If you’re thinking about suicide, read this first

Dear suicidal person,

If you are reading this, it means you’re having doubts about suicide. So thank you.

I may not know you or whether this will help. I don’t know if it will make a difference, but if I don’t try, it definitely won’t. I don’t know why you are here, but I’m glad you are. Call it divine intervention or a happy accident. Call it what you will. But the fact that you are reading this makes all the difference in the world.

So many letters like this tell you to think of the people you are leaving behind should you succeed in your suicide attempt. Yes, they’re important: Friends, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, spouses and what not. People say that while you might be ending your suffering, you are starting theirs.

Not to be rude to all the families out there that have a member who suffers from mental illness, but they don’t matter in the great scheme of things. You matter. And it’s because you matter that they will hurt and grieve until the day they themselves die.

I understand that you are in pain. It feels like being put inside a box full of monsters and you can’t get out, or in a room full of your worst fears. Or even a nightmare from which you can’t wake up. Mental illness – regardless of the cause or manifestation – is manageable, and there are people who can help.

You are not alone.

Not only can you get help, you can pull yourself out of this bit by bit.

Don’t listen to people who put your illness down as something less serious than world hunger, war, and such. Don’t pay attention to those saying you’re just looking for attention. You are not your illness. It does not define you.

You are not broken or weak. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. Do not accept pity. It will only bring you down. Never belittle your own struggle. Only you know what you’re going through. And cut out all the negative people as a start. Believe me – it helps.

There are some who will advocate diet, exercise, and all the things that seem impossible to do when you’re depressed. It works for some; not for others. Find what works for you. If that means taking your meds and then sitting in front of your computer and watching Doctor Who with ice-cream, or waking up at 5am to do yoga and go for a swim, so be it. Don’t let others dictate how you manage your own mind and illness. Try everything until you find what helps you.

And finally, know that you don’t have to be okay for anyone else. You can only be okay for yourself.

Someone who knows what you’re going through

This letter was originally published on The Daily Vox.