Make The Choice
Lesson 5 Section 1
All of the experiences you want to have and all of the possibilities for your future depend on this: Choose life and tell death "No." Making this choice is the first action step once you believe that a positive future is possible for you.
Time is a gift that you can offer to yourself. You deserve to have the time to consider options and alternatives before making a critical decision.
I want you to commit to living for a while longer. How much longer? Commit to living for as much time as you’re able to right now. This is time that you can gift to yourself and offer to your family, friends, and support network. More time means more possibilities.
“Everything can be taken from a person but one thing: the last of human freedoms
– to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances,
to choose one’s own way.”
- Viktor E Frankl
How to "Choose life"
I want to keep this one simple so that you can just get it done. Whether you can commit to a decade or a day, if you make that explicit commitment to someone that you trust, then it will be stronger.
Resources for talking with someone about your crisis
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose…
You know what you know.
And you are the [one] who’ll decide where to go.”
Why commit to living? (Experience and Research)
I think we often underestimate what willpower can achieve.
In my darkest times, I would set aside my plans for self-destruction on behalf of someone else, or to fulfill a commitment. A lot of us have put aside suicide plans in order to achieve something else first.
When I told my best friend that I would live at least one more week, it was locked in my mind with all the certainty I had. I think if you make a commitment you fully intend to keep, then it has a lot of power.
In the Suicide Risk Assessment Standards used by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and in the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (a gold standard measure), specific and detailed suicide plans are considered particularly high risk.
A recent model of suicidal risk points out that specific intentions can lead to action in a variety of circumstances (Theory of Planned Behavior), so it is logical that specific suicide plans mean higher risk.
We can use that same principle in the opposite direction. Positive planning for the future is a buffer against suicide risk, and specific positive plans are more likely to lead you away from suicide.
Research on setting and achieving goals has found that writing specific goals and sharing them with someone you trust ('accountability') can dramatically increase your chance of success. Engaging others in your process also provides the opportunity for social connections, another buffer against suicide.