1. Every Day is Precious: I’m not living on borrowed time; I’m living in gifted time. Today, tomorrow and the next day are all days that I almost didn't have. And I can’t waste them. And neither can you. Do you make the most of each day? Do you relish every breath of air, every sunrise, every warm hug, and every person in your life? Even when you have a bad day, do you remember that you’re still alive to have it? I almost wasn't. And you don’t know what tomorrow will bring, so be sure to treasure today. It’s all we have and it’s all we’ll ever need.
2. Life Gives Second Chances: The thought of ending one’s life is a medicine of the highest illusion. It is an escape from the present (and the past) because you falsely believe there is no hope in the future. I think we all have days like that, days where we wonder if there is still room left for goals, for love, for exquisite joy and for second chances. You’re so quick to believe that you have ruined your first chance that you forget that life gives second chances, third chances and infinity-times-infinity chances. Every day is a new chance to follow your dreams and create the life you truly want.
3. People Really Do Care: One of the hardest parts about battling with a mental illness like anxiety or depression is that a lot of the people around you just plain don’t understand or don’t know the signs when you’re struggling. This can lead to a very private war against adversity that can leave you feeling very alone. I know of a lot of people who struggle in their lives and wonder if anyone really cares. Well, I’m here to tell you that people DO care about you. You have friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, teammates, and a God who care DEEPLY about you. They would do anything to help you, so open up to them and reach out. I was amazed at how much love was poured out into my life when I told the dear people in my life that I was struggling. The phrase I most often heard from them was, “I’m glad you’re still here. We love you.” You are loved. Never forget that.
4. Dark Days Lead to Sunshine: I often use the metaphor of “fighting back the dark” to explain what it is like to live with anxiety and depression. And when I really thought I didn't want to live, well…that’s about as dark as it gets. But in the weeks, months, and years since that time I have learned that life has a surprising ability to blast out the darkness with light, love, hope, joy and peace. We may have to hold on through the dark days with all our strength, but good days really are just right around the corner. There is help, there is hope and there is a great future waiting for each of us. When life gets hard and you’re feeling hopeless, alone, afraid or just plain tired, hold onto hope with every last ounce of strength that you have because good things are coming. I promise you that. Life is always worth living, even when it sucks, because sometimes the dark helps us appreciate the light even more. So hold your head high, look for the sun and keep moving forward.
5. You Are Valued Beyond Measure: When you feel like your life is worth nothing, that is often when you discover that you are worth everything. I used to think that I had to look like a model, be a gold medalist, make good money, be at the top of the social food chain, drive a nice car, and otherwise be perfect in order to be lovable, but you know what? That's crap. When I was sitting in the ER, getting asked some pretty painful questions by the doctors and nurses, I realized that even though I felt like I had nothing to live for, here were perfect strangers showing me love because I was worth saving in their eyes. And over the next few weeks, months, and years I was reminded time and time again that it wasn't what I did that gave me value; it was the simple fact that I was ME. I'm not perfect, no one is. When someone calls me Superman I want to remind them that I'm still Clark Kent. And that's ok. This crazy, complicated and messy life we live is a beautiful thing. And at the center of that beautiful creation called life are beings of immense power, light and purpose: you and me. Don't forget that.
So there you have it. I know this blog post is a much heavier one than I normally write, but today (May 22) is Utah's Suicide Prevention Day and this is my contribution to helping spread awareness about this topic. Please, show love to those around you. Don't wait until tomorrow to say how much your friends, spouses, family, coworkers, fellow students, etc. mean you to. They need to hear those positive thoughts of love and support TODAY.
Tomorrow may be too late. Choose today to be a champion of peace. You may just be the light that leads someone out of the darkness.