When a Downhill Battle Becomes an Uphill One

Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741

The things I’ve experienced during my lifetime with mental illness can seem so horrible, and in some cases they are. At one point in time I’d lost my will to live. I would daydream about my death and relish in the thought of peace. There were many times when I simply didn’t see a way out. My turmoil would be eased by dwelling on how great it would be if I ended my story. But then someone would encourage me like my son, when I would look into his eyes, or when I would help someone who was in desperate need and they’d tell me how much they appreciated me. It was the little things that would bring me back to reality.

I used to look at myself as fighting a downhill battle. Nothing was getting better. In fact, the older I became the worse it seemed my illness had gotten. I was slowly being defeated and at one point or another I’d given up.

Speaking, teaching and writing on the subject of mental illness and sharing my insight has brought me back from the ledge. As I walked into my apartment today something thought provoking popped up in my head: “You are fighting an uphill battle.”

I stopped and thought, “Yes, yes I am” and smiled as I continued to walk in. Mental illness drains you of your life source. It’s such a horrible and equally terrifying reality to be on the verge of wanting to take your life due to an illness that people can’t even see! Only you and those who struggle in the same way you do know the inner battle. If you ever get to that point of not wanting to live or thinking everyone will be better off without you, think again. Literally.

I didn’t think I’d ever be able to be happy and feel the wonderful feelings of enjoying life and the people in it, until I found a solid foundation I could stand on. For me, it’s helping others in ways I wished someone helped me; it’s letting someone know I understand them the way I wish someone understood me; it’s being a voice for all of those who can’t find their voice just yet. So if you think you’re fighting a downhill battle, let’s stand together and aspire to fight an uphill battle. Which means let’s find hope within us that one day soon we will be happy, that one day soon we will want to live and not die, that one day we’ll be able to help someone who is struggling and save a live.

When you’re trotting up that hill and you see someone going down, gently grab their hand and tell we are in this together.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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