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Jan23
2017

Reasons for You to Keep Living

By Kelly Stricklen

Lying between the sheets in a psychiatric hospital, I was forced to ask myself this question:

Why should I keep living?

I could play my cards right and be out of here by tomorrow morning where I would once again, without a doubt, try to end my life. Except this time, there would be no mistakes.

In between the seemingly endless hours of hazy, medicated fog and brief moments of clarity, I would ask myself the same question:

Why should I keep living?

For many months following my stay, I failed to find a satisfactory answer. Nothing fulfilled or replaced the longing to just fall asleep and not wake up again. Nothing. 

No amount of laughter soothed me.

No offering of beautiful, encouraging words could take the place of the ones consistently repeating themselves in my head: I want to die, I want to die, I want to die.

I recoiled from the gentle pats and soft touches because I didn’t want people to waste their energy on me. I thought there was no point.

Any attempt my friends and family made to give me any portion of hope was met with rigid stubbornness; I didn’t want them to talk me out of my ultimate plan. I didn’t want to give them yet another reason to see me as the burden I thought I was.

I was determined to let them reach the inevitable conclusion: I wasn’t worth their time. 

Maybe you’ve felt the sense of hopelessness that I’ve described.

Maybe you’ve felt more lost than even words can explain.

Maybe it’s difficult for you to understand what this type of pain feels like.

But no matter what your experience is, please open up your ears, your mind, and maybe even your heart to hear me out for one small moment:

There are reasons for you to keep living, even when you can’t find them.

Trust me, I know. I know this sounds repetitive; it sounds typical. You’ve heard it before. But hear me out, please:

There are reasons for you to keep living, even when you can’t find them.

I have searched and searched for every reason to NOT believe those words. I’ve scrolled through article after article, blog post after blog post, fooling myself into thinking I was searching for hope, when in reality I was just looking for more excuses to believe those words didn’t apply to me. I wanted confirmation that my sadness was too unreachable, my numbness too untouchable, to be moved by mere words.

But one last time, I’m telling you:

There are reasons for you to keep living, even when you can’t find them. 

Maybe you don’t see what purpose or use you could possibly have on this planet, but don’t you dare believe that just because you can’t see your purpose that it doesn’t exist. Don’t believe the lie that tells you that, because you can’t see it, no one else can either. Your life has meaning. You were not placed here on accident.

Maybe you’ve never been told that before. Maybe you’ve been told that you could die at any moment, and the world would know no difference. Please let me be the one to tell you how untrue that is. The breath that is inhaled and exhaled through your lungs has value. The words that come out of your mouth are important and heard, even when you don’t think they are.

In all those moments of searching for an answer to the question of why I should keep living, I realized something, something I still have to remind myself of from time to time. In the deepest pits of my illness, I couldn’t provide an answer to that question on my own. I believed too many lies about myself, and I was lost in my own mind. But even in my darkest times, I couldn’t completely reject the idea that maybe the reason that I was still breathing, that I was still alive, was because there was a purpose hidden inside me that was far beyond myself; maybe there was a meaning to my life that I was missing out on.

I realize now that this was the one lingering thought that pushed me to keep living. And as the sun is slowly bringing light into my darkness, as my night gradually turns to morning, the reasons to not keep living are slowly being outnumbered by the ones to stay alive:

My niece’s laugh and the way she says my name.

The way my mom hugs me when she hasn’t seen me for months.

My Grammy’s phone calls.

The breeze that brushes my hair across my face when it’s warm and humid outside.

Christmas trees and big fluffy snowflakes.

Hearing my Papa sing his favorite old hymns.

The peace that rests over me on Sunday mornings.

The people whose lives I hope to impact someday.

The list of reasons continues to grow every day.

So today, no matter how little you think you’ve come in recovery, no matter how many mistakes you’ve made, please know that you would be doing a disservice to this world by taking yourself away from it. Allow yourself the luxury of time.

And believe me when I tell you that there are many, many reasons for you to keep living, even when you find it impossible to find one yourself.

Leave a Reply

Comments (44)

  1. Jesús Paredes

    I’m so glad that you found reasons to keep you going!
    I hope and pray that your words reach those who are in the same place you once found yourself.
    I hope and pray that you be a huge blessing to anyone who feels the same or worse. May your story inspire them to find that light that will lead them out of the darkness they find themselves in.
    G-d bless you!

    Reply  |  
  2. Marcie

    Thank you for this. I’ve truly been struggling for the past couple of weeks of why to keep living. I really needed this.

    Reply  |  
  3. Tara Roberts

    Beautiful words from a beautiful soul.
    I think you just saved me life today.
    Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  4. Mehgan

    I’m bawling so hard right now because I needed to hear this so badly – didn’t even realize how badly. Thank you for helping me.

    Reply  |  
  5. rachel graham

    Such a hard struggle to get through. But these are good words! I would like to add, me mum’s tea Kettle whistling to a boil to make a cuppa. Dad humming along to Pink Floyd while doing the crossword and waiting for his tea and toast.

    Reply  |  
  6. Claire

    It’s always comforting to read something like this when the world seems dark. I thank you for your thoughts.

    Reply  |  
  7. Leslie

    Thanks. Hard to believe, yet believeable becAuse I can tell you get it. Thanks for posting.

    Reply  |  
  8. Lauren

    Thank you. I needed this.

    Reply  |  
  9. Rebecca

    i want to grow past this girl, who is still nearly as clueless as to why she’s still trying as I was when i was “celebrating” my birthday in the psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt… but I am so lost… this is so very similar to hope to me… ?

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Hi Rebecca. We know that it is difficult to make sense of things when you are feeling depressed or struggling through life. We are incredibly proud of you for continuing to fight. Please know that you are not alone in this fight. Ever. We are here. We see you. And we hope you keep living. You can always reach out to us at info@twloha.com or text “TWLOHA” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 at anytime to be connected with a trained counselor. Thank you for sharing your feelings with us. We hope that you will stay.

      Reply  |  
  10. Emma

    Thank you for giving me hope. Thank you for this. Beautifully written & reaching out to people who need that honesty and help.

    Reply  |  
  11. Becky Ison

    My family

    Reply  |  
  12. Dana

    Written so nicely and so inspirationally hope u are doing well you write beautifully that is one of your many gifts

    Reply  |  
  13. aisyah

    thank you, this is exactly what I need to hear.

    Reply  |  
  14. apple

    thank you, this is exactly what I need to hear

    Reply  |  
  15. Delaney

    Ugh, I was reading with interest until the roll call of Family and Friends who Love Her started. If I wasn’t alone I’d also find it easier to see reasons to live. My words can’t “be heard” when no one is listening.

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Delaney, you are not alone. No matter how many people you think you have in your corner, you are not alone. We see you. We hear you. And you are incredibly brave for commenting and sharing how you are feeling. We at TWLOHA are always available to listen when you need to talk. You can email us at info@twloha.com whenever you feel the need to get something, anything off your chest.

      Reply  |  
  16. Abby

    This post brings me so much peace. Thank you for your words and thoughts. It is beautiful and truly inspiring.

    Reply  |  
  17. Eamon Wheatland

    I appreciate you saying this, but I know that there are reasons to live, I just can’t be fucked with the majority
    I don’t care that I might do some amazing shit, I don’t really want to deal with the repercussions of being alive
    I have mild autism and can’t shake the feeling that because of that and the way my cynical, facts only mind thinks, that I will stop being a weight on everyone when I’m gone.
    I’m sorry if this is a departure from your normal comments, but if you read this, thanks anyway

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      Hi Eamon,

      Please know that a weight will not lift and relief will not flood those you love through your absence. You are loved. You are needed. And you are wanted — even if you don’t agree or believe those sentiments to be truthful.

      No need to apologize for your comments, we are glad that you reached out. We want you to know that you are not alone in how you are feeling or experiencing life. We encourage you to email us at info@twloha.com, and to share more of your story.

      And if you are ever in need of immediate assistance, you can text TWLOHA to 741741 via Crisis Text Line to be connected to a trained counselor. There is help out there. Please seek it.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  18. Hayley Ault

    Kelly,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is unbelievable how much this impacted me. You are a true blessing and I am so happy you came out of that dark place. The world is a bit better now because you’re in it. Stay strong,
    -Hayley A.

    Reply  |  
  19. Me

    All the crap I hear on here is the same shit. And not one real answer. When you get old broke and can’t work and no one wants to help you with your needs and this fucked up government keeps finding way to keep and take your money and don’t care to help a person because it don’t benefit them is bull shit . way are all insignificant to the government as we are to a employer we are all replaceable. We are just a fucking number to them. Talking don’t fix anything. So just what the fuck is life truly worth ???

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      We’re sorry to hear of your struggles and how you’re feeling about life in general. While we do believe in being open and talking about our emotions in the hopes creating an honest community and fighting the stigma surrounding mental health, we also believe in seeking professional help. If you feel you are in need of professional aid, we suggest starting with our Find Help page: https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/ Our resources are local and free.

      Although you don’t prefer talking, you are welcome to email us at info@twloha.com if you do wish to talk and share more of your story. Keeping our country’s current political climate in mind, we find it increasingly necessary to highlight mental health and the importance of speaking out about it.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  20. Loupshen

    Beautiful post. I can’t know my own purpose. I only hope that some good might come from me continuing to live, even when my depression tells me day after day that I don’t belong here. My best friend died by suicide, and I can appreciate now how she just wanted the pain to stop. The pain of feeling unwelcome, unable to find true self- expression, unable to enjoy any aspect of earthly living is excruciating. Especially to feel this way while having the support of a counsellor, family, and friends. I used to pride myself on my good health. Now I feel crippled and broken.

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      We hope that you will keep going. That you will continue reaching out for the help you undoubtedly deserve. You are more than the pain you are feeling, although it may feel as though it’s encompassing everything right now. Utilize the friends and family who want to be there for you in your struggles. And keep reminding yourself that you are not alone.

      Please email us at info@twloha.com whenever you feel the need. We read and respond to every message as soon as we can. There are so many people who need and appreciate your existence. Your courage is inspiring. We’re glad you’re here.

      Please stay.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  21. Brandon

    Thank you

    Reply  |  
  22. Iman

    I really find this insulting… I have been tired of living for the past decade. Maybe 10 years ago I would say I live to impact other people, or some day it will be better, but not anymore. Life is like a movie and if you have not enjoyed the first half, no one can blame you to want to walk out early. I am just waiting for my parents to pass away so I can give everything to my sister, and then finally be free

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      We’re sorry to hear that you found this blog insulting. We do believe that there are reasons to keep going, to seek out help and finding healing, and to stay for better days. Your feelings and experiences are valid, but we hope that you will reach out if you are in need of encouragement or a listening ear. Our team would be honored to learn more about you and hopefully provide you with some support. We would like to help you find these reasons if you’ll let us.

      Reply  |  
  23. Theresa

    I disagree. I cant find a reason to keep living. I have no kids so why continue?

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Hi Theresa,

      We want you to know that your worth is not determined by whether or not you have children. Yes, being a parent is an important role that many people take on, but you are loved and needed by those around you with or without children.

      We hope that you will keep going, will continue seeking out things that make you feel fulfilled and alive. You deserve it. Please know you have an entire team in Florida rooting for you.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  24. tommy

    thanks I will keep looking but as of now the future does not look real good

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Tommy,

      We are glad that you are going to continue looking for your reasons to live. We certainly know of a few already — you are inspiring others to do the same, the people around you and the people here at TWLOHA need your presence, and the world is a better, more hopeful place with you in it.

      Everyone at TWLOHA is rooting for you, Tommy. Thank you for sharing your vulnerable and honest moments with us. We are grateful to be here with you.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  25. no one

    are you serious? i have no one. I am an only child. My mother will miss me, but my estate can take better care of her than I can alive. She will be better off. All the other things (nature, sunsets, etc.) don’t depend on me or anyone else. They will happen no matter who is her. And, I will no more experience their fulfillment. They are lost; their value does not exceed the cost of staying here to see them. If it profiles 100 “units” of joy, it costs 1 million units of anguish to get there. It is simply not worth it anymore.

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Hi Friend,

      We are so sorry to hear you feel this way. We know that all of these thoughts can feel so real and true in the moment, but we believe that if you stick around, you will find what you were made for. You are more important than you know. You are more loved than you know. Your life has so much value even if you can’t see it. We hope you will think about the words of this blog one more time: “There are reasons for you to keep living, even when you can’t find them.” Don’t give up yet, friend. Don’t stop looking yet. There are so many things that you have yet to discover. Your favorite song, book, or movie. There are still jokes you haven’t heard. Trips you haven’t been on. We hope you stay for those. If you ever need to talk about what you are feeling or would like some additional resources, please email us at info@twloha.com. We are rooting for you. You are important to us.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  26. A

    Thank you so much for this I’ve been trying to find a reason of reality and i can’t thank you enough.

    Reply  |  
  27. No one

    Thank you

    Reply  |  
  28. Nannette

    I simply need a friend… I am 77 years old, still full of life, active, but cannot find any meaning in my life. I was told (in writing) that no one in my neighborhood likes me, that I should leave.

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      Hi Nannette,

      We are sorry that you are not finding support in your surrounding neighborhood. We believe that your life is important and you deserve to know how loved you are. If you would like to email us at info@twloha.com we would love to send you some encouragement!

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  29. Amjad

    I’ll be honest my life is nowhere near as bad as your situation. I have my health and i have my family but to be honest i am content: nothing good happening but also nothing bad as in tragedy. Look i wont attempt to compare to others who have worse situations but as a 20 year old who has never had a woman show any interest in him, who is fit and athletic in the gym a lot in very good shape, and has maybe 2 good friends who i hang out with maybe 1 time a week for less than an hour at the gym, its hard to find a reason life is amazing. It’s like this country song lyric where a man talks about how he doesnt know how heaven can be better than lying in bed with his girlfriend: ive never had a moment where i question how heaven can be better than this. Always see how heaven can be better than my life. I honestly see no reason to keep going and man i get it these things you mention are beautiful but i have nothing in my life to make me happy. I am not kidding here the best part of my week is either watching one of my favorite shows or sitting in the parking lot at Buffalo Wild Wings waiting for my order and just listening to one of my favorite bands Big Time Rush for 15 minutes….at least from their music i see how beautiful life CAN be when you actually have a relationship.

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Hello Amjad,

      We are saddened to hear that it is difficult for you to find things in your life that you make you truly happy. We know how important romantic relationships can be to many people, but please know that a romantic relationship is not the only form of happiness that you can have. You deserve happiness in all aspects of your life. You deserve to see and enjoy the happiness that happens everyday. We would love for you to reach out to us at info@twloha.com so we can talk to you more about your situation and how you are feeling. We are here for you, and we would love to talk to you!

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  30. Julie

    I will live forever

    Reply  |  
  31. samuel rowland

    I didn’t want people to waste their energy on me.I didn’t want to give them yet another reason to see me as the burden I thought I was.I was determined to let them reach the inevitable conclusion: I wasn’t worth their time. I would once again, without a doubt, try to end my life. Except this time, there would be no mistakes.Nothing fulfilled or replaced the longing to just fall asleep and not wake up again. Nothing.

    these words brought tears to me as i realized that i feel exactley the same and i need help i really do no matter how many times i deny it to my mother, i need help

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Samuel,

      We are so proud of you for realizing your worth and that you do need and deserve help. That’s a huge thing to see and believe! Just as you may ask your mother for help, know that you can also reach out to us at info@twloha.com or use our FIND HELP Tool at twloha.com/find-help. There are people who want to offer you support and encouragement. You’re not a burden in any way. You’re not weak for struggling either.

      We hope to hear from you soon.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  32. Ros Bartleet

    Thanks for the very wise words. I am lost in my life.

    Reply  |  
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