The Letter I Wrote Myself for the Next Time I’m Suicidal
If you’ve experienced emotional abuse, sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.
If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.
Every time I have another suicidal episode or harm myself, I swear it’s the last time.
But then, it isn’t.
And every time it happens again, I feel helpless. Hopeless. Powerless. Like my life isn’t in my control.
But, I desperately want it to be.
It’s just that, when it happens — when I get triggered and voices in my head start yelling at me — the only thing I can think of to make them stop, to make everything stop, is to kill them. To kill me.
I can have all the best intentions, but once they take over and I’m right there on the edge of my life, it takes superhuman strength to pull myself back. And I’m scared I might not have the strength it requires next time.
So one day, when I felt stable and I desperately wanted to stay alive, I created a “survival pack.” It contains everything I need to survive. When another suicidal episode arises, I can reach for this pack and have everything I need to counter the voices in my head telling me to die.
One of the most important parts of my “survival pack” is a letter I wrote to myself — a letter to read the next time the urge to die comes around.
Because it will.
(I also stopped living in the fantasy I could promise it wouldn’t happen again. This was setting me up to continue feeling like a failure.)
When preparing this survival pack, I had to go back to the past suicidal episodes I’d had and consider all the reasons I give myself to validate ending my life. I had to go back and consider all the things I need someone to tell me or to help me do.
And by doing this, I realized one of the biggest reasons I wanted to kill myself, in those moments, was to make the chaos in my mind disappear.
I’d hold onto my head and scream and pray and beg for the noise in my head to stop. And eventually, it would drive me to harm myself. In these moments, I felt so desperate to make the voices in my head go away that I think my only option is to die, so that they’ll die too.
These voices are so strong because they are the voices of my parents and the voices of all the monsters they created within me.
They attack me and tell me to die, tell me there’s something wrong with me, tell me I am the problem, tell me I am going to turn out like my father, tell me I’m going to turn out like my mother, tell me no one loves me or cares about me, tell me everyone would be better off if I was dead.
When preparing this survival pack, I realized I needed another voice to tell me to stay when the ones in my head take over and tell me to go.
So I wrote a letter from myself, to myself.
Here it is:
“Hey, it’s me. I’m you when you committed to staying alive and knew you deserved to be here.
It’s OK that, right now, you don’t feel this way and probably think it’s a lie that you ever felt this way.
It’s OK. I don’t blame you.
You’ve been through hell and it’s a miracle you survived up to this point. You are a miracle.
And I understand right now you are battling between a decision to stay and to go. And I’m grateful you chose to read this letter and hear what I have to say.
You are so important to me. I’m asking you, please don’t go. It’s not your time yet and you haven’t seen and done everything you wanted to. Please stay and fight this. Please have superhuman strength again.
You were born with a right to live, to love, to be loved, to express yourself. They tried to take your light and fill you with lots of darkness. But the darkness isn’t yours. It never was.
I understand you want the pain to end. I understand you don’t want to live like this and you feel like the pain, the nightmares, the flashbacks, the hell will never end.
I’m sorry for everything that’s happened to you and for everything they did. I’m sorry it feels like you’re back there. I’m sorry you’re suffering so much.
And I need you to hear this. No matter how bad it feels right now (and I understand it feels extremely bad), you already survived the worst hell of your life. You survived your childhood. You survived it already and you escaped from it. You are not back there. You can survive this.
I am here with you to help you get through this. I’ve put everything you need into this pack, I’ve prepared for this moment with you. I love you and I want you to stay. I believe you can survive this. I believe in you. I am here with you.
Nothing the voices in your head tell you is true. There is nothing wrong with you. You are not the problem; the fact you were so severely abused is the problem. You are loved and you are cared about. I want you to stay.
We have so much life to still live together and I need you to stay so we can do that.
Right now, you feel like you can’t survive this or that you don’t even want to. And I know you have your reasons and they are valid. I hear you.
I ask you to believe in me right now. To put your faith in me, the version of you who has survived this before. I see your value, your light, your worth. You were born and put on this planet for a reason; it wasn’t a mistake. You are meant to take up space in this world. You are meant to stay. I want to help you stay; please let me.
I need you to picture yourself as a little girl right now. I understand this is hard, but please try with me.
That little girl felt so unwanted, so worthless. She felt like the world would be better off without her. She believes she is the problem, that it’s her fault Mummy is so mean and Daddy is in bed with her. She believes she is the problem, but you can see it’s not her. It’s them.
This little girl is so small and innocent. She is so precious and worthy of love, care, nurturing, safety and protection. She is good enough. She doesn’t deserve any of the treatment she got and she doesn’t deserve to die because of what they did to her. She needs you right now. She needs you to save her. She needs you to hold her and protect her. Don’t let her go.
I believe in you. I know you can do this, and I’m right here with you. You are the person she needs.
Soften your fists and get a wet towel. Put it over your head and wrap yourself in your favorite cozy blanket. Hold onto your teddy and imagine it’s you as a little girl.
You are her mum and you are going to hold her, comfort her and protect her right now. All you need to do is hold her tight until the voices soften.
Reread this letter over and over if you need to. Look at the other things I’ve left for you inside your survival pack.
I am here with you. You are not alone; you have me here with you. And your little girl inside is not alone either; she has you here with her.
You are going to survive this. I believe in you. I love you. I want you to stay.”
This letter, and the rest of my survival pack, has definitely saved my life a few times now.
And I’ve noticed that every time I have another suicidal episode, it doesn’t get as extreme or out of control as the previous one. It’s still hard as hell and requires unbelievable strength and courage, but I am able to survive it each time, a little bit easier than the time before.
If this resonates with you, I encourage you to write a letter to yourself too. Create a quiet, cozy space with candles and your favorite chocolate and write. It doesn’t need to be perfect; it just needs to be from you, to you.
And if you’d like to share your story, your experiences or even your letter with me, comment or message me below. I’d love to hear from you.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash