“Tomorrow needs you,” claims one suicide awareness organization, but what happens when I am struggling to get through the next hour and cannot see beyond today’s suffering?
“Talk saves lives,” claims another suicide prevention organization, but what happens when I open up to friends, family, or physicians and my words get downplayed, minimized, or disregarded?
“Let us know when it gets REALLY bad… You look fine right now,” They say as if it hadn’t taken all my courage to open up about such a raw and polarizing topic in the first place.
It is not an inability to express my thoughts that is holding up progress. Instead, the suggested outlets are ineffective. Those that I talk to about such dark musings (to include physicians) do not know what to say when directly confronted by a person experiencing suicidal ideations who is desperate to be heard and understood.
Empty platitudes like, “Look on the bright side, it could be worse!” or “At least you are loved” get thrown around in the hopes that those revelations will be sufficient enough to meet the need without requiring further discussion or intervention. Unfortunately, statements like those tend to compound the problem by stirring up feelings of guilt, self-loathing, loneliness, etc., instead.
I wish the fix could be that easy, though. I mean, how wonderful would it be if sayings like, “Love conquers all” or “Time heals all wounds” were true?
I am trying to imagine what kind of person I would be now if there had been a limit to how long my past could affect me? Likewise, what would life be like if love alone was enough to overcome or overlook the hardships of my present circumstances? As interesting as those thoughts are to fantasize about, they aren’t realistic.
Anyway, I am not looking for a miracle solution like that; I only want to figure out how best to endure the mental burdens that I carry before I stumble & fall beneath their weight and can’t get back on my feet again.
I swear that I’m not crazy or weak. I’m battle weary and tired of hurting 24/7. This conversation is me simply choosing to be honest about a taboo and uncomfortable aspect of mental health, hoping that someone else can relate.
Anyway, until I discover how to feel worthy of living for myself again, I will find purpose in living for those that would be devastated if I stopped breathing. As Mahatma Gandhi once said: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Maybe that’s the answer that I’ve been looking for all along?
We shall see.
This first appeared in The Havok Journal on April 5, 2021.
Lori Butierries is a full-time caregiver to two children with disabilities. She uses her life experiences and the medical knowledge she gained from serving as a Hospital Corpsman in the United States Navy to help others facing similar hardships. Lori is an author for The Havok Journal, an official columnist for AwareNow Magazine, and a contributor to The Mighty. Likewise, other news sites like MSN and Yahoo! News have also republished select articles Lori has written. Lori’s writing extends to children’s literature. Her debut picture book, GIFT FROM GOD, was self-published at the beginning of 2021 and placed as a finalist in two categories in the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Lori’s long-term goals are to use her writing to educate others about, advocate for, and dismantle negative stereotypes regarding disability, mental health, and the military/veteran community.
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.