Too much pressure


Too much pressure


your avatar   Wendy, 22-year-old woman

I need help. I'm 22 years old, I'm a student and unemployed, yet I have bills to pay which I'm really stressed out about. My dad is currently suffering from a stroke and my mom needs financial support. I want to help my family and pursue my goals in life but it's really stressful. I also had a horrible relationship with my ex-boyfriend who had left me recently because I was "too much" for him. I've been with my ex-boyfriend for 4 years and he is my first love.

I've been contemplating suicide for the past 3 years because of this stress. I have no friends; they don't want to talk to me even if I tried to talk to them. My ex-boyfriend left me because I have too much going on. I don't want to talk to my parents because I don't want my mom to worry about me when she's already worried about my dad and money. The calling off of my relationship with my ex-boyfriend recently devastates me. With so much stress already and now a break up, it's too much for me.

Just two years ago I tried to commit suicide by overdosing pills. I remember the pain I had from overdosing on pills. I couldn't see well, I couldn't breathe well, and I was constantly throwing up. I thought if I could just go to sleep, maybe I'll die, but the next morning I woke up alive which saddens me. Everything I'm doing is never enough. I can't even kill myself. Now, I want to at least live but it's so hard. I talked to my ex-boyfriend hundreds of times when we were still together but because I talked to him, he left me. I'm constantly thinking about committing suicide, I've lost interest in my hobbies, I've lost my appetite and I've lost confidence. I'm about to lose hope. I need help. I know what to do but it's just that I'm struggling at it.


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear Wendy,

As you now know, suicide is not the answer. Actually, even successful suicide is not the answer. Some people died from suicide, then came back to report that they'd taken the pain with them. A Superior Being told them they still had work to do, so they were not allowed to die.

I take such reports with a grain of salt, but all the same, there are so many of them, and with such similarities, it is hard to dismiss them.

Let us suppose it is true for you. You survived your suicide attempt because you still have work to do in this life. You have a purpose, a reason you need to be alive. I don't know what it is. Actually, you don't need to know what it is, only that there is meaning in your suffering. In my book, "Cancer: A personal challenge", I have an inspiring essay by Yvonne Rowan who recalls two clinical death experiences. Her life was full of terrible events, but these turned her into a wise, compassionate, strong, wonderful person. You have the potential to do the same.

I cannot help you with your problems such as lack of money, your dad's stroke and mom's struggles, the attitude of your ex etc. What I can do is to suggest you look on these as opportunities to train your spirit into nobility, inner strength, compassion for others, when you are over the hurdle and have achieved a better life.

There is a universal truth: we get back what we send out. All of us respond to challenges sometimes by reacting with self-pity, hopelessness, and despair. When we send this out, we get more crap back. An illustration is, when you reacted to your practical misfortunes by dwelling on the negatives, your boyfriend left you. This is not to cast blame, but to show the mechanism.

However, if from now on, you choose to take the attitude, "However terrible my situation is, it is training me in inner strength," then the energy you send out is positive, and the universe will oblige by sending back positives.

When we are in despair, we are no good at solving problems, but keep doing the same things, over and over. If we can become calm and accepting of the situation, we have a better chance of addressing the practical problems in an effective way. For example, suppose you decided to get a job to reduce the financial pressures. If you apply looking radiant, confident, and strong, you have a far better chance than if you go red-eyed, with slumped shoulders and a wavering voice. So, do two things:

First, treat your various sources of distress as problems with solutions to be found.

Second, accept the situation: "It is all right. It probably won't kill me, and if it does, hey, didn't I want to die in the past?" (big grin)

This is the combination that turns your life around, whether it results in the solution of the practical problems or not.

Have a good life (you can),


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit:


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