To Live or Not to live? The Question of Suicide
A Journey to Find the Right Answer
Don’t let this title, or post, frighten you. My therapist thought it would be a good idea to share honestly about my journey, or struggle, with depression and suicidal thoughts. I am well enough to share openly and she believes there is no risk as long as I continue to meet with her and share rather than wear my thoughts.
Today is an important day for me because I am going to be brutally honest about my journey and my current thoughts. I want to educate people and provide insight into mental illness and suicide. I’m not a doctor, or therapist. I am not making any suggestions, or giving advice, except to say this: if you, or someone you know, is talking about ending their life - especially if they have a plan in place, please call the national, or local, Suicide Prevention Line. In Canada that number is: 1-833-456-4566 https://www.crisisservicescanada.ca/en/. In the United States call: 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org for more information.
As I begin this long journey with you it is important to recognize the fact that the world has been living (and dying) through a pandemic for the last 17 months. A virus has been attacking us in more ways than one. We have so far come through various forms of lock-down (referred to by some as “martial law”). People have not only lost family and friends to this virus, they have also lost contact with the ones who have survived, or are surviving. Schools and daycares have been closed for the most part; parents (especially the ‘single’ parents) are up against all odds. Businesses have closed down. Jobs have been lost. The food insecurity in the world is at an all time high. Drug overdoses and suicide have increased. Man has risen up against man. Country has risen up against country and mother nature has joined by adding to our burdens: fires burning down communities, earthquakes, tornadoes … I’ll just stop here. Please. I know there is positivity to be found but that’s not what this post is about.
Let’s recognize now that many people, (children included), who would likely not be affected by depression and suicide ideation, are now finding themselves lost in it all. Then, of course, there are those of us who struggled long before Covid-19 hit. What now? People are hanging on to whatever keeps them going by the skin of their teeth.
What keeps you going? Do you think your fate is sealed? I am a born again Christian. I’ve been hanging on by the skin of my faith. It’s not easy to share this with you because there is a multitude of people who don’t have faith who would suggest to me that people who believe in, and follow, Jesus shouldn’t be suicidal. Even in my lowest moments during this “unprecedented time” I have been aware that there is a movement that is mobilizing to spread the gospel message throughout the world. People are just desperate enough to listen to it now. It is that very message that has kept me alive so far.
I have SUFFERED from depression since the age of 12. My heart often feels like its been through a shredder. There are nights when I lay awake at night because my eyes won’t close and I can’t seem to shut the world off. My thoughts look like an information highway running from one corner of my brain to another. I’m not sure that you’ll understand how I can follow up these statements by saying how deeply I have longed in earnest to love God deeper than the deepest ocean. I’ve longed to bring Him my pure heart at the end of everyday and say “this is my sacrifice for your glory”. Please don’t assume that I am legalistic and think of God as a taskmaster, or an ogre. I love God. I love His Word and spend much time reading and studying the Bible. But, I am still mentally ill. Those two words are difficult to say, like the “C” word.
You can’t tell someone who suffers from depression to ‘renew their minds’, or pray more. Please don’t tell them they are possessed by a demon. Sometimes it’s just physiology. Sometimes it’s psychology (trauma). Sometimes it just is what it is. Whatever the cause may be, trust me when I say, the person suffering doesn’t need to hear your diagnosis. James 3:19 tell us to be “quick to hear and slow to speak”.
Too many people think that if God doesn’t heal you on this side of eternity that He is an ogre or taskmaster. I am aware, (to infinity and beyond), of God’s goodness and he is neither of those things. There are those who think that if we are not healed we must have sinned - please read all 42 Chapters of Job; you may have a change of heart. Another day, I’ll share with you, how the pain wants me to depart before my time and why the spirit in me wants to stay. The big question is, “to live or not to live?”
Today the answer is, “I live”.