Anonymous asked a question:
I find myself begging God for death almost every day. On the days I don’t, I’m numb & I’m just going through the day hating my life. It’s hard not to compare myself to the rest of my peers who are doing great things & I’m just here painfully existing. My 1st degree didn’t get me any jobs in my state, so I’m stuck working a job that doesn’t pay much to help me afford a secondary degree. I know I’m not the only person suffering from the effects of a rigged economy, but how am I to remain positive?
Hey dear friend, I’m very sorry for all that’s happening. I want to tell you that you’re not alone, and that I got a ton of love for you, and I’m certain that everyone here does, too. I’m praying for you right now, even as I write this.
I have to say this too: If you feel like you’re in danger of hurting yourself at all, please go talk with a trusted friend and talk these things out. Please consider getting with a qualified, certified person who can help. I hope and pray that you won’t make any big rash decisions during a downward spiral, and that you’d first talk it over with someone, face-to-face, even if that means forcing yourself to get there and giving your decision-making power to someone else, however long it takes. Just talking about it can be enough sometimes to take another step.
I want to share that I’ve wrestled with depression for as long as I can remember, and I did attempt suicide over ten years ago (half a bottle of pills, I lost 13 lbs. in three days, and was Baker Act’ed into an institution). I get into self-loathing loops of hopelessness all the time, like someone has just yanked my guts through my chest in one fell swoop and I’m crumpled over with completely cold apathy, not caring about a thing. Several years ago, I had a complete breakdown at my workplace from the work environment (in which the boss laughed it off), and a year later, I was fired from that very same job. Co-workers got way ahead of me, which was absolutely fine, but many of the people that I called “friends” deserted me. Life is unfair. It can be cruel. Things don’t always work out.
The reality is, our dreams get crushed, and people will leave or cheat or abuse us, and our perseverance doesn’t always pay off. Prayers can go unanswered for a lifetime. I sit with some hospital patients who don’t want to leave because their life outside is so desperately miserable. Even a perfectly crafted life can come crashing down in a second, when external forces suddenly strip us of all we have built. Most of us are not prepared for how harsh and brutal that life can be, because no one gives the hard talk about what it’s really like.
I don’t mean to say, “Just toughen up.” I mean to say, I understand, and these kinds of trials can be startling, alarming, and unsettling. You’re absolutely right to be upset, to be angry, to be sad about the whole thing. I don’t think it’s wrong to vent, to be frustrated, to shake a fist. I’m for you and with you on this.
There’s no magical formula or some perfect combination of words that may help. I can tell you that there will be many days ahead when you feel stuck and exhausted and powerless. I can tell you it doesn’t always “get better.” And I can tell you that you don’t have to “be strong and stay positive,” because suppressing your hurt doesn’t help, either, and can actually make it worse.
The only thing I know to do is to keep going. To make a step, even and especially when it’s hard. When I hate it. When I can’t stand it. When I get rejected and when doors close in my face. Despite myself and everything else, I keep going. My brain may check out sometimes, and I may be weeping or tired or somber, but I do the thing anyway. I do it scared, lonely, and fatigued. It’s the very momentum of motion that I need for another breath.
There’s nothing deep or profound about that. I just know that when I look back over the mosaic of decisions I made during such dark dreadful times, I’m glad that I kept going. I should’ve been dead many, many times. But seeing the bigger picture of the twists and turns through valleys and storms, there were some good days, too. I couldn’t see them then, and it’s still hard to see them now, but I’m grateful I’ve made it.
I had to re-route some dreams and start a new path, which meant letting go of what I thought I wanted: and as painful as that is, it would’ve been more painful to hold on to some ideal version of a life that was never meant to pass. I had to quit looking at others’ success as some kind of condemning statement about my own work, and even learn to celebrate others and learn from them, too. And I’ve learned that what we say and do really matters, that our tiny steps forward are stirring up the winds of something we may never see: and I’ve had to be okay with never knowing what’s behind-the-scenes, because it’s not always about the rewards and results, but simply being what God has called you and I to be in the world.
I also think a lot about how we’re all in this story of struggle together. Knowing I’m not alone gives me a ton of perspective and some breathing room. Both my parents came to this country with nothing. My dad had PTSD from the war (he was tortured constantly and nearly killed multiple times), and my mom wrestles with some depression and anxiety, too. She used to just stare at the wall for hours when she raised me and my brother. I’m sure it still feels impossible for them, still trying to adopt this language, enduring all the times they were cheated by business-people and lawyers and neighbors, always wondering if they could survive to the next paycheck. But they kept going. They wept, a lot, and still do. In their weeping, they crawled. By the edge of their fingernails, they crawled.
No, the good doesn’t always outweigh the bad, but I’ve learned to see that even a tiny shred of goodness is better than none. No, not everything will give a fair shake and a second chance, but I’ve learned there are still many hallways and detours, and I had to learn to re-work my dreams and leave the old ones behind.
I’m sorry that none of this may be very insightful or encouraging. Message me any time, and please find others who you may share with in total transparency and trust. God be with you, dear friend. He is. As much as I got love for you, He loves you infinitely more.
For immediate help:
– National Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1-800-273-TALK (8245)
– Suicide Hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE (2433) For US, U.K., Canada, and Singapore
– Suicide Crisis Line: 1-800-999-9999
– Crisis Help Line For Any Crisis: 1-800-233-4357
– For the hearing impaired, contact the Lifeline by TTY at:
– National Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1-800-273-TALK (8245)
– National Adolescent Suicide Helpline: 1-800-621-4000
– Postpartum Depression: 1-800-PPD-MOMS (773-6667)
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA):
– Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1-877-VET-2-VET (838-2838)
– Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide: (UK) 0844-561-6855
– beyondblue info line: (Australia) 1300-22-4636
– 24/7 Crisis Line: (Canada) 905-522-1477
– Lifeline Australia: 13-11-14
– Teléfono de la Esperanza: 902 500 002 (Barcelona),
91 459 00 50 (Madrid)
– Seoul, South Korea Hotline: (2) 715 8600, (2) 716 8600
(2) 717 8600, (2) 718 8600
For my book on fighting depression, I can send you a free copy through email here: