If you are in a crisis, please call a friend of family member — we want to listen and help! Or you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK.
This week is Suicide Prevention Week in the U.S. The New York Times recently reported that the suicide rate in 2016 has surged to the highest level in 30 years. You don’t have to go far to hear a sad story of someone choosing to end their life.
I know about suicide very well. Sixteen years ago, I had my own suicide planned. I knew depression and despair and I knew I wanted it to end. I had tried so many modalities and so many processes and nothing worked. My conclusion? Something must be wrong with me.
If depression, sadness and thoughts of suicide are familiar to you, please know that there is hope. There is always hope. Today, my life is an adventure. I wake up every morning with a sense of joy and possibility and I am grateful for the gift of being alive. Sixteen years ago, I didn’t even know that was possible.
Here's how it all started:
Day after day of intense sadness, day after day of lying on the bed and crying after my girlfriend left for work, tired of trying the latest and greatest self-help method that never helped and only left me feeling worse, I threw up my hands and said, “Universe, you’ve got six months or I’m outta here. I’m killing myself.” And I meant it. The struggle had to end.
Over the course of the next few months, I found tools that changed my life in a way nothing else had. I asked, and the universe answered.
If you have ever considered ending your life, or maybe you’re considering it now, if you’ve ever felt so overwhelmed with depression that you didn’t think you could go on, please know that things can be different. A life of ease and joy is possible for you. If nothing else works, try starting here.
Three tools to help you release hopelessness and build a happiness life:
1. Stop thinking something is wrong with you and/or trying to fix yourself.
When you feel depressed, when you can’t seem to find that happy feeling no matter how hard you try, often you decide that there is something wrong with you and you start desperately seeking to fix it. What if there’s nothing wrong with you? What if you don’t need to be fixed?
We spend so much time judging ourselves and our bodies and we are so used to believing that we are wrong, wrong, wrong. Would you be willing to let that go? Would you be willing to consider that you’re not nearly as messed up as you’ve decided you are? Try asking this question every day, “What’s right about me that I’m not getting?”
I wonder how much lighter you would feel if you weren’t in constant judgment of you?
2. Recognize that it's not about having the right answer.
How long have you been looking for the right answer? How long have you been searching for the thing that would fix everything and change everything and make everything ok?
I looked for the right answer for a long time. I thought if I could only find the right answer, maybe I would be happy. Maybe my life would work. I have since discovered that it’s questions, not answers, which change everything.
Questions open the door to all possibilities. Questions take you beyond all the conclusions that you have about life, about others and about you.
Two great questions to ask are, “What else is possible?” And, “How does it get any better than this?” No matter what happens. Ask these questions! Open up to the possibility that you can go beyond depression. Open up to the possibility that life can be a joyful celebration.
3. Clear your mental chatter.
Does it seem like the chatter in your mind keeps on going and going? Have you ever tried to find the off button for your thoughts and make them stop? Seem impossible? There is a way! Here’s the thing, 98 percent of the thoughts, feelings and emotions you have don’t belong to you. You pick them up from everyone around you.
Sixteen years ago, I started asking, “Who does this belong to?” anytime I felt sad, depressed, frustrated … I found that 98 percent of the time, when I asked the question, there was a lightness in my world. Why? Because none of it was mine to begin with! I was picking up on the thoughts, feelings and emotions of others. No one may have ever told you, but we are like big psychic radio receivers, picking up on everything around us.
This one question, the question of, “Who does this belong to?” literally saved my life. True story. So, if you struggle with depression, for the next three days, for every thought, feeling and emotion that comes up, ask “Who does this belong to?” If you feel lighter when you ask the question, those thoughts and feelings were never really yours. Recognizing this allows you to stop trying to fix what was never belonged to you in the first place.
Would you be willing to consider that you are a gift? Would you be willing to see that you are a contribution to the world? No matter where you are, no matter how you feel, joy is possible. Adventure is possible. Keep asking, “How does it get any better than this?” and “What else is possible?” at all times and in all situations. These two questions are the beginning of a whole new reality for you … a reality that you would love to live.