Bear with me as I expose some very hard, honest truths about myself. To some, these may expose myself to be weak or very foolish to publish to the world. However, I know that there are many out there like myself and maybe if one person can read this and realize they are not alone they won’t do what I almost did or be ashamed of almost doing the same thing.
I’ve pondered for a long time about writing about suicide and depression… but it’s just so, well, damn depressing.
I was in middle school. I am not sure if I was in 7th or 8th grade exactly, but somewhere in there. From the outside, I don’t imagine that a lot of adults could tell that there was an issue. I was a young girl going through puberty with mood swings… what was so different about that? Well, I couldn’t rightly tell you what was different. My home life wasn’t much different. My parents were getting along the same as usual. Life just felt different. The normal day-to-day jabs from school girls felt like mine fields. Teacher’s tasks seemed insurmountable. When I got home nothing cheered me up. I didn’t feel like eating much either. Dinner may have consisted of a cookie or two after I told my mom I would make something to eat (I would even put dishes in the dishwasher to make it look like I ate a real meal). I no longer played my instruments and I was withdrawn… very withdrawn. I cried in my bedroom many nights over nothing in particular. I was just sad. All of the time.
Then the thoughts came. Being a spiritual person I didn’t see the harm in ending it all, like so many believed. I believed that I would just go ahead and use my ticket to heaven a little sooner than everyone else. I plotted and schemed and planned the ordeal. A lot of thoughts went into this event. I didn’t want to mess up, as I couldn’t stand the physical pain. This was not a cry for help. I didn’t want help. I didn’t want to share this with anyone. I was embarrassed about doing it but wasn’t sure how to put the wheels back on the broken wagon.
I’m not sure which came first… the time my mom took me to the doctor or the time I had the weapon in my hand. The only thing I remember was trying to rig this thing in such a way that I wouldn’t have to do much. And then… by the grace of God I just stood there staring at it. I knew it would not work and I decided I didn’t want to take my own life (couldn’t bear the thought of what it might do to my mom), even though I continued to pray for God to take it. Day after day I prayed for him to make me die in my sleep. Yet, He did not.
Praise God that my mom had some intuition and took me to a doctor and I spent a few months on some medicine that helped for a really bad season.
Bad moments and seasons have come and gone since those middle school years. Some have been tremendously more worthy of sitting in a room and wishing the world to stop spinning but I don’t think I’ve wished for that in over 25 years. There have been seasons of such heavy grief and years upon years of strife and tension that it surprises me a little that I walked away without a daily prescription.
I look back at my young self and I still stand by that the hormone changes in that young girl had a deep and negative impact on her. It was a bad season, yet one I never forget or take for granted.
Now, with my feet and faith firmly rooted where they are, I know that I am loved even if some days it only feels like from Him. I know that I am admired, even if some days it only feels like from Him. I can be pleased with my words, thoughts and actions even if some days it only feels like from Him.
Just like people sharing stuff on social media about politics isn’t going to change someone else’s mind about politics, my sharing may not change anyone’s opinion/judgement on people who are suicidal. Yet, I do still pray for that. I pray for people to be more tender and compassionate with those folks who are stuggling mentally. … For those folks who just can’t seem to shake the blues off of ther backs. … For those folks who have a hard time finding a reason to go on. Because, the truth is, I believe there are more of us who have lived through this kind of situation than we think. I believe that the stigma associated with suicide is so great and we hide in the shadows with our stories. We hide because we are embarrassed. Maybe we numb it out with addictions or we run from it in our careers or busyness of family life.
Yet, in the sharing, we take away the power. In sharing, WE own the story rather than the story owning us. In sharing, we find we are not alone. In sharing, we find compassion and love. In sharing, we see the face of God in those who are kind and compassionate to us. God here on earth. In spirit. In ways that we otherwise wouldn’t see or feel.