It has been nine years. Nine years since I looked at an approaching Detroit City Bus and wondered how much it would hurt to just step in front of it. It was not the first time I considered ending my life, but it was the last.
For much of my life I struggled with depression and anxiety. I was on antidepressants and antianxiety medicate for several years. Sometimes it helped, sometimes it did not. I remember the first day I took an antidepressant and I was dancing around the room. A dull grey world suddenly burst forth in full color and it was electrifying. However, the cause of the depression continues to weigh upon a person and without counselling, help and love, it will return.
Stress is a byproduct of depression and anxiety and it exacerbates the underlying condition. Stress at the office, stress of family, the stress of being depressed and wanting to put on a good face, just digs a deeper hole. At some point, you realize how dark a place you are in.
Jeremiah Johnston wrote a good article on How We Can All Help Prevent Suicides, but I can attest as one who considered the unthinkable over the course of decades, that there are some points it left out. We need to understand that to consider ending one’s life, that person has to buy into one of these lies:
1-The world would be a better place without me. When a person is beaten down and bullied and told they are worth nothing, this lie starts to take hold. I believe this is one of the more common lies that leads to suicide today. Look at social media. There are no prisoners taken in the social media interactions. It is a metaphoric kill or be killed. Look at our politics, if you step out of line, you are a liar, a bigot, a racist, fascist, Nazi, or worse. A caring, loving person does not want to be these things. If you hear the assertions enough times, you might start to believe them.
2-I’ll show them how it feels. This is very similar to the first lie. This takes on the persona of being able to “get back” at our tormenters. However, the tormenters who do not care about you now, won’t feel any remorse if you take your own life. My brother-in-law probably used this reasoning to take his life. He was in a painful second marriage, he asked her to not leave him, she said no, and he put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger, in front of her. He left two kids behind who to this day still don’t understand.
3-The pain will end. If you are in so much pain that you only want it to end, suicide won’t end it. It just transfers that pain to the people who have to clean up after you. I believe that Robin Williams believed this lie. Instead of facing the pain, and trying to look it in the eye and call it’s bluff, he gave in.
4-Maybe “they” will notice this time. Yes, somebody will notice. Somebody will shake their head, and then life must move on. If you are taking your life to get noticed, what is the message you are trying to convey? Do you want somebody to be so overwhelmed that they take their life?
5-Sacrificing myself will make their life easier. People at the end of their resources use this lie. The insurance will pay for my kids. My wife will be able to pay off our bills. I can speak with total confidence that they would rather have you, than have a lump sum.
These lies tie back to one thing. That you are worth less than the person who stands next to you. I don’t believe that. I believe there is charm, purpose, light, happiness and joy in every person on this earth. There is worth and quality to be found in everyone. There is a reason you are here in this place and time. I’m certain it’s not to leave a hole in the hearts of others. No, you are here to be an overcomer, to have a victory over the lies. You have reason for being. You are loved.
Nine years ago I considered stepping in front of a bus. I didn’t tell my wife or family for many months after that. My wife was distraught, and she helped me know that I was loved. My family, well they accused me of trying to manipulate them. They might be right. The one thing that pulled me off the ledge was finding faith in Christ. Yes, I know the latest high profile suicide was a pastor. But for him to give into suicide, he had to believe a lie. He had to give in to the scheme of the devil. He compromised. He lost.
If you are considering hurting yourself, you can call a suicide hotline, you can reach out to your pastor, you can find a counsellor, you can visit your doctor and get some happy pills. Reach out to somebody, anybody. The national suicide prevention hotline is 800-273-8255. Call them.
If you can’t bring yourself to call them, reach out to me. I’ll talk with you. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, my cell phone is 602-616-4001, text me and say I want to hurt myself. I’ll find a way to get back to you, and we can talk. If you want to take a stand against suicide, add your phone number as a comment. Together we can take a stand and change things for the better.
Trees define my view
The evergreen cedar stands tall and strong
The maple stand proud with boughs long
The land supports their lofty play
The roots run deep in dark red clay
The trees define my view
My God defines my faith
My Lord and savior eight years together
Dedicated to You now, and yes, forever
Help me see your plan, my path
Richer life, better plans thou hath
My God defines my faith
Your truth defines reality
The way the Truth and the Life
Not now, nor ever, relief from strife
But together through abundance and lack
You stand ready to have my back
Your Truth defines all truth
You are the great I AM