The One About Suicide

Source: Bing Images

Source: Bing Images

Spring 2008

The pain was so much; I thought I would do anything to escape it. it wasn’t so much the physical pain, which was intense –  it was the emotional pain that I couldn’t handle. I had been back from the hospital for at least a few days, maybe up to a week and I was still unable to get out of bed. The fibroids that had led to the miscarriage were so large; I could feel them just by touching my stomach. They were also painful - everything was difficult; sleeping, walking, using the restroom. Almost every action irritated them and sent the pain flaring through my stomach and fanning my resentment.

My resentment against these interlopers that had wrecked my life.

There were at least three that I knew of – big ones. The one on the right side went all the way past my navel and the two on the opposite were stacked one on top of the other, big as grapefruits {the doctor that removed them later told me there had been seven, the three big ones I knew of and four smaller ones}.

But at this point, surgery was the last thing on my mind; I was still grieving over the loss of my 14-week pregnancy. I raged at God, and at my husband as one gray day rolled into another. Every day was the same – an unrelenting, massive hole of sorrow and depression. The thought of ending it all did cross my mind. I didn’t think I could live a lifetime with the pain I carried inside me. I looked longingly at the array of medication I had been sent home with; what would happen if I popped all the covers and swallowed every pill, I asked myself? For one frozen moment, I considered ending my life – but I didn’t. The thought flew away as quickly as it had come. With God’s grace and the support of my family, I came out of my depressive state and soon had cause to rejoice.

Before that experience, I had always wondered what would make someone feel so hopeless that they ended their lives. Even with all its challenges, ups and downs, life is still worth living – that’s what I always thought. Then I found out why. I found that there’s a pit of despair so deep that some people can never get out. I lived in that pit of despair for a while, but God delivered me.

Since then, news of suicides always affects me. Depresses me. Because I realize how close I came – I know that, but for the grace of God, the story could have been about me. There have been a few high profile suicides in the news the past few months, which made me wonder again, why? Why would this person, with seemingly everything to live for, decide that there was no hope but to end it all?:

First, Gia Allemand, a young starlet who had been on a reality show hanged herself in August, 2013 while on the phone with her mother. Her mother later said Gia had been in a dark mood and was worried about abandonment. She was 29.

Then, Lee Thompson, a young actor who had been a Disney child star and was working on the show ‘Rizzoli and Isles’ shot himself in August, 2013. He was 29. The news of Lee Thompson’s suicide was a shock because I used to watch his show every week and I almost felt like I knew him. After he died, I found myself thinking about his demeanor and wondering why no one on set had noticed his depression. I imagined that I could see some melancholy in his eyes, in his acting – sort of like he wasn’t fully invested in it. This is all after the fact, of course and you know hindsight is 20/20.

But, this stuff isn’t just a ‘Hollywood thing’, you know? Suicide affects Christians too – a good friend of mine, who had been having some difficulties, once confided in me that he imagined killing himself more than once. Like me, he’s a Bible-believing Christian, and like me, he was faced with a life that just seemed hopeless. Thank God, he didn’t act on those impulses.

But that isn’t the case for every Christian who is faced with these thoughts.

Rick Warren’s son, Matthew Warren, shot himself in April, 2013. His father, a popular and well-known pastor said Matthew had been dealing with years of mental illness and depression. Ironically, the night Matthew killed himself, he had just spent a wonderful evening with his parents. But, despair overtook him when he got home and he ended his life. He was 27.

Then, a few weeks ago, I read the news that made me write this piece:

Jesse Taylor Jr., a pastor in Georgia, shot himself one Sunday morning early this month. He had sent his wife and children to church ahead of him that morning, then shot himself in the driveway of his home. During his funeral, a close friend said that he had struggled with manic depression for years.

I couldn’t imagine it. A pastor, ostensibly on his way to Sunday service, sends his family to church and then kills himself? This same pastor had just literally talked a suicidal church member off the ledge a few months before he died; then he kills himself? His close friends, who spoke after his death said he had struggled with depression for years and felt that God had withdrawn from him.

"I try to pray but Iike feel God is not hearing me”, he said during a sermon, posted on YouTube. That statement expressed his sorrow that at those times, he couldn’t hear from God, couldn’t feel God. He killed himself, because he looked down the road and found only darkness, despair, and hopelessness. I can’t even imagine the pain his family must have gone through…and are still going through.

I realize that people are walking around, but the normal facade sometimes hides pain that is unbearable; a despair that swallows any glimpse of hope. Who can see into anyone's heart and realize how close they are to the edge? Who can send help in the nick of time - through a concerned friend, a shared story, a simple smile? Why does God stay some people's hands and not others?

Questions, questions, questions. Not as many answers. 

As the season of Thanksgiving draws near, I’m grateful to God that I’m still here. I’m grateful that He surrounded me with family and friends (especially my girl Chioma, who drove almost two hours from school at my husband’s request, just to talk to me face-to-face). 

I pray that everyone who needs help finds it. I pray that God will sprinkle His mercy liberally, and awaken a spark of hope in every hopeless situation; a spark that will make a difference. 

Life is not perfect, but it is precious. If you're carrying a burden too heavy to bear, don't do it alone. Talk to someone. Share that burden. Live.

National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

This is me...just thinking.


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