Op-Ed | You don’t want to kill yourself, you want to change your life

Doctor on video call with disabled senior patient
Photo courtesy Getty Images

When I told some friends that I was going to write an article about suicide the immediate reaction was fear and shock. Some responded with audible gasps and others suggested I not speak of “it” as “it’s” too sensitive a subject. I noticed talking about suicide outside my professional life is a fast way to suck the air out of the room; even saying the word is terrifying to most people. 

I have seen so many people over the years who have been in very dark places that they don’t know how to shift their thinking and feelings. At some point everyone is faced with life challenges that they simply do not know how to emotionally handle and because life is now so fast with instant access to so much, there is often a feeling of not being able to stabilize and life then feels insurmountable to conquer. 

What is depression?

1. Thinking something against yourself, making yourself not enough. Telling a negative story about your life until you believe and feel it. 

2. Feeling that to change would be too hard, even exhausting. 

3. Feeling stuck in a prolonged situation so long that you feel you couldn’t change if you wanted to.

If you have ever related to any of these feelings or been depressed, you are human. Most people have at some time or another felt depressed about something. You don’t have to shift to a more positive state at this moment, just know it is possible and you can learn to direct your emotions.    

If we didn’t have some contrast we would not know what we want. Abraham Hicks (Law of Attraction) states, “When you know what you don’t want, you know what you DO want.” Dust off those dreams and let them be possible, you don’t have to know how you will achieve them, just see they are possible and start moving towards what makes you happy. 

What makes someone want to kill themself?

This is a simple answer to complex pathology; in general, when people go into a suicidal dark place they are so overwhelmed with chronic negative feelings and not knowing how to navigate their lives, that they decide that killing themself will relieve their pain. They usually decide that suicide is their only choice, which it is not. 

What is causing so much anxiety and depression?

People often feel that they are not measuring up in any number of ways, feeling less than just trying to be enough. Children look at social media (in their face) and feel they are unloved, unwanted and are socially insecure, less than. For example, in real time seeing the “it” party and  not being included, only magnifies their feelings of lack of self worth. Life is very accelerated these days with instant access to a war on the other side of the world shown on TV piped into our living rooms on replay leaving us feeling out of control, scared and unsafe. There is a different pressure for children, teens and adults to have to be perfect and know all the answers in school, at work and look perfect because the social media and the world may judge you. 

The pressure for some to be “perfect” or their version of “perfect” is exhausting and adding negative experiences can trigger depression and suicidal thinking. The pandemic has left some people not knowing how to interact and feeling awkward socially. We can all take a breath: The past is over, the future has not happened, and now is the only time there is. One can stop comparing themselves to others. We are all unique, there is only one of you. Your body holds your mind, body and spirit! We are all one of a kind. We forget that we are in charge of us and we can change. We can start looking at all the positives that are all around us.

You want to change your life and live!

If you are feeling depressed or have suicidal thoughts, don’t give up on yourself.

Often people are embarrassed or ashamed that they feel they are in such a dark place because intellectually they feel they are supposed, to be “perfect” or have been given so much that they do not reach out for help. Everyone has a right to their feelings, we are feeling beings. When I first meet a new client in crisis who tells me that they are suicidal, I ask them to list and tell me everything that is not working in their life. No one, not one person has ever said, “I want to kill myself.” I say, I thought you said you want to kill yourself? In that list you just said all the things you don’t like about your life and you didn’t mention killing yourself, so actually you want to change your life! 

The great news is that there are amazing resources to help you now if you are suffering. What ever is bothering you is only temporary and can be changed! We never know what anyone else is going through. This is a time to be kind and love one another.

Webb Egerton is a life coach.