Today is National Suicide Prevention Day – something near and dear to my heart. I’ve been on both sides – the therapist talking a client out of taking his life, and the patient in the mental hospital for trying to take my own life. I had to take a break from private practice while I was having suicidal thoughts for the sake of being unable to put my own feelings aside to help others. Several years have passed, and I will renew my counseling license, but I don’t know if I will ever go back into private practice. I want to lobby and write about suicide prevention – how there are minimal (if any) resources to help, how the topic is so taboo, and how unspoken depressive feelings continue to be. If you reach out for help, you lose friendships, you are shunned by church members, you are an outcast, or you are placed in a mental hospital where they pump you with drugs to keep you compliant (I was personally on 9 medications at one time during an admission last year).
Right now, today, I am not suicidal. I haven’t been for awhile, and when I say ‘awhile’, I mean several weeks, maybe two months. Perhaps I should clarify… I haven’t wanted to die in two months. I rarely become suicidal anymore as I know God will not let me die on my time schedule – I must wait for His timing… and I hate that fact. On the other hand, ‘wanting to die’ is, for the most part, always in the back of my mind as I am anxious for heaven… anxious for pain and heartache to end. Anxious to finally go home.
So let me give you some hints if you are or ever become suicidal:
Be prepared to hear you don’t have enough faith in God or you need to pray more. Even prepare for being told you give Christians a bad name for wanting to die. My mother once told me I wasn’t a true Christian if I was suicidal… don’t listen to such foolishness. Your brain has neurochemicals, which can malfunction and alternate your thinking. Throw in medications, childhood trauma, and life stressors, depression happens to the best of us.
All of the experts say you should get help… problem is, there is no safe, secure place to get help, at least not in my experiences. I have determined that while I no longer tell people how I truly feel when I am in a serious depression (I’ve been betrayed too many times, I’ve lost too many friends…), I am determined to bring awareness, however I can, to mental illness, especially suicide and depression.
If you are suicidal, try to just focus on the next hour, even the next 5 minutes if you have to… just hang on. Life can change so quickly, your situation can improve in an instant…hold on. I know it hurts, it’s lonely, it’s painful… the sunshine hurts, smiling hurts, you don’t want to interact with people or take a shower or brush your teeth or do anything. I understand. And I am sorry I do not have any quick, easy answers… you just have to hold on. Somehow, find a way. Be careful what you do, be careful who you trust, and believe in yourself. Believe you can change your life… you can dream and make those dreams come true. Yes, it will take time… time can be your worse enemy or your best friend. Take time as you can handle it, even if it is five minutes at a time. Please, don’t give up. Don’t let go. Find the strength to keep fighting.