“Life is a prison,” I told myself, hoping there was another way I hadn’t thought of. But, deep down, I had already made up my mind. I was ready to use suicide as a shortcut to heaven. “Yea,” I thought. “They don’t have a cure for all my pain.”
Right now, you may be feeling depressed or even suicidal. That’s okay. There’s a saying that goes, “Life has its ups and downs,” and that saying makes us feel like life is this wave where good things happen and then bad things happen, and then good things happen again. So, it can be excruciating mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically to have to fight through a series of bad things or one bad thing that lasts for way too long.
So, you start thinking about suicide. Deep down, you probably don’t even want to go through with this option. You may have thought about everything you could do to deal with your pain and felt like suicide should only be a last resort. But, you feel like the fact that you’re thinking about suicide must mean you’ve already tried all your options. Or, that even
if you haven’t tried everything yet, the fact that you’re thinking about suicide now must mean that it’s the only way.
Suicide leads to death. And death is a prison. When you’re alive, you have the option, the choice, the freedom, to go and do something with your pain. What you do could be positive or it could be negative. But, because you’re alive, you have that choice. When you’re dead, there’s no freedom. There is no choice. And that’s where regret lives because if you could still feel and think while on that other side, after having made that choice that you thought and told yourself was the only option—the only way—you’d realize that there’s more inside of life that you could have had. You’d realize that life has its ups and downs and you never really hated your life and you never hated life itself. You only ever hated the downs. But, you couldn’t recognize that or see that because you were in so much pain.
So, the first step to conquering your thoughts of suicide is recognizing that you, at the very least, do want to have the choice to do something with the pain you’re feeling. The first step is also understanding that there are two sides to everything and that includes life. Even if you’ve been in a dark place for a long time, there is light. Even if you feel down, even if you feel like you’re living in the pits of a mental hell, there are ups. You have the power to get those ups. You have the power to climb out of hell.
Now, once you’ve acknowledged that, it’s time to change your life. If you want to be happy, you need to put yourself in a position where you can reach that happiness. That means finding coping mechanisms and ways of dealing with the symptoms of depression so it doesn’t overshadow your joy.
To do that, change your habits. You want to change your mental habits, starting with gratitude. By practicing gratitude, you’ll be able to find the small ups in life that help to balance out the downs.
Next, you want to begin exercising more often if you aren’t already. Exercise releases positive chemicals in the brain such as adrenaline, endorphins, and dopamine, all of which are good for helping to treat the symptoms of depression.
After building these habits, you might start to realize that it was never really the downs that were making you depressed, it was the way you were reacting to the downs. Not knowing how to react to a traumatic situation or being abused can leave us feeling like the pain we’re in is overwhelming. Knowing how to navigate our emotions and difficult situations helps us feel like we have more power over those situations—over those downs. But, it all starts with creating habits that give you that power over yourself and your life.
Once you’ve done that, it’s time to turn your pain into purpose. By purpose, I mean your WHY. Your WHY has four different levels: survival, status, freedom, and purpose. Whichever level you’re on is your mission. You need to think about your mission. The question you need to ask yourself if you’re suicidal is: what mission are you on? Are you only on a mission to make sure all your bills are paid (survival)? Is your mission a bit bigger, involving
fast cars and a flashy lifestyle (status)? Is your mission about making sure you never have to worry or even think about money again (freedom)? Or is it deeper than that, maybe involving changing lives and helping others avoid feeling the pain you’re in right now (purpose)? Start thinking about what mission you’re on. It will give you more reason to wake up in the morning.
Lastly, the worst thing you can do here is work through your pain alone. You need three groups of people. How big or small each group is doesn’t matter when you’re first starting, as long as you manage to get at least one or two people in your life for each group. You can always add more people over time.
The first group is Support. This category is for family, friends, and the people you hold day-to-day interactions with. The second group is Peers. Your peers need to be positive (yet realistic) people you can trust to bounce ideas off of on the topics of habit change, gratitude, and developing your happiness. If your current Peers only ever think about sleeping with the hot girl in class, don’t expect them to be a good fit for your social circle when your goal is avoiding that last resort option you can’t come back from.
The final group is Mentors. These are people qualified to guide you in the right direction. Finding a qualified professional therapist or two here will definitely go a long way in making sure you have a non-judgemental outlet where you can put your thoughts and feelings.
Make a promise to yourself. Promise yourself you’ll give yourself the chance you deserve to turn your pain into something good. You may not feel like working through the downs of life right now because it’s hard. But, right now, this is about how you’ll feel when you’ve found more joy, peace, and an abundance of gratitude. It’s about how you’ll feel when you’ve finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel.
When I used this process, the first habit I took on was meditating. And, I hated it. Every time I shut my eyes all I could see were flashes of the memories of my abuse. These memories would jolt me up before I even got the chance to clear my mind. So, I decided to start with exercise instead. Come to find out, that was the best choice I could have made for myself
on my journey to overcoming my suicidal thoughts. In addition to Exercising, I began reading more about mindsets and psychology. Eventually, with practice, I was able to shut my eyes and meditate without having the jolts and felt better mentally after every session. And, after a while, I no longer wanted suicide.
Find your WHY and use it to inspire you to action. The action you need to climb out of your hell. Whatever happened in your past or is happening right now for you is painful. So, you must remember that you’re still alive which means you still have the choice to do something about that pain. And, we all have the power to turn our pain into something good.