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3 Things People With Depression and Thoughts of Suicide Should Know

3 Things People With Depression and Thoughts of Suicide Should Know

On July 14, 2014, Conrad Roy killed himself after reaching out to someone when he was fighting thoughts of suicide. The local authorities released a series of text messages between him and his girlfriend at the time, Michelle Carter. Unfortunately, instead of helping, she encouraged him to kill himself and then held an fundraiser to honor his death. If Conrad was given either words of encouragement or hope when he went to the person he trusted the most, maybe this situation would have had a different outcome. (You can find more about the case here.)

Here are some points that people with depression and thoughts of suicide should know.

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1. Your thoughts matter.

You may not always feel like it, they do. There are many people in the world that care what you are thinking about and your opinion on things. They don’t have to be thoughts on big decisions like buying a house — but it’s the small things that count, right? Even your laughter at a dumb joke means the world to someone in your life.

Everything that you do on a daily basis: the kind things you say, the smiles you flash people, and the conversations you have based on the thoughts that are going on up there in your noggin, shows that you matter. Your thoughts matter because a spark of an idea in your brain may turn into research for a new treatment for a disease, or may relay a song that someone holds onto when they’re contemplating taking their own life.

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2. You will always have at least one person to talk to.

I know there are times when you feel alone, but you are not. There is always someone that will be there to talk to you if you need them. There are plenty of people dedicated to volunteering their time to help out. There are places like Lifeline which offers the option to either call or chat depending on what is easier and best for you when you feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to about your thoughts about suicide. There are also hotlines if you are feeling depressed; you can find the list here. Most of these organizations depend on volunteers, so they want to be there for you and they want to hear what you have to say.

They are there because they want to be, not because they have to be.

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3. By staying alive, you encourage others that aren’t as strong to stay alive as well.

There was a study done in 2014 that shows that a parent who committed suicide while their child was under the age of 18 increased the likelihood of the child committing or attempting to commit suicide in the future. By staying strong throughout your depression, you are able to give your child the strength to carry on as well. (You can read more about the study here.)

Remember, as Josh Billings once said: “Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well”. Even if you are not a parent, there are people in your life that consider you a strong person. They may not say it out loud, but they think that if you are going through what you have to each day, then they can keep going too. Your strength is strength for those who do not have as much as you.

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No matter what you are going through or how alone you feel, there will always be someone out there that cares and that is willing to spend the time to talk to you. According to Save.org there is one suicide in the U.S. every 13 minutes. I hope that by knowing these three things, that you do not become a part of that statistic.

Your thoughts, your emotions and your life matters.

Featured photo credit: 98 Browse more: abstract, blowball, blowing, dandelion, girl, nature, sunbeams, sunnyTest Drive image Take a look how this image can be used! Girl Blowing Blowball/Dandelion- Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Margielyn Musser

Event And Volunteer Coordinator / World Traveler

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Last Updated on February 25, 2020

5 Rules for Overcoming Adversity and Emotional Pain

5 Rules for Overcoming Adversity and Emotional Pain

“Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world, the disarray. I choose to see the beauty. To believe there is an order to our days. A purpose.” – from the popular show, “Westworld”

It’s different for us all. My personal quest for purpose began with five stages of grief and one startling realization that everything’s endlessly fragile. Adversity, as it happens by rule, found me terribly unprepared, so I decided to take my time. Today, I can honestly say that I’ve grown.

Ugliness and beauty, good and evil, pain and laughter – everything in the universe consists of two forces that are opposing but complementary. In the face of difficulty, that is the only mantra you need.

Here’s how I learned it and why you should too, with five simple rules.

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1. Embrace the Complexity

Quite insidiously, adversities come in all shapes and sizes. Paralyzing physical disabilities, mind-wracking mental problems, ruthless emotional havocs, all leading to the same painful acknowledgement: all the beauty in the world cannot possibly make up for the ugliness that surrounds us. Shattered to pieces, helpless and bare naked, we sit in our therapy chairs, apologizing for being so negative.

Eventually, what it all comes down to is the nature of negative emotion. Our positives overshadow our negatives, thus wrongly teaching us that the road to well-being is paved with nothing but positive feelings and thoughts. How utterly wrong!

“If you’re not failing every now and then, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything innovative”, Woody Allen said.

It’s a classic “learn from your mistakes” rule, but in this case, it implies growing from negative experiences. Make peace with your negativities and embrace beauty and ugliness alike! Accepting this marvellously complex world just as it is will allow you to find purpose in adversity and meaning in misery.

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2. Find Balance, Regain Control

Still, accepting adversity is only the first step toward eventual victory. One can endure only so much trauma in life; if we’re not prepared to deal with difficulties in a productive way, even the minor setbacks can get us off track. Our strengths come from learning, and the best way to learn is through a series of trials and errors. Just like phases of grief or stages of drug addiction, adversities suggest a disabling loss of control, so find your way to regain it.

Some call it the coping mechanism; for others, it’s a spiritual will. However you choose to name yours, know that not all supporting systems are equally beneficial, though each is effective in its own way. Escapism was mine, but it only helped me retain the illusion of beauty. It wasn’t until I opened up toward the ugliness and accepted the naked truth that I was finally free. Whether you choose to dwell in art, religion and spiritualism, thus feeding your resilience from within or to reach out to others for help, choose wisely.

Whatever the means, the second rule is a golden one: find your inner balance and stick to it. Eventually, it will lead you out of the vicious circle.

3. Fight with Patience

My bargaining turned in depression with a single touch. Fearless and free, my dance instructor timidly put her hands on my shoulders and I realized, for the first time, just how tense, stiff and cloistered I was. And just like that, I started letting go. Adversities have their sneaky ways, but in my experience, becoming aware is what hurts the worst. It took me a year to recover from this little moment of self-discovery, and I know remember it as the edge of the rabbit hole.

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Some sufferings are impossible to console; I know that now. The only way to get through is to, well, get through. Depression and despair are only the beginning of the excruciatingly unnerving process that ravages the mind and shrivels the soul, and once they strike, there is no easy way back. So, fight them with patience. When your head starts spinning and your feet lose ground, go to your happy place. Over there, you’ll be reminded that nothing is forever, not even our little existential psychosis.

Take a deep breath and say “om”. When things cannot be combated, they have to be endured, so practice patience and learn to let go. Finally, keep repeating to yourself that this too shall pass.

4. Keep Swimming

Nothing is impossible, in the end. Your negative thoughts will gently pour into your positive ones, just as two streams come together to become a river. In the event of the inevitable disaster, one can only be as calm as still water. Suffering teaches patience, and the latter gives rise to flexibility. Ultimately, what is life than a series of unfortunate events and a handful of bright moments in between? If adversities are impossible to avoid, than learn to glide through as smoothly and patiently as water does with rocks.

Even if spirituality isn’t exactly your cup of tea, you have to admit that this is one solid metaphor. Staying adaptable in the face of change will soothe your panic attacks and keep you sane and sober-blooded. Even if you fail, you’ll know exactly how to breathe and face what’s in front of you once it eventually strikes again. Stay calm and visualize a better tomorrow; if anything else, it will give you strength to dive deep and weather the storm. And, in case there’s somebody’s hand to reach out to, grab it firmly and don’t let go.

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Being flexible against adversities takes a lot of learning, just as staying brave demands a lot of courage. It’s a long, arduous step-by-step routine, and you can reach the end only by swimming on. Persist, even when you fall.

5. Never Stop Searching for Inspiration

And, if it’s a guidance you need, where else to seek it than in experiences of others? Find it in art, in people around you, in chance encounters. The pure beauty of perseverance can be discovered where you expect it the least, so never stop searching for inspiration. If self-help literature soothes your pains and clears your mind, don’t let cynics discourage you. Your path toward reconciliation is nobody’s but yours to choose.

Ever heard of Nick Vujicic? Or Nando Parado? Inspiring people sound their yawps over the roofs of the world, sometimes voiceless, sometimes limbless, sometimes both. Born without arms, Jessica Cox became the most unusual certified pilot in the world, and you can rarely see her without a smile on her face. If you’ve already ripped all of your bucket lists and said goodbye to your dreams and plans, meet Sean Swarner, who’s officially became the first cancer survivor to climb Mount Everest. The stories just go on.

Make your own guidebook! Pen down your positive thoughts, cover your walls with quotes and devise your personal mantras. Whenever things get hard, they’ll be there to remind you of what you need to do. It’s the simplest of all life hacks, and one of the most effective ones.

Find beauty in the world, but never stay blind for its ugliness. However daunting, adversities and emotional pain challenge our inner strength, thus making us resilient and allowing us to grow. As soon as you recognize them as the wind in your sails instead of the devastating storm, the purpose will become simple and clear.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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