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23 More Reasons to Keep Going When You Don’t Think You Can

Dead ends are usually just setbacks that you can in fact navigate.

Key points

  • Everyone faces tough, lonely, and hard times in life.
  • Sometimes these times can feel so painful that we want to give up.
  • This post contains reminders of hope and comfort if you find yourself in one of those times.

In the first part of this two-part series, I listed 17 reasons to help you take comfort, relief, and find some solace if you're having a hard time right now. Below I list 23 more:

18. Because you’ve gone through hard times before and survived them, you can do it again. And if you’ve never been through a major depressive episode before, if you’ve never had suicidal thoughts before, it can feel terribly scary, foreign, and permanent. But many of us have been there before and have moved through those times. Take heart in the familiarity of this experience.

19. Because everyone makes mistakes. Not even the Dalai Lama can make it through a lifetime without majorly messing up and being called out for it. You’re human. Can you feel some compassion for yourself for having messed up?

20. Because life, even though it's stabbing you with fear and anxiety right now, still has highlights like the oxytocin rush of a newborn in our arms, precocious preschoolers pretending to be Spice Girls, full moons that take your breath away, yellow and pink blossoms rioting in the spring, and your absolute favorite comfort meal.

21. Because there are so many other people all over the world and all across time who likewise thought they would never survive what you’re feeling, and yet somehow did. This isn’t to diminish your experience but rather to normalize it. Many, many of us reach times in our life we think we can’t survive. And yet we somehow do.

22. Because it is so damn hard to see solutions when you’re in acute distress. Now, when you feel as bad as you’ve ever felt, is not the time you will have the most constructive thinking. Remember this and then ask resourced, grounded friends and advisors for their ideas and support.

23. Because it is possible to live a good, fulfilling life even with anxiety and depression. Even if these states are your baseline, many, many people live good-ish, full lives with this baseline.

24. Because if you hurt yourself you deny yourself the potential experiences of future snuggles with kids, the tingle of your muscles after a long day of activity, popcorn and chocolate for dinner, and the experience of falling in love (no matter what age you are).

25. Because if you do something to hurt yourself now, you may miss your chance to do something even more meaningful and impactful in the world, like using your life to make other lives better.

26. Because even if you made a huge mistake, one that feels like a complete and total screwup, that doesn’t define who you are. Truly.

27. Because there are so many countries to see, good friends to be made, and tiny little unexpected adventures to be had.

28. Because comeback stories are a thing. Because time—plus efforts at getting better, doing better, cleaning up mistakes, and repairing when possible—can help you feel less distress.

29. Because even when it feels like life isn’t worth living there is Celtic music, Caribbean seas, movies that seem to parallel-process your life, eye contact with beautiful strangers, and interactions with kind people who do unsolicited nice things for you.

30. Because alongside all this horrible stuff you’re going through, there is good and beauty, because life always co-exists like that.

31. Because there are so many examples of people who have experienced public shaming and survived. So many examples of people who lived through unimaginable heartbreak and survived. So many people who live with major depression and generalized anxiety disorder and survive. So many people who make stupid mistakes and survive. So many people who get second chances at good lives.

32. Because there are, even in hellish moments, things to be grateful for. Like the health of loved ones, shelter, a bed to sleep in, food in the fridge, no bombs above your head, and washers and dryers.

33. Because a string of days that you simply survive can add up to a decent year and an even better next year. Just. Keep. Going.

34. Because there are lots of options for taking care of yourself when the anxiety feels like it will spontaneously combust you or when the depression drags you down like a swamp: Booking therapy. Texting the 988 hotline. Walking in the sun with nostalgic music in your ears. Distracting yourself with a good show and a sugary treat. Sleep. Snuggles. And all of this repeated.

35. Because dead ends are usually just setbacks that you can go up, around, un,der or through—eventually. It just rarely seems that way in the moment when the block appears.

36. Because one decision to take your life robs you of a million decisions and choice points that can make it feel better.

37. Because as bad as things seem now, there are unknowns like legal wins, windfalls, kindnesses, policy shifts, new leadership, better housing, new loves, and so much more that you can’t even imagine right now that will make things feel better.

38. Because even in the midst of a dark night of the soul, there can be a funny joke you hear, deep comfort from a perfect episode of TV, a good friend who surprises you, a moment (or 20) of distraction, and some escape into sleep.

39. Because the person you survive may have wanted you to live well to honor their memory.

40. Because we only get one life and it will end. But before it doe, we have so, so many chances to feel better than we do in this moment—future moments of relief, peace, perspective, and second chances to right wrongs and to do better.

If you or someone you love is contemplating suicide, seek help immediately. For help 24/7 contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK, or the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. You can also text 988. To find a therapist near you, see the Psychology Today Therapy Directory.

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