I’ll be honest enough to admit that for many years, I believed that people who committed suicide were selfish.
This opinion was formed when my best friend’s stepfather took his own life, jumping off an infamous “Beachy Head” cliff toward his death. No note, no explanation, just a nonsensical voice message left on an old fashioned tape recorded answering machine.
Seeing the pain and trail of destruction he’d left behind kinda made me angry instead of compassionate toward him. My thoughts were with my friend and her family. That was until I experienced and contemplated suicide myself.
There’s a beautiful American television series that covers suicide and it’s called “A Million Little Things.” The title and message have always resonated with me because it’s true. It’s not one thing—it’s a million little things that provoke somebody to end their own life.
I never thought that in my late-30s, I would be consumed by such thoughts. I mean, I’d experienced anxiety, depression, and panic attacks and I’d survived all of those without considering suicide. I’d experienced heartbreak and loss and had been to the depths of despair, but never really believed that ending my life was a solution to my problem. That was until it suddenly was.
Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Sounds rational, right? Well, when you’re in the midst of despair and pain, thinking rationally isn’t always available to you.
So let me share with you how I felt during those dark times, but I’ll also share how I somehow managed to use the experience to enlighten me rather than kill me.
So, back to the million little things, that’s exactly how it was for me. During one year, my boyfriend, whom I loved dearly, dumped me and met somebody else. This in turn spiraled my mental health and my withdrawal from socializing with friends. It made me paranoid and resulted in my losing those friends.
Then I lost my job, which was the one thing that had been keeping me alive for so many years. It was the super glue holding me together because it was my identity. It gave me my sense of purpose. The last little thing was a miscarriage on the bathroom floor at home, laying prone and feeling life drain from me whilst waiting for an ambulance, which took hours to arrive.
When I returned home from the hospital, death was very much on my mind, most probably because at the time I felt that I had been faced with it. I felt I’d lost everything over the course of a few years. I’d bounced back from so many times in my lifetime, but this was too much. The questions that played around in my mind were: what’s the point of me, what’s the point to my existence, what’s left for me to live for, and who would care if I left this world?
People take their own lives for many reasons, and mine was that I’d become an extra in the movie of life. I was invisible. I lost all sense of myself, but the main thing I lost was a reason to live.
It’s always darkest before dawn.
In those moments, alone with my thoughts, I would fantasize about how I could leave this world. Going back to my belief at the beginning about suicide being selfish, during these moments, I honestly believed the world would be better off without me. I’m sure those who’ve passed over believed that, too. In those moments, you believe that it wouldn’t matter whether or not you lived or died because you feel that you’re nothing—a non-entity.
There were moments of lucidity, and during those moments, I knew I had to find a way to fight for my life. I had one thing left to fight for: my rescue dog, Skye, even though I knew there was a family who could take her in if I made that choice to end my life.
To say that I fought hard is not an accurate description, because when you feel suicidal, every day is like groundhog day. You’ve nothing to live for, no purpose, and it’s incredibly exhausting. In terms of physical and emotional energy, well, there isn’t any left in the tank.
I told myself that if I still felt this way in six months’ time, I would take action. I imagined that I’d given myself the death penalty. I imagined that I had six months left to live, and so I started asking myself, “What do I want to do with this time left? What’s important to me before I leave this world?” It was from those questions that I started to find some sort of purpose.
Every day, I took my dog for one to two-hour walks. We walked as far as we could and I started saying affirmations aloud during these walks. I found some on YouTube, so I listened and then repeated them, even though in my head I thought, “What a crock of sh*t!”
I knew my thoughts were the nutrition for my mind. In my mind, I’d failed at life and I hated myself for it. However, what I also knew was that if I continued to believe these thoughts, I wouldn’t survive.
I read and listened to any and every personal growth and development tool out there. My audio consisted of A Course in Miracles. Plus, I’d jump on any free offering from the self-help guru himself, Mr. Tony Robbins, along Joseph McClendon III.
3. Baby steps.
The last thing (and I’m sorry that none of this is particularly profound) I did was give myself a task to complete each day. One day, it might have been to research something. The next day was to make a phone call or cook a meal or even simply go to the shops. However small that task was, I just focused on that task at hand.
Oh, and I prayed. I knelt at the end of my bed each night and I prayed for somebody, for something to help me and guide me.
For anybody resonating with this, please know that you’re meant to be here. You’re so unique and so incredibly special. You may have lost your way or not found it yet, but tomorrow, the sun will rise again and there is always hope.
If you feel unlovable or unloved, then make it your priority to love yourself. You become the one who cares enough to take your power back and fight for your life.
I truly believe that those who suffer carry the greatest gifts. Please share yours with the world.
If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, or know someone exhibiting warning signs, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.