I’m so glad you’ve stumbled on my website. I’m not a therapist or a counselor, but I am someone who has gone through what you are going through. And I want to tell you something that you won’t believe, but you need to hear anyway: it gets better.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, how can it possibly get better? Believe me, I know what you’re feeling right now, and how impossible that seems. A year and a half ago, I thought my world was ending. But here’s something I learned: your brain tricks you. It tells you all sorts of things that aren’t true: that you’re worthless, that it’s hopeless, that there’s no escape. Your mind is a goddamn liar. Your brain is like the Wizard of Oz, and it’s using smoke and mirrors to trick you. It’s blinding you to the truth, that you’re okay and things absolutely will get better.
Maybe you don’t believe me. Maybe you have the gun of despair pressed up against your head, and you’re thinking about suicide. And I want you to know: that’s okay.
Thousands, maybe millions of people over the centuries have considered suicide as a way of ending their pain. You are in no way alone in this. I’ve thought about it many, many times in my life. But I want you to consider two things before you go any further.
The first is this:
Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem
Think for a minute about all the good things that have ever happened to you. I know it’s hard right now, so try this: imagine you don’t have anxiety and depression. Now, picture: what would that me list as happy memories? Maybe it was a smile, or shared laughter, or snuggling with a pet. Maybe it was digging your feet in warm sand, or someone thanking you for something kind you did for them. Maybe it was feeling proud about something you created, whether it was a meal or a bench or a piece of art.
Now picture telling the healthy you that you won’t get to experience those things, because you’re dead. That would be totally devastating to that person, right? They would immediately feel pain, so much pain, more than you’re feeling on your worst day now. They would beg and plead to not let that happen. You would do anything in your power to make that scared, upset person happy again.
Imagine that it’s you in the future, coming back and telling all this to your healthy self now. Imagine your future self explaining all the wonderful and amazing and incredible things you will get to experience in your future. They would tell you to do anything, anything at all, just to stay alive so you get to experience those things.
Suicide doesn’t end the pain. It transfers it.
Maybe you still think that it’s the only way to end the pain you have now, because you can’t be guaranteed that you’ll ever have that better future. It’s true that there are no guarantees in life. But there are hundreds of thousands of people who thought about, and never went ahead with suicide. And they recovered and went on to experience happy lives. What makes you so special? Why would it be any different for you?
Even if you do go through with it, the pain won’t end. It will be over for you, but it will be the beginning of the nightmare for everyone you care about.
Over eighteen years ago, a friend of my family, a young woman in her twenties, committed suicide. It sent shock waves throughout her family and friends and community. It caused a huge amount of pain for everyone she knew. I wasn’t all that close to her, but it still haunts me, and there’s not a week that goes by that I don’t think with horror about the pain she must have felt. As for her family, they have never recovered. The hole she left is so profound, the wound so painful, that they will never be the same again. Even though her older sister is married with grown-up children of her own, she still grieves deeply and constantly. Instead of seeking help for her short-term, temporary problem, this dead young woman’s pain is now spread across dozens of people and along decades of time. Thinking back, I realize how she must not, could not, have known about the effect she would have on those around her. She had no idea how many people loved her and would have helped her.
And I am going to tell you that the same is true for you.
You don’t have to be a hero right now. You don’t have to do everything you used to be able to do. You have one mission, and one mission only right now: to feel better. I want you to do anything and everything it takes to get better. If your job or your spouse is causing you pain, leave them. Don’t bear this alone. Tell everyone and anyone you can trust about it. Ask them for help, even if it’s the last thing you want to do. Go to the doctor. Go to the counselor. Take medication if you need to, or switch medication if it’s not working. Do what makes you feel good, even if it feels self-indulgent. Fight like you’ve never fought before. Have someone stay with you if you don’t want to be alone. If you feel like you can’t even bear your own body, put on a pair of shoes, and run, even if you think you look crazy. Now is the time to not care what other people think.
And whatever else you think or believe, know this: it gets better. I am a real person, who went through what you’re going through, and I made it to the other side. I thought I was dying, or going crazy. I thought every day about killing myself for weeks on end. Now I am, dare I say it, happy. As good or even happier than I was before.
You will be too.