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A Letter to Myself When I Feel Like Life Isn’t Worth Living

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First I want to say — stop — breathe. Please listen. I’ve been there.

Yes, I will be talking about suicidal thoughts, but not in the way you might think. Within all of us, no matter what the circumstances are, is the will to live, the will to survive. That is my purpose for writing this today. Just as I’m trying to draw on that inner strength within myself to survive, I ask you to join me in finding that strength to survive. 

Let’s go on this adventure together. 

So there were several of us who were (as a group) supporting another lady who was feeling very suicidal.  As I was trying to find the right words to say, some thoughts came to me. 

I am now looking at this scenario from the ‘other side’, that is, the side that my husband had been looking from when I was in that position of feeling suicidal! Oh my gosh!! 

So I had to pull on everything I had been learning in therapy, but especially on the experience of actually feeling suicidal myself! What words would help me in this situation? Yes, I was able to gather my thoughts and convey some positive and encouraging things to this lady.  Then the next day when I was talking with my therapist about it, she challenged me to write a letter to my future self, if and when I’m in that situation again. Of course, I accepted that challenge! 

It’s written in three parts, because, well, as a writer, I have a lot to say! 

Part one is definitely to deal with the immediate danger to my life, to calm down the threat.

Part two helps me to connect with the resources that I have within myself.    

Part three helps me to reach outside of myself, to see and appreciate my connection to others.  It’s also how my writing, and sharing my story, no matter how painful, has the ability to help and support others on their difficult journey. 

Maybe you too have a passion that reaches out to others, whether it be something creative, or your profession, or volunteer work.  How do you reach out and connect with others?

I hope you can find something in here that helps you when you’re feeling completely overloaded with what life has ‘dealt’ you.  I know all too well how overwhelming that can be!

* * * * * *

A Letter to Myself When I Feel Like Life Isn’t Worth Living – Part 1

Dear Self,

First I want to say — stop — breathe. Then take one more breath.

Yes, I know that it feels like all is lost and broken. And I know the pain is overwhelming, and you really want it to just STOP!! I remember what my therapist has said a bazillion times! Emotions are temporary, thoughts are just thoughts. 

Wait.  They will pass. 

Time is the biggest thing on your side, because whatever you want to do right now in this very moment is really, really NOT what you want to do! I guarantee that you will regret it.

You’ve been here before, and I know, it felt like crap. And it feels like crap again. But I also know that you really don’t want to die. Yes, I know you can’t see any other way out, but there is another way out. Listen to those near you right now. They care about you. They love you, and want to help you. They can guide you, offer a hand up, pray for you, and pray with you.

And no, it’s not going to be easy or fun. The only way out is THROUGH! Through the heartache and through the pain. Through whatever obstacles are in the way right at this moment.  Through the hard, painful SHIT that’s in front of you. 

And it will feel like you are climbing Mount Everest! But please persevere! 

YOU ARE WORTH IT!!! I can’t emphasize this enough! YOU ARE FUCKING WORTH IT!! Even after all the pain you’re feeling breaks you down and tears you apart. Even when things look and feel the bleakest. Even when every bone in your body says “give up” – DON’T!! 

Beat the odds! Rise up anyways! 

Do you know why? Because people love you. Your husband. All of your children and grandchildren. I’ll bet even your therapist loves you a little, although she may never say it directly to you. What about your circle of friends? And your journaling group? And your support group? And your therapy group friends? And other friends you’ve made along the way? 

Keep pushing through, even when it’s hard! 

This life is yours! Take it and run with it! Live it for all it’s worth! 

Love you!

Love, Self

* * * * * *

A Letter to Myself When I Feel Like Life Isn’t Worth Living – Part 2

Dear Self

I do want to add other qualities that you have — compassion, empathy, resilience. These are very valuable. You can reach out to others, and show them how much they matter too — even when you don’t see it within yourself! When things seem the most bleak, you have always picked yourself up, again and again. You’ve done it before, many times! You can do it right now — again.

You’ve had a couple of instances lately where you reached out to people who were feeling suicidal themselves. You understood on a very personal level exactly what they were feeling!  You found the right words to say to them, to help them calm down a little, and feel a little bit better. Then they don’t feel so suicidal, and they can find the strength to pick themselves up again too. And one of those people is now a friend. 

Take those thoughts and emotions you have shared with others, and share them with yourself.  Learn to show yourself compassion and empathy, because you deserve it too, just like they do.  And when that happens, your resilience will shine through!

Yes, you matter too. 

Love you!

Love, Self

* * * * * *

A Letter to Myself When I Feel Like Life Isn’t Worth Living – Part 3

Dear Self,

One other important thing — your poetry!

Think about all the people who are connecting with you through The Mighty. What about those who have read or heard your poetry?  What about that unknown audience who will one day be reading your poetry books?  You said that you want to ‘travel this adventure with them’, but how can you possibly do that if you’re not alive and here on this earth??

This is a perfect avenue for you to finally feel like you have a purpose in this life, a reason to exist, a “life that is worth living”.  Because sharing your story, and your pain, and all of the struggles and obstacles, and just the plain old bullshit that you have SURVIVED — all of it will be there and available to help and support and encourage others in their journey through this thing called LIFE. 

Your poetry has encouraged and inspired people. They relate and understand, and say how much it speaks to them and touches them. They have said ‘stunning, beautiful, powerful, poignant, emotional and raw’, and have said ‘you are strong, it spoke to my heart’. And fellow authors have said ‘epic’, and ‘you have certainly found your voice in your writing.’ Does this blow your mind?   

From the responses you have received, it is obvious that your poetry is speaking in a profound way, a way that touches people’s hearts, souls, and minds. People are feeling the stories you are releasing! It matters! You matter! 

Please don’t stop writing! Continue writing that beautiful and wonderful poetry! God has blessed you with a gift of words that you never realized that you had! You saw that gift when you were 15, then it lay dormant for decades. It is now alive and thriving! Don’t squelch it!  Open it up for the world to see! It is your gift! Don’t ever forget that! 

Love you!

Love, Self

* * * * * *

Thank you for traveling with me on this journey. I know it’s a difficult one, and it’s really hard to pick yourself up again, but please do. I’ll be waiting here for you, and I’ll have more to share with you. May you find encouragement and hope somewhere in my words. 

I think the most important thing to remember is that you have people who love you and would dearly miss you if you weren’t here. 

If you too are on a trauma healing journey, visit The Tie Dye poet’s website to see more of her work, and check out her book here.

Originally published: September 24, 2020
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