“If things are going to keep being this way, I just…I don’t know if I can…”
Over six months ago, he ended up in the hospital, and he’s been there since. His health has been dripping out of him one day at a time, and no one had any answers for him. He was fine one day, and he was bedridden the next. He was planning a meaningful future for himself, and then he was planning how to stay sane today.
I could hear the life exhale out of him with every word he spoke. He was exhausted.
Every day he was alive meant pain. It meant undelivered promises from doctors. It meant trying to drown the silence in his fluorescent hospital cubicle. It meant loneliness that clawed at his soul. He wanted someone to be with him in this journey, but he didn’t have the patience or the stamina to endure it himself. He didn’t know what to do or who to turn to. It all started to add up, and suicide sounded like a better answer than living a life full of pain and void of hope.
And to be honest, it made sense.
“My life feels so overwhelming…I just want to give up…”
She was brilliant. You could see the light in her eyes. She was someone who got it. But she was struggling. She felt like it was never enough because she was taught perfection is the standard. Up against the hardest series of exams she’d yet to take, fear of failure overwhelmed her, so she tried to run. She let her homework pile up, her projects go incomplete, her studies go unlearned. The more she ran from it, the more overwhelming it became. Waves of shame and fear flooded her life, and she felt paralyzed. Getting out of bed, facing her day, sitting through her classes—it all felt more than she could handle. She was ignoring her friends, brushing off her parents, and locking herself in her room. That felt like the only place she could keep the avalanche of worry out, but every day it knocked harder. She was stuck in a downward spiral, and with the exam looming only weeks away, she didn’t know if she could make it.
She couldn’t imagine what life would be like when she went to the exams and didn’t know any of the answers. She would blush, she would cry—she couldn’t do it. She would fail, and everything she’d worked for over the past twelve years would leak through her fingertips like an evaporated dream. Everything she’d planned for her future was riding on this success, and she was days away from losing it all. She didn’t want to face it. She wanted out.
As I listened to her and her story, I realized everything she said and felt made sense.
Working at HeartSupport, I’ve heard story after story of people contemplating suicide. Relationships ending, futures fading, addictions spiraling, depression blooming—there are a million different stories, and while they all sound different, they all have two things in common: the first is to that person, at that moment, suicide makes sense.
If you put yourself in their shoes, if you feel the overwhelm of emotion, if you feel the numbness of loneliness, if you feel the fear of their everyday existence, if you really get it, it all makes sense. If their life today is the way their life is always going to be, I’d be thinking the same thing too.
If you’re in that place today, I want you to know one thing for sure: you’re not crazy. Life, in the place you’re at, is the worst it’s ever been. It feels like too much, and it sucks every day you’re in it. You’re not crazy for dreaming of ways to end the pain.
The second thing that every suicide story has in common is that it starts with a conditional statement.(If ___, then ___.)
“If things stay the way they are today…”
“If I have to try this whole thing again…”
“If I’m going to fail anyways…”
“If I’m never going to be loved…”
“If I’m always going to feel this lonely, this sad, this empty, this hopeless…”
“If my life is always going to be this painful…”
…Then there’s no point in living anymore.
Suicide doesn’t start as the surefire strategy you’re going to employ when one thing went bad. It starts with a conditional statement, a thought that it’s an option if things stay this bad. And it ends when someone concludes that statement is the truth, and they decide to follow through.
What if that’s not the way things are always going to be?
What if one day soon all the pain you’re feeling will have a purpose?
What if a year from now, two years from now, you’re at the best place you’ve ever been?
What if you stick this through and your dreams come to life?
What if things just don’t always stay this bad?
From what I’ve experienced, everyone who allows life the chance to get better finds that it does.
The secret to sticking it out has to do with your focus. When you walk outside, looking up at the sky, it feels like every day there’s a dark cloud thundering above you. Every day is a storm. And there’s no promise of it ever leaving. It’s been here for so long—it feels like maybe this is all there is and all there’ll ever be.
But what you’ve forgotten is that behind the biggest cloud, the wildest storm, the darkest day is a blue sky.
For a season, you might be in the middle of this storm, but it will pass. Zoom out from your life, see the blue skies, and remember that it’s coming. Set your focus on the clear days to come. Because those days are coming…to you. And you deserve to see it.[clickToTweet tweet=”What you’ve forgotten is that behind the wildest storm and the darkest day is a blue sky.” quote=”What you’ve forgotten is that behind the wildest storm and the darkest day is a blue sky.”]
You can make it to better weather. You can see hope become a reality. You’ll see the clouds fade and the sun break through. You’ll feel warm light on your skin again. You’ll remember how to smile, how to laugh, how to have joy. Your time is coming. It’s just on the other end of this storm. You can make it.
Forecast says there’s clear skies ahead.