they will change, sooner or later.
Many suicidal people do not want to die. They are actually just overburdened by the trials and tribulations of life and looking for relief. Suicide can look like an escape hatch to people struggling with mental illness or who don’t have good coping skills to deal with their stresses. Everything can seem like it is falling apart when it is actually just the natural process of change that we all experience.
There are a lot of different types of people with different problems who may be considering suicide. The world is not always sunshine and roses. Terrible things happen to innocent people for no reason at all – but those terrible things will pass.
And you will get a choice on how you will recover from and move on from those things. You won’t have to live your life in that hole, trying to keep your head above the surface.
It may take mental health intervention, medication, or a complete lifestyle change, but so long as you are alive, you can find a way.
Hope is a powerful, bright beacon that shines in the darkness. Unfortunately, depression is darker than that. Not only is it dark, but it tries to strangle and smother every little bit of light that tries to pierce it.
In the darkest reaches of depression, finding even a pinprick of hope is challenging. Hope is an incredibly bright and intense feeling, especially if you’ve been sat in the dark for a long time.
If you can’t find hope, curiosity is a more reasonable, attainable alternative. As far as we know, we only get one life. That’s it. Just one. Aren’t you the least bit curious about what may be in store for your life?
Yeah, it’s dark right now. But that darkness won’t last forever. Eventually, you’ll find your way back to the light. There, you will be able to find new and exciting things to experience further down the road.
Say yes to more experiences, take reasonable risks, change up your routine to try to find something that speaks to your curiosity. Is it a trip you want to take? A book you’re looking forward to? An experience you want to have? Do you want to see historic sites? Visit the Louvre? Backpack in Vietnam?
What about a career? Do you want to help people? How can you best do that? Social work? Volunteer work? Art? What difference can you make with this knowledge and experience that you have? Because you can. It may not be world-changing, but it doesn’t need to be. You really only need to worry about developing yourself and loving the people that are around you.
And if those around you are terrible, you can always form a new family and choose better friends with some time and patience.
3. Protect the people you care about.
Suicide is much like a bomb going off in the hearts of friends, family, and other loved ones. It has far-reaching consequences that leave deep scars that do not heal quickly, and usually don’t heal cleanly.
People who lose their loved ones to suicide carry that pain with them for the rest of their lives in some way. It may get lesser as time passes, but it never fully heals.
There’s a common saying in mental health spaces that goes something to the effect of, “Suicide doesn’t end your pain, it just spreads it to the people who love you.” That’s not accurate. What’s more accurate is that suicide inflicts a tremendous, new pain on the people that love you.
They spend their time dealing with their guilt, trying to come to terms with the memories, wondering if they did enough, wondering what they could have done differently, dealing with anniversaries and new firsts without their loved one.
None of that is really “your pain,” unless those are things you’re dealing with too, which is always possible. Depression and suicide are widespread, unfortunately.
For some people, being able to inflict that kind of pain on the people who are close to them may feel appealing. It may seem like that is a great option to get back at people who you may feel don’t care about you.
But it’s not, because if they are going to feel pain from the act, it means they did care in the first place. They may not have cared very well or were too troubled by their own problems to make good choices.
But if they didn’t care at all, they won’t be as affected by it. So that’s not really a good option either. All you’ll end up doing is throwing your life away for nothing.
4. Death is permanent.
There’s another common saying in mental health circles: “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” That’s true sometimes, but it doesn’t always land correctly.
Suicide is indeed a permanent solution, but sometimes the problems are more than temporary.
What if you’re chronically ill? What if you have a mental illness you have to deal with for the rest of your life? What if you’ve suffered some great tragedy or trauma that will affect you for a long time? All of these things can be a permanent part of your life.
But what isn’t permanent are the lows. Things change. What seems impossible today may be a small hill that you had to climb tomorrow. Suicide deprives you of the ability to learn, grow, and overcome the challenges you will face with whatever you have to carry. You get no more chances for all of the positive and brilliant things in life when you choose death because death is permanent.
How can you lighten the load of chronic or long-term problems? Therapy is an obvious route, but a not so obvious route is support groups for people dealing with the same or similar problems to you. It is quite therapeutic to be around other people facing the same struggles, trials, and tribulations of life that you are.
Humans are social creatures. We need other people to survive and thrive. A support community can provide a healing atmosphere of growth and empowerment that you can’t find elsewhere.
Spite is a powerful motivator. Yes, it can be harmful, but it can also do a whole lot of good. Much has been accomplished because a doer of deeds wanted to prove someone wrong.
But it doesn’t have to be someone! Oh, no. Not at all. It can be your depression, your problems, your mental illness, or the circumstances that have brought you to a position where you are considering taking your life.
Prove it all wrong. Refuse to be another statistic and live a good life despite the people who harmed you, despite the situations that didn’t work out how you had hoped, or despite the mental illness trying to drag you into the darkness.
You’ve survived life so far, you can keep going, keep working to have a healthy, happy, and peaceful life as well as you can. Live your best life despite all of these things and more. You have more power, tenacity, and strength than you may realize. After all, you’re here right now, reading this article, looking for a little bit of hope. And that’s such a hard thing to do when your mind is so dark.
You may also like:
- Existential Depression: How To Defeat Your Feelings Of Meaninglessness
- What Is The Purpose And Point Of Life? (It’s Not What You Think)
- Why Do I Hate Myself So Much? How Can I Stop These Feelings?
- How To Stop Feeling Like You’re A Burden On Others
- How To Deal With Loneliness And Cope With Feelings Of Isolation
- How To Finally Beat Feelings Of Worthlessness
- How To Explain What Depression Feels Like To Someone Who’s Never Had It