Reasons To Live

Alesha Peterson
29 min readFeb 6, 2022

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10 things to consider before passing around the quotes. A perspective from a friend.

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When you’re supporting someone who’s suicidal, there aren’t magic words to make the pain go away. This means as supporters, we can only do the best we can. This might mean just helping someone get through a moment, staying with them until they feel safe, and then making sure they receive the support they need — whatever they need.

While we won’t always say the right thing, there are a few common phrases that — although on the surface, appear to be helpful — do more harm than good.-Sarah Schuster

#1. Committed Suicide Needs To Change…

One of the things I notice in everyday conversation is your friend committed suicide?

When I think of committed, I think of someone committing a crime. Instead, I say they passed away. By saying committed suicide, one is suggesting that the person is committing a crime due to being in pain.

#2. The energy used to shame suicide needs to be redirected to understanding mental illness and why suicide happens.

Phrases like this can make people who are suicidal — or who have attempted suicide in the past — feel ashamed of their pain.

Although the pain suicide loss survivors feel after a loved one dies is real, valid and shouldn’t be taken lightly, saying the person who died “passed” the pain to someone else makes suicide sound selfish, or like passing pain was intentional. Although it’s heartbreaking when people die of other causes, we don’t claim that person “passed on” their pain to other people. People own their own pain, and people who are suicidal shouldn’t feel ashamed for wanting to get rid of it. We need to show people there are real ways to cope with and grow from pain — not tell them they need to live with it so others won’t suffer.-Lanya_Rants

the very concept that people need to live for others even when they can no longer live for themselves is dangerous and doesn’t take the pain away either.-Sarah Schuster

The pain after some passes is very real. But after my friends passed, some people around me were like.

“THEY ARE SELFISH.”

“THEY WERE ONLY THINKING OF THEMSELVES.”

“LOOK AT HOW MUCH PAIN YOU ARE IN.”

“They sinned.”

“It’s God will that they died.”

“She brought this on herself”

She was such a good person God wanted her to be with him.

You’re strong and can handle it. Toughen up and stop crying.

“God’s in charge.”

“At least he’s in a better place; his suffering and battles with mental illness is over, he can no longer be a burden to you and others”

“You have other friends.”

“It happened for a reason”

“Stay strong.”

“It’s time to move on/you are still thinking about them after all this time.”

“I know”-Rather than focusing on your own experience, be aware that the other person has a unique perspective.

Guilt doesn’t make it better. Talking about my friend that passed like a dog isn’t going to make them come back. Dogging them out and hanging them to dry in the middle of the church is not going to make anyone feel better. Shaming them saying that they are going to hell isn’t helpful. Shame isn’t a great motivator. All my friends that passed are different, and one size doesn’t fit all. While thinking of others helps some while having suicidal thoughts, for others it won’t help. If someone can keep you going to stay alive that’s cool (like a S.O, friend, cat, dog, kid, etc,) but if you are in a moment thinking that the world is a better place without you, guilting someone into staying alive won’t help matters. Love, support, listening ear is better than the guilt and judging factor. I would suggest avoid saying something seeking to minimize grief or downplay loss, like get over it or move on.

Ultimately, all of these are statements attempting to shift grief away, to move it on, like a car in a loading zone that isn’t meant to be there., Isabelle Oderberg

“It wasn’t meant to be” is also cruel. As this article on loss and miscarriage points out, you’re ultimately saying that the loss is alright because. Because the universe willed it to be so? I also keep hearing that “they wasn’t supposed to be down here a long time.” For some reason, that hurts.

And for me personally, I cannot speak for everyone, please leave the religion and God out of it…..For someone who’s not a fan of organized religion right now especially, when someone tells me that it’s God’s will for me to go through this/feel this way/everything happens for a reason/it’s God’s intention for this to happen/it’s their time/they wasn’t meant to be down here for a long time, it really rubs me the wrong way right now in 2022. I know they don’t mean no harm. And trying to help and provide comfort, but I rather you not. (I don’t think it was their time, they may have had many more years if they got the help they needed.)

I’m also adding what not to say to a grieving person. I rather a person just be there to give hugs then say it’s God’s will.

It’s not about me. People who are suicidal deserve to live for themselves, not because I happen to be their friend.

#3. Tell them you love them, or that you care about them, don’t guilt them.

Sarah said this same thing, and I don’t want to make this article a piggy back article. But don’t guilt them or call them weak.

#4. Suicidal people deserve help and love, not guilt trips on how it will affect others.

Layla_Rants

“If people really want to help me, they should help me identify internal reasons why I should stay alive — not reasons based on others’ emotions.”-Layla_Rants

#4. Telling them they have to stay for others — doesn’t get them closer to seeking help or finding peace.

Let’s help people who are suicidal heal from pain, not make them responsible for the pain of others. They may feel they’re not up for the task, or truly believe death is a better outcome — even though that couldn’t be further from the truth. If people truly feel they’re a burden to other people, putting more weight on that burden, telling someone taking their own life will pass along pain might actually have the opposite intended effect-Sarah

As I said above, one size doesn’t fit all. Some people may have an situation that they can’t see their way out of. Some people need to be hospitalized. You feel like you have lost a meaningful relationship or friendship and the damage is permanent. Some may have trauma from long ago. Others may be going through a horrible situation, need to leave a toxic workplace or relationship. Maybe you have a new physical condition or mental diagnosis that will change you and who you will be moving forward. Maybe you had an idea of how you wanted things to be, and your reality is different, and it’s a hard pill to digest.

#5. You’re not a burden, and you’re not as alone as you feel.

No matter who they are or what brought them to this place, people who are suicidal need real solutions. They need to know there is help and hope. They don’t need guilt. They don’t need to feel burdened by the potential, future pain of others. They need to know they’ll be OK — and that the people in their lives are there for them. They need to find their own reasons to stay.-Sarah

On a personal note: There’s times when I felt like I couldn’t talk about things I was going through. Between feeling like I can’t trust people at times. To being backstabbed. To feeling like people wouldn’t understand and it would be better to keep it to my self. Sometimes I feel like I can’t talk and be as open as I want to due to my life experiences. Some people were and simply are not trustworthy, and treat what you’re going through as a joke and invalid and can make it worst. Or using your information and spreading gossip on you. As someone that’s been burned over and over, I’ve been careful with my trust.

In this case, it’s easy to withdrawal, isolate, and feeling like no one cares (because they showed it), and in these cases I just powered through the best way I knew how and have always done. The sad reality is there is some people that I adored and cared for-they wasn’t there for me. Other times, I don’t want to trigger my loved ones with difficult conversations. Sometimes I was with a group of people and felt like I was still by myself because we wasn’t on the same page. I’ve made the choice to not ruin someone’s day many times with my grim news that popped up many times in my life.

On the other hand, here’s the other side of the coin.

In reality, other people often just don’t know what’s going on in your head. Or you spend more time trying to convince people that you are ok, and deep down you know you not. (If you can relate to my situation fine, but it’s not everyone). And if you find that you are with a trustworthy person that really cares about you, you can open up some and let them know what you’re feeling. If they know how you are feeling, chances are they’d be more than happy and willing to lend a listening ear or help you find the support you need.

Have you ever been in a room with a group of people, and you still feel isolated? More in likely, they just don’t understand what’s happening in your head.

You’re not a burden. It’s difficult when you are in a middle of a crisis and distressful situation to see different perspectives. The main focus at this point is ending the pain…and nothing else matters.

#6. It’s Hard To See A Light At The End Of The Tunnel

It’s totally normal to want the pain to end. As humans, it’s natural for us to gravitate towards happy and the familiar. And want to stay away from the painful and unfamiliar.

#7. Nothing Is Permanent, Even Our Wicked Troubles.

  • Emotions aren’t permanent. No matter how isolated, hopeless, angry, or lost you feel right now, you won’t always feel that way. Emotions come and go, and you can learn how to better manage them.
  • Situations can change. Maybe you messed up or made the wrong choice. But continuing your life gives you the power to take back control over the circumstances and improve them.
  • Maybe you did damage beyond repair. Maybe it won’t be the same again.

The key thing to remember is this: As long as you’re alive, you have the chance to make changes, learn from the past, and grow as a person.

#8. Your Life Still Has Meaning

#9. Everyone Makes Mistakes, But You Still Matter

#10. Time doesn’t erase your ALL your experiences or change events.

You’ll often hear suicide described as a permanent solution to temporary struggles. I don’t love this description, because not all problems are temporary. Time doesn’t erase your experiences or change events. If you’ve lost a loved one or experienced trauma, you’ll continue to carry that grief.-Crystal Raypole

Let’s be honest. Despite what I said in #7. Time doesn’t always heal.

(Some of these may be triggering, so I’ll put a TW just in case).

It’s going to bed with a heavy heart, it’s waking up with a heavy heart.

It’s being sad, and no one asking if you are ok more than once. It’s people not caring enough to look deeper beyond what you’re saying to see that there’s something going on.

It’s feeling like the whole weight of the world is on your shoulders.

It’s going through a downward spiral by yourself.

Your whole life you’ve known something was missing, or off. And you can’t ignore it.

It’s grieving differently, and instead of people taking time to understand you, they shun you and call you too difficult to deal with.

This existential angst so deep that you can’t ignore it anymore.

If you lost someone, you carry that with you. If you had an vision of how you though your life should have planned out but it didn’t, that hits hard. It’s grieving what will never be.

I can’t speak for everyone reading this, but losing loved ones feels like my heart is getting ripped out of my chest, and I’ve wondered at different points could I have done more to help. It’s detrimental. In my view, grief doesn’t completely go away, you learn to live with it. Trauma is something you don’t un see. Healing doesn’t mean that the trauma never happened, to me healing means I have coping mechanisms to help me survive and thrive acknowledging my traumas.

Trauma permanently changes us. This is the big, scary truth about trauma: there is no such thing as ‘getting over it.’ The five stages of grief model marks universal stages in learning to accept loss, but the reality is in fact much bigger: a major life disruption leaves a new normal in its wake. There is no ‘back to the old me.’ You are different now, full stop.

It’s unanswered prayers.

It’s enduring much in your life, and people betraying you and judging you for no reason.

It’s a preacher/higher power saying that your answers have arrived, but you still find yourself in the toxic situation/homeless on the street.

It’s secretly living in pain. It’s crying yourself to sleep every night not wanting to bother anyone.

It’s being so quiet, disturbed, feel so helpless that you don’t want to share your pain anymore with anyone.

It’s everyone expecting you to open up to them, and you can’t because you been through it all, and have so many trust issues because every person that you opened up to in your life left. If a person comes into your life, you don’t expect them to stay forever because so many others left when times get rough, when times get hard they left. You don’t even blame people when they leave or don’t get surprised when they are not there for you for your problems.

It’s trying to show your love more than enough times. And every time you were proven time and time again on why you should have stuck to yourself in the first place. You get frustrated when people expect you to sit there and talk to them and beg for them to sit here and stay in your life when you know they don’t want to. It’s frustrating to bend over backwards to try to keep people in your life.

It’s trying to nurture a relationship with others, but the same effort isn’t put into nurturing the relationship with you.

It’s the nagging headaches.

When things changed for you, many left you and wrote you off. It’s enduring and growing in the storm alone because when it boils down to it no one is there, and you are tired of asking for help that isn’t available.

It’s thinking that your best days are over, that they are gone and behind them.

It’s watching a God video telling you that God doesn’t mean no harm, yet your whole life falls apart. It’s saying you will receive a blessing but instead you receive an eviction notice, a lawsuit, a tragedy, a health crisis job loss, or another disaster, or one or several of your friends get killed, and you’re thinking, sure, blessing.

It’s being so hurt that you spend your days being drained, tired and fatigued. It takes extra effort to get things done, or you barely get a task done.

It’s praying that your light, gas don’t go out, but the next day they go out anyways.

It’s going through a tragedy and people telling you it’s God’s will for you to feel this way or go through this.

It’s not being able to pay bills no matter how much you work or try to get by; it’s always falling behind even though you push yourself to the brink. It’s a never ending cycle of struggles (yet people around you tell you you’re not working “hard” enough even though you really are, and your mental health is taking a toll because of it ). You find yourself taking desperate measures to make ends meet.

It’s someone telling you that they will take care of you and give you a stable lifestyle for the rest of your life and just like that, they are gone. You are left with the broken promises, and you’re kicking yourself because you’re wondering why you fall/fell for that lovely dovely dumb shit/let those ones slip by you.

It’s knowing that you can’t repair damage no matter what you do.

It’s being broken by the people you love. It’s going through a lot of shit, the pain that you been through is making your life fall apart. It’s spending every waking moment trying to put yourself back together by yourself so you can live your best life. It’s people trying to make you feel guilty for putting yourself first when all you’ve done is put others first before you. It’s people that you love draining the life out of you.

It’s knowing that childhood dream of yours will never come to fruition. It’s having a dream of going to the NFL but getting an career ending injury.

It’s having a circumstance that’s completely out of your control rip a lifelong dream out of your life. Sometimes it happens without any prior warning. And no matter what you did or didn’t do, nothing you can do can change the situation.

It’s a professor(s)/teacher(s) who would single you out in class because of your race/social economic status/background/religion. Would give you a lot of trouble, flunk you because they can get away with it, and you find it so detrimental and devastating that you drop out of college. It’s feeling so bad that you can’t even focus or hone in on what you’re doing. It’s having so many bad experiences that you can’t even think of the good times.

It’s when you unexpectedly stumbled into this thing you’ve been missing and not realized what it was, all you knew was that you felt amazing and everything was working for you, until you stumbled out of it again, and you can’t figure out what’s going on-or having success be so close and it slips away from your fingers again, and you have to go through trying to figure out what happened again.

It’s knowing you can’t go back and change things. No amount of sorrys can take it back. It’s forever embedded in your mind, and sometimes people and situations can bring back/trigger memories.

It’s facing a harsh reality: Your future may look a little different from what you envisioned, since not all damage can be repaired.

It’s knowing that things might get worse — but they could easily get better.

You can feel hopeless and helpless when you’ve experienced chronic abuse or repeated obstacles. You might feel stuck in poverty or an unhappy relationship. You could or be dealing with your own or someone else’s addiction that feels powerless to change. You might be experiencing a debilitating health condition or repeated school, relationship, or work failures. It’s easy to feel despair when you believe there’s no exit from constant pain and unhappiness.-Darlene Lancer

It’s going through obstacle after obstacle with no end in sight. It’s waking up in despair and going to bed in despair.

It’s waking up in a nightmare and realizing that you are going to wake up tomorrow in that same nightmare.

It’s experiencing trauma after trauma and carrying a lot of bitterness, rage and sadness because you experienced so much of it your heart doesn’t have any more room for any more pain.

It’s carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. It’s being in so much pain mentally, emotionally and psychologically that you start to experience physical symptoms.

To acknowledge that something is not something that I brought on by yourself; this is systemic. Yet people blame you for something that isn’t your fault/you had no control over.

It’s getting hurt more than usual, especially in your younger days, because your heart wasn’t guarded and you didn’t realize how cruel people could be.

It’s being so guarded and your walls are so high that you are called cold-hearted and bitter. Because the people who you thought were trustworthy are plotting for your downfall in secret.

It’s settling because you don’t think life is going to get any better, and this is as good as it gets.

It’s thinking that your dream job or dream school is a heaven on earth. But then you get up there and realize that it’s not what you thought it was, and you spent years thinking that it was this place was a palace and then you realize it’s a nightmare. It’s spending years giving yourself false hope and you end up being unfulfilled, unhappy and disappointed.

It’s knowing that yes, you can develop other fulfilling, healthy relationships, but you can still carry that reminder of pain and loss.

It’s the unknowns. It’s scary to live with unknowns, to wake up each day unsure of what it holds. Considering all the possibilities and potential pitfalls that lie ahead can terrify you into never taking a step.

It’s being called too difficult to deal with or understand. Instead of embracing someone’s oddities, quirks, or weird traits as unique, or even embrace you for who you are, they choose to misunderstand you.

It’s being burnout when the world calls you lazy-it’s being emotionally detached, numbness, emptiness, it’s being disconnected. It’s experiencing so much pain that you are fatigued, exhausted and tired (depersonalization). The things you used to find passion, joy and engage in you struggle to find interest it. Burnout makes it difficult to do the things you once loved, but instead people call you lazy and unmotivated.

It’s struggling.

It’s experiencing despair, anxiety, and depression.

It’s breaking down the guard around your heart and breaking down your walls, and getting burned so badly that you feel like you can’t truly trust or get close to anyone, because life tells you most people will just let you down anyways (and you have enough experiences to know people can and will let you down).

Being let down at pivotal and critical times in your life and experiencing something so diabolical, embarrassing and devastating that life isn’t the same.

It’s feeling empty and isolated despite being in a room full of people. It’s not feeling like you can connect and click with anyone, no matter how much you try.

It’s loving someone or a group of people and realizing that they don’t love you. In order to stop caring, you literally have to become cold hearted and detach.

It’s feeling off.

It’s causing unnecessary pain, suffering and drama to yourself and loved ones, and all those that you’ve worked with.

It’s feeling like you have not fully succeeded in your true purpose in life, even if you did, your success has a nagging shallowness to it, like something important is missing, and you can’t put your finger on it.

It’s your fear becoming reality. It’s wasting your life, in your darkest moments being afraid and realizing that your highest calling can go unanswered. It’s going to the grave realizing your ideas and dreams won’t come to fruition.

“When I go to a cemetery, I just don’t think of the souls there. I also think of all the ideas, dreams and goals that they had that will never be. When they left, their purpose went with them, and the left earth unfulfilled. Imagine how many more inventions and creations we would have if people just did it.”

It’s unknowingly denying yourself and others the amazing miracles and greatness you have access to but couldn’t see.

It’s realizing that the clock is ticking. It’s realizing that everyday that goes by, that your purpose and higher calling is passing you one day at a time.

It’s realizing that you deserve more, but not knowing if you will ever wake up to it.

What we fear most is not suffering, loss or even death. What we fear most is that we have wasted our life. In our darkest moments, we are afraid that our highest calling will go unanswered. -Garret John LoPorto.

It’s little or no support while you doing most of the work. It’s people actively not trying to include you. It’s people not seeing what you experience. They don’t see the lack of community or representation. They don’t care to see the lack of community or representation. It’s people thinking you’re going to attack or rob them because of your skin color. It’s people thinking you’re stupid, incompetent, or physically weaker, it’s all the reactions people have towards you that’s out of your control. It’s getting profiled by the police, judges, court system, looked at suspiciously with disgust and disdain in public places, treated with the assumption you’re dumb, pain or concerns ignored by healthcare providers, denied opportunities, treated unprofessionally. It’s “subtle” nuances of racism where your knowledge, credentials or experience are questioned by people who claim to be helpful, but stereotyping the hell out of you in the process.

It’s acting surprised when you are smart. It’s not giving you the benefit of the doubt because of something out of your control. It’s not having intellectual humility and empathy.

It’s experiencing so much indirect and direct racism, you become numb to it. It’s still getting upset and it hurting deeply when these things happen, but you are not surprised because it happens to you so much.

It’s trying hard not to cave under the weight of all the awful things you feel in your heart.

It’s having the feeling that you are never good enough for anything or never good enough for anybody.

It’s wondering if you are the reason why people always leave. It’s wondering if you are the reason why all the bad things keep happening to you.

Your life before loss was one of a kind of childlike innocence compared to the life you have now. It’s knowing that you won’t be the person you were before you experienced the traumatic event(s).

It’s deep down knowing that some paths may be closed off to you because of the traumatic events that you lived through. (i.e. if you were cheated on/burned you may not trust them or others in the same way again).

It’s mourning what could have been/the future you could have had and re-playing the scenarios in your head of how it may have worked out.

It’s growing up trusting only yourself and only yourself. It’s having ideal friends in your mind, but the people in your life don’t live up to it. It’s having trouble befriending people because you have different tastes and hobbies, and you are not into the trendy stuff because trying to fit in means not being your true authentic self. Your trust issues causes you not to want to be with others in life. It’s preferring to be by yourself instead of a group. It’s having so many experiences of isolation, bullying, loss, abandonment, that you prefer to be alone.

You distance and isolate yourself from others. You avoid others as much as possible. You detach and shut people out rather than risk getting close to someone. (Fear of intimacy and emotional attachment).

It’s assuming the worst because you have so many life experiences of being let down by others. You don’t trust in the good or see the good in people. You’ve learn from experiences and from being burned how badly things can turn out for the worst.

It’s having trouble about opening up to others on what happened to you. If you were burned asking for help or suffered mistreatment asking for help, It’s preferring to suffer in silence because asking for help has led to bad consequences, embarrassment, rejection, denied, judged, or seen as weak by those around you. You been hurt so much that you expect people to let you down, and have enough history and current life experiences to justify this. The psychological scars makes it difficult not to trust people, you’ve grown used to being mistreated and let down by others.

It’s been robbed of your peace of mind. It’s paralyzing fear that the trauma could happen again.

It’s the realizing that the biggest lie told by everyone in your life: I’m here to listen. (And yet they are no where to be found when you need someone to listen and you feel even more isolated).

It’s being told to talk to your family, but they are the reason you are feeling a certain way. It’s being put under so much stress you start having physical symptoms. It’s being attacked or violated from the people around you that’s supposedly “supposed” to be there for you. Or them not reaching out at all to ask if you are ok.

It’s feeling that it’s tiring to be around people. It’s not socializing as much. It’s feeling drained and no zest for life. It’s feeling like you can’t go to anyone in your life because they wouldn’t understand or would just judge you.

It’s people suggesting that you talk to people in your life, but trust issues and social anxiety tells you no. You know first hand how much it can hurt to put your trust in the wrong person, it may be hard to open up and be vulnerable, again, after all, you can’t get hurt by someone if you don’t get close to them.

It’s adopting hardness out of necessity and suppressing emotions becoming a survival mechanism. It’s burying your feelings because it’s too heavy and difficult to deal with.

It’s people telling you that you have no reason to be depressed at your age. Or they call you dramatic.

It’s convincing everyone around you that you are fine but you really are not.

It’s learning that any time you are vulnerable, it can be used against you and therefore you don’t rely on other people.

It’s experiencing so much pain that you block yourself from feeling additional pain by building a wall between you and a potentially negative experience. It’s shying away from close relationships, because so many close relationships before inevitably ended and/or resulted in hurt of some kind.

It’s not knowing or being unsure if all of the experiences you have will be negative.

It’s not knowing or being unsure that all people you encounter who remind you of a certain person or event will behave in the same manner.

It’s not knowing if you are numb, or if you are strong.

If you have something else to add, let me know.

Grief isn’t just for the people who’ve left our lives.

It can also be grieving over a sense of what we’ve lost like a work position, a career, facing an illness (loss of health), or even changing circumstances or lost opportunities. It could be losing a relationship or friendship.

Grief is a process and we might still be carrying loss no matter how long ago the other person left our life or the situation changed.

Despite all of this, you still matter and your life still carries purpose despite. Life can still be fulfilling. It may not turn out the way you envisioned in your head, but life can still be great.

#11. What To Say And Not To Say, According to Nami

Laura Chackes, gave some insight on this: “It is important to give lots of empathy to help them feel comfortable sharing, and hold back from trying to fix what they’re going through or giving them any advice. First, just really listen and show your concern by your body language and compassionate statements”

A few examples of compassionate statements:

  • “I’m so sorry you’re going through this.” It’s important to validate what your friend is feeling and experiencing. In addition, this statement shows that you care for and empathize with them.
  • “Can I bring you dinner? Would you like it if I came over?” Instead of asking if there’s anything you can do, think of a couple specific things that you could do to help or support your friend.
  • “You mean so much to me. I can’t imagine life without you.” Take a moment to let your friend know just how much you love and care for them. You might even remind them of a funny or heartwarming memory. Be sure to do so in a calm, non-aggressive way.
  • “I know that you’re in pain.” Again, validate how your friend is feeling and reiterate to them that you are there to help however you can.

A few examples of non-compassionate statements you should avoid saying:

  • “Your life isn’t that bad!” It might not seem like your friend has reason to feel so unhappy, but their pain is something nobody else can understand. Know that if they are having thoughts of suicide, they are in more pain than you realize. Avoid this statement as well as similar phrases, as they only pass judgment.
  • “You don’t really want to die…” You may say this out of fear, but stop yourself if you can. If your friend is talking about suicide or showing signs of suicidal behavior, it is to be taken seriously. Do what you can to make them feel comfortable opening up instead and ask if they’ll let you get them professional help.
  • “You have too much to live for.” Everything will blow over.” This statement also undermines their feelings. If your friend is suffering with suicidal thoughts or feelings, they don’t feel like they have a lot to live for — even if you know they do.
  • “Everybody’s got their problems.” When someone is suicidal, they feel that they have no other option and telling them this is incredibly invalidating to their pain.

A personal one I just thought of when experiencing grief and loss. People may ask what they can do to help and you might not be sure what you need. This has happened for me. For this:

Thank you so much for asking. This has been so tough for me…I don’t even know what I need. It would be great if I could call you if I need something later.”

That way you acknowledge the person’s offer and keep the door open in case you realize later that you could use the help. And trust me, when months and years go by and people stop checking in on you, this is when you could use a shoulder or a hug. Just because the funeral is over, doesn’t mean the grief stops.

Final Thoughts….

Favor. If you think someone is in distress. Or see that they are. Or just got that deep feeling in your gut that something isn’t right. Please go check on them, like actually go to their house and knock on the door until they answer. Be annoying and dig deeper. Even if they say they are fine, go over there anyways. Losing friends to suicide is very painful, and one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with. It’s extremely painful to keep going through it over and over and over and over again.

I don’t want anyone to suffer in silence like I did in school for years. I can’t bring my friends back, but if I can help anyone avoid this painful club I’m going to try.

There’s a serious mental health crisis in our country and we got to look out for each other. Check in on your people often. Even if they look like they have it all together. Fake smiles is a thing. Please I beg of you to check in on your strong friends. And to everyone that’s raising awareness on mental health and suicide prevention in your own way, even if it’s sharing posts or having conversations, I love you so much. Hugs.

Departed loves, I will honor your beautiful lives for the remainder of mine. I’m sorry that it took me going through scary things later on to realize how much pain you were truly in. I can’t say I understand because everyone experiences pain and grief in different ways. I have so much to tell you when I see you again (When I’m 121 tho, I want one more crack at my 21st birthday as a old stinky goat in diapers.). I miss you all and wish you were still here. I’m a loner (only child here), so to lose people that’s on your same wavelength hurts way deeper.

If you have an opportunity to save a life.

Ask Questions (Trigger Warning)

Ask Questions

Ask Questions.

After listening to your friend, it’s then time to take a more active role in the conversation. Sometimes, an individual’s suicidal ideation isn’t obvious — but if you do have the slightest suspicion that your friend might be suicidal or is thinking about suicide, be direct and ask them about it. Here are a few questions you could ask:

  • Do you think about hurting yourself?
  • Do you think about dying?
  • Do you think your friends and family would be better off without you?

If they answer yes to any of these questions, then follow up with these questions:

  • Do you have a plan?
  • ​Do you have the means to carry out that plan?

Actively suicidal-seriously considering suicide, has a plan or the means to carry out a plan.

Suicidal ideation-Having thoughts without any intention of acting on it.

At this point. If you are having this conversation with a friend, it’s time to reach out to somebody.

Option 1: Ensure they see a therapist.
If your friend is depressed, according to Dr. but not actively suicidal, you should encourage them to see a therapist if they aren’t already. You can help by offering to research and make calls if they are not feeling up to finding a therapist themselves. You should also check in regularly to see how they are and make sure their symptoms have not escalated toward crisis.

Option 2: Seek immediate help.
If they convey that they are actively suicidal, you should get them help immediately. If they have a therapist or psychiatrist, call them to ask if they have a crisis plan in place or what you should do. If they don’t have a therapist, you should take them to the hospital for an evaluation.

#12. As A Friend….

Just because I’ve been through losing friends to suicide, and helped a few here and there live doesn’t mean I’m an expert. I’m just a friend that wants to see my friends live. I miss my friends that are gone. (One of them we recently got back in touch, and well, insider secret. I didn’t get the chance to tell him I had feelings for him before he passed….We will never be, and we were always just friends.)

I’ve seen this posted a couple of places. I’ll find the whole list I’ll add it. (I removed the quote that’s posted above with this…..)

Reasons to live:”- By Money Moves Making

[ ] 1: We would miss you-

[ ] 2: It’s worth it to be alive-

[ ] 3: It does get better, believe it or not it will eventually get better.-

[ ] 4: There’s so much you would miss out on doing.-

[ ] 5: You are worth it don’t let anyone, even yourself tell you otherwise.-

[ ] 6: God made you for a reason, you have a reason.-

[ ] 7: There is always a reason to live!-

[ ] 8: So many people care about you-

[ ] 9: You are amazing-

[ ] 10: I don’t even know you and I love you-

[ ] 11: I care for you-

[ ] 12: There are plenty of people that love you-

[ ] 13: Youre literally perfect!! ❤-

[ ] 14: There are plenty of people that care for you-

[ ] 15: God loves you-

[ ] 16: God cares about you-

[ ] 17: Sometimes life is hard but it will make you a stronger person don’t worry!-

[ ] 18: What about all the things you’ve always wanted to do? What about all the things you’ve planned,but never got around doing? You can’t do them if your dead.

The biggest thing I have to say as a friend, is to remember to take care of yourself. You can’t help others if your cup is half empty. Or at 1/4 gas full. (I will admit, there was times in my 20’s when I was only at 50% but I wanted to keep my friends here, so I helped anyways even though I had no business helping anyone.) There’s times when I could not physically be there for a friend because I was having a surgery or something else was going on. I can’t care for others if I’m not 100%.

But I could do the next step and video chat. There’s nothing easy about helping a friend who’s in pain.

References:

If you are thinking about suicide or are worried about a loved one, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available, free, and confidential at 1–800–273–8255.

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Alesha Peterson

Howdy! Entrepreneurship, fitness, music, acting, real estate, tequila & investing is sexy. Idea for an article? Input wanted! https://linktr.ee/aleshapeterson