Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jeff. First of all, I’m wishing you support on your path to assist you in reaching a state of greater peace with your mental health. And very happy to hear that you aren’t suicidal!
Not trying to convince you of anything here, but I figured I’d offer a few ideas you might find interesting (or at least reassuring):
I read once in a book by past-life regressionist Mira Kelley that some people who are here right now have indeed not been on a hamster wheel of death and rebirth. Namely, the idea was that every soul on Earth potentially has had a different approach/game plan about incarnations here, and one incarnation alone suits some souls just fine! So there’s nothing to say that we are all necessarily living identical journeys—and a Buddhist perspective would seem inclined to agree.
I also really loved the book Journey of Souls by Dr. Michael Newton. Newton is a hypnotherapist who took an unexpected turn in his career into past-life regressions, and his work seems to suggest that each of us incarnates by choice, with a larger plan in mind. (He also mentions that spiritual growth is absolutely possible outside of the struggles of this plane and that Earth incarnations are not a requirement.) Moreover, there was a passage in Journey of Souls where it said that some lives full of suffering can carry a much more “enjoyable” incarnation afterwards, so to speak, as a sort of package deal. I was told something along those lines by the medium, too, in a later session with her: the idea that my current lifetime and my WWII lifetime were designed as a pair, with the current one put in place (in part) to help heal what happened before. (Seven years out from that message, I see the pair of lifetimes as having an even more overarching purpose, but that’s another topic.)
So that is another possibility to entertain: that it is not all a wheel of suffering after all, but rather that there is a larger intention / intelligence / energy (or what have you) guiding the human experience… and that sometimes the aim is not to continue learning through pain, but rather to learn through love and joy. In other words, if we do come back, our next lifetime(s) might be immensely less painful than whatever we experienced before.
Who knows what happens, but maybe not every soul jumps into the wheel of reincarnation after all. And it’s nice to think that the souls who come back, supposedly do so because they really want to.
There’s a Rumi quote that reminds me often of the WWII-era lifetime:
The wound is the place where the light enters you.
I was afraid of that past life and all its wounds for a very, very long time… but once I began to meet some of my old soulmates and shift my thinking about it, my latent connection to that incarnation became a journey, primarily, of awe and of healing through love. I wish the same kind of healing through love for anyone, in every lifetime.