“I don’t feel like I can go on living”
“I just can’t face another day”
“The pain is too much, I just don’t want to be here anymore”
It is very common for people experiencing deep grief to have these thoughts. These are not suicidal thoughts but the expression of pain that feels unbearable and escaping the reality of the pain and loss is the only thing that seems like it could bring relief. In my experience, many grieving people have felt this way but they don’t want to tell anyone so they suffer with these thoughts sometimes even imagining just vanishing, being diagnosed with an incurable disease or not waking up the next day. These secret thoughts are compounded by guilt and shame due to the fact that they don’t want to upset anyone by speaking it aloud. If you have never felt the weight of overwhelming loss you may not understand what someone means by “not wanting to be here anymore,” this can be terribly frightening to hear and many times it can be misinterpreted to mean that someone is suicidal (that being said, if a person is threatening to harm themselves or has a plan to do so, please call 911 and seek immediate help). So what do you do if someone tells you that they just can’t go on living? It’s simple….LISTEN. Just be present with them in their pain, listen to them, don’t try to fix it. Especially with new grief, the heaviness and depth of the loss may feel like too much to carry. I recall a friend’s little 5 year old boy who kept telling her that he wanted to go to heaven to be with his aunt who had died. My friend was terrified that something was wrong with her young son and that maybe he was suicidal (which would be very rare for someone so young). After asking him some questions and really listening to him she realized that he was just so very sad that his favorite aunt had died and that the depth of love that he had for her made him want to be with her. After all, isn’t grief our expression of the love we have for someone? It makes sense for some people to want to be with their loved one who is not here physically.
If you are experiencing a loss, I can help. I can be reached at 240-298-2442 or firstname.lastname@example.org