5 Reasons To Continue Living

September 10, 2021

**trigger warning: You know I talk about mental health a lot here. Today’s post is a bit heavier than usual. If you are triggered by talk of suicidal thoughts, it’s best not to read this post. Here is another one that could help if you are struggling.

I’ve been going back and forth for years on whether or not I should write this post. This will be the most vulnerable and emotional post I will probably ever write, but I believe it’s also the most important post I could ever write. This post could save someone’s life. As hard as it is to type the words I’m about to type, knowing that this part of my story can help someone live another day, well I think that is worth the vulnerability and nervousness that I’m feeling right now. Here goes….

Back in May of 2018 I had my first, and hopefully last, suicidal thought.

My Story

I’m sharing my story with you today to contribute to National Suicide Prevention Day. This is hard for me to talk about, but I know it’s important to talk about. It was during a family vacation at the beach. A weekend full of celebration at the place that made me the happiest turned dark real fast. I’ve never felt so many emotions, but also nothing at all in a period of 10 minutes as I had that day. 

During that time I was severely depressed, but the beach had always been my happy place. I just knew that when I got there all of the emptiness would disappear and my cup would be filled. When that didn’t happen I started to get worried. I tried to shake it off though because it was a weekend of celebration for my family. I didn’t want to put a damper on what was supposed to be a fun weekend. Eventually the emptiness I felt just couldn’t be ignored.

I have been diagnosed with depression officially since 2016, but I struggled with depression even earlier than that. I never allowed myself to get so low that I considered ending my life. I would always tell myself that I don’t want to end my life, I just want a better life. The fact that I had gotten that low scared the hell out of me. 

The fear was the first thing I felt, literally as soon as I had that thought. I was able to snap out of it by using the 5 Second Rule I learned from Mel Robbins. I counted down from 5 and then I immediately took action to distract myself from my mind, the action in this case was swimming laps. Next I was angry at myself. This weekend was not supposed to be about me, I was celebrating with my family. How could I have a thought like that. Imagine how hurt my family would be if I went through with it. I was also angry that I had tainted my happy place. The anger quickly turned to guilt. 

I carried that guilt with me alone until January 2020 when I went to counseling for the first time since college. Something as heavy as that is hard to carry around by yourself, but I was so ashamed to tell anyone. This was new to me because I have always been pretty transparent when it comes to my mental health. I only recently got up enough courage to tell my family about what happened a few years ago.

I haven’t been back to the beach since that weekend, I’ve honestly been afraid to. I’m scared that instead of being the place where I feel the most at peace, it will become this dark cloud in my life. I feel like my happy place has been invaded by darkness. I’ll be going back to the beach soon for something really exciting. This wasn’t necessarily planned like that, but I’m happy that is how it is working out. I’m hoping that now I’ll have something positive to remember about the beach. I need that to happen actually. 

suicide prevention
This was the weekend that everything happened

5 Reasons To Continue Living

I am aware that many people have experienced thoughts, and even experiences, more than I have. My heart hurts for anyone who has struggled, or is struggling, with that. That is the main reason why I finally decided to share my story. I want you to know that you are not alone and that you are strong. Keep reading on because I’ll be listing some great resources for you further down. 

For now, I wanted to share with you some reasons why I’m glad that I continued to push past the darkness and live. These reasons were my suicide prevention reasons. I’m hoping that one, or more, of these can help you, or someone you know, as well.

My Family & Pets

I’m a huge family person. So knowing that they would have to live without me is enough in itself to keep me going. But I also think of how our family has grown and accomplishments family members have had. I wouldn’t want to miss all that. My pets are also my family. I love snuggling with my pets and watching the littlest pet grow, he was just a baby when I had that bad thought. My pets bring so much joy and comfort to my life. 

My Friends

At the time when this incident happened I didn’t have a lot of friends. The ones I did have I didn’t keep in contact with at the time because I was in such a dark place. Now I have made some great friends both online and in person, while also maintaining some of my friendships from before that day. Not having these people in my life is unthinkable to me. They have helped me in many ways. I’m glad that I’m still here and have met them/hung out with them.

Opportunities I’ve Had

I may not be in my dream career, but I’ve had some cool opportunities the past few years. A major one being becoming a contributor for GenTwenty. I’ve also designed digital and physical products that I’m super proud of. I have a feeling this is only the beginning of the cool opportunities God has planned for me.

Music

It’s no secret that I love music. There have been some big things going on in the music industry. I couldn’t imagine missing out on the folklore and evermore albums or the Jonas Brothers, and now Big Time Rush, comebacks. Not to mention the amount of times music has helped me heal from a bad day or even a bad week. 

My Faith

I got baptized around this time last year. My faith has grown so much in the past four years. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this journey. It is my faith that keeps me going during the hard times. Even if it’s only a little faith sometimes, I still hang on to it. I know in my soul that God didn’t bring me this far just to come this far. This means that my best days are ahead of me, and I can’t wait to experience them.

Resources To Help You If You Are Struggling

If you, or a friend,  are struggling with thoughts of suicide, here are a few things you can do to help you get to a better place.

  1. Tell Someone: Whether it be a family member, friend, or professional. Let them help you by being there to support you as you work to get better.
  2. Read this blog. It’s full of stories and resources to help you feel less alone and get help. It’s a great resource for National Suicide Prevention Day.
  3. Call The National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255
  4. Seek Help: Whether you find a local therapist or counselor, or you use an online service like BetterHelp, talking it out can really help. Therapy has helped me make sense of what I’m feeling and thinking, and has given me tools to overcome my bad moments.

As I sit here and listen to the birds chirp and wind blow, about to hit publish on this post, I can’t help but think about the girl I was four years ago. I wish I could go to her and encourage her. I’m not that scared, empty girl anymore, but it’s because that girl chose to ignore that voice in her head and stay that I’m here right now. So most of all I just want to thank her for being so strong.

I don’t know what you’ve had to go through, and where your head’s at. I do know that this world is better with you here, and your best days are ahead of you. Keep fighting and reach out for help. You are not alone.

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