“Your heaviest artillery will be your will to live. Keep that big gun going.” –Norman Cousins

I have been blessed that a suicide attempt has not been part of my recovery story. However, hopelessness, a desire to just sleep and not wake, and wondering when pain would go away have been at some time or another. Luckily, those are out-of-town visitors and haven’t visited in a long while – I guess my fortress and moat of coping skills have kept them out. (haha)

The body has a physiological will to live – that’s why we have startle responses and other things to keep us from unintentionally harming ourselves. You can will yourself to live, despite the pain mental health can cause us. As Norman says above, it’s our heaviest artillery.

I am incredibly stubborn. No matter how hard recovery and life has been (especially lately), my will to push through and keep going has won every battle. I will not be defeated.

I give myself the rest I need, even if productivity feels falsely rewarding. I set boundaries, even if it means I’ll miss out on some things. If the battle must continue (and it must!), then I invest in my strongest artillery instead of the smaller items that may only temporarily keep me safe. Find what keeps you safe in the battle, and where you can find rest… and have the will to live.

Kristen Ellis

Kristen has worked in the mental health field since 2013, with a focus on crisis work, substance use services, and bringing a voice to lived experience. Her ambition is to change the way mental health care and recovery is seen and achieved, so to redefine what it means to defeat adversity.