You Are Not Alone

RubyWarning:  This post discusses suicide.  Not graphically, and not in detail, but if the topic is triggering to you, you may want to choose not to read it.

Today is 10 September 2013, a day that has been designated World Suicide Prevention Day.  I know that this is a very frightening subject for so many people, with or without mental illness, to talk about.  But do you know what I think is even more frightening than discussing suicide?  Not discussing suicide.

So many people suffer from so many things that make them feel they are alone, and that there is only one solution to their problems, one that can never be undone.  And the more we talk about these things, and the feelings of hopelessness they may bring — openly, sensitively, frankly, and with no shame or shaming — the less alone they will feel.  I love so very much this representation that I found:

image via

One hand holding on to another.  One human telling another human that they aren’t alone.  One person sharing their strength and understanding with another person.

Our Alice wrote the following to me in an email on the eve of this event last year: It takes something from all of us when they take away themselves.”

I never wanted to post about statistics on suicide.  They may be sobering, but people are not statistics.  They are mothers and fathers and husbands and wives and sisters and brothers and best friends and children and grandparents and cousins and that guy at work who is always quiet but so very kind to you.  They are often the people you would least suspect of being that desperate and desolate.

If you are reading this and know someone about whom you are concerned, don’t wait to talk with them.  Reach out to them.  Hold out your hand.  Show them they are loved and they are not alone.  Help them to start their journey, or to continue one that may already have been going on for years.

I can’t tell you how many people may be considering taking their lives even as they are reading this.  There are no numbers on that.  It’s something we don’t know.  One thing I do know is that they need understanding and love and the knowledge that no, they aren’t alone, and yes, it can get better.  I give you my word of honor that it can, no matter how hopeless things may feel right now.  You need to reach out your hand for help, so that you have time to discover this.  Please don’t try to go through it alone.  You aren’t alone, no matter how much you may feel it.

We now have a permanent page here on Canvas with international resources if you feel you are in Crisis.


Your light is beautiful.  Don’t let it go out.

Note:  This post is a slightly updated and amended version of the piece I wrote last year for this day.  I think it was the most difficult thing I have ever written, and I also think that it has stood the test of time, so you will forgive me if this year I don’t make what I feel would be a futile attempt at writing another piece as fitting. 

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14 thoughts on “You Are Not Alone

  1. Thank you! We are living proof that if you hold on through the worst of the storm it will eventually lift. But rarely can you do it in isolation. Reach out! You may have no hope left but someone around you does. Allow them to hold the hope for you until you can hold it for yourself again.

    • “Allow them to hold the hope for you until you can hold it for yourself again.”

      That is an absolutely beautiful thought. Thank you so much for sharing it, and I am happy to know you made it out the other side!

  2. I don’t know if I ever felt alone in the sense of I thought I was the only one who experienced what I was going through but it did seem like no one else at my high school was, even though I know somewhere. We excluded ourselves from each other.

    • I think it’s important to communicate to those who may be really struggling that they aren’t alone in two important ways. Like you bring up, others have felt/feel the same kinds of things. But also that there are people who may not necessarily be dealing with mental health issues themselves, people who love them and care about them and want to help. To me it seems like all too often people fall into that trap of feeling like they have no one to walk with them, to hold their hand and be there to help them through the darkest times. That’s one thing I really wanted to communicate, that there is always someone, and you shouldn’t try to fight such an enormous battle alone.

  3. We’ve got to try to stay strong for ourselves and stay strong for others and unite to fight this – Stay strong everyone and please reach out for help and support if you need it. I’ve been there and I’ve seen and still see many other people in this situation. And only 2 weeks ago lost a dear friend of mine to this. Lets not allow ourselves to become further statistics – There IS help out there and a lot of it – Even though we can feel like there is not.

    All the best xx

    • I can’t tell you how much this means, coming from you, knowing how you have struggled. You are so right, and your attitude is a testament to your strength. I’m so very sorry for what happened to your friend, I know how badly it has shaken you. But I am grateful you are still with us, and that you have a renewed will to keep choosing to live.

      • Thank you Ruby – You are very strong yourself too.

        I can’t work out in my head and come to terms with what happened to my friend, it’s all very mixed emotions about it. I’m trying to somehow take a positive outcome on it and make it an example of how I do not want to end up. I don’t mean that horribly to my friend whatsoever BTW. I’ve got to fight and learn how to deal with this disorder and not go and do that… Because it would be all too easy. But not the right thing to do for so many reasons.

        • I know what you mean, and I would never think you meant badly towards your friend. I can’t imagine how you come to terms with something like that, but I think you are doing it the best way it can be done, kind of honoring her by choosing to find a way to keep fighting and live your own life, if that makes any sense at all.

          • Yes. I agree. Another blogger said to live my life even better to (in a way) make up for hers too. It’s a nice idea… Just wish something could bring her back 😦

            But at least now to really fight to get the help I need and put a of my effort in to it.

    • Cate, I’m grateful if what I said spoke to you in a way you needed. That makes these words much more valuable to me, and makes me happy in my decision to post them again this year.

  4. Perfection is, by definition, perfect. There is no need to improve it. Thanks for the reminder, Ruby, can never get too many of them! xoxoM

    • Margarita, you are so sweet, and thank you for your kindness in what you say. I think you’re absolutely right about reminders, and I hope people can increasingly make this a more common topic of conversation. xo

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