This is part one of a two-part post.
During particularly hard, brutal times of life many of us have had the experience of feeling like it would be better off if we weren’t here or feeling so despairing that we think about giving up on life. This post is for you if this is where you find yourself now.
- Because suicide is a very permanent solution to a temporary problem. It’s literally the most permanent, irreversible thing you can do. Few problems are permanent - nor are the emotions that go with problems that are permanent. But killing yourself is permanent.
- Because you mean too much to someone else to hurt yourself. You may not know this and you may have stories you believe about how others would be better off without you but you don’t know that. You’re not inside their hearts and minds.
- Because you deserve to feel afternoon sunshine streaming through green leaves on your face again. The peace that can come in an afternoon sliver, the kind that reminds you things are ok.
- Because someday you will be able to look back at this hellish time and it won’t feel so hellish (even though that feels impossible to believe now). Your brain just can’t imagine that now.
- Because you harming yourself might break someone’s heart. Your mom’s. Your dad’s. Your partner’s. Your little sibling’s. Your best friend’s. You may never ever know just how much you mean to someone, including people you’ve never met who simply know of you and take heart and hope from you.
- Because there are, even in the worst of times, still good things you can enjoy in life. Like hot baths and weighted cozy blankets.
- Because there is still safety and support in this moment, even if you can’t see it now. Right now, in this one singular moment, you’re okay.
- Because the utter hell of your anxiety and the crush of your depression isn’t permanent. Really. It feels this way now because your prefrontal cortex is hijacked, your brain chemistry is imbalanced, and you are in flight and fight mode. From inside this place, you don’t have perspective and you must grasp that fact and what it means about bad decision-making right now.
- Because someday there might be a child or fur baby or mentee or loved one in your life who brings meaning and fulfillment to your days. And you’ll never know this precious being if you do something to harm yourself now.
- Because there may still be a particular kind of therapy or a better combination of medications that can support you and bring you relief. Trauma therapy, a psychiatrist who works hard to find the right combination for your chemistry, it can make all the difference.
- Because you are a good person, worth taking good care of. No matter what you did and what you think about yourself right now. You. Are. A. Good. Person.
- Because even though it feels like the shame will destroy you right now, many people have lived through shame and scorn and survived. The despair you feel about being publicly shamed is a primal response—our ancestors needed the group to survive—that response is still well and alive in you despite the fact that your survival may not hinge on the group. You feel like you won’t survive but the facts say you will.
- Because time moves on and so does other peoples’ attention. The fear you feel about what others will think of you, your mistakes, your situation, it is legitimate but also people will not care as much as you do about what’s going on for you as time passes.
- Because there are people who you haven’t even met yet who will love you fiercely and show you intense loyalty. Isn’t that amazing to imagine? If you just keep going beautiful, wonderful relationships will still have a chance of showing up in your life.
- Because life still holds good and wonderful things like a perfect cello Baroque piece, the thrill of a passport stamp, and the satisfaction of a long, lazy, delicious meal with a good friend who you haven’t seen in a while and who makes you feel more like yourself.
- Because nothing lasts forever – including your devastation, grief, fear, and shame. It’s not that time heals all wounds. It’s that time plus processing plus reparative experiences plus perspective plus metabolized emotions that makes things feel less acute.
- Because when you take things moment by moment, second by second, that hot heat of anxiety and that vacuum of depression feels a tiny bit more manageable. Cling to the tiny little life rafts in the dark night of your soul—that emotional support person, that familiar, funny, soothing TV show, that comforting meal, that morning ritual. Anything that helps you feel like you’ve got a grip and some relief even for a few minutes. Those moments compile and add up until the life rafts have become a dock that walks you back to safety on the shore.
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.
Facebook image: Krakenimages.com/Shutterstock