When you are contemplating suicide, it’s nearly impossible to imagine that your feelings, life circumstances or personal situation could ever change for the better.
Yet, the internet is filled with stories from people who, feeling what you’re feeling, also contemplated suicide but can now share the benefit of hindsight–because they didn’t follow through. They kept going, just one more day, and one more day after that…
Some have found love that makes the pain more “worth it.” Some have discovered their life’s calling after feeling convinced they couldn’t add anything to the world. It doesn’t always get better. But maybe it gets more interesting. Or more hopeful.
If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, look at these stories from people who’ve been there. See if any of their feelings make sense to you or offer a new perspective.
How many times have you thought one thing, only to realize later it wasn’t quite as it seemed? How many times have you changed your mind about something you were sure of? Or, how many times have you been pleasantly surprised by positivity dropping into your life?
Olympian Michael Phelps might be one of the most well-known people who has spoken about contemplating suicide. However, he has made progress in his depression and now shares in hindsight: “I am extremely thankful that I did not take my life.”
There isn’t always a clear reason why people look back, feeling relieved they didn’t kill themselves. But some have shared the realizations, experiences, and happy developments that changed how they felt. See their stories below.
Mental health advocate Elliot Ames shares in a Medium article a moment that gave them perspective on their own suicidal experience:
“I have a cousin who died when I was eight-years-old, and every year around Christmas my family goes and visits his grave along with some of our other family members (it’s a weird tradition, I know, bare with me). Each year, I think about all the cool sci-fi and fantasy movies he didn’t get to see. He was fourteen when he died, and he’s honestly the main reason I’m as big a nerd as I am today. But life is unfair and cruel, and because he got hit by a car he’ll never get to experience all the new things life has in store. It’s messed up, and it’s something I almost did to myself on purpose. I could have willingly subjected myself to never experiencing anything new ever again.”
Just because you haven’t been able to love yourself yet, doesn’t mean that you won’t in the future.
How many times have you felt even worse because others couldn’t understand your passive or active wish to die? It doesn’t make you broken or crazy to contemplate suicide. But the only people who know that, on a deep level, are people who have felt suicidal before. You can give the gift of understanding and hope to others, because of the pain you’ve been through.
One Reddit user answers why they are glad they didn’t act on their thoughts: “Being able to stop one of my friends from commiting suicide. Had I taken my own life any of the times I considered previously, he would be dead too. Realizing I could make that sort of difference even if it was just to 1 or 2 people made me realize that maybe my life wasn’t completely worthless after all.”
Watch this 3-minute video by creator Trent Shelton, who has been there: “There is more to your life than what you’re currently going through. And you will never understand it if you quit right now.”
Another Reddit user recounts all the simple joys they wouldn’t have gotten to experience, had they taken their own life: “I have a dog now. Also, through my own experiences with suicide and depression I have been able to help a lot of other people, including several friends, some of whom have even told me that I saved their lives. I’ve driven to different states across America, seen some beautiful country, have had so many awesome experiences. Had i taken my life at any point before, I would have robbed myself of so much. I’m so glad I’m still here, still experiencing new things and trying to make the most out of this life”
Whatever you expect the rest of your life to look like, please know that you can’t be sure. After all, you are here, looking for the hope to keep on going. That, alone, is enough to help you fight through the bad to find the good.
To browse the stories of hundreds more suicide attempt survivors, visit LiveThroughThis.org.