Content warning; discusses suicide… You don’t have to fight with mental illness alone.

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I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been suicidal over the years.

I still struggle with suicidal ideation every so often, though thankfully not as bad as I used to. The depression that causes the suicidal ideation is a liar. It isolates you from those who care about you. It whispers in your ear that death is the only way out.

I’m not embarrassed to admit that I have attempted suicide more than once. Thankfully, the actions didn’t result in significant permanent harm. I know the feeling of standing on that metaphorical edge, being too scared too live, yet too scared to die.

The first thing I had to learn when being on that ledge is that I am not alone. Sometimes you have to scratch and fight for it every step of the way, but help is out there. It took me years to find a doctor that would listen to me and understand me. He gave me a hand up when needed, and gave me a kick in the ass when I needed it. He helped me see, at least most of the time, that life is worth living.

I have lost friends to suicide. I have seen the pain and devastation that is left behind for the survivors, yet I don’t judge them for taking their lives. I understand it. I understand when the thoughts overwhelm your mind and you just wish for peace. I understand the feelings that you are dragging your loved ones down, and the belief that they would be better off without you in their world. I understand all of things, but I have to tell you, those thoughts are all lies.

One might find the peace they seek in death, but those left behind will live lives far from peaceful. The pain will fade in time, but your loved ones will never forget. They will forever feel the guilt of wondering if there was something more they could have done.

I’ve heard it said that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The statement is correct, because everything in life is a temporary problem. Life can be painful. Life can be challenging. However, when it comes down to it life is short enough already.

Mental health issues affect 1 in 5 Canadians in any given year. That is 20 per cent of the population. Something I’ve found in my mental health journey is that even when we feel alone in a room full of people, there are others out there who care about us. The resources are out there, we just have to be able to look for them, and if you are unable, ask someone to help you.

I’ve reached out for help many times over my adult life, which has mitigated the damage I’ve inflicted on myself. I’ve had friends stay up with me all night, just so I wouldn’t be alone with my thoughts. That is something I would readily do for anyone else, because having lived through it, I know that the pain doesn’t last forever. I know with the right therapy, medications, and time, everything improves.

There are no easy answers in life, particularly when it comes to mental health. For those of us who suffer, we want to be the best person that we can be, but sometimes we have to settle for the best that we can be right now. Believe me, it will get better. Maybe not perfect, but better.

If you are struggling with mental health issues, and you feel that suicide is an option, reach out for help. Phone a friend. Phone a crisis line. Go to the hospital. Do what you have to do get yourself through the darkness. Too many people die from suicide each year, lives taken that didn’t have to be, if only they had reached for help.

Kevin

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