OUR OPINION: Your life matters during the holidays and beyond

Published 8:00 am Thursday, December 23, 2021

This week, members of The Vicksburg Post staff received an email with a single quote: “Things may seem stressful or depressing at times, but don’t give up. You can do whatever you set your mind to.”

With a recent uptick in suicides in our own community and across the country, Christmastime is a great opportunity to remind those who are struggling that their lives matter, that they’re worthy of love and that, most of all, no situation is so bad that snuffing out your own life will fix it.

In this season of giving, it’s important to remember the most important gift we’ve been given: our lives. To be alive is a precious thing; we get to learn, grow and connect with people. We get to fall in love, find things about which we are passionate. There are so many reasons to be happy and hold on just for one more day, even if it’s hard to realize it at the moment.

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For loved ones of those struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, there are some contributing factors. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, suicide rates have increased exponentially. With gloom and doom looming and rampant isolation from friends and family, it’s easy to fall into depression.

Even the amount of daylight we experience in the fall and winter months can contribute to one’s depressive state.

Many people report experiencing burnout, giving up hope of getting back to “normal.” During lockdowns, many people have resorted to drinking or eating too much, using drugs or doing other harmful things out of boredom or anger at the world and take it out on themselves.

Whether they lost a job or business, or because of inflation, many families aren’t able to give the gifts they would like or go on the usual holiday vacations they took. Some are even in more dire straits, wondering if they’ll be able to afford food or rent.

Loss of loved ones is also a contributing factor. Whether our loved ones died of COVID-19 or some health problem that couldn’t get treated because of lack of medical care, there is an increase in deaths of family and friends. This grief can be overwhelming.

But there is always hope. There is always a reason to keep going. You don’t have to suffer alone. There are resources available to you. Confide in someone you trust and get help.

Think of all the things you’d miss if you were gone, all the people who would miss you and how fulfilling your life can be if you only give yourself a chance. Above all else, take things one day, one hour, one minute at a time.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Counselors are available 24/7 to assist those who are struggling with their mental health.

Our lives are the most precious God-given gift. Every day you wake up is an opportunity to make the world better for someone else — don’t waste it.