Julie’s Story: “I Made the Decision to Live“

Stories of Perseverance and Survival

If you are struggling with suicide, it can be helpful to hear stories from others who have undergone a similar struggle and prevailed. Below is one of a series of stories of people who have survived their suicidal crises. I first met Julie on one of my YouTube live video chats. After losing touch, Julie and I reconnected about a year into her recovery. I am touched by Julie’s determination and the wisdom of her husband as he supported her.

Julie's Story: “I Made the Decision to Live“

In the fall of 2017, I became depressed after experiencing a series of stressors. My father had a near-death experience, which made me acutely aware of the reality of my parents’ aging; something I found difficult to accept emotionally. In addition, my son moved out to attend college, which is normally viewed as a positive rite of passage, but for me it felt like a loss. So much of my identity was linked to being a mother. To make matters worse, my sense of purpose was further weakened by a decision to close my graphic design business. Finally, some difficulties in my marriage and some health issues pushed me into the abyss.


I was traumatized by my depressive symptoms; by a deep feeling of detachment, as if my body, mind, and soul had been hijacked. I began to panic after months of being unable to lift myself from this emotional pain. Even after two hospitalizations, I was in a dire condition.

Even though I had lived most of my life with stable mental health, I was convinced that I was never going to recover from this episode. My thinking became distorted and I became suicidal. I was very verbal about my suicidal ideation and my family did not allow me to spend time alone.

My mind was volleying back and forth between hopes of recovery and the lure of escaping the immediate pain through suicide. After one particularly horrible night, I spent hours studying ways to kill myself.

After reading about failed attempts of suicide, I realized that it was not an option for me. Perhaps it was also prayer that changed my heart and mind that night. If life is about learning a lesson, was I going to have to learn this lesson all over again? Perhaps I should just deal with this pain now head-on.This decision to choose life was strengthened by my love for my family whom I did not want to leave behind. 


From that night on, I did not entertain the idea of suicide as a solution to end my emotional pain. That’s when I started to think about recovery.

I was then struck with the realization that I had to climb my way out of the abyss that I found myself in. I realized things were impermanent, and I was willing to be patient and not expect it overnight.

I spent hours watching videos and reading about others who had survived depression. They focused on the concept of depression being temporary and gave many examples of people recovering from various hardships. So, finally I began to trust the idea that this condition may be a temporary one for me as well.

My husband further reinforced this concept by saying every day, “It didn’t happen today (my recovery/feeling better), it probably won’t happen tomorrow or it may not happen for six months , but it WILL happen.” I found this immensely helpful.

I made the decision to begin living my life again. For so long I had been looking at this situation from an all-or-nothing point of view. I had been convinced that I had to wait until I was fully healed to participate in anything. But I forced myself to create artwork again even though I found no pleasure in it at first. Eventually, I began to enjoy it. I forced myself to go to my favorite farmer’s market, to go out for a walk,

In the spring of 2018, I found a therapist who further helped me find my way out of the darkness. I believe a combination of setting an intention to heal, believing in the concept that everything (including emotional states) is temporary, and engaging in life even while depressed were all a part of my recovery. I found my way out of the darkness one small step at a time.