Why Asking for Help With Suicidal Thoughts is One of the Most Courageous Things You Can Do

Content warning: This post discusses suicide and suicidal thoughts. In an effort to keep our community safe, please know how you respond to these things and be sure to take care of yourself and stop reading if the post becomes too heavy for you.

You’ve been feeling hopeless. You can’t remember what happiness or joy feel like. Maybe you’ve been wishing you were no longer here or thinking about taking your life. You know you should reach out for help, but you’re ashamed and embarrassed. Reaching out for help when you’re feeling suicidal can be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, but it’s also one of the most courageous. You didn’t ask for this, you didn’t do anything wrong to bring it upon yourself, and having suicidal thoughts is not your fault. You deserve help. You deserve support. And you deserve to live.

Suicidal thoughts are exactly that: thoughts. Just like any other thoughts we have that pass through our mind, we have a choice of whether to act on them or not. They can remain only thoughts with no action, and you have the power to make that choice. Just like you may think, “I should go get frozen yogurt,” and then choose to not go get frozen yogurt, you can think thoughts of taking your life and choose not to take action. This is how much power you have over your mind. You can think the thoughts and tell them no, I’m not listening to you.

But oftentimes, it can help to have reinforcement of your choice to live and tools and guidance to help you move through this time. And that’s where reaching out for help comes in. Reaching out for help with your mental health is unfortunately still plagued with stigma in such a large part of our society, but the reality is that reaching out for help with your mental health and with suicidal thoughts is so unbelievably strong, it’s one of the bravest things you’ll ever do.

Choosing to live when you’re hopeless, when you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, when you have no vision of a future that you want to be a part of, is so hard. It’s nearly impossible to reach through that darkness and find someone’s hand to help you through to the other side when the darkness is enveloping and overtaking every part of you. Existing becomes hard. Staying alive becomes hard. Reaching out for help becomes hard. And when people do things even though they’re hard, even though they’re scary, even though they don’t want to, that makes them brave and courageous. Reaching out for help with suicidal thoughts is no different. It’s a hard, scary thing, and therefore doing it is an act of bravery. And if you need help finding that bravery, that’s okay too. Try to think of someone to be brave for. Maybe it’s your mom. Or your best friend. Or a co-worker you’ve gotten close to. Maybe it’s your pet. Think of that person and be brave for them as you reach out for help.

Another hard thing is sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings, and suicidal thoughts are very personal and very vulnerable. So now, not only are you doing the hard thing of actually reaching out for help, but you’re also doing the hard thing of sharing a vulnerable part of yourself. Which is a second brave and courageous thing you’re doing. Many people don’t have the capacity to open up and share their personal thoughts with another person, for fear of judgment or rejection. But you are so strong, and so brave, and you have the courage to reach out and share that you’re having a hard time and you need some help and support. And this is help and support that can save your life. You are worthy of this help and support, and it’s available to you.

You don’t have to deal with suicidal thoughts alone, whether you choose to reach out to a hotline or text line where the person you work with doesn’t know you, or you choose to reach out to a trusted friend or family member, you have so many options for help. If there’s someone in your life you feel you can trust and open up to, we encourage you to ask them for a bit of their time and talk to them about what you’re going through. They can listen, support you, and help you find resources to move forward with getting you feeling better. If you can’t think of anyone like that in your life, or you’d rather not speak to someone who knows you personally, you have many options, including text options if you’d rather text than talk:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
  • Crisis Text Line, text HOME to 741741
  • The Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386, or text by texting START to 678678
  • YouthLine for ages 11-21, text teen2teen to 839863
  • imalive online messaging at https://www.imalive.org/

All of these services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help people just like you who are looking for support and guidance in navigating the dark waters of suicidal ideation. The people you will reach by contacting these suicide prevention hotlines and chats have been specially trained to help you work through your thoughts and come up with a plan, plus provide you with local resources that can help you take your plan even further.

Whoever you decide to reach out to, you are not alone. Use your resources and use your brave, it’s inside of you ready for you to rely on it. There’s no better time than now to reach out and ask for help and take the first step to feeling better and getting back to the life you deserve to live. You are valuable. You are worthy. You are loved. You are a part of this community and we need you here. We know you have the courage, and we’re behind you every step of the way.