seeing three people mention suicidal thoughts in one morning prompted me to write something, and despite it being a heavy topic, I feel it is worse to keep such thoughts hidden.
how can life be enjoyed when horrible things are constantly happening? why should we try to make anything of ourselves if it can be ended in an instant? I studied different religions for years trying to find the solutions to these problems, all of them pointing towards a distant future, after death, being better than this. it was difficult to get a grip when everything physical was temporary, and everything spiritual was far away, unknowable. this doesn't even include being constantly bogged down by life's struggles and trying to survive amidst terrible emotional pain.
the worst part of it is how easy it is to give in to the feeling. happiness takes effort, and sometimes it takes a blind eye to keep it. depression on the other hand is simple, you stop fighting, and misery finds its way in. I couldn't say there's an easy solution for it; it will always be a struggle to keep pulling yourself out of the hole. but, I've seen this desire to live outlast any temporary bout of depression, and I would consider anyone who has faced their suicidal demons to be a strong person.
for me, it poisoned things that I loved. I couldn't find meaning in the religion I adopted. I isolated myself from my friends and social outlets. I ruined my chances with people I loved dearly. when I had only myself, I thought I was done for, but I realized it had been a process of cleansing. I saw that my inability to let go of things had brought a lot of suffering, and now that they had been forced away, peace took their place, as I no longer was trying to control my life. so, I think one of the biggest contributors to suffering is the desire to control what happens to us, and it can explain why some people feel depression; when something is going "bad" for us and we wish it were another way, we'll feel upset. in a certain light, depression is an incredible teacher, as it will push you to make changes in your life that are positive, while showing you that holding on to those results and expecting certain things will cause misery. finally the buddhist tenent of "non attachment" made sense. still, this would only relieve suffering, but it wouldn't matter if all life was pointless.
I would look back at that desire to live despite the mind becoming sick with suicidal thoughts, and discover how to utilize it. at our most basic, we live to pass on our genes. above that, we may live to make an impact on others, having our name remembered in some way. this is still a subtle way to try and control what happens, and will stress us out if we aren't living up to our "potential." still above that, we might live to help others, but this becomes so difficult when all we see is suffering, and it will wear on the mind over time. it will also be difficult if our desire to help others is rooted in a fear of death or of those people dying. perhaps the better thing to do would be to look at suffering as something unavoidable, but not necessarily bad. suffering will bring compassion, seen by countless people pouring their hearts out in the wake of a crime, or in something smaller like helping out a person who's down on their luck.
the point to remember is that all this has meaning if all of it is connected. when we show kindness to someone, we show kindness to everyone. even better, if we can give love to someone, we are loving the entire universe. it's the same for suffering; harming someone, or yourself, harms everything. the moment we try to separate ourselves from it, wanting to escape, we will feel miserable, because we won't find an escape. I think the more noble thing to do is to try and live in it, trying to be something good even when surrounded by bad things. your kindness may rub off to others, even just one other person, and make a difference in that way. compassion would carry over into the afterlife as well, as real love is not temporary in the way that depression and suffering are. it is as if we have come to this earth to learn to love others and ourselves, and each bad feeling is only a test to overcome. we can drop out, or see it through and carry our lessons to experiences we can't even imagine now. it doesn't have to be pointless if you don't want it to be.