7 Reasons to Keep Living

Disclaimer: This is a disclaimer that this video is for informative purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Please reach out to a qualified healthcare provider or mental health professional if you are struggling.

Psych2goers, have you ever reached a point in your life, in which you feel so much emotional pain? 

You go out into the world, smiling, while at the same time, carrying your heart with scars forming like a map on its surface. Then, people make assumption that you are normal. It’s because, unless they see the sickness on your skin, they think you are not sick. 

According to a study done by three researchers entitled, “Does Rejection Hurt? An fMRI Study of Social Exclusion,” when people feel emotional pain, similar regions of the brain (anterior insula and anterior cingulate cortex) get activated as when people experience physical pain. It was reported that when people underwent an experimental social rejection from peers, these areas were activated (Eisenberger, Lieberman, & Williams, 2003). Likewise, in a different study, similar regions were activated when people who recently experienced an unwanted break-up look at the photograph of their ex-partners, as they think about being rejected (Kross et al., 2011).   

It is human nature, when we are afflicted with pain, either physical or emotional, we will first be inclined to do anything that we can do, in order to stop experiencing the pain. If the pain is not processed accordingly, you will come to a point where you will think there is no light at the end of the tunnel, and the only clear path that you can see to get out of that pain is to take your own life.   

In life, we as humans will experience hardship; it can be in the form of illness, injury, heartbreak, financial struggles, death, and abandonment. We may share the same experiences, however, each hurt, each pain is personal to an individual. People around you may say, “Tomorrow’s a new day”, “We understand,” but sometimes when you are at your lowest point of your life, these well-meaning phrases seem inadequate to alleviate your suffering. 

So, Psych2goers, perhaps you think you are in a difficult situation right now, and there might not seem like enough reason for you to live, however, please, just take your time to continue reading this. May the following reasons be enough for you to come to realize that life has so much more to offer than the pain that you are experiencing right now: 

  1. You’re not as alone as you feel

Pandemic hits the world in 2020. You worked as a flight attendant, and was laid off from your job. Now, you get a little squirrelly. You feel sad, you believe that no one cares about you, gradually the feeling intensifies, causing you to feel alone, and you start to withdraw from the people whom you love. 

The truth is, what you are feeling now is valid. Also, another truth is, oftentimes, the people you love merely don’t know what is going on in your head. If they do know, they will be more than happy to listen to you and assist you in finding the support you need. However, if you feel that it is too hard to open up to the people you know, you can pick up the phone, dial up the helpline, and talk to someone who cares and wants to help (the list of hotlines are given at the end of this article) (Raypole & Legg, 2020).  

2. It’s hard to see solutions when in distress

Psych2goers, perhaps you feel pretty bleak right now, however do notice the key words: “right now”. 

Oftentimes, when you feel like your life is turning upside down, you will develop tunnel vision, in which you tend to only see one viable aftermath in a given situation. However, the only problem is, tunnel vision lies to you and distorts your perception of the truth (Raypole & Legg, 2020).

Believe me, once you have passed your crisis mode, you will soon find many doors of possibilities open for you. 

3. You can make life more meaningful 

You were involved in a motor vehicle accident and became paralysed from the waist down. Your life suddenly turned 360 degrees. You can no longer continue working in your current company, and you have to depend solely on your wife for support. You then start to think you are a burden to her and develop a thinking that your life lacks meaning since you can no longer indulge in your hobbies. Soon, you start developing suicidal thoughts. 

Psych2goers, the weird thing about pain is, not only it blocks your view from seeing the solution, but it also removes the joy and significance from the important things in your life. 

Costin and Vignoles (2020) who study meaning in life have broken the concept into three separate aspects: coherence (the feeling that life makes sense), purpose (having and working toward goals), and existential mattering (the sense that one’s life has value and makes a difference). University of Sussex psychologist Vlad Costin argues that the most important factor is existential mattering. Respondents’ sense of mattering most reliably predicted whether they saw life as meaningful one month later. Though it wasn’t known why participants felt their lives mattered, Costin thinks that it could have resulted from their “believing in God, contributing to others, or leaving some form of legacy.”

So, Psych2goers, yes, when you are in a crisis, it’s understandable that you ponder on the meaning of your life. However, know this. Your life does have a meaning. Tchiki Davis, Ph.D (2020) listed the ways to create meaning in your life:

  • Volunteering or helping someone
  • Starting an important project
  • Pursuing something challenging
  • Expressing yourself
  • Learning something new

You can always make it a challenge to discover and create your own meaning of life. It does not have to be grand or macroscale. Perhaps it’s always been your wish to take a road trip, or visit the desert. Or maybe you want to adopt a cute hamster. No matter what your wish is, you can always pursue it to create a meaning in your life (Raypole & Legg, 2020).

4. Life is full of beautiful surprises that you can’t even fathom yet 

Psych2goers, perhaps you are thinking that there is nothing to look forward to in life. You see this life as full of ugliness and despair. However, do know that life also consists of a spread of wonderful surprises that you can’t even fathom yet. I can’t deny that it will be quite a challenge to find the right answers to prickly questions that you have in your mind right now. However, if you just try to look around you, and take a moment of reflection, there is actually a lot that this life has got to offer. 

5. Your past doesn’t have to define you

You owned a huge business and have a wonderful wife and two beautiful children. You are always a loving husband and father. However, one day, you had gone bankrupt, causing you to struggle financially. You decided to mute the sorrow away by drinking alcohol. However, soon, you started to become addicted to alcohol. You became an alcoholic. In your drunken state, you beat your wife and kids at home. One time, you beat your wife so severely that she had to be admitted to the hospital due to internal bleeding in her head. However, she passed away due to your actions. You were caught, accused in court, and soon you were imprisoned. During your imprisonment, you felt huge remorse and developed suicidal thoughts. You feel that it is only fair that you end your life, in order to make up for killing your wife and beating your children. 

Indeed, killing a person is regarded as a huge crime. Perhaps, it is difficult for your kids to see you as the loving father that you once were. However, know that, the fact that you feel remorse, is an inclination that you still have goodness in you. Typically, bad people don’t even care when they hurt others. Give yourself a chance to repair your mess that you have made. In fact, you can try to do better, even if your kids turned away from you, the fact that you feel remorse and have the effort to patch things up is more than enough. 

6. The future isn’t set in stone 

You lost both your parents due to a mass shooting in their workplace. You are an only child and only a teenager in middle school. You thought to yourself, “What now? What will happen to me? What is going to be my future?”

The future’s not set in stone. You will never know what lies ahead. In fact, no one does. Yes, it will be terrifying to live with uncertainty. As humans, we only feel secure when there is predictability because life will be easier to manage. The only reason we shy away from uncertainty is because we only want things to be done in a certain way. However, you can always choose to go through each day with a different mindset and regain power over your fear of the future.    

7. You matter

Perhaps the most destructive lie we fall for is that your opinion does not matter. Your choices don’t matter. Your existence doesn’t matter. You don’t matter. 

However, do hold on because no matter how low or bad you are feeling right now, you always matter. 

You matter. You are enough. You are more. So stay here. Keep growing. You’ve got this. 

Final Thoughts 

“Emotional pain leaves invisible scars, yet they can be traced by the gentlest touch. Sometimes, like a cyst, the “wound” must be opened to be healed; other times a well meaning person may seek to heal what should be left alone.”

(Angela Abraham)

Life will throw everything at you, life will have dips, life will be unfair. The pain that you endure, only makes you treasure the happiness so much more. It is the people who have truly suffered who understand what happiness really is. It is the people who were beaten down and wounded that were the strongest warriors, who can rise up and continue the battle. You are survivors. 

Also, Psych2goers, after you have read this article, if you are still struggling to stay alive, please don’t hesitate to call a hotline, or seek help from mental health professionals. 

If you are feeling depressed or contemplating suicide please remember that you are not alone.

Suicide Hotlines:

America: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Canada: 1-866-531-2600

Australia: 13 11 14

United Kingdom: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90

Malaysia: 03-76272929

Beijing: 0800-810-1117

Hong Kong: +852 28 960 000

Japan/Tokyo: 81 (0) 3 5286 9090

Brazil: 55 11 31514109 or (91) 3223-0074

Mexico: 9453777

Germany: 0800 111 0 111

Russia: (495) 625 3101

India: 91-22-27546669

Iran: 1480

South Africa: 0800 12 13 14

This is only a shortlist of a few countries, however, there is always somebody to reach out to.

REFERENCES

Costin, V., & Vignoles, V. L. (2020). APA PsycNet. American Psychological Association. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2019-00523-001.

Eisenberger, N. I., Lieberman, M., & Williams, K. D. (2003, November). Does Rejection Hurt? An fMRI Study of Social Exclusion. ResearchGate. esearchgate.net/publication/9056800_Does_Rejection_Hurt_An_fMRI_Study_of_Social_Exclusion.

Kross, E., Berman, M. G., Mischel, W., Smith, E. E., &; Wager, T. D. (2011, April 12). Social rejection shares somatosensory representations with physical pain. PNAS. https://www.pnas.org/content/108/15/6270.long.

Raypole , C., &; Legg, T. J. (2020, September 10). 8 Reasons to Live, from Someone Who’s Been There. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/reasons-to-live.

World Health Organization. (2021, June 17). Suicide. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/suicide.

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