On a particularly down day, I lift myself by thinking of five things worth living for. This week, two famous and well-respected people died by suicide. As a result, I’m sharing this list in case you, my reader, you ever need a list of five things.
5 Reasons to Live:
(In no particular order)
The joy of singing at the top of your lungs to a song you adore where no one else can hear you, like in the car or in the shower.
Depending on my mood, my taste ranges from Leslie Gore’s “You don’t own me” to anything by Beyoncé. I have a singing voice that could be used to torture war criminals. Cranking up the music and the background noise means even I don’t have to hear myself.
The taste of a well-made bowl of pasta after having not eaten for 12 hours.
I prefer vegan spaghetti because it is a savory sugar rush—so, good.
Sleeping contentedly until you wake up from nothing other than having all of the sleep you needed.
No alarm, no store, no loud stepping other person—just your body saying, “I’m ready! Let’s do this!”
The bliss of finding yourself in the position to help another person for no other reason than because you can.
Like letting a person who’s in a rush go before you in a queue, sending someone work or a client, or complimenting a stranger on their work.
The sheer relief of finding something you desperately need after a long search where you thought you’d checked everywhere twice.
For me, that’s the charge cable to my…um…personal entertainment device. They don’t sell those charge cables at Walgreens or CVS, but they should.
Nothing on my list requires another person’s participation, money, approval, power, or acclaim. They are things my body naturally has a positive reaction to. Even in the depths of despair, our bodies are wired for pleasure. If there is a god, it’s their greatest gift to us. Most days, I don’t get to experience any of these but I know that if I am able to live long enough, I probably will again.
In my personal experience as a grieving mother, here’s what helped me get through my depression today, day 88:
(In no particular order)
Unconditional love and support from friends
Medication prescribed by a physician
A therapist (Application options like BetterHelp are convenient and cheap)
Exercise (I used to hate it but I find that it helps me sleep. I’ve done Barre, yoga, and Soul Cycle. I’ve cried about losing my daughter in all of them but I’ve been happy I went.)
Letting go of everything and everyone that doesn’t lift you up
If you are depressed, please try to be brave and fight mental illness with the same relentless determination that you would cancer.
If you notice someone is in crisis, the first step is trying to remove access to fatal means. Then, call for help. Stay with them till help arrives.
Living isn’t easy. It requires strength, resilience, and a hell of a lot of luck.
If you are in crisis or if you need advice about someone that is, please call the suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It is always free and available.