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40 Reasons to Keep Going When You Don’t Think You Can

40 Reasons to Keep Going When You Don’t Think You Can | Annie Wright, LMFT | www.anniewright.com

During particularly hard, brutal times of life many of us have had the experience of feeling like it would be better off if we weren’t here or feeling so despairing that we think about giving up on life. 

This post is for you if this is where you find yourself now. 

If you find this post in the middle of the night, Googling at 2am about how to keep going when you don’t think you can, I hope this post reaches you and even one reason from the forty listed feels like the fuel you need to just get to the next day.

40 Reasons to Keep Going When You Don’t Think You Can | Annie Wright, LMFT | www.anniewright.com

40 Reasons to Keep Going When You Don’t Think You Can

I also want to remind you, too, that you can call or text 988 for 24/7 confidential support. Please use this if you feel suicidal right now. They’re an amazing resource.

Do you come from a childhood trauma background?

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May one of these forty reasons speak to you. 

  1. Because suicide is a very permanent solution to a temporary problem. It’s literally the most permanent, irreversible thing you can do. Few problems are permanent – nor are the emotions that go with problems that are permanent. But killing yourself is permanent.
  2. Because you mean too much to someone else to hurt yourself. You may not know this and you may have stories you believe about how others would be better off without you but you don’t know that. You’re not inside their hearts and minds.
  3. Because you deserve to feel afternoon sunshine streaming through green leaves on your face again. The peace that can come in an afternoon sliver, the kind that reminds you things are ok.
  4. Because someday you will be able to look back at this hellish time and it won’t feel so hellish (even though that feels impossible to believe now). Your brain just can’t imagine that now. 
  5. Because you harming yourself might break someone’s heart. Your mom’s. Your dad’s. Your partner’s. Your little sibling’s. Your best friend’s. You may never ever know just how much you mean to someone, including people you’ve never met who simply know of you and take heart and hope from you.
  6. Because there are, even in the worst of times, still good things you enjoy in life. Like hot baths, great new limited-release streaming shows, dark chocolate bonbons, sushi, and weighted cozy blankets.
  7. Because there is still safety, support, and okayness in this moment, even if you can’t see it now. Right now, in this one singular moment, you’re okay.
  8. Because the utter hell of your anxiety and the crush of your depression isn’t permanent. Really. It feels this way now because your prefrontal cortex is hijacked, your brain chemistry is imbalanced, and you are in flight and fight mode. From inside this place, you don’t have perspective and you must grasp that fact and what it means about bad decision-making right now.
  9. Because someday there might be a child or fur baby or mentee or loved one in your life who brings meaning and fulfillment to your days. And you’ll never know this precious being if you do something to harm yourself now.
  10. Because there may still be a particular kind of therapy or a better combination of medications that can support you and bring you relief. Trauma therapy, a psychiatrist who works hard to find the right combination for your chemistry, it can make all the difference.
  11. Because you are a good person, worth taking good care of. No matter what you did and what you think about yourself right now. You. Are. A. Good. Person.
  12. Because even though it feels like the shame will destroy you right now, many people have lived through shame and scorn and survived. The despair you feel about being publicly shamed is a primal response – our ancestors needed the group to survive – that response is still well and alive in you despite the fact that your survival may not hinge on the group. You feel like you won’t survive but the facts say you will.
  13. Because time moves on and so does other peoples’ attention. The fear you feel about what others will think of you, your mistakes, your situation, it is legitimate but also people will not care as much as you do about what’s going on for you as time passes. 
  14. Because there are people who you haven’t even met yet who will love you fiercely and show you intense loyalty. Isn’t that amazing to imagine? That if you just keep going beautiful, wonderful relationships will still have a chance of showing up in your life.
  15. Because life still holds good and wonderful things like a perfect cello Baroque piece, the thrill of a passport stamp, hotel rooms with room service, and the satisfaction of a long, lazy, delicious meal with a good friend who you haven’t seen in a while and who makes you feel more like yourself.
  16. Because nothing lasts forever – including your devastation, grief, fear, and shame. It’s not that time heals all wounds. It’s that time plus processing plus reparative experiences plus perspective plus metabolized emotions that makes things feel less acute.
  17. Because when you take things moment by moment, second by second, that hot heat of anxiety and that vacuum of depression feels a tiny bit more manageable. Cling to the tiny little life rafts in the dark night of your soul – the blessed emotional support person, the familiar, funny, soothing TV show, the same comforting meal, the little morning ritual. Anything that helps you feel like you’ve got a grip and some relief even for a few minutes. Those moments compile and add up until the life rafts have become a dock that walks you back to safety on the shore.
  18. Because you’ve gone through hard times before and survived them. You can do it again. And if you’ve never been through a major depressive episode before, if you’ve never had suicidal thoughts before, it can feel terribly scary, foreign, and permanent. But many of us have been there before and have moved through those times. Take heart in the familiarity of this experience for so many.
  19. Because everyone makes mistakes. Not even the Dalai Lama can make it through a lifetime without majorly messing up and being targeted. You’re human, honey. Can you feel some compassion for yourself for having messed up?
  20. Because life, even though it sucks and stabs you with fear and anxiety right now, still has highlights like the oxytocin of newborns in our arms, precocious preschoolers pretending to be Spice Girls, full moons that take your breath away, yellow and pink blossoms rioting in the Spring, and your favorite – absolute favorite – comfort meal.
  21. Because there are so many other people all over the world and all across time who likewise thought they would never survive hell like what you’re feeling, and yet somehow did. This isn’t to diminish your experience but rather to normalize it. Many, many of us reach times in our life we think we can’t survive. And yet somehow do.
  22. Because it is so damn hard to see solutions when you’re in acute distress. Now, when you feel as bad as you’ve ever felt, is not the time you will have the most constructive thinking. Remember this and then ask resourced, grounded friends and advisors for their ideas and support.
  23. Because it is possible to live a good, fulfilling life even with anxiety and depression. Even if these states are your baseline, many, many people in this world live good-ish, full lives with this baseline. 
  24. Because if you hurt yourself you deny yourself of future snuggles with your kid(s), the tingle of your muscles after a long day of activity, popcorn and chocolate for dinner, and the experience of falling in love (no matter what age you are). 
  25. Because if you do something to hurt yourself now, you may miss your chance to do something (even more) meaningful and impactful in the world. To use your life to make other lives better.
  26. Because even if you made a huge mistake, one that feels like a complete and total mess up, it doesn’t define who you are. Truly. 
  27. Because there are so many countries to see, good friends to be made, and tiny little unexpected adventures to be had.
  28. Because come back stories are a thing. Because time plus efforts at getting better, doing better, cleaning up mistakes, repairing when possible can all help you feel less distress.
  29. Because even when it feels like life isn’t worth living there is Celtic music, Caribbean blue seas, movies that seem to parallel process your life, eye contact with beautiful strangers, and interactions with kind people who do unsolicited nice things for you.
  30. Because alongside all this horrible stuff you’re going through, there is good and beauty because life always co-exists like that.
  31. Because there are so many examples of people who have experienced public shaming and survived. So many examples of people who lived through unimaginable heartbreak and survived. So many people who live with major depression and generalized anxiety disorder and survive. So many people who make stupid mistakes and survive. So many people who get second chances at good lives.
  32. Because there are, even in hellish moments, things to be grateful for. Like the health of loved ones, shelter, a bed to sleep in, food in the fridge, no bombs above your head, washers and dryers and dishwashers.
  33. Because a string of days that you simply survive can sum up to a decent year and an even better next year. Just. Keep. Going.
  34. Because there are lots of options for taking care of yourself when the anxiety feels like it will spontaneously combust you or when the depression drags you down like the Swamp of Sadness. Like booking therapy. Like texting the 988 hotline. Like walks in the sun with nostalgic music in your ears. Like distracting yourself with a good show and a sugary treat. Like sleep. Snuggles. And all of this repeated.
  35. Because dead ends are usually just set backs that you can go up, around, under or through. Eventually. It just rarely seems that way in the moment when the block appears.
  36. Because one decision to take your life robs you of one million decisions and choice points to make it feel better.
  37. Because as bad as things seem now, there are unknowns like legal wins, windfalls, kindnesses, policy shifts, new leadership, better housing, new loves, and so much more that you can’t even imagine right that will make things feel better.
  38. Because even in the midst of  dark night of the soul, there can be a funny joke you hear, deep comfort from a perfect episode of TV, a good friend who surprises you, a moment (twenty moments) of distraction, and some escape into sleep.
  39. Because the person you survive may have wanted you to live well to honor their memory.
  40. Because we only get one life and it will end. But before it ends, we have so, so many chances to feel better than we do in this moment. Future moments of relief, peace, perspective, and second chances to right wrongs and to do better.

Again, my hope is that even one of these forty reasons speaks to you wherever and however you are when you find this post. And I hope, too, that if you do feel suicidal or self-harming that you’ll call or text 988 so that you can get confidential support now. 

We’ve never met, but I care about you. And I want you to take such good care of yourself.

You’re so, so worth it.

Warmly, Annie

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