Taking a knife and slashing it across my arm became all too common as a kid. During this time I tricked myself into thinking that I was somehow balancing out my mental anguish by inflicting physical pain. After settling into the habit of cutting myself every time something went wrong, an evolution took place. What was the evolution you might ask? It’s simple; the habit became a lifestyle.

The evolution was a constant cycle of nothingness. One that was more predictable than a helpless White girl tripping and falling as she runs from a slasher killer in a horror film. Constant mental torment was always the starting point of my pain. It was cunning and crafty in its attempts to reel me in and deplete me until the pain seemed unbearable and I felt like I was out of options. One day the torment got so out of control until the act of balancing the mental and physical pain was no longer good enough. Hearing words in my head like “worthless,” “purposeless” and “piece of sh*t” was my norm. Those same lies that inhabited my mental space pushed me to the point of embracing a suicidal lifestyle.

Embracing and believing lies is a deadly place to be, but it was something I learned firsthand from 1998 to 2008. When we aren’t mindful of our self-worth, we put ourselves in a space to be easily led by lies. These lies speak to us in a way that seep into our core and seem to take control of our inner most being. Not everyone dealing with these thoughts is at the point of no return, but with the lack of investment, you can find yourself there soon enough.

For those who are burdened by the thoughts and actions of suicide, I empathize with you. I understand how excruciating the physical pain is, but even more so, I remember how hard it was to shut down the agonizing thoughts that led to suicidal attempts. For those of you who might feel like you’re lonely and pathetic, you’re not. I know it feels like your mistakes and bad decisions are unforgivable. You might even feel like you’ve wasted your time and now life has passed you by.

But hear me when I say, “If you are still living, then your purpose is greater than death.”

You are still alive for a reason and it’s not to attempt suicide until you’re successful. In my latest book, “Love Between My Scars,” I talk about saying no to suicide by “starving the beast.” Many of us face beasts in our lives that seem to get the best of us, constantly. As it pertains to overcoming depression, the lies that ensue and the suicide attempts that follow, it’s important to identify the “beast” in these specific areas of our life. What person, place, thing or expectation have you relinquished your power over to? It is important to acknowledge and accept your truths of what you have allowed.

In order to overcome the action, you must address the thought because as we think, so we become. It’s important to understand that suicidal attempts are the outcome of a seed that was sown well before the action was ever a thought. In order to starve the beast that leads to your demise, you must starve the thought. Easier said than done, but with consistent time and willingness, it is indeed possible. In order to get to that space of starving your thoughts, you have to face the lies that have tormented you and altered your perception of who you are.

The most interesting part about perception is that we control it, once we can reclaim our rightful place. Just because you’ve lost yourself in the whirlwind of thoughts does not mean that you are done for. It’s time for you to guard your gates and say, “NO.”  No to every negative thought that has plagued you. “No” to the negative words and energy people have used against you. “No” to the actions done towards you. And “no” to everything you have told yourself and allowed. It’s time to think about what we accept mentally and emotionally before we freely give our “yes.”

Most of the things we deal with do not deserve our time and space. While we acknowledge this week as National Suicide Prevention Week, it’s very important to understand the power we have in prevention. The power to stand firm in our truth and say, “No” to being controlled by thoughts that were never meant to control us. You are not losing in life. You are not failing. You are simply between the dream.

Richard Taylor is an author and motivational speaker from Chicago. His high-energy motivational series, “Getting Over The Hump” is intended to inspire people to tap into their inner potential. For more on Richard, visit www.unashamednation.com.