A middle-aged woman was served divorce papers after her husband told her he was leaving her for another woman half her age. A college student could not live up to his parents’ expectations and believed he was a complete failure and disappointment. A teen boy was bullied relentlessly and could not stop the abuse. An elderly man lost his wife after over fifty years of marriage and believed he has nothing left to live for. A young girl believed she was worthless after years of being verbally and sexually abused by her father. A man’s self-esteem was shattered and he felt he lost everything when his wife left him and he lost his job.
The stories of misfortune, pain and struggling abound. No one is immune to life’s difficulties and injustices. As we see in the scenarios above, life can be hard. And as a result, people can become seriously depressed. They battle problems they do not always believe they can overcome. They want to escape. They want to numb the pain. Sometimes you hear them say I want to die. Other times, the words are left unspoken yet clearly seen in their self-destruction. Anger turns on the self with the goal to punish, harm, kill, or destroy.
What does it mean when someone says or implies I want to die? Do they really want their lives to end? Or is it the pain that they want to end? Oftentimes, it is the heaviness of their pain that outweighs their ability and resources to cope in healthy ways. They get stuck and do not know how to move forward with hope. They get overwhelmed and want a way of escape so they say I want to die, thinking that somehow death can offer them some relief. Not everyone who says or thinks I want to die takes steps to end his or her life. Some habitually meditate on the thought as a way of coping, indulging in the pain, or venting their anger.
When we hear the words I want to die, may we also hear what else the person is saying such as: I have lost hope; this pain is overwhelming; I need help; I don’t know what to do; I wish this pain would end; I can’t go on like this anymore; I hate myself; I am depressed.
Do you know that by the end of this day about 88 people will have died by suicide (according to the U.S. Suicide Statistics). A vast majority of them will have suffered from untreated depression or another mental health condition. Depression can be triggered by one or several negative life conditions which can lead to suicide, suicidal thoughts, or attempts. Yet, depression is very treatable. Getting help for depression can avert the negative consequences of suicidal thoughts such as I want to die. These thoughts are always a warning sign and should be taken seriously. If you or someone you know is depressed, get help immediately. Desperate, hopeless thoughts like I want to die can be replaced with: I know life can be tough, but I can and will overcome the challenges I face. I know others feel the way I do and I am not alone. I believe there are people who care and want to help. I choose to believe in myself. God is for me and gives me strength. I want to live. I have a lot to give, to do, and to fulfill. Love will never fail me. I am loved and I love myself, God and others. I will not quit or ever give up. I am born to win. I will to live and not die.
Please take a moment to watch the video and listen to Would You Still Do It. This very moving, passionate suicide song for suicide prevention is a reminder that although you may have felt or said I want to die, there is hope no matter how hopeless it seems; there is healing no matter how much it hurts; there are people who really do care and want to help. *If you or someone you know is depressed, suicidal, or engaged in self-destructive behaviors, please get help today.
When Someone Says – I Want to Die – Written by Krystal Kuehn
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