It’s been almost a year since the last time I tried to take my life. It’s been almost a year since I’ve indulged in suicidal ideation. Not to say I haven’t thought about it; but it’s been months since I thought about suicide at all.
The fact that nearly a year ago, my 13-year-old daughter had to find me laying on my bedroom floor, then witness me being pulled out on a stretcher and placed in an ambulance, and not seeing me for a week after that because I was forced to stay in an institution four hours away, is something I have to learn to forgive myself for.
It’s not so much the burden that I placed upon myself that hurts so damn much and so deeply. It’s the pain, the doubt, the fear, and the weight of a broken heart I placed upon my kids, my family, and the few friends I kept at a distance.
Some people believe that suicide is selfish. They are right. They are probably survivors. Those who were left behind to hurt and wonder: what could I have done differently? How could I have helped? Did I not love deep enough? Was I not there enough? Did I not listen enough? Was I too mean? Too selfish? Too busy?
They’re left doubting, hurting, beating themselves up, and struggling to understand. Some are left with a deep sorrow, wondering and questioning if there is a chance at all that they will get to see you in Heaven, and there is a lot of pain in that. So, yes, with all of this in mind, suicide is selfish.
BUT, for those who are hurting so deeply, so fiercely and in such a violent and dark state of turmoil inside, there is no rational. Suicide seems like the only thing that makes sense. There is only a prisson of dispair, the spirit has been suffocated, and there is a deep, but dark need to be free. I can tell you from my own personal experience: feeling worthless, unnecessary, unwanted, unneeded, used up, beaten up, beaten down, tortured by nightmares and memories that have made you lose hope in yourself, in humanity, and existence, while withering away behind closed doors because the looks on people’s faces and how they seem saddened in your presence, is total torture. Seeing that others are hurt or sad because of you, makes the thought of ending your own life seem like you are freeing them from a burden. So, with this said, it’s also NOT selfish.
Suicide is misunderstood, informatively misguided, heavily stigmatized on both sides of the spectrum, and mistreated. It’s a touchy subject that can be very different from one person to the next. Here, I am only sharing my personal experiences and opinions. People are afraid to open up about it. Survivors and those who have tried. It carries a lot of shame and embarrassment.
I’m ashamed and embarrassed. I’m no expert, but I wondered for a long time how in the world was I still alive after 8 suicide attempts in my lifetime, and WHY? The first thing I heard when I became conscious in the hospital this last time was “God really wants you alive for something lady, you better take this chance seriously and figure out what it is”. It was a nurse. I don’t remember her name because things were a blur. But that sticks with me. Because she was right. I’m still trying to figure it out.
The world is moving quickly. The weight that is placed on each generation becomes heavier as we are programmed to either look the other way or be too busy with media and technology to be aware. As we “evolve” we are also “de-evolving”. Our need for what we REALLY need has declined. We were made to love and to be loved. We were made to look up with gratitude and praise and to kneel in brokenness and humility. We were made to make connections with one another. To come together in our celebrations and our tragedies and lift each other up through all that life has to throw at us. I can’t help but wonder: if we slowed down a bit, looked up and reached out more, would the suicide and depression rate decline? It’s rhetorical.
So, as I continue trying to figure out what God’s plan is for me, I move as I am moved. I was recently moved to go back to church. I left my church 5 years ago. Mostly due to my own shame (stories for another time). I tried going back a few times but it never stuck. I didn’t feel it. I was too angry at God. I felt like an outsider. The church continued to grow and grow and thrive. In returning just recently, I felt like a stranger. Not because of them. But because of myself. See, when I was going through my struggles, I failed to see everyone else’s. I couldn’t be mad or upset that they weren’t there for me, because I wasn’t there for them. And I don’t mean “there for them” necessarily to help “them”, but there for them to see me broken, so we could be broken together and heal together.
It’s very hard to do; stepping out into the world when you feel like dying. If you are feeling this way, please give yourself and give others a little credit. Somebody wants you here, that’s why you are. So please don’t leave. I know it’s hard to believe sometimes, but you matter.
I’ve come to believe that when you surround yourself with good, loving, genuine, kind people who understand that a relationship, spiritual and alive, is more important than all the stigmas placed on being human, you’ll find that it’s perfectly ok to be a mess.
Look around you. We don’t wear our personal lives as name badges. “Alcoholic”, “Angry”, “Porn Addict”, “Speed Addict”, “Bankruptcy”, “Disease”,
“Divorce”, “Self-Harm”…. We all have flaws, we’re all fighting a battle, we’re all broken. Let’s be broken together…so we can heal together.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)