[Trigger warning: suicidality]
It’s World Suicide Prevention Day this coming Sunday, and I’ve been thinking about it quite a lot over the last few weeks. It could have been me. Many times over.
A year ago I was writing “remain” on my inner wrist to remind myself that I was choosing to stay, to remind myself to let that ‘remaining’ here shape my choices.
The first time I was suicidal I was thirteen. I’ve stayed another twenty years since then, and I plan to stay another twenty again, and then some. But it is a choice; over and over I have to choose to stay. My brain offers up suicide as a viable option when it can’t see any other way forward or through. I live with chronic pain and anxiety, and recurrent depression, so it happens often. And I have to remind my brain, again and again, that I don’t want that to be an option.
I have chosen to stay. I am choosing to stay.
I’m choosing to watch my daughters grow up. I’m choosing to be an example to them of what is possible, even when life seems set against you. I’m choosing to keep hoping and keep moving.
It is not easy. Some days it feels so damn hard. But I made this choice when I was in my right mind and could see all my cards on the table, and I’m not going to break this commitment with myself to stay. I’m not going to break this commitment with my husband to do life with him. I’m not going to break this commitment to my daughters to be there.
This means so much to that I gave my oldest daughter the middle name Hope. I wanted her to never be without hope, even if it was just in her name. Even if the whole world seemed to forsake her, she would have this message from me: there is reason to hope.
And so now I need my life to reflect that too. And so I persist. And I choose to stay. And I choose to keep hoping.
Part of my commitment to staying alive is making this life livable, desirable. I’m choosing to be proactive about my mental state and well-being. Sometimes it seems like I need so much more care and consideration around this, around me, so much more than others seem to need. But my well-being is worth it.
I believe I have a contribution to make in this world, and I can only do that well when I take make the time and effort to take care of myself really well. I’ve always hated needing “special treatment” or having a fuss made over me, but I need to do it for myself. If that means “indulging” in early bedtimes or “special” foods (not treat foods, but looking after my dietary needs of reduced dairy, gluten, and sugar), then I need to be the one looking after myself by doing them.
Some days it’s easier than others. Some days to help myself do it, I think of it as looking after my daughters’ mother, or giving my inner child what she needed/s. But when I do, and when I am feeling better because of going to that extra effort, I remind myself that it is worth it, I remind myself that I am worth it. And I can see more ways that life is worth living.
It’s not just a matter of being gentle with myself, though that was a good place to start, and a good place to learn about what I actually did need. It’s also allowing myself to need these special considerations, not because I am needy or difficult, but because I am worth the best life I can create for myself. And when I do that, I can give the best of me to others as well.
Did you know that you are worth taking special care of too?
I recently started being more deliberate about meditating consistently, knowing that it is better for both my mental state and my pain levels. I started with five minutes. What’s one small change you could start making today?
Easy tweetables for you to share: