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Fight For The Stars

Maria is a survivor who has written about her experiences coming back from what felt like a point of no return. Here she shares what helped bring her back from her darkest place, creating moments of light to brighten up a dark sky.

CW: suicide

Imagine your mind as the blackest of skies spread across the whole galaxy without any stars or light at all… you catch a break with that single second, that single fragment of light, and put it into the sky like a star.

How do you get back from the point of no return? This is something my CPN asked me as I clawed my way back from the great depths of hell.
After weeks and months of slowly drowning in a deep black ocean and fighting against the strongest of currents, with weights anchored to my feet and relentless waves smashing against my head pushing me under, I gasped desperately for air and finally I reached a point I could no longer swim.

So I woke up early one Friday morning knowing with great certainty that today I was going to die. I’d had the plan for days, maybe even weeks. I’d run through it all, step by step: how it would play out, what, how, and when.
I began getting my affairs in order, clearing my house of anything and everything I wouldn’t want my family, particularly my parents, uncovering once I’d gone. I sorted bills and wrote a few letters.

It was as if a switch went inside me and now all I could see was my inevitable suicide. I felt utterly defeated. Worn down, unable to breath. I had reached a place that was so dark I could no longer hold onto the comfort of my children, my love for them, or how much they needed me. All hope was lost and so was I, there was no way of getting back and honestly I didn’t want to. It’s like in accepting what was about to happen I found comfort and calm.

After years of battling and struggling everyday to function, to be what everyone needed me to be, of containing it all when all was breaking loose inside and suffering a kind of despair that words cannot describe, I was now done. I just had nothing left to fight and I couldn’t anymore, I wanted to be free.

Obviously I didn’t end up taking my life that day. I reached a place where doubts and guilt crept in. I spent the following days in such turmoil, tortured by my own mind. Little did I know then that this was actually a little shuffle forward. It was me – or at least a very small part of me – fighting to swim as hard as she could, with what little strength she had left, to get back to the surface above the dark, murky waters. With each stroke I inched towards the light. A single minute speck, a glint through the cloudy water slowly grew, expanded into a hazy ball, then a spotlight high in the sky above beckoning me. After days, maybe longer, I somehow managed to take a breath.

Without wanting to sound too corny, I felt the sun beaming down on me and I knew I wanted to be alive, I wanted to fight, and I found a little bit of hope again. Weeks passed and I found that I managed to keep swimming. It was still difficult, painful and exhausting, I remained in those same deep waters. I just hope I’m not pulled so far back under again, at least not for a while. I’m sure most people who have similar battles understand the feeling of forever swimming against the tide in the darkest ocean, desperately trying not to drown.

Back to my original question, or rather my CPN’s, “How you do get back from the point of no return?”

I would love nothing more than to give a quick and easy step-by-step guide that would enable anyone to get through it and survive with the least amount of suffering possible but sadly I can’t.
I have a few ideas I’d like to share though, the little things I believe gave me the strength to swim.

When crisis came knocking, I was able to read back these things and I knew that I could trust that they were facts, not my interpretations or assumptions.


For me, ultimately it was having someone to confide in who I trusted implicitly. Someone who could and did hold my hand and reassured me. To have someone that knows you as well as anyone outside yourself can, and allow them to help. I know it’s not easy to find such a person, it has taken me a lifetime. They have the wonderful advantage of not being stuck in your mind, they can help think what’s best for you with insight and understanding. If they know you well they know what works for you and what has the potential to make things worse. They will hold hope for you until you can take it back.

Moments of light

I searched for anything that can take my mind off suicide for a moment, even just a split second. The more I was able to inject these tiny fragments of time into this vast blackness of my mind the more moments I had to catch a breath, to find a morsel of strength, which gave me more fragments of time and create the potential for them to grow, to build into minutes and possibly hours.

If you imagine your mind as the blackest of skies spread across the whole galaxy without any stars or light at all. Then, through absolute determination, you catch a break with that single second, that single fragment of light, and put it into the sky like a star. The more stars you gather the brighter it all becomes and the easier it is to see a way forward.

I know it’s not a simple case of distracting yourself for a few minutes and hey presto! you’re all better, but I found it helpful to find anything that made my mind think differently just to catch a break, because I know the pain that comes with the intensity of a dark sky. For me, it could be the absolute simplest of things like listening to a two-minute guided meditation and losing myself in it for a second, writing down something that matters to me, or simply a five-minute walk round the block. Keeping it simple, no pressure, nothing too unmanageable or overwhelming. I know it can sound ridiculous but it helped challenge my thoughts, just a little.

Creating the routine

Routine really helped to ground me and give me some purpose. To build on these moments of light, I wrote down (when I could manage to) the things I knew made me smile, things like buying myself flowers or doing something fun with my children. Even something so simple and small as reading just the one page of a book.

On days I could, I picked one thing off the list that I felt I able to do and did it, then another and another. It’s no quick fix, it’s not always possible but slowly it helped. Ultimately it gave me something to hold onto: it was something that I had managed to do to try help myself.

I also wrote down two things before I went to bed and when I woke up that I was grateful for. It didn’t have to be anything big or profound, anything at all. Sometimes it was just being grateful for my bed, or to have coffee – anything that forced me to think about something positive. When I was searching for something to be grateful for, I was not completely consumed in thoughts of suicide.

Other ways I created a routine included setting small manageable goals, something to aim for, focus on and hold onto; when I reached them I felt comfort from that small sense of accomplishment. Small steps felt so much more achievable, leaving less room for disappointment and anger.


I’m very aware how often we are told to get outdoors go for a walk, that’ll it’ll help somehow. I almost hate to admit that there is some truth in it for me. I know that I can feel safer outdoors, as I don’t usually self harm when out of the safety of my home, so it felt protective to step outside. Time spent alone indoors gave me more time and space for my mind to ruminate and spiral. Sometimes, just ten minutes outside with headphones on helped.


I found it helpful to make time to talk with someone, either in person or on the phone. It could be a friend, a professional, or even a helpline, just someone I felt able to chat with, a small break to chat about the weather, kids, TV. Again, it’s something small, but this little break of aimless talking really helped lift me, gave me some relief, perspective, or even just a distraction.

Fighting for myself

I decided to write down the things I felt were worth fighting for. For me it was not wanting to miss out on watching my kids grow up, not being there to protect them and keep them safe. Above all I couldn’t bear the thought of them hating me.
 At least if I’m alive and they hate me I can do something to fix that, change it, try to make it better. I can work through that with them rather than leaving them to manage the hurt, pain and anger alone.

Notes of positivity

A final thing that I found profoundly helpful was when life felt more manageable I started a notebook and only wrote down the nice things people said to me or did for me. Things that showed people cared, that they loved and accepted me. Things that made me feel like I mattered, something as simple as someone texting saying, “How are you doing?” or someone saying I looked nice today or gesture like a hug. I would jot it all down, then, when crisis came knocking, I was able to read back these things and I knew that I could trust that they were facts, not my interpretations or assumptions. In my darkest days it gave me something to cling to, to bring me some comfort.

The more stars you gather the brighter it all becomes and the easier it is to see a way forward.

None of these things are a quick fix or a solution to end all of someone’s pain and suffering. These are actions that I personally found helpful but they may not work or help others at all. When you’re in the depths of crisis it’s not easy to see the sense in things like these, but I truly hope something somewhere does click for you and that trying one of these can give you a star in your own dark sky. I honestly believe the more breaks in the cycle of self-hate and self-destruction you can make, the more you gain the strength to keep fighting and, in turn, the more you fight the more breaks you’ll get.

I hope I make sense and that maybe someone finds even a little comfort and help in the things I have described. I’m no expert but something I do know, all too well, is what it’s like to be at absolute rock bottom feeling like everyone hates you and trying desperately to claw your way out. I know you can do this and find whatever works for you. You have the strength and ability to get through this, and you are truly worthy of happiness and love.