Give life another chance. You may be reading this article because you are thinking about killing yourself. Or, perhaps you know someone who is.
If you are at the end of your rope, there are suicide hotlines and other resources here.
If you are that person who has lost hope for your life, please read on as I would like to talk to you personally. I realize that you may have already planned to end your life or have even tried to. All you can think about is how hopeless your life is, how you can’t go on living like this. The pain is too great. No one understands the burdens you carry or the emotional turmoil you are experiencing.
But, you are here now, and because you are here, please let me share with you some hope about how your life can be different and why you should give life another try.
Options: I kindly ask you to consider doing something other than trying to end your life. You may have tried counseling or talking to someone, and found no change. However, I’m asking you to try taking some steps again, steps that will help you move in another direction, away from the self-destructive thoughts that have plagued you.
First of all, you need to understand why you are depressed.
You may say, “I do know why. I am a failure. I’m in debt. My wife/husband left me. A loved one died. I’m unemployed. I’m lonely. I’m _____ (you fill in the blank).” I want to tell you that though you have many problems and struggles, most likely, you are also struggling with a physical deficiency of chemicals in your nervous system. This may be a major reason for the depression you feel.
Many people who are depressed don’t know that depression is also caused by a deficiency of neurochemicals. A recent article from the world-renowned Mayo Clinic stated that “experts believe a genetic vulnerability combined with environmental factors, such as stress or physical illness, may trigger an imbalance in brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, resulting in depression. Imbalances in three neurotransmitters – serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine – seem to be linked to depression.”
These chemicals help people concentrate, improve mood, and increase energy. Taking prescribed medication, along with natural methods such as exercise and taking time to grow spiritually, can help increase these neurochemicals. However, you still need to work through other issues such as the loss of a loved one through death or divorce, low self-esteem, guilt, resentment, anger, or past sexual abuse. Those crises and losses must not be ignored and must be dealt with in a healthy manner.
Have you been going to counseling and been treated for depression? If not, go immediately to your family doctor or a psychiatrist or to the nearest emergency room for help. You can find a counselor or go to the nearest mental health center. If you are suicidal, please contact 911 (in the USA & Canada). Please do this immediately!
If you are presently in counseling, you need to contact your therapist and/or psychiatrist to tell them you need help for these suicidal thoughts and self-destructive plans. Ask a family member or friend to go with you.
Understanding depression and challenging your emotions
You cannot always trust your feelings and your depression. Feelings are not objective truth. Feelings are indicators of subjective thinking – and you need to explore the thoughts you have been dwelling on that have led you to contemplate suicide.
Thinking about killing yourself is believing lies about life and the future. Many people in the past have struggled with depression, but they didn’t cave into or trust their feelings. Instead, they had the courage to go on, courage that they chose to have when they believed that their life's future could be better. You, too, can have the same courage.
Martin Luther, a professor of theology, graphically described one of his frequent rock-bottom moods: “For more than a week I was close to the gates of death and hell. I trembled in all my members. Christ was wholly lost. I was shaken by desperation and blasphemy of God” (Here I Stand, Abingdon Press).
Don Baker, pastor, and author wrote of his experience with depression: “I seemed to be out of touch with reality. Life was a blur, often out of focus. My life seemed to be nothing but pretense and fantasy. No one really cared. I felt, not even God. The only solution at times seemed to be suicide….”
These men did not follow their feelings. Instead, they rejected their despairing thoughts and moved forward. They were able to overcome hurdles and their emotions of defeat. You also don’t need to be led astray by your negative feelings and thoughts.
It’s time to challenge that thinking. Time to see your life from a healthy perspective. You are a person of value. You are important, and you can change your thinking and behavior and improve your life! I implore you to also give God a chance to give you hope as well. Turn to God and seek His help and guidance. Why not find out what He can do?! Truthfully, I have witnessed how He has changed lives, lifted the downcast, and brought hope to those who feel lost.
- What feelings are underneath my depression?
- Do I suffer from low self-esteem?
- Am I having guilt problems?
- Am I struggling with relationship problems?
- Am I fearful about something?
- Am I struggling with some loss?
- What types of thoughts rule my mind?
- How can I take a step towards seeking God?
Ask God to reveal these things to you. Then, pray and ask Him for help and watch him change your life from the inside out. Don’t give up! Reach out to someone close to you right now because you matter.
Moving beyond hopelessness
Usually, people who are feeling depressed are not doing what would help them feel better. You need to fight the depression and move forward. Talk with someone about your feelings and life. Expressing your feelings to someone is very beneficial. Exploring with someone, especially a counselor, what underlies your feelings can help you begin to problem-solve.
Seeing your doctor for a physical exam and telling him or her about your depression can lead to further treatment for the physiological causes. You will most likely need to take an antidepressant, which is absolutely fine! Getting regular exercise and eating a proper diet are also very helpful and can increase the neurochemicals your body is missing. Spending quality time with caring people, friends, God, members of your family, and church will also give you a sense of connection and help you regain meaning in life.
Where to start
Now that you have read this article: Will you now consider taking a step towards life? A step towards rebuilding your life? A step to reach out for help? You must refuse to believe the lies that have been swirling around in your head, for they are lies that want to keep you from the truth. The truth that you are valuable and that you do have a bright future.
I mean it. Your life really does have a hopeful future. I have witnessed many people get help and go on to enjoy a better life! I kindly suggest that you write out a list of things that will help you start over. Here are some suggestions:
- Professional counseling: In the USA: American Association of Christian Counselors directory, SuicideHotlines.com. In Canada: Centre for Suicide Prevention.
- A physical exam and prescribed medication
- Support from family and friends
- Guidance for finances. Contact Crown Financial Ministries for free financial counseling.
- Working through grief or loss. Reading a book such as: The Freedom from Depression Workbook by Les Carter, Frank Minirth; The Search for Significance by Robert McGee; Learning to Tell Myself the Truth by William Backus; or Keep Believing: God in the Midst of Our Deepest Struggles by Ray Pritchard.
- Other: _________________ (fill in the blank)
I hope that I have been able to talk to you out of harming yourself. Please contact someone for help, like a free and confidential online mentor here through Issues I Face. Call your pastor, counselor, a friend, your doctor. Take a step towards life and hope now.
©2004 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC, Visit CounselCare Connection
This article was written by: Lynette Hoy, NCC, LCPCPhoto Credit: Ryan Taus