Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. If you’ve been around the blog or my Twitter for more than a month or so, I’m sure you know how near and dear mental health awareness is to my heart. While I won’t go into my story much here, this post I recently did for the Mental Health in YA event sums it up.
To make a long story short, a little over three years ago, I chose to stay. And in those three years, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this whole LIFE thing. Because there has to be more than waking up, tending to obligations, going to bed, and rinsing and repeating day, after day, after day. Right?
See, we all have a purpose. You will never convince me otherwise. There’s a reason we’re here. If your heart is beating and there’s air in your lungs and you’re reading this right here and right now, you have a purpose. And there are plenty of people (myself included) who have spent so. much. time. trying to discover that purpose, to figure out why we’re here. But honestly, I’m beginning to think it’s really quite simple.
We’re here to love people. We’re here to help others. Because while we so often need to be helped to our feet, sometimes we’re the ones who do the pulling.
And then there’s the big question: “What am I supposed to actually do with my life?” The ever-present “What am I supposed to be when I grow up?” (I’ll call you guys when I actually grow up.) And honestly, I think that ties into loving people. I really and truly feel that if we spend our lives loving and helping and living (not to be confused with simply surviving), I think our paths will become a bit clearer, little by little.
Now, don’t mistake that for meaning we’ll see the next twenty years of our lives with 20/20 vision; sometimes, it only means we see what’s going to happen the next day, and then the next. It unfolds slowly. Carefully. Intentionally.
I’m pretty sure life does that on purpose. I think that if we were to see life’s grand plan all at once, there’s a very, very strong possibility we’ll get way too far ahead of ourselves because our instincts tell us to go go GO. Life provides us with stepping stones to get to where we need to go for good reason. Each experience leads us to the next, and the next, and the next.
Don’t rush. Don’t spend each moment waiting for the next. Make memories, and cherish those memories.
You may be wondering why I’m writing about this on World Suicide Prevention Day, and this is why: Depression has a way of bringing a fog that feels impenetrable. When I was at my lowest, knowing that others loved me didn’t make the depression disappear. Loving someone isn’t a magic fix-all. It can’t cure depression.
But it can make it a heck of a lot more manageable.
I wish I could say that loving someone as fiercely as possible would make depression disappear, but then I’d be lying. But I will say this: In those low moments, I could still hear the words of encouragement. I could feel the hugs I’d received, the smiles I’d been given. I could remember the true genuineness in people’s eyes when they saw me—ME—instead of my depression.
Love may not cure the illness, but it can discredit so many of its lies.
And if you’re suffering from depression, if you feel like you’re outside the world looking in, I hope you know how much you are loved.
Depression is lying. You are so loved.
I hope you remember those words in the worst moments. I hope they find you like a friend. I hope they give you the strength to make it through the next minute, and the next.
I hope you know that every single breath you take is a victory, and it’s worthy of celebration.
I hope you believe me when I say that it gets better. It’s not always easy. But it’s better.
If you need to chat with someone, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7: 1-800-273-8255. If you’re in crisis and need help now, don’t hesitate to call 911 or go to the hospital.
You matter. You matter so very much.
And back to that life thing: I’m still trying to figure it out. But I think loving others is a pretty good way to start.