My dear friend, can I have just a few moments of your time? I won’t take long, and you don’t have to do anything, other than just listen for a few minutes.
A few years ago, a young man who lived in my community died by suicide. He left a video on facebook as a note, giving a reason for the actions that he took. He didn’t want anyone to feel blame. He attempted to reassure others it wasn’t about them, only that he didn’t really know why, but he couldn’t go on. He talked about his thoughts, and feelings about mental illness, but either way, it seemed too much. He seemed kind and considerate. He was bright. He appeared sincere and didn’t want to hurt anyone. He apologized to friends, and said goodbye to them. He wrote notes to some of them. He addressed his mother, father, and siblings in the hopes that what he was considering doing wouldn’t be taken personally, or be damaging to them. He was trying to be sincere. He was like you. He was like me, He was like all of us. I loved that boy. We all need boys and girls like that to live!
I want to be absolutely real with you? I want to speak clearly, and give you the very best that I possess at this very moment! I feel for this young man and his suffering. His feelings of hopelessness and helplessness must have been so difficult… so hard… so eternal and terminal. I feel for his brothers and his family as well. I feel for his friends. The young man in this message was not well in that moment. He felt hopeless, and was convinced that he was helpless. He seemed sure that this was the only option, the only possible way… but I have to tell you, and I wish I would have had the opportunity to tell him… I wish I could have been close enough to share with him that he was incorrect. I want you to know that I’m not upset with him, or condemning him in any way for what he did… all i’m doing is recording this now, in the hopes that those who hear it, may find real hope to hang on… to stay… to endure… to grow… and to experience more moments of joy and happiness. I’m certain that it looks dark right now… like there are no doors, no windows, no future other than more hurt, disappointment and suffering… but my friend there is MORE!… There is always more… things are always shifting… nothing ever stays the same… nothing!
I’ve now met with hundreds, maybe thousands of people just like you… who at one point or another were suicidal, some that attempted even, and some have stayed, and forged on… walked on… pressed on… laughed, loved… and helped others… saved lives even. My dear friend there is a great deal of suffering in this world, I will not deny it, nor will I minimize it for you, but our capacity…. Your capacity to overcome… to grow wiser, stronger, more real, with a greater depth… this is larger… you are larger and more important than your current suffering. My friend today you must become a carrier of the most valuable asset in this world… hope… the realization that things will absolutely be better… must be better… and that you have a say… a capacity to act and transform, to heal, and to create beauty in this world… the kind of beauty that is completely unique to you. There is only one voice like yours… one set of fingerprints like yours… your reach.... Your capacity to give to this world is unique… I need it… others need it.
It’s obvious that there was great suffering in this young man, perhaps the greatest type of suffering. I refer to the suffering that is loneliness, and feelings of being unloved or rejected. But suffering is never just suffering. Suffering is never meaningless. Suffering never travels alone… many times suffering reveals the truth about others, and about ourselves. Suffering also fills individuals with the most critical of characteristics… compassion… and compassion can only come as a fruit of understanding… and understanding can only come through experience… experiences, like the one you are having right now my friend. This great truth… this great power… this great knowledge is in you now, and with it, you can heal and bring redemption to the world around you. You have to be a carrier of that hope, love, and compassion… I plead with you to be that individual… You are needed… you are beautiful… you are loved and will be loved.
Don’t you understand… the most important discipline that you will learn in this life isn’t math, or science, or geography, it is to love yourself and others… it is to learn to encourage and promote real joy… Go with confidence my friend! Leave this state of mind and move confidently forward and upward. Rise up! Stand up! Don’t fight with your brain or convince yourself to end your life… Rise up! Stand up! And move toward doing something small and simple… something that will show kindness, affection, gratitude… write a note, a text, an email, a song, a poem… place a phone call, send a tweet, or a post… You may feel like there is nothing left to give… or that it is pointless to give… but you know that it is not true… our words and deeds do matter… what you do matters… it absolutely matters to me.
You are meant for great things! Your living is uniquely significant. Your presence, your friendship, your intelligence, your experience is deeply needed in this world. Not one other person is you. No one can say what you say, the way you say it. No one laughs the way you laugh. No one can lift others the way you lift them. No one smiles quite like you smile. No one can speak about your personal struggles the way you do. Only you.
I need you to live! Perhaps I’m selfish in saying it, so be it, but your unique life experience is necessary.
I can understand that the thought of your life coming to an end can feel relieving. I can even understand that suicide may seem and feel like your only viable option to escape your circumstance. May I be so bold and upfront, and my friend I say this in the kindest and most respectful tone that I can muster, suicide is not what you are looking for. What you are seeking is peace, meaningful relationships, someone to love, fun, adventure… Your solution is to live and to keep seeking and asking the critical questions. You are a philosopher… a seeker… you are asking the existential questions of life. The great thinkers of this world have asked them as well. From Socrates, to the Buddha, to Jesus, to Marcus Aurelius, to Nietzche… all of these great thinkers have gone deeper… beyond the surface of life, and traveled beyond… looking for purpose, meaning, and joy. Those questions matter, but those questions take time, and they require experience, and some learning… experiences and learning that is still ahead of you. Stay with those questions, read about them, speak about them to others that love you and that you can trust.
While you are wrestling with the questions of life, continue on. Invest in the relationships around you. Engage in school, and surround yourself with positive people, places, and things. As you deliberately sprinkle your life with fun, humor, beauty, relationships, hobbies, and adventures, you will become the bringer of light and hope to others. Your experience of staring into the darkness, of you staring into your dark night of the soul, will allow you to teach others how to walk through and out of that valley.
Perhaps your mission is revealing itself to you at this very moment. Sometimes it is only in the darkest of nights, that we can see the complete brightness and beauty of the stars.
There is hope! There is life! There are kisses to be given. Hugs to be had. Children to be born! Miracles to be seen, and in which you will have a hand in.
The world needs your hands.
It needs your wisdom and clarity.
It needs your struggle.
You and I may not know each other, but I’m connected to you. My children are connected to you. Like ripples in the water, our influence impacts the collective conscience and experience we inhabit.
I summon your courage. I call for your compassion. I invoke your highest reason and logic, not only to stay, but to stay and engage life in a new way!
Reach upward! Reach outward! The moment has arrived. It is a turning point in your life. It’s time for you to share your moment with others. It’s time for you to rise from the ashes like a phoenix! Even now, as you pass through the valley of the shadow of death, a new life awaits you. You can’t go back to things the way they were… really, you can’t. A new phase is starting for you.
There are moments in our life that change us forever, perhaps this is one of those moments. As you rise from the rubble of your struggles, I promise you, you will find diamonds… even a new and more complete perspective. Remember that no failure is terminal. No emotion is chronic. No situation final. Life is in constant flux, and you… you can change course… you can try new and different things. Small steps and small changes can yield huge outcomes. My friend, be patient. Emotions change, situations transform, and somehow in the midst of all that changing lies peace and wisdom. It is there like a treasure, and perhaps with a little bit of guidance, you can uncover it and become a richer individual and live a fuller life.
You may need some help. You may require another’s strength and perspective. You may need someone else’s light to light your way for a moment, but soon enough yours will burn brightly, and before you know it, you will become a source of light for others. Don’t feel bad asking for help… realize that you may need someone to be by you… this is ok. We all climb better together… we all need a little help. It is in helping and receiving help that we heal from the wounds of this world. You will become a beacon, a lighthouse and a safe harbor for others.
This is the real future that awaits you!
Your courage inspires my courage. Your compassion motivates my compassion. Your wisdom enhances my wisdom. Your joy brings joy. Your heart is soft, your mind is willing. Instead of a suicide note, write a new beginnings letter. Instead of reaching for death, reach for a friend, and reach for help. Perhaps someday we will meet. You can share your experience with me, and together we will rejoice as friends. Your life will fill mine, and mine yours.
My friend… stay!
Can I share just a few tips… a few thoughts that others who have walked your path, have shared with me? Thank you.
- Remember that people are essential. Ask for help… go where people are… share with someone whom you trust or respect
- Tap into a feel good playlist. Something that has positive associations for you… good memories that are connected to those sounds.
- Get yourself outside… let the sun touch your brown, let the light pass through your body and bring you energy, warmth and light
- Write down or express your ideas, this will give you something to focus on, instead of just tug-of-warring with your brain that is running wild at the moment
- Be honest with people about what is helpful and what is not helpful. If you want someone to just listen, if you just want a hug or some affection, if you need a bit of space… you have to say it, and remember, engage with others, you don’t need to fight this one alone, force your focus toward others
- The fact that you are actually here… listening to this, shows your intention, your character, a willingness to be helped
- Don’t go to a place where you will be alone… distance yourself form physical things that will harm you… make it easy on yourself by removing the hard decision… go to a store, to a park, to a friends house, to the living room.
- Now… as the crisis passes… and it will pass, go… rest… maybe even sleep… it’s ok to miss things. It’s ok to be gentle and kind and good to yourself.
I’m so grateful… i’m so honored that you would even hear me… that you would even be willing to consider what I am telling you right now. My friend, join me, take my hand, and let’s walk into the world again… confidently, knowing better, feeling better, thinking better.