By Dain Heer
Seventeen years ago I wanted to kill myself and no one knew it. On the outside, everything seemed perfect. Even those closest to me thought it was. Successful chiropractic business, living in Santa Barbara, California, engaged to someone who others thought was the “perfect person” for me. Based on the outward appearance, I should have been happy. But I wasn’t. Every morning, after my fiancé would leave for work, I would lie in bed and cry.
According to research and surveys, there are a lot of people who have a story much like mine. Depression, hopelessness and loneliness are on the rise. Getting out of bed in the morning for many is a huge accomplishment in itself. And, like me, many of the people who are on the verge of saying good-bye to it all seem just fine on the outside.
When I was at my lowest point, I made a decision. The decision was that I was going to end it all. I even set the date. 6 months from the day of my decision, unless something changed significantly, I was out of here. Things did change for me. I discovered pragmatic tools that allowed me to go beyond depression and thoughts of suicide to enjoying a full and adventurous life.
As someone who made the choice to stay here on the planet, as someone who now wakes up every day happy to be alive, here are 5 things I wish for everyone who struggles with depression and suicide to know:
1. It’s ok to talk about it
Movies, television and social media all depict happy people pretending that they are perfect and that their life is perfect. The message that this sends is that if your life is not perfection, there must be something wrong with you. We compare our imperfect life with the supposed perfect life of others and judge that there must be something wrong with us and because we don’t wish others to think that there is something wrong with us, we hide what is going on and simply do not talk about. You are not wrong and you are not alone. Choose to talk to someone who is kind and does not judge you. Talking to another person about what is going on for you can be very freeing and can release the trauma and drama around it.
2. Move your body
This may not sound like a pragmatic tool but it is. Moving your body changes the physiology of your body. It releases endorphins and can dramatically change the way you feel. For 20–30 minutes every day, get up and move. Jog. Dance. Go for a walk. Doesn’t matter how you move. Just move.
3. Don’t take on other people’s stuff
The thing that changed my life dramatically from wanting to die to living happily is a little question I heard, “Who does this belong to?” We are all very aware of the people around us. If we have people around us that are depressed, we often feel depressed and think that we are when in reality, we are just aware of others.
When you notice feelings of depression or loneliness, stop and ask, “Who does this belong to?” You may soon discover that the depression that you think is yours isn’t. This can change everything. It did for me.
4. Access BARS
Sometimes it’s difficult to stop thinking. Our thoughts can be loud and continuous and we don’t know how to let go and find peace. There is a pragmatic hands-on process that can dynamically assist. It’s called the Access Bars. The Access Bars are 32 points on the head that when gently touched alleviate stress and assist with stopping incessant mind chatter.
5. Never give up
Please don’t give up. Ever. No matter what is going on for you right now, it won’t be this way forever. What is the gift of you that if the world lost it the world would be a less wonderful place because you’re gone? You being here makes a difference and no matter how challenging this may be, something else is possible. I know. I’ve lived it. Keep going. Keep asking, “What else is possible that I have never considered?”
If you’ve had thoughts of suicide, or if you know someone who has, please know there is hope. There is always hope.
You are far too valuable to the world. 17 years ago, I made a choice to stay and it was the greatest choice I could have ever made. The tools and the help are available to change everything.