A letter to myself & to anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts

A young person is sitting writing a letter. They are wearing a hearing aid and a blue t-shirt with black trousers. They are sitting on an outstretched palm to represent support for suicidal thoughts. Behind them are two trees and the colour surrounding them is purple

T/W This article includes references to suicide and suicidal thoughts. If you are struggling with this, contact our Crisis Messenger 24 hours a day. You can also contact SamaritansCALM, or Papyrus, who specialise in supporting people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts.  

A young person who volunteers at The Mix wrote this open letter to themselves at different stages of their life, to help themselves and others cope with suicidal thoughts. 

Dear anyone who might be struggling at the moment or who knows someone else who might be struggling,

This is a letter to my past self, who struggled with suicidal thoughts, my present self, who recognises my non-linear progress and my future self, who has learned lessons on staying safe. I hope this article might be useful for anyone struggling, to help you realise you are not alone; help is available. You can take care of yourself and your days can brighten. You might wish to adopt some of the safety lessons I have learned, though this will vary for every person.

Dear past self

Dear past self, little me. The little me with suicidal thoughts. You are not currently supposed to be able to understand or express your thoughts and experiences. Your childhood was never supposed to feel heavy, but time will allow you to process your thoughts and experiences and help you to build your circle of people. You will meet people who care. As you grow older, there will be people who accept you and you can trust them to sit beside you through it all and listen to you. Your childhood was supposed to feel free and be the time of your life, or at least that is what other people say.

You feel overwhelmed, think the world would be better off without you and question your existence, but time will lighten your load. You do not know it yet but your thoughts and experiences will make you develop strength and courage and teach you the power of kindness. You will carry your inner child with you when you are feeling ready. You will form a genuine smile and laughter and understand peace; the type of peace where you will feel calm and not quiet.

Dear present self

Am I lying and just another person who says things will get better, when it does not apply to me? Dear present me, I am proud of you for the progress you have made. It has not been a linear progression and there are days where the world feels broken, lacking purpose and like being back at square one once again. I know that just when you felt those suicidal thoughts had gone away, they reappeared every day once you were no longer goal-orientated. You bandaged it up, but those dark days are becoming fewer and the lighter days are appearing more often.

You can now identify and challenge the thoughts which otherwise disguise themselves in dark days. These dark days tend to surface on non-productive days, but you now know that being productive is not an every day requirement. It is safe to drop your guard, let people in and to enjoy things that make you laugh and smile and feel peaceful. Your circle of people are safe to trust; they know what you need and will not deliberately hurt you. Your circle of people will also help you to build new memories, which show you that life is worth it.

Dear future self

Dear future me, I hope you are well and continue to choose life every day, even on the tough days. Keep making past you, little you, proud and be the person you needed when you were struggling to stay alive. I do not know what you might experience or how dark the thoughts might get, especially with the world feeling like crumble. I suspect it will only get tougher to see things clearly. However, I do know you have the strength, courage and resources needed to rise above whatever may arise. So, rise higher when the flames of life get higher.

To help you cope with suicidal thoughts

Remember to draw on your list of resources and people. For me, resources include:

  • Listening to music
  • Watching things that make me laugh
  • Going for nature walks
  • Letting myself cry and feel (but I don’t let myself sit in it for too long/consume me)
  • Colouring (particularly Disney colouring) – I guess anything creative could work though
  • Drinking tea
  • Anything else that makes me forget things for a while

I use this list when I am struggling to want to do these things and when there are other joyful things happening. The only difference is now, when I struggle, other people remind me what I need. It’s ok if the things that help change over time, but treasure what makes you laugh, smile and feel peaceful.

Managing triggers

It can also be really helpful to think about the things you might find triggering and plan ways to avoid them, or to cope with them when they come up. For example, one trigger for me is heights. I manage this by focusing on the ground under my feet, but not too far down (especially where there’s a lack of fencing or boundaries – for example, staircases).

Another trigger is narrow pavements near busy roads. Managing this is about walking with other people, smiling at strangers if I’m alone (they tend to smile back) and/or making sure I walk on the side furthest away from the road. 

If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts

If you or someone you know is struggling, I hope this article has shown that you are not alone, and highlighted some ways you might like to keep yourself safe.

If you are currently unable to understand or express yourself, know that’s ok and you will get there with time. It is a journey where you have to choose life every day, through the good days and the challenging days.

Some resources from The Mix that might help:

I believe in you even if you do not yet believe in yourself, just like I believe in little me with hindsight. Keep pushing forwards and be brave and courageous.

Next Steps

  • Our Crisis Messenger provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK. If you’re aged 25 or under, you can text THEMIX to 85258
  • Papyrus supports young people who are feeling suicidal - you can call, email or text them. Call on 0800 068 41 41.
  • Anyone can contact the Samaritans on their 24-hour helpline to talk things through. 116 123
  • SANE offers support and information to people affected by mental illness. Call their helpline on 0300 304 7000, open 4:30pm - 10:30pm every day.
  • CALM is dedicated to preventing male suicide. Call their national helpline for free on 0800 58 58 58, 5pm-midnight, or visit their webchat service .
  • Anyone can contact the Samaritans on their 24-hour helpline to talk things through. 116 123
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.

By Holly Turner

Updated on 08-Sep-2022

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