“But in the end one needs more courage to live than to kill himself.”~ Albert Camus
There is no way around it—we have to take responsibility for our own happiness.
I have been plagued with thoughts of death and suicide my entire life. I attempted suicide once, 25 years ago. And more recently, my first thoughts in the mornings have been how to kill myself.
These thoughts are not new; what’s new is my aspiration to address them—authentically and publicly.
This is not a suicide note. Instead of driving to the hardware store, getting a ladder, and trying to figure out what to do with my dogs, I am writing this article. I have been thinking about writing this for weeks.
As it turns out, I am an expert on not killing myself. Reflecting on this awareness, with 37 pounds of two soft and incredibly attached dogs holding me down, I am encouraged by some weird calling to share.
Over the course of my life it has become increasingly clear that just because people who love us surround us, we are not necessarily emotionally or mentally okay.
Significant life changes, loss, and hardship are a regular experience of mine. I know firsthand, change is difficult. Those of us with emotional and mental struggles are especially susceptible to the turmoil that comes with change.
It is within the fear of the unknown that suicidal thoughts roam.
Seeing the state of the world, I know I am not the only one struggling. I have high-functioning depression, a constant feeling of two heavy weights pulling on my heart, holding me down, and making me late for everything. My passion for life and all its pleasures are a regular disappearing act—magically coming and going, I am always hopeful for an encore.
As one who has fought the suicide battle and seemingly won, I have three immediate suggestions for anyone who is fighting the desire to end their struggle.
Somehow, over the years, I have found a way to cope and stay alive. Some days, the suicidal thoughts are louder than others, but thanks to my daughter, dogs, and supportive friends, I manage to not succumb. After my attempted suicide long ago, I learned to meditate, and began studying and seeking God.
When my mind takes over I find the power to restrict feelings and thoughts of death. I find relief when I am studying esoteric wisdom. Moses, Buddha, and Jesus have all come to my rescue, and while out in the world I’m doing my best to share as much love as possible.
For the last 10 years I have been scanning and studying the Zohar, a book written for the purpose of decoding the Torah—it is said it carries with it great protection and light. When I study the Zohar the thoughts of death always go away.
The courage to continue in a world that seems increasingly bleak is not always easily found. Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade are two public figures who unfortunately did not find their way out. My daughter lost five people last year—four of them under the age of 17.
I have found, through years of study and experimentation within religious, philosophical, and spiritual wisdom, the darkness in my mind only subsides when I focus on the light and the teachers and sages who know where, and how, to find it.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts and feelings, try looking to a figure who has spiritual wisdom. The blessings spiritual wisdom has to offer will provide the love and support we need to remain human.
Writing has helped me find my voice and make sense of who I am. Don’t be afraid to publish, but know it’s not necessary. I have pages and pages that have never been read by anyone.
“Write hard and clear about what hurts.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
Together, the dark thoughts and feelings I have had all my life, and the understandings and epiphanies I receive when my thoughts come together in words, allow for deep healing to occur.
I have been enrolled in a course with Elephant Journal for the last six weeks. The original intent was to learn how to write meaningful and appealing copy for my business while learning the ways of social media and posting.
What’s happening instead? I’m finding a plethora of healing with a new awareness of my mental and emotional paradigm.
Although I have accepted that I will always be plagued with thoughts of death and suicide, I have found that, through writing, I bring my damaging thoughts into captivity, not letting them win.
By putting the words I hear in my head on paper, I have allowed myself to carry a lighter load. Those thoughts that have always been on repeat are now incarcerated on paper. Writing offers freedom from the demons we want to put behind bars and lets the light shine in.
Pick a cause and volunteer.
The need to find purpose is imperative for human fulfillment. Through helping and sharing, we will find solace and peace. Environmental, political, and social movements all need people to step up and help.
“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” ~ Fred Rogers
To share ourselves and lend our individual presence to a collective mission is something we all need to do for our individual health and the well-being of humanity. Especially if we are having a hard time with destructive thoughts, helping others will inevitably help us.
For those of us who are hurting, standing for humanity and our precious planet is an act of empowerment that can empower us to move forward. When we find something we care about, our heart opens and we can show up with courage, allowing the importance of the mission to permeate our experience.
Suicidal thoughts are difficult to deal with, more so if we keep them bottled inside. Through writing this article I have released some pain and have found a way to share it, hopefully benefiting someone who may need words of encouragement and support from someone who understands.
Through my battle to achieve mental health, I have learned to cultivate a deeply spiritual relationship with the universe, while keeping my focus on being a helper in the world, and following the call to write my pain.
I know all too well how difficult it can be to keep going—not allowing the darkness of our inner world to take over our hearts. We must rally strength and turn it into courage, engaging our human responsibility to support each other and our mother earth.
When we intentionally and compassionately open a dialogue about our mental and emotional health, we help our society heal.
Every person on this planet is important, and we are all in this together.
Please, if you are in immediate need of support, call the suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255