I know this isn’t universal, but there’s something that bothers me about this common sentiment of “keep going” or “don’t give up”. I know it’s usually said with good intentions, because we all want the best for each other, and it’s hard to see your friends and loved ones in pain. I know this, and I don’t speak to vilify this sentiment, so please take what I say as simple honest truth—
Sometimes—especially in the midst of the darkest times, especially when said to those closest to the edge—these words can do more harm than good.
I am not feeling suicidal today. I was never suicidal-with-a-plan, but there was a reasonably long period where I wanted nothing more than to die. During that time, sentiments like these only made me feel worse; like telling someone who is drowning that they “just” need to swim.
This was especially true when accompanied by things like, “People here will miss you.” Not only is that not true in every person’s situation, but it also casts a hurtful layer of extra guilt on the person suffering. It implies that the feelings of those around them are more important and more wo0rhty of consideration than the very dark feelings inside the person feeling lost. It’s stigmatizing.
And while I’m not actively suicidal now, there are still days, two years out from my loss, when it would feel so much better if I could just give up. And however much that may sound horrifying, being told to not give up doesn’t make it any better. It only makes it worse.
I know this may not make any sense to you. Grief and loss are both so hard, and I know we all approach it in the way that feels best to us as individuals. This is just one thing that touches me. Because I think we’re all doing what we can, and it really helps for that to be acknowledged, especially without pressure to do more.