Why Having Everything Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Be Suicidal
I have everything one needs to be happy in my life. I have a loving and supportive family, fantastic friends and financial stability. I excelled in school and I’m always told I have a bright future ahead of me — that I’ll go on to do great things. But thanks to my struggles with depression, dysthymia and suicidal ideation, I usually feel hopeless about my future. This might not make sense to you if you’ve been lucky enough to never struggle with suicidal ideation and depression, but my experience is not unique. So many people have an apparently perfect life; they are even often told they have no reason to be depressed, but their experience is very different.
Imagine you live in a building. Not just any old building, but a brand new skyscraper in the heart of Manhattan. It’s the most desirable real estate in the city, with the surrounding buildings housing some of the richest and most famous celebrities. You could not ask for a better location; you have everything you need and more in your close surroundings. Your apartment is situated perfectly — the sun lights up your bedroom and gives you a warm, natural wake-up call every morning, and at night you get to enjoy the sunset from the comfort of your living room. You love spending time here; it’s a fantastic place. This is your home, your life. You are blessed to have your home and your community.
But there is one slight problem — your building is on fire.
Flames are engulfing it from every direction as you flee for your life. The firefighters have tried approach after approach to get the fire under control while you fought with all of your might to extinguish the flames from inside, but have had limited success. You’ve climbed flight after flight of stairs, trying to escape the flames threatening to kill you. Your legs are weak, shaking and threatening to buckle. You’re wheezing, gasping for air, wiping beads of sweat off your forehead while you try to muster up the strength to climb up one more flight; maybe that will be high enough for you to escape the flaming inferno below. You can’t see far ahead through the cloud of thick, black smoke which is filling your lungs. You grasp around with your hands, hoping to find the next stair and not get burnt by the flames.
As you crawl up the stairs with your remaining strength, clutching your chest, you glimpse at the window.
Don’t get me wrong; you’re scared of death. You want to be saved but you aren’t sure it’s a possibility anymore. Is there any hope left to escape the flames or will you be burned to death?
If you’re going to be burned anyways; do you wait and die the long and painful death or just get it over with now? That’s what it feels like to be suicidal.
Your idyllic world is crumbling and collapsing around you. You are doing your best to save yourself but you’re not sure you can hold on much longer or if you even stand a chance. It doesn’t matter that you have all of your material needs taken care of, or that you’re surrounded by love. You have everything you could ask for in your surroundings, but inside… everything is wrong.
You’re petrified of the height every time you look out the window but desperation is making it seem like the better option or even the only option.
You would do anything for the fire to be put out and for you to have a secure building again. And you have done everything you can do, but you’re only human. You called the fire department, you ran upstairs, you used your fire extinguishers but to no avail. So you stand there, helpless, looking out the window.
This is how I would describe it to someone who doesn’t understand it. If you can relate, you’re not alone.
Getty Images illustration via Grandfailure.