Depression · Life · Mental health

What to do if you want to end your life

Okay. This was a difficult one for me to write, but I gave it my best shot.

You might have been told you have depression; you might not. You might have mildly intrusive thoughts about the possibility; you might have made concrete plans. You might have been thinking about it for a long time; you might have had the thought a few moments ago. You might have tried before; you might never have entertained the notion. You might be determined; you might not even care whether you lived or not.

Whatever your situation right now, I’m afraid I can only tell you something that a doctor has said to me once. There is no magic wand someone can wave or a set of words someone can say to you that makes you feel better.

It was a frightening time for me. I felt that I deserved it. I felt that I was hurting the people closest to me – that they’d be way better off if I wasn’t around. I didn’t have the first clue about what to do. Even through the determination and certainty of my thoughts at the time, somewhere in the recesses of my mind a little bit of clarity was there. There was a little bit of hope that went against the black thunderstorm. Something told me that going through with it is a really bad idea, and that for me was the most terrifying thing about it.

If you’re in this situation, I want to gather you in my arms and wrap you in a huge hug. You’re still here. You’re still holding on. It’s a battle just to get to the end of each day. It’s hard – I acknowledge that.

I know it’s so hard to see from where you’re standing. But your feelings change. I know it seems like there is no end to the pain and torment. That’s part of the lie. That’s part of the lethal deception that depression feeds you. That’s part of the blanket that smothers away hope. But hope is still there, even though it’s out of sight. It might take a long time. But life gets better. Life got better for me.

When I look through journals from those bad days, my own words frighten me. It was as if a stranger had written them. I can’t imagine the emotional state of mind from which such scary words originated. And right now I acknowledge that I cannot possibly imagine the suffering and pain that you’re going through, even if I’ve lived through something like it myself.

The other thing that I want to tell you is that help is always there. You don’t have to do this alone. If you’re going to go ahead and go through with the plan to end your life right now, you can always go to A&E. They really would appreciate you coming to them – you don’t have to have done anything. If you have no way of getting there, call 999. No worrying that you’re “not a real emergency” – suicidal thoughts are a serious and potentially life threatening symptom of a medically recognised illness.

If you’re absolutely tormented with those thoughts but you’re not about to end your life this second, there are many, many other channels of help. In the UK, there are helplines such as the Samaritans. Maybe in your area GP practices would take emergency appointments. Maybe, like me, you’re fortunate enough to have an amazing circle of friends. Maybe there are counselling services and talking therapies available to you. But you don’t have to do this on your own.

Remember, if you’re tormented with thoughts to end your life, the very fact that you’re still alive right now is reason enough for me to smile. All my love to you.


2 thoughts on “What to do if you want to end your life

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