My first thought when I hear the alarm is I don’t want to wake up. I am exhausted down to the marrow of my bones. It is not the kind of exhaustion that comes from lack of sleep due to being up late with a sick child. It is the exhaustion that comes from being hopeless, in emotional pain, and seeing no way out.
I hate my life and I have no hope that it will ever get better. Sisyphus, cursed for eternity to push a boulder up a mountain just to have it roll back down again could not feel more hopelss. I scream, I cry, and I have days-long migraine headaches several times a month. I feel like I can barely function. And yet, I must go to work because I need to pay the rent and I need money for groceries. There is no one to depend on. I feel like no one has my back. So I put on a happy face and go to work, trying to not snap.
I Don’t Want to Wake Up
I am still married, but who knows for how long? He has been telling me for months that he is leaving. It feels like I would be better off dead than dealing with this mess that I call my life. I go to bed hoping I never wake up, that somehow life will mercifully be over–and yet I open my eyes another day, and another, and another. My head aches, I cry, I scream. I try not to scream. I hold it together at work, but at home any little thing sets me off. Between the depression and the anger, I want to die. I want the nightmare of my life to be over.
Is Suicide the Answer?
I start to daydream about how I will kill myself. No one is there for me, and no one would care anyway. People will be relieved. I am terminally exhausted. When I try to pray, it feels like God is absent. Has he stopped listening? I start to go through options of how to kill myself because I feel like I can’t go through another day like this. It is like my head is encased in slime. I can barely think except to try to determine how to get out. Isolated and alone is how I feel. I am hopeless that life will get better.
There is a moment of clarity. Suicide is devastating to the people who are left behind. I cannot do that to my children, to my parents, to my siblings. Especially I cannot do that to my children. And then comes the thought, “What if I kill myself and I end up in hell and this hellish existence goes on for eternity?” I must think of another solution.
Outside versus Inside
On the outside my life looks great. I have a good professional job and my career is progressing nicely. My kids are smart, kind, and healthy. My husband has a good job. Only my kids and husband know that I scream all the time. No one knows I cry daily and my constant thought is Please, just let me die. I do not want to wake up.
One night, a friend from the past calls to check in with me and see how life is. I do not tell her that I am standing on the brink of the abyss. We share cute stories about our children and I hint that my husband and I are going through a rough patch. I try to focus the conversation on her and her life because I do not want her to guess how terrible my life is. I escape the phone call without her really knowing what’s happening with me. And somehow it helps. I know someone cares, at least a little. That call makes just a small difference, but it is enough for my life to go from pitch black with no hope to a thought that maybe, one day, there will be light in my world again.
That was when I realized something had to change. I could not go on like that or something very bad would happen. The migraines were getting unbearable. I was constantly on edge and emotionally exhausted. As much guilt and shame as I felt about getting divorced and raising my kids in two homes, it would be worse if their mother killed herself and they needed to live with that for the rest of their lives.
I knew from my training that “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” A temporary problem. The only way to solve a problem is to change something, and that’s what I became determined to do. Part of my pain and exhaustion came from my husband telling me every few days that he was leaving–but then he wouldn’t leave. I could not make him love me or work on our marriage, and I could not make him leave. What could I do?
I did not want a divorce. Finishing raising my children in two homes seemed impossible. I did not want to be in emotional pain and constantly thinking, “Let me die; I don’t want to wake up in the morning.” Even with treatment, I was still having migraines that lasted for three days at a time.
Crunching the numbers, I decided I could just barely afford to rent an apartment. I found an apartment. I tearfully asked my husband if he was still leaving. He said he was, but he had no plan yet. I told him I had found an apartment and if he wasn’t leaving, I would move out the next weekend. I hated telling the kids I was moving out and that they would spend part of each week with me and part of each week with their dad. But I did it.
Life was not easy after that, but it did get a little better. Killing myself was a more horrible option than moving out and dealing with marital separation. It seemed impossible that I was moving out. I still hoped to avoid divorce, but that was not meant to be. We did get divorced, but my life and the kids’ lives improved little by little.
Now that horrible time is such a distant memory it seems like someone elses life. The kids are young adults, who are doing better than I could have dreamed. Everyday I feel blessed. I started a private practice, which is very successful. There are several people in my life who care about me. I am able to travel and spend time with friends and family. It has been over a decade since I have had a migraine. I think the last time I screamed was several years ago, when I narrowly escaped being hit by a car driving on the wrong side of the road.
Your life will get better too.
Remember: suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. No problem is permanent. No matter how bad the situation is right now, it is not permanent. It will get better and there is something you can do to feel better.
There is Hope
I have a system for identifying ten small things that make me feel better and then doing them. It will not magically make everything okey-dokey, but it will give you hope that every day will not be as bad as this day. Sometimes that is easy, but other times it is hard to come up with ten small mood boosters. I know you can do it. Let me share this system with you.
I struggled with how to do this since I can’t sit next to you and walk you through identifying ten things you can do right now to improve your mood. But, I have created a guide to help. This guide will teach you what to do when you are feeling down. Just fill out the form below and I will send it to you right now.
Next week, I will write more about this tool and how to use it, but I don’t want you to wait. I want you to have it today.
If you are feeling suicidal and want to act on those feelings, go immediately to your nearest emergency room. The staff there will help you sort things out and get you help. It does not matter how embarrassed or ashamed you may feel. Go get help or call
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.
Some days are dark and it seems like there is no hope that life will get better. But there is always something positive you can do to make your life better. Don’t make this the end of the story. Do something to make the next moment better than this one. Life will be good and happy again.
You are not alone. I made a group just for single moms so that you know you are not alone. Join here. Start a conversation with some wonderful women who have been down the same path of raising kids as a single mom.
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Hi, I’m Tamara the creator of Empowered Single Moms, a single mom, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and the author of Thriving a Single Mom’s Guide to a Happy, Positive Life and Thriving a Single Mom Journal. I have a solo private psychotherapy practice where I treat anxiety, depression, and relationship issues.
As a member of the Empowered Single Moms community, I believe you can stop carrying the weight of the world alone and build a life you love. Join my mailing list and get 5 Keys to Single Mom Success.
If you want to be even more connected, join Empowered Single Moms Life Coaching Community.