First things first: if you clicked on this title, know that you are not alone. If you are strongly considering suicide or have made plans or taken steps to carry out the plan, here are a couple of things to do before you continue reading:
1. If you’re alone, call a trusted friend and ask them to come over immediately, or go somewhere safe where you won’t be all by yourself. Isolation is never a good plan when you’re actively suicidal.
2. Get in touch with us at TheHopeLine or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline right away. As in, right now. Don’t put it off any longer. You deserve support in this moment, and there are kind, loving people ready to give it to you.
Okay, now that those two things are taken care of, let’s talk about hopelessness and challenge those suicidal thoughts.
When You Can’t See a Light at the End of the Tunnel
This world is a tough place to live, and sometimes it feels like life never stops pulling its punches. Whether you practice the healthiest coping mechanisms and actively seek counseling, or are a total stranger to self-care, therapy, and mental hygiene, there are going to be days when you get knocked down and just don’t want to get back up. And if you have a string of dark days all in a row? Well… it’s easy to see how the light at the end of the tunnel gets pretty dim, and you start to believe those good days were a myth to begin with.
If you believe that there’s no such thing as a good day, or those good days only happen to other people, that definitely sounds like hopelessness. In fact, you may be stuck in the cycle of a few unhealthy thinking patterns that are linked to depression and thoughts of suicide. If you simply can’t see a solution to your problems, whether they have to do with your school, your family, your friends, your love life, your body, or all of the above, your brain needs help getting out of that whirlpool of despair. It’s time to reach out to someone.
It may not be that there IS no light at the end of the tunnel. It may be that it’s there, and your brain is hiding it from you. And since your brain is a powerful organ, you’re going to need help convincing it to let you see and feel the hope.
Who Can You Turn to, and What Do You Say?
“Get help” is what everyone says, right? But who exactly is supposed to help you? Part of feeling worthless, losing interest in life, and considering suicide is that you feel deeply alone. You may even have isolated yourself to the point that there isn’t really anyone you can think of to reach out to. So when you read the words “get help,” that may make you feel worse. Stop. Remember the first sentence of this article? Here it is again: you are not alone. We’re right here, and we believe your life is worth living. Click on this link if you don’t believe us.
Fine, so you’re not as alone as you feel, but once you reach out for help, what do you even say? Maybe you’ve tried to talk to people about this before, but they just don’t get it or even lectured or punished you for expressing these thoughts. Or you feel bad about being a burden, making them worry, or causing them pain. The great news is that if you chat with a Hope Coach, or with any hotline representative or other counselor, you don’t have to worry about shocking, hurting, or offending them. They’ve heard it before and have chosen to be in a position to listen to your pain. There’s no wrong way to express it to them. Here are some things you could say:
- Hi, I’m not okay. Things are just really hard lately, and I’m losing hope.
- I’ve lost all interest in the things I used to like.
- I feel like I’ve lost everything. I don’t know what to do.
- I don’t see the point of going on. What should I do?
- I think I’m suicidal. I need help.
- I don’t want to be alive anymore. Can you help me?
- I’m having suicidal thoughts, and I don’t know who else to turn to.
If you’re too scared or overwhelmed to come up with your own words right now, feel free to read one of those phrases aloud to someone on a hotline or even copy and paste them into TheHopeLine chat or email. The people on the other side are trained to take over from there, so take a deep breath, answer their questions, and let them help you.
Reasons to Keep Living
Remember how you’re not alone? You’re really not. In the US, almost 50,000 people die from suicide every year, but far more than that attempt to end their lives, survive, and go on to experience the hope and fulfillment they thought they never could. Some of those survivors have shared reasons they are glad they didn’t succeed and why they are glad to be alive today. If you’re struggling to figure out what’s worth fighting for in your life, take a look at two of the most highly reported things these survivors live for:
- Relationships. They are glad to be alive so that they can experience the connection they get from friends and family.
- Purpose. They have used their life to serve others, and they can see how the world is better off for having them in it.
If you made it to the end of this article, celebrate. That might sound or feel silly, but you, who were feeling so hopeless, worthless, and useless a few minutes ago actually took the incredibly brave and difficult step of reaching out into the darkness and grasping for hope by searching for and reading advice that might save your life. In a way, that means you do recognize the value of your life. That’s a victory! Look for other small victories that can help you make it through each moment as you continue your journey toward better mental health. Wash your face, drink a glass of water, text a friend, pet your dog, water a plant, etc. Any of those things are small but crucial victories that prove once again that you are a capable and worthwhile human being who deserves to live and live abundantly.
If you haven’t yet, reach out to us at TheHopeLine. We’d love to share resources with you and help you along on your journey toward believing that your life is sacred, and that you were created for so much more than the despair that’s been plaguing your heart.
Remember: You’re not alone, suicide is never the only answer, and there are ways to get help. Don’t give up!
If you were not on this earth, life for everyone else who is still here would never be the same. Read, “Why Life if Worth Fighting For”.
If you or a friend need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, for free confidential, 24/7 help. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world. For additional help, please visit the suicide prevention resource page.