It's pretty insane how many people are developing, or have already developed, some form of a mental illness. It's almost like you can't even find someone who doesn't have some sort of anxiety or depression anymore. Following the most recent celebrity suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, it's very scary to think how many people on the edge might just be pushed over.
Suicide rates generally increase following these high profile stories, a side effect known as a "Copy Cat" suicide. If we don't do something soon, this form of mental illness is going to kill every last person, either by their own hand, or us killing each other. I experienced many of these dreadful thoughts and feelings after a buddy of mine overdosed a few days prior to the suicide of Chester Bennington (lead singer from the world renowned band, Linkin Park). Suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks are something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy; however, they are real, and they are happening to millions of people all around the world.
When they first happened to me, I had no idea what was even happening. You can't possibly know what it feels like until you experience it yourself. But let me be the first to tell you, it is awful, and if you are currently experiencing any of these types of feelings, whether new or old, I am truly sorry and I will pray for you every day for the rest of my life. If you are at the point where you can't take it for one more second and are standing on the ledge, I hope you'll read this article before you take your next steps because I want to tell you how close you are to becoming a hero. I know you probably can't see it from where you are sitting or standing, but you are one step away from restarting your entire life.
Just like you, I’ve heard the voices, I felt the hopelessness, I survived the panic attacks, and still went right back to feeling hopeless all over again. I felt the brain fog, the twitches you think will last forever, the thoughts that you're going to lose your mind like something else is taking over. I felt the paranoia of people staring at you, the claustrophobia like the pressure of the world is going to crush your body, the chest pain you can never really tell where is coming from, and the thoughts that you might hurt someone for no reason and don't know why. If you're like me and don’t want to tell anyone because of how it will make you look or don’t want the people who love you to feel let down, you're stuck. Or maybe you have told so many people and no one is listening. Either way, it sucks. Unfortunately, you are your only hope, but contrary to popular belief, all of these miserable symptoms DO NOT MEAN SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH YOU... It's not you, and no one wants to tell you the truth, and that truth is that all of these feelings of depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and panic, are a gift. God, the Universe, Tom Cruise, whoever you pray to, or don’t pray to, has shown you the truth, the truth that this place sucks right now. Your thoughts of suicide are your inner guidance system telling you something is very wrong, and it no longer wants to be a part of it.
But you don't have to jump to stop being a part of it. You can start a new life knowing the truth, that you are normal. Many wise people have said you can’t really live life until you no longer fear death. Well, many times when you hit rock bottom, you stop fearing death. If this is you, then you have conquered the world's greatest fear, a fear that separates free spirits from caged ones.
Now you have just one more fear to conquer, the fear of living, and if you can do that, you will crawl out from this hell you thought you were condemned to, a hero. Your first step is to find or re-find this tiny speck of love called gratitude. The best part is, as long as you're a human, it's already inside of you. Once you find it, it will grow on its own. The love and gratitude will replace the hopelessness, the rage, the confusion, and the emptiness. Gratitude is something that we have completely lost in society, and without it, you become empty and hopeless because you don't even realize how truly amazing life is.
So what do you do? Start saying thank you for absolutely everything around you. If you are fortunate enough to have a house, say thank you out loud for your home. Say thank you and feel grateful for the water that comes out of your faucet so you can clean your hands. Say thank you for the person who built the faucet, and the person who laid the water lines down so water can run to your home, and the person who invented the water purifying system that makes your water drinkable. Say thank you out loud and feel love every day when you turn on a light. Light is beautiful, and give thanks for the electrician who made sure electricity gets to your light bulbs when you flip on a switch so you can see inside your home. Say thank you to the man who invented the light bulb, which is the only reason you can have a light so easily, which most people take for granted. If you don't have a home, say thank you for any place you can lay your head down. You're not the first and you won't be the last person to make it through being homeless and live an amazing life. Give thanks for everything and anything. I know how hard this is when you're completely miserable and hopeless at rock bottom. I lived it, but it can be done. Start with one small thing, and another, and then never stop. Say thank you to the bees, who pollinate the flowers so that plants continue to grow and provide the crucialoxygen we need to live. Don't look at a bee and give it fearful thoughts because you think you're going to be stung, give it your love, and say thank you. It costs nothing to give thanks, but its rewards are worth more than anything in the universe. Say thank you to every tree, and every breath you take will feel more fulfilling than the one before.
If you realize that every single thing around you is a product of another person's love, you can start to find the love that you were meant to give. The person who invented the shoes you walk in could have kept the idea to himself, but instead, he wanted all people to walk comfortably, so he shared his invention with the rest of the world, and now you too enjoy the benefits. Give love to it. Give love to every single thing around you, and your life will change today. You can fight the depression, the anxiety, the panic, and the suicidal thoughts, with gratitude and love, and by doing this you can become a hero. Don't give up. Keep believing.
I Love You, even if I have never met you. - Mike Dolman