If you live with thoughts of suicide and depression, everyday life can be a struggle — a real mind over matter battle. You don’t have to be one of the 800,000 people who die by suicide each year. That’s roughly one death every 40 seconds, according to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education.
Today doesn’t have to be your day to die.
Have you ever had one of those days where everything goes wrong, and you wonder why you even try in the first place? Today is that day. It is a horrible, terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
Have you read the children’s book by Judith Viorst? Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible No Good, Very Bad Day has stuck with me from childhood. Poor Alexander, the main character, woke up and nothing was going his way. He wanted to move to Australia because he thought life would be better there. In the story, Alexander’s mom assures him that, even on the best days, Australians want to move to Timbuktu. Today maybe you want to move to Timbuktu too.
Isn’t that the conventional way of thinking? Everything is better somewhere other than where we are. Today it might be true. Today is the day you want to slit your wrists and climb into the bathtub hoping the kids don’t find you first after life has drained from your cold, lifeless body. Today there’s nothing to lose.
This morning, the kids fought like arch-enemies, And, getting them out the door on time for school was a bloodbath, unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. It was the worst of its kind. You couldn’t shake the horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach by the time you arrived at work. You decide to show up late and bypass the office, going straight to the gym to get a workout and get the endorphins flowing, but that didn’t work either. Even though you showered and looked presentable on the outside, you were a complete wreck on the inside.
You double over in pain, not knowing if you’re going to throw up or poop yourself. There’s a note on your desk detailing a special project that’s a game-changer for the day. You grab the trashcan and call a mental health day so you can go home and bury your face in the dog to have a good cry. It’s a no-good, horrible, awful, very bad day.
Somehow you hold it together to get everyone’s needs met. You’ve muddled through dinner, bath, and tucked the kids into bed with sweet kisses, knowing you may never see them again. Your partner went to bed before you did, so you are finally free to deal with the pain and torment that’s been building up for weeks and months, years, in fact. You quietly deliver a kiss on the forehead of your lover, sleeping soundly, and slip off to the bathroom without saying a word.
For a few moments, you sit with your back to the bathtub and feel the cold, hard tile under your bum. You’re reminded of every way that you’ve failed, that you are a failure, and hope is completely gone. There’s nothing left worth fighting for.
You start the bathwater and run it as hot as possible, letting the humidity stifle your breathing. Soon enough, it will be over. It doesn’t matter. Nothing matters now. They’ll never miss you.
All your fight is gone. There’s always a pocket knife in the top vanity drawer. You open the blade and lay it on the counter, deciding that it will end your pain soon. The dog whimpers and circles at your feet, sensing what you’re about to do. You fluff his head and blow a final kiss goodbye, and he seems to understand there’s no turning back. Your decision is final. You run the knife straight down the vein in your wrists and watch the blood drip on the floor. The dog licks up all the droplets that have fallen as you slip into the warm water and feel the first warmth you’ve felt in recent memory.
How do you find hope for tomorrow when all hope is lost?
Focus on the positive
Remember the good things. Think about your accomplishments or something someone else is looking forward to. It wouldn’t be the same if you weren’t there to see it. An empty seat you were supposed to fill will bring sorrow, and the pressure is on for you to fill that seat with a living breathing body instead of a faded memory.
Play uplifting music
Play inspirational music. Music is an uplifting experience for people experiencing depression and anxiety. Music provides a positive and uplifting environment for individuals struggling with mental health issues and those in hospice care. Music is a source of happiness when everything else is falling apart.
Think of other people
Think of those you’ve helped. If you aren’t here tomorrow, who will be missing you: immediate family, people whose lives you’ve touched, people you’ve built up and networked with, and coworkers. You cannot have gone this far in life without building symbiotic relationships. The beautiful thing about symbiotic relationships is that balance is achieved by working together. If you aren’t available tomorrow, you’re letting someone down who’s counting on you to be present.
Find one thing to be grateful for. Even in this state, there has to be something. Find one thing, even if it’s just that the bathroom floor you’re sitting on is clean. Cling to it like it’s your lifeline. At this moment it is your lifeline. Maybe you pray to the God you’ve forgotten or the God you haven’t spoken to regularly. Your desperation has brought you to this.
If you are already in the bath and the blood is draining from your body, you still have a voice to raise. Use it to call for help. Your cell phone is probably within reach. Call 9–1–1 or someone who is nearby.
There is a brighter side tomorrow if you can get through today, but you may not be able to do it alone. Be strong. Be bold. Be brave enough to ask for help. The world will miss you and your gifts. Tomorrow will be a better day. Call for help right now.
Crisis is real. If you or someone you know needs help call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1–800–273–8255.