Any of us could list generic reasons to keep living if we sat down and tried. Parents, friends, children, aspirations, all the good food we’d miss… there are always reasons to live. But somehow that doesn’t help when you’re ready to deny them all.
The issue is that when you’re suicidal, you are often going through struggles that make the good things seem tiny. There aren’t big enough rewards for the deep pain you’re feeling. Or, you’re feeling so worthless, that you think the world would be better off without you (spoiler alert: it won’t be).
Maybe you’re feeling like you screw everything up for everyone. Perhaps you just lost your last friend and have nobody left to turn to. You might be stuck in an abusive relationship. Or maybe you feel so alone and broken that nobody could possibly understand.
Those are all real reasons that make life feel daunting and impossible. And it’s ok to feel this way – you’re not broken for feeling like life is harder than it’s worth right now. But we are in the right now, and who knows what could happen tomorrow or 20 years from now to make all the pain worth it.
To answer the understandable but temporary feeling that life isn’t worth it, here are some down to earth reasons to keep living, even if you may not want to right now.
1. Death isn’t a rest stop – it’s the end of the road.
Those suffering from depression often feel tired of life. “What’s even the point?” they ask. They’re not out of line — life is relentlessly tiring. Work, school, and even daily chores can become a mentally draining routine.
But instead of filling the void with positive fluff, ask yourself a point-blank question: “Do you really want to die? Or do you want a break from your life?”
So many of us (understandably) romanticize death as a sweet release from fatigue, rejection, pain, and suffering. But we forget that death is also a release from the small things that make us happy. Good food, hanging out with friends, petting a dog — doesn’t even have to be your dog.
Some of us just really want a long nap, without responsibilities hanging over our heads. We’ll never get that long nap, but ending our lives won’t help anything. There are much better ways to seek relief from pain and stress.
2. Your problems don’t disappear after you die – they go to others.
Whatever suffering you’re going through — it doesn’t vanish when you’re gone. You may not experience the problems anymore, but those around you will. Your family or friends will need to plan your funeral, make sense of your finances, and cope with the emotional burden of your death.
There are people that need you: your pet, your parent, your friend, or even someone you’ve yet to meet. Leaving will affect their lives, probably in a traumatic way.
Stay because you are needed, and those around you may always blame themselves for your loss.
And on the flip side, you might want your family to blame themselves. That makes sense! If you want to show your family how little they value you, or want to make them hurt, that’s perfectly valid — but you don’t have to kill yourself to do it.
Find a ‘chosen family,’ tell your folks that they don’t deserve to have you, escape with the help of one of these services, but do not kill yourself. If for no other reason: you won’t be able to see the pain you’ve inflicted.
3. Life always changes – you’ll have FOMO.
The nature of life is ever-changing. While you may feel like you have been and always will be suffering, you won’t. No matter how long it takes, the winds and weather shift.
Sometimes it does get more difficult, not going to lie to you. But happiness is not linear, it dips up and down. You may feel like your sadness is neverending, but it’s not. Why keep living? Because, like everyone will tell you, it gets better.
4. Keep going out of spite.
Someone or something failed you at one point in your life. Family, friends, the mental health system… Maybe someone told you to suck it up, to just look on the brighter side, or to stop being a downer — like it actually worked that way. *insert eyeroll here*
Harness your spite – don’t let them win. Prove them wrong and become stronger than they ever thought you could. Show them that they don’t really know you, and you’re resilient to their toxic behavior. Find the reasons that make you want to keep living, to help others do the same.
5. Learn Something, try something, make a change.
Keep living for your dream trip to Bali. Keep living to try escargot without puking. Keep living to see yourself strong, healthy, and happy.
There are too many places you haven’t seen. Too many things you haven’t tried. Too many like-minded people out there you haven’t met yet.
If for nothing else, live to make some changes, treat yourself, and create the life you deserve.
If you are contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
If you are in an emergency situation, please call 911.