I imagine you are scared, and probably feeling completely alone in the world right now. Trying to find reasons to hold on. Feeling hopeless and overwhelmed all the time.
You probably feel afraid that people will see the sadness in you, guess your secret, and very possibly fearful of what might happen if they do. Perhaps you just feel like the world would be better off without you, or that you will never recover and find happiness again.
It can feel utterly unbearable, being consumed with thoughts of ending your life. Feeling suicidal is completely isolating. It’s like standing in a dense forest, in the middle of nowhere, with no map to find your way when no one else in the world even knows you are missing.
I should know, this was exactly how I felt when I was 16 years old.
If you feel like this right now, there are some things I want you to know…
This is not your fault. You don’t deserve to feel this way. You are loved and valued, even if right now you don’t feel like you can love yourself. People will miss you if you go. I’m not telling you this to make you feel guilty. I’m telling you because it is likely that you have, convincingly, told yourself otherwise and I want you to understand the truth.
Sometimes when we stop wanting to live, we find reasons to blame ourselves. Don’t tell yourself you deserve this. You don’t. Nobody does!
The way you feel won’t last forever. I know it feels like you won’t be happy unless you stop feeling altogether, but this pain can and will subside. When you are consumed with thoughts of ending your life, it’s much easier to believe that you will never feel happy again so there’s no point in trying. This is absolutely not true.
You can feel happier. It might take time, but with the right support I promise it can happen.
You are not alone. There are people who love you all around you, and a whole community of young people and friends who have either experienced suicidal thoughts or who will want to support you through this. You might well be stood in that forest feeling lost, but you just can’t see all those people searching for you because the trees are blocking your view. Feeling suicidal does that to you.
Treat yourself with the kindness you show others. Hang out with your favourite friends, watch a feel good film with your family, take a long bath, go for a run or spend the evening in reading that magazine. Self-care is really important, especially right now.
Take a moment to do the things you like, even if you find these things less pleasurable than you have before. You may be surprised at how you can still laugh and enjoy yourself even with this great weight on your shoulders. Life is funny like that, give yourself the chance to be happy, even if just for a moment!
This experience will make you so resilient and strong. It’s true what they say, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; from hardship comes great strength. You are a warrior! This is a stage in your life that is incredibly tough, and you will come through this with self-awareness, coping strategies, and a clearer understanding of how to help yourself stay well.
This time in your life will be part of your tapestry, and support you to face any other challenges that life may throw your way. It is very likely that once you learn this set of skills and see through this journey it will shape you in many positive ways. Ability to deal with pain, compassion and empathy towards others, the ability to support others in a similar place, perhaps even future career aspirations. Which leads me to my final point…
Life is just one great big endless opportunity. When all you can think about is dying, you don’t always see the potential in sticking around. Here are just a few reasons to live: falling in love with a person that just gets you, having the career you always dreamed of, creating memories with amazing friends, travelling around the world and seeing all it has to offer, getting to know yourself and seeing how amazing you really are, pursuing those interests that really excite you, pet ownership(!), and a whole plethora of experiences and moments you probably haven’t even imagined.
Take it from your future self, stick around and see where life can take you. You will never believe how awesome it can be. Please don’t deny yourself the chance to see what you are capable of!
Please know that when you go to sleep, hoping and praying that you might wake up feeling less bleak, there will come a morning where you will feel like you again – without the pain, and the sadness. Never lose sight of the fact that this day will come, and that every day that you have made it through is another day you have survived. You have a 100% survival rate, and I’m proud of you!
If you’re feeling suicidal, remember help is available.
The NHS lists a lot of organisations which can support you.