The Text That Made Me Feel Less Alone in My Struggle With Constant Suicidal Thoughts
If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.
Living with suicidal thoughts can feel almost oxymoronic. How do you live with the constant, unrelenting desire to die? I have, time and time again, managed to keep living despite a painfully real desire, and sometimes need, to end it all. Rarely have I spoken even remotely honestly about the thoughts with anyone else. People don’t understand, and they misinterpret being suicidal as being a “violent” person. I never imagined one simple text would change my perception so dramatically for the better.
By sheer dumb luck I ended up meeting someone who not only related to the feelings of being suicidal, but had come frighteningly close himself to taking his own life. When former NHL goaltender Corey Hirsch wrote an article about OCD and suicide, I remember reading it and thinking, “this guy gets it.” I read it over and over. Even on my darkest days, it gave me hope that I wasn’t alone. A year later I met Corey, and it would change my life forever. He encouraged me to reach out and message him if ever I needed anything. He had no way of knowing the bright, smiling girl he had just met was deeply suicidal and depressed that day, like so many days. He had no way of knowing I would take him up on that offer, and that his words would mean so much.
I did reach out, and admitted I related so strongly to his article because my own brain was screaming at me to just end it all. I confessed I had never opened up to anyone besides my psychiatrist about being suicidal, and his response blew me away. He told me how he understood the thoughts and feelings I was having, because he had them too. He reminded me I will get better, and that it takes time. But most of all, he was happy I felt I could talk to him. I couldn’t believe that anyone would be “happy” that someone like me was droning on about wanting to end their life, and how miserable it is to live with a brain that won’t stop pushing you to do it. “Happy”? Surely he meant he was annoyed by me, or thought I was a complete disaster. But I kept reading, and he kept reminding me that he had been where I am. He knew what it was like.
I was dumbfounded by this unexpected gentleness. The honestly of it. His willingness to say, “I’ve been where you are.” I didn’t want to believe what he was saying, that I would get there, that I would get better. My brain screamed at me “He’s lying!” My brain tried to convince me I was too far gone to ever be as happy and successful as anyone else. My brain didn’t want me to believe there was hope for me. But he believed it. He knew it. Because he had been where I was, and felt what I was feeling. He knew I could get better, but he also knew how hard that was for me to believe.
He was right — there is hope in the darkness. Sometimes that hope comes in the form of a person who is willing to say, “I’ve been there too.” That hope inspires you to keep going, to believe this doesn’t have to be the end. I will be forever grateful for his words, and his willingness to take off the mask and not hide his struggles. It’s a constant reminder that I’m not alone in this. We are not alone in this.
Whatever your struggle, no matter how hopeless it feels in this moment, remember you are not alone. Just because you haven’t met someone who makes you feel understood doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. You are not alone. You are not a lost cause. Don’t give up when you feel hopeless — reach out. Believe you are worth the time. Because you never know when one day you may cross paths with someone whose words change your world, even for the briefest moment. And that is the hope we all need sometimes. The knowledge that we are not alone in our struggles, and others have survived. We can survive anything, we just have to remember there is light in the darkness. There is hope, and there is help.
Unsplash photo via Marjan Grabowski