If you are right on the edge and in danger of suicide don’t read further. Instead, call 911 or the national suicide prevention hotline: 988 . If you are outside the US call your emergency number – that’s what they are there for and this is an emergency. There are people out there ready to help you. Reach out to them right now and get help. If you’re not in immediate danger read on.
I am glad you are still here. If you were gone we would be left without you and in your place there would be an immeasurable hole. Perhaps not what you care about right now, or can even see. Which is a very good reason not to act while your pain is dominating any sense of what there might be in this bigger world outside of your thoughts. When you are contemplating ending all that you know, the future looks bleak, or impossible to discern. But that is simply what you know, or think you know, right now. While none of us knows the future, we all find that it is never what we predicted because our ideas don’t take the rest of the world into account.
Pain can feel unbearable alone, but you are not alone. There are countless people out there who have made it their life’s work not just to help you bear the pain, but to help lift it, starting with the people at the hotline 988. When your suffering is immense it can blind you from seeing that people care. Please help them find you by making that call.
Here are two simple truths about the future: things change, and they are out of our control. Thank goodness. There is goodness out there: people who care and maybe a dog or two, or perhaps a cat. If you die now you won’t see them again, or discover them for the first time. I promise you, there is a network out there offering the possibility of support. The possibility of listening to your pain and helping you on your path towards feeling better. A possibility that can become available once you stop trying to control your own destiny and ask for help at 988.
“What the hell do you think I have been doing?” You may well ask. I am sure that’s true. People don’t usually contemplate death until they feel they have exhausted all the options. But you haven’t. The options, the possibilities, the people you haven’t met, the ideas you haven’t thought are pretty limitless. More likely you are exhausted and fed up and want the pain to stop. But even if killing yourself does stop the pain, it is going to stop everything else also.
I have talked to a lot of people considering suicide, and almost every single one told me it wasn’t really death they wanted, but an end to the pain. If that is true for you, how about making ending the pain your goal, instead of dying? It would be an enormous shift, taking your focus off self-destruction and naming the underlying thing that you really want.
However small it may seem, there is a part of you that wants to be alive. (It is there is or you wouldn’t be reading this.) Once you decide to allow it is possible you could feel better, you have taken the first step. A step that aligns you with a great force that is around you – and me and each one of us – in every tree, every bird, everything alive: the life force. It is a basic fact of life that we are rigged for survival, every last spider among us. Your life force has been within you all along, hidden beneath the pain. It’s trying to help you right now by directing you towards your next breath. And then the one after that. Once you have a few breaths under your belt look for anyone or anything around that can help connect you to being here. (Real live beings in your vicinity right now, or through the hotline 988. Don’t leave a voicemail or a text message for someone you don’t know.) You might try going outside to see if there is something alive that can lend you some of its hope.
The decision to stay, one breath at a time, is the beginning of the journey back. Many people before you have taken that journey and been immensely glad that they chose to stay alive. I’ve heard some of them say, “Thank you,” their eyes wet with gratitude. They’ve told me that not so long after everything appeared to be at its darkest, life got better in ways they never imagined. They found strength, value, and some purpose for being here even if it was just to put their toes in the squishy sand at the sea, or meet their sister’s new baby or feel a breeze come out of nowhere and caress their face. All things you can’t do if you’ve made the decision to leave us.
Once you’ve decided to give being here one more chance, you’ll need the support of whoever and whatever will help. I am hoping that there are people around you waiting for you to ask for support. If you don’t have people around, human contact is still available starting with the suicide prevention lines. The national number is 988, or https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Whoever you find, whatever future awaits, you will still be here ready to find out. And those who coexist on this planet with you at this moment in time will be glad that you are still here with us and that together we can begin the work of making things better for you and for all who are in pain.