Trigger warning: this article covers sensitive content involving suicide. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. It gets better.
I know this is an extremely sensitive topic, but it is one that needs to be discussed.
Because I know for a fact that at one point or the other in our lives, we have been suicidal or have had a friend dealing struggling with these thoughts. One in five people struggle with mental health issues. That means for every room you enter with hesitancy and your head turned downward, believing you are the only one with issues, one in five of those people are going through the exact same thing.
For someone who has never experienced suicidal thoughts, the thought of wanting to die in itself can seem ludicrous. The sun is shining, there is a chance for another day, you are in love, the breakfast you had that morning was delicious. The thought of dying seems way too far-fetched. Something left for a time far away in the future. What more could you ask for?
But for those who struggle with debilitating mental illnesses, such as depression, the demon of them all, suicidality is a strong risk. Let me make this clear. Depression can kill you, just as cancer can eat away at your bones. Depression is in itself a cancer of the mind. Think about your brain for a moment. It is made to function, to experience all of the natural emotions that a mind needs to experience in order to live. You need your brain to eat a meal that tantalizes your taste buds. You need your brain to have the guts to socialize with people at school or work. You need your brain to feel the warm air on a sunny day and feel relief. You need your brain to kiss and feel the warmth of the kiss all throughout your body.
But a depressed mind feels none of this. You are constantly in a state of isolation in your mind and functioning is delayed. Enjoyment is no longer something you crave. Simple tasks seem like a chore and your bed is your safe haven. Sleep calls you constantly, just so you can get a short escape.
When we think of someone who is suicidal, or just the term in itself, we shy away from even talking about it. It frightens us. The realness of it seems too much to swallow and we just sweep it right under the rug. We do this because suicide is viewed for the finality of it all. It happens, and we are left wondering what was that bad that led that person to take to their life?
“She was beautiful, he was smart, she was talented, he excelled in sports.”
But none of that can hinder the mind from becoming unwell.
It doesn’t matter what we look like on the outside. The brain is a blessing, but yet can also be a wicked thing when it comes to mental health. I deal with depression on a day to day basis, have been through a dramatic relapse, and I can tell you that suicidal people do not truly want to die, but see it as the only option to end the pain that they are in.
To the suicidal mind, you feel trapped. You feel suffocated by the state of your psyche and there seems like there is no way out. Day in and day out, you deal with mental agony and anguish that both frightens you and pushes you at the same time. You feel like death is the only way out, but at the same time, the human in you desperately wants to fight to cling on to hope. To cling on to life.
It’s human nature to want to survive, to live, to thrive. But mental illness can get to a point where you seem isolated.
Mental illness is a battle. A battle of the mind, a battle that many are unfortunate to experience. But I can tell you that death is the ultimate,
last resort for someone who feels suicidal. They feel they have exhausted all efforts and everything that they try has failed to provide relief. They feel like there are walls in their mind that have locked them deep behind and there is no way out.
Most importantly, however, suicidal people do not want to die. They want to live so desperately, but they can’t seem to find a way to. They feel like they have exhausted all their options and the pain they are experiencing is well beyond them.
They feel like they are essentially trapped and cannot find any means of escaping their misery. The thoughts themselves actually scare people who experience suicidality because the thought of death or acting on a thought that can lead to death is scary in itself. People who experience suicidal thoughts, therefore, do not need anyone criticizing them or belittling them for having the thoughts that they do.
It is also not recommended that you listen to anyone tell you the way they think you are feeling. Because if they have not shared your experience, I am telling you they do not truly know what you are going through. Many will say that people who are suicidal are looking for attention, or they are cowardly for feeling the way that they do. But depression is real and you shouldn’t have to be judged for going through something that is incredibly scary and lonely, especially suicidal thoughts, another type of agony that no one should ever have the misfortune of experiencing. Young or old.
I am not saying that feeling suicidal is okay whatsoever. It’s extremely debilitating for anyone to have to feel like this on a daily basis period. No one deserves this type of agony. But I want you to know that if you have been there or are there right now, give yourself credit for the tremendous strength that you have as a human being for making it thus far. Commend yourself for surviving even though inside you want to just crumble. Congratulate yourself for making it through this hour without acting on your thoughts.
I know you want to live. I want you to live too so that you can inspire others with your story. I want you to be able to be a voice for everyone who has experienced these thoughts and are still alive to tell the tale. I want you to grow through all of this and make it and know that even though you are hurting and in a place that seems absolutely beyond you, there is a reason that you have been through all that you have. I want you to know that it is no coincidence that all of your attempts, I don’t care how many or how extreme have failed. You are here for a reason and you are stronger because of all you have been through.
You are a survivor.
Use your story as a means to propel yourself farther as an individual. Use your story to remind yourself of your strength and all that you have survived thus far. No ordinary person survives depression, or worse, suicidal thoughts. You should be commended for making it this far and to this very moment and for the progress you have made so far.
I want you to know that your beating heart is the hope you have been looking for, and that death is not the only option. Look at where you are right now, look at all the people who have provided you with hope thus far. I know, it is not easy to believe that death is not the only option. Trust me, I am where you have been or are. But your life is worth living because you are still here trying to survive, you are still here getting stronger each and every day, getting better each and every day, even if you don’t realize it.
I’m still here with you, so don’t give up just yet.