Choosing Life: Thoughts from a Survivor | Darling Magazine

Today is world suicide prevention day.

When it comes to dark days and nights I get it.

I am a survivor.

Nine years ago severe clinical depression was violently destroying my picture-perfect world. Deep-seated insecurity, stress, perfectionism, and grave hormonal and physiological imbalances collided, shattering my world into bits of broken pieces.

There are moments like right now when I second guess why I continue to share the ashes of my life instead of forever bury them beneath false appearances of someone who has always had it together.

But I’m alive and full of joy so I will not be silent.

I’ve known the feeling of death and dying within a body that keeps on living. I’ve known the ruminating, relentless thoughts of self-hate. I’ve known what it’s like to want to disappear forever and to believe the lie that world is better off without you in it.

But I also know that hope is real. And that such pain doesn’t equal permanence.

I believe that mental illnesses are real, but very treatable. Through support from my loved ones, counseling, prayer and medication I have been able to find healing and help. If you are suffering, know you are not alone and that there is hope for you too. Do not give up. Believe that you are irreplaceable and, in the words of To Write Love On Her Arms, that better days are ahead.

You cannot be replaced. Here are some helpful tips for anyone who is struggling…

Reach Out
Two out of three people who struggle with depression do not seek help. Untreated depression is the leading cause of suicide. If you are struggling it is imperative that you seek help. Finding a counselor, talking to a friend, joining a support group, or calling a hotline can be a great place to start.

Invest in Counseling
View counseling as an investment in your future and wellbeing. Psychotherapy helps you work through the environmental and physiological causes of your mental state and aims to alleviate psychological distress through talking, which can be extremely healing for a person experiencing depression or mental illness.

See A Doctor
Find a psychiatrist who can diagnose your possible disorder and provide you with medication if needed.

Build Community
Honest, life-giving friendships and relationships promote emotional and mental health. Actively seek a positive community where you can be authentic with your struggles and victories.

Make a Commitment to Your Health
Getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet can help as part of overall treatment for depression.

Helpful Resources
To Write Love on Her Arms,
National Hopeline Network, 1.800.SUICIDE (784-2433)
American Psychological Association Counseling Services Locator,
Reach Out,

Feel free to mention @TWLOHA and use the following hashtags when sharing this article to continue the conversation: #NSPW14 / #NSPW13 / #WSPD13

Photo by Shannon Lee Miller


  1. I cannot say how excited I was to see two organizations I love collide in such a beautiful way. I have been a longtime follower of To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) and started subscribing to Darling about a year ago. Both of these groups of amazing people have been lights during dark days and continue to encourage me as I travel the hills and valleys of life. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. It’s always great to know you’re not the only one suffering from the dreaded quietness … Glad I stumbled upon this article. Thanks for the helpful suggestions on getting help – sometimes it’s still hard to get a concrete solution out of the ideal world in your own head.

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