5 Things I Needed to Hear When I Felt Suicidal and Alone
If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.
The evening had quickly morphed from beautiful sunset to pitch-black nighttime darkness that rivaled what I felt on the inside. I had been oblivious to the painted sky as the color melted away and now I was left with darkness both inside and out. Aloneness, or so I felt. A situation in a family relationship had left me feeling broken, depressed and quickly spiraling down to suicidal … again. I tried to reach out to my friends but they were all busy with their own lives and dramas. Trivial I felt, compared to mine. I tried to reach out to my family but knew I would incur misunderstanding.
I made it through that night. I stand now on the other side. But what I wouldn’t have given to hear these things from someone during the darkness that cloaked both the landscape and myself.
1. It’s OK to feel this way.
Life is full of moments, some glorious and good and some traumatically painful and debilitating. And that is OK. It’s OK to hurt or be scared or find yourself fighting for yourself, sometimes fighting with yourself to save yourself. There is nothing “wrong” with you when you struggle. You may have a mental illness or a history of trauma or abandonment but every single person out there in the world struggles the same as you are at some point in their lives regardless of how stable they are or they seem. There is no weakness in simply “taking another breath while you wait to get through this”.
2. This too shall pass.
I’ve always hated this cliche. I once had my father say to me that feelings can and will change and nothing you feel will ever be forever. At first, this made me angry. I felt this discounted what I was feeling at the time. That it undermined it. But given time to think on it, I realized both how true it was and how wonderful it was. The pain and darkness and hopelessness I felt would go away! It may not be right away. It may be a month, a year, a day; it may mean having a medication change or going in for some intensive therapy or counseling again, but what I felt both could and would improve. As inevitable as the bad things are that will come into our lives, the good is also inevitable. The sun will rise again. You will smile again and happiness will start to creep in when you least expect it. Wait for it. Like a beautiful sunrise, it is worth waiting for. What you feel will never, ever last forever.
3. You are loved.
There are people who are here for you and who love you more than anything. They love you more than the weight of the darkness that surrounds you and they long to help lift that burden off of you. The thing about darkness is: it obscures. It colors over something that is there and makes it harder to see it but it does not replace it. You can be in a room full of outstretched hands offering help and upheld hearts offering love and if you turn out the light you cannot see them. It doesn’t mean they are not there. It only means they are temporarily invisible. When that sun comes up and the sky begins to lighten, you will see all that is around you more clearly. So many people love you. So many people long to be there for you. Maybe they don’t know how to show it or how to say it, but it’s there.
4. Someone else needs your light.
There is a spot of joy in this world that only you can fill! Someone at work looks forward to that smile every day that only you can give! Your children and family wake up every morning looking to you to fill the spot in their lives that only you can fill the way you do, and they love you for it. There are small random acts of kindness you can do that will carry your light across the globe. The woman on the bus who you just gave your seat to? She’s been standing all day at work and you have blessed her immeasurably. The coworker you said good morning to? She’s struggling too and needed the reminder that today can and will be good. Never tire of doing good. The good you do for others will be passed on and have an infinite impact just like a ripple as it widens in a pool from a single drop of water. One small, innocent act or smile can change the world.
5. It’s OK to reach out and get help.
In the times when the darkness overwhelms us and we feel like there is no safe way out, it is not weakness to reach out for help. It is strength. Call a friend. Call a family member. If you can’t do that, call or text the crisis hotline for your area. It will give you resources and someone to talk to when you cannot find a way out on your own. When the storm passes, call your doctor and let them know what you’re struggling with. They too can help you. You are not alone.
I prayed. I cried. I journaled. Yes, tears are OK. Falling apart is OK. There’s nothing wrong with not being strong enough. Realize you are not alone even if you feel lonely… As I journaled, my feelings and thoughts that no one was around to hear, the sky slowly lightened and I could see what was around me. Doodles on paper in the corner where my kids were coloring the day before. Pictures on my walls of my family. My children asleep in the other room. You see, I “felt” alone. But I was not alone. Not really. All around me were lives I had touched, lives waiting to touch mine with their sticky peanut butter smiles and lives that would forever be changed for the better because I am here. I couldn’t see it in the darkness I was in but joy was waiting all around me. I made it through to another new day full of wonders and possibilities… and a call to my doctor to start it off.
Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash