Yesterday, I shared my personal reasons why I choose not to take my life. But for myself and many others like me—whose connection to this world can sometimes feel very tentative—it’s important to reflect and keep coming back to the people, joys, and memories that anchor us. The folks who make up the WEconnect team wholeheartedly believe that life truly gives us infinite reasons to stay. And to honor that, today we’re sharing a few of those reasons with you.
Here are 13 more reasons why not from our WEconnect colleagues:
- Cats. You are one of my reasons why not. –Anonymous
- Dad. Your recovery became my hope. When I was ready, you were there. You supported me and helped me to get into treatment. You were the first person I knew in recovery and helped me to find my path. You showed me that I’m not alone and helped me find my community. You are one of my reasons why not. –Dave Pruett
- My son. You began using when you were 15, and I saw you traveling a path that I knew all too well. I was sitting on the couch with a bottle between my legs, and I saw my dad in myself at that moment. I didn’t like the picture I was creating—I knew I needed to find recovery for myself and for you. I wanted to show you that you could have a different story. You, my son, are one of my reasons why not. –Dave Pruett
- My family. Being able to show up for you and to provide support and understanding. To share my empathy, my experiences, and my love. That is part of my recovery, and why I am alive. My family, you are one of my reasons why not. –A Grateful Dad
- The full ripple: When a boy in my middle school took his life, the entire student body grieved (including those of us who’d never met him) and at his funeral, I watched his mother stroke his hair as she whispered “only sleeping.” When a boy I knew—who I’d had two friend groups in common with from the different schools we’d attended together, and whose sister had also been a friend (with a whole other group of mutual friends), and whose mother was my coworker at the time—took his life, I saw his death ripple out to nearly everyone I knew, watched the full impact of it... how much further it goes than just the folks you’ve met, how it impacts everyone in their lives too. When I was the person who found my roommate while she was trying to take her life, the one to call the ambulance and navigate the aftermath, I understood the intense mix of emotions that comes with finding someone, even when they make it out alive. When I got the news that a friend and former partner had taken his life, despite not having spoken to him in years, it took me months to grieve and I’m still not sure if dating will ever be quite the same. From all of these experiences, I can say with absolute certainty that, despite what we may think in our darkest moments, the world is never better off without us. Everyone who would grieve, and all those who love them, that full ripple of a death, that is my reason why not. –Marina Snyder
- Simple joys. When I am having one of those days where I feel overwhelmed—like I don't have room to breathe, like I should give up—I find my pressure release in my motorcycle. The adrenaline a nice ride produces is only a temporary relief for whatever I am experiencing, but I get to chase that relief as many times as I'd like. The simple joy of a ride on my motorcycle is a reason why not. –Chris Golding
- Travis. My recovery changed when you took your life. I am here because you aren’t. Thinking back on our friendship is why I am still here. Your stories, your kindness, your love and your memories are why I’m still here. You and everyone who struggles with self-harm are my reasons why not. –Anonymous
- “We.” After months of being in and out of the hospital due to my appendix rupturing—after 15 hours of being ignored and judged due to being in active addiction—you took care of my son. You did everything, from making his lunch to helping him with his homework. I wanted to be done with life: but you took care of me, supported me, loved me, and never judged me. You took care of everything. The day I finally felt brave enough to say it, I looked at you and said “I have a problem. I don’t want to be like this anymore.” You looked at me and started to cry. You hugged me and asked “What do WE need to do?” That “we” is one of my reasons why not. –Tina DellaValle
- The little things. Notebooks. And noise-canceling headphones. And running the same route every day. And Star Wars. And playing the pipe organ. And bringing our own gluten-free bread. And knowing that these things are important. And knowing when to talk it out. And when to redirect. And when to let you figure it out on your own. And that it’s taken us 29 years to learn these parts. And that soon, I will be the only one left who does know. You’re my reason why not. –A Sister
- My dad. You have pushed yourself beyond what any person should be capable of to provide me with the best life and opportunities. You went back to school and finished in half the time, because you took on double the workload to have a job that could support us. You graduated at the top of your class in law school and turned down high-paying law firms to pursue public defense. You wanted to correct a broken system and help those who need a smart and empathetic lawyer most. Most importantly, you remained in recovery throughout it all—despite many stressful times in our family (sorry for being a brat in middle school!), so that I wouldn't have to live through what you did with your parents. You are always my inspiration and my reason why not. –Cailey McCabe
- My friends. You remind me that I am worthy when all I see is darkness and disappointment. My cats, who require me to get out of bed even on the really hard days so the food dish doesn't go empty. My faith, which quietly whispers that this too shall pass. And music: music works miracles. These are my reasons why not. –Joanne Lloyd
- Prince Ali. You’re 80 in dog years. You weren’t even supposed to make it past your mid-life crisis, living on the streets. You can barely see. You have no teeth. A tongue we have to wet because it hangs out all day long. You don’t eat if I’m not right by your side. Even then, some days you don’t eat at all. You just want to be held. You just want to feel safe. You just want someone to be consistently there for the rest of your life. Your little heart might not be able to handle more hardship. You’re my reason. –Michelle Reilly
- The calm on the other side. You make the moments, days, and sometimes months of holding my breath, of sinking deeper into helplessness, of harsh reminders to breathe again, of re-learning the language of hope, and of chasing the little pinpricks of light so I can stretch one wide enough to climb through, worth each bit of the struggle. You’re the place where I can finally rest, and feel excitement; where I can inhale a stirring air and both bask in an ex-partner’s deodorant and devise some new plan, and where I can gather myself for whatever comes next. You’re my reason. –Dean LeMire
Thank you for sticking with us in this wild, wonderful, beautiful world. When your tether to life feels strained, please remember that the feeling is only temporary; it’s just one in a sea of moments. Reasons why not are infinite, surprising, and often come when you least expect them. Who knows? Your next one might be just around the corner.
We invite you to share your reasons why not with us on social media using the hashtag #13reasonswhynot.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out and ask for help. Help is available and things can get better.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line: crisistextline.org
Immediate Medical Assistance: 911
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