Suicide: the act or an instance of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally
Today 123 people died in America. They weren’t killed in a car accident. They didn’t die of cancer. They weren’t murdered by someone else. They took their own lives.
12 years ago I was almost one of them. At the time, I was so overcome with depression, grief, self-hatred, and anger that I didn’t believe my life was worth living and I didn’t think anyone would care if I was gone.
I was wrong. And if you think your life isn’t worth living, you’re wrong too.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America and it claims more than 44,000 lives annually:
My coworkers’’ friend.
My former classmate.
Parents, teachers, actors, doctors, politicians, brothers, sisters, children, friends, family members…the list goes on and on.
Suicide doesn’t discriminate. But what it does do it show us that appearances are often deceiving. That’s why this topic is so important to talk about— we need transverse the cracks together, and patch them up because 123 people’s lives depend on it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
And yours might be one of them.
Here are 5 warning signs you might be suicidal (extracted from my personal experience), and how to get help:
1. You Think Life Would Be Better For Everyone Else if You Weren’t Alive
Do you believe you’re more of a burden than a blessing to those around you?
Do you constantly feel like you’re making life harder for your friends and family?
If you answered yes to either of these questions, I urge you to explore WHY you believe you’re a burden. Journal your thoughts, and then sit down with your family and friends and have a heart-to-heart conversation with them about why you believe that (if it’s too difficult to talk face-to-face write them a letter or send a message).
I know this is easier said than done. I’ve been right where you are. But, the truth is your family and friends probably aren’t aware of how seriously depressed and unhappy you are. Let them in. Let them support you through this.
2. You Believe Your Problems Are Too Big to Be Solvedv
Does your life feel overly complicated and impossible to navigate?
Do problems and hardships seem to follow you everywhere you go?
When I was younger I used to ask God, “why does my life have to be so hard” and “what’s the point of living?” I thought I’d live the rest of my life depressed and unhappy because I didn’t have an obvious solution for how to change my circumstances and become happy.
But, what I didn’t realize then is I always had all of the power within myself to start making positive and lasting changes in my life. And if I could just find a way to shift my perspective, are start actively acknowledging the some of the goodness in my life, I’d begin to realize my life wasn’t all bad.
You carry the same power within yourself. And if you feel like you’re living under a black cloud, I urge you to invite some sunshine into your life and list three things you’re grateful.
This may seem forced or insignificant initially, but it will help you put things into perspective, and see (perhaps for the first time in a long time) blessings rather than burdens.
3. You Get Relief From Self-Harming
Do you intentionally self-harm to get a physical release from your internal suffering?
Do you crave physical pain to cope with life?
Self-harm is one of the major tell-tale signs that you’re on a destructive and suicidal path, and it’s a habit you need to overcome starting right now.
You see, cutting is a gateway to more serious self-harm, and often leads to suicide attempts. I used to cut myself frequently…sometimes daily depending on how badly I felt about myself and my life. I’d slash the insides of my thighs, my upper back, my shoulders — anywhere that would allow me to hurt myself without other people knowing.
On the surface, I was calm, cool and collected. But my insides were bursting with anger, hurt and sadness. Cutting allowed me to suffer externally the way I was suffering internally, and I became addicted to the rush I felt every time I took a razor to my skin and drew blood — each cut a little deeper and a little more painful.
But it was never enough. I always wanted more. And this eventually led more to a more serious attempt on my life.
If you’re in a similar situation, here’s what I want you to do: every time you feel like cutting yourself, instead of self-harming create something that represents the internal storm brewing inside of you. Write a story. Make a piece of art. Compose a piece of music.
Use creativity as your outlet rather than self-harm. You can still express yourself and release your emotions without hurting yourself in the process, okay?
4. You Fantasize About Committing Suicide
Do you ever find yourself laying in bed at night, thinking death would be better than your current reality?
Do you ever imagine when/where/how you’d do it?
If you’re fantasizing about committing suicide, it’s time to pull together all of that incredible strength you have within you and reach out for help.
I know this one, in particular, is difficult because it’s not easy to expose your vulnerability to other people and be truthful about your current state. But, just imagine you’re lost at sea and feeling completely alone and hopeless — then suddenly, a helicopter flies above and offers you a way out. You would take it without thinking twice!
Look at asking for help from others in the same light. Allow yourself to be pulled out of a hopeless situation, and nourished back to health.
5. You Don’t Believe Your Life is Worth Living
Do you wake up disgruntled because it means you have to face another day?
Do you feel purposeless?
Do you believe your life isn’t worth living?
If you answered yes to these questions, then I want to tell you three things:
You are loved.
Your life is worth living.
I know it might not always seem like it, but I promise you all of the above are true. YOU are an incredible, unique and purposeful person who exists for a reason. And if you are having trouble finding that reason, don’t worry — you aren’t alone! My purpose didn’t become clear to me until several years AFTER I overcame my depression and suicidal tendencies, and can I tell you how happy I am that I got a second chance at life? A chance everyone deserves, including you.
It’s time for you to pull out your internal strength and overcome this. You are worth it and your life is worth it.
Always remember, “strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.”
P.s. if you need someone to talk to but can’t find anyone around, pick up your phone right now and call the Suicide Prevention Hotline in your country because your life IS worth living.