April 29 marks four years since I gave up the option of suicide. I never could have fathomed what that one decision would end up meaning in my life.
I spent many, many years with suicide as a viable option to end the pain of my depression. Each time something would happen, or even nothing would happen, and my depression would worsen, I would just long to be dead and out of pain. I just wanted to be rid of the heaviness, the darkness and most of all the thought of having to live another day with all of that. I wasn’t ‘living’ anyhow, so why not make it literal? It wasn’t so much the desire to kill myself as it was just to be free of the depression.
Having that ‘option’ was my security blanket. It was how I coped with the depression. And, somehow, it was also what kept me living.
So why didn’t I ever attempt anything? It wasn’t for lack of desire; and it wasn’t because I thought of how it might affect those I left behind. I just didn’t have a clean, reliable plan. Plain and simple. What was reliable, shooting myself or going in front of a train, wasn’t clean. What was clean, using pills and alcohol, wasn’t reliable.
April 29, 2010 brought a different way of thinking.
Here’s how that played out: I had just visited with Pastor Peg. She, once again, questioned if I really had been serious about suicide since I had never made any attempts. This line of questioning was becoming very annoying! I got in my car to go to my therapy appointment and sitting there in the church parking lot, before I even put the key in the ignition, it struck me, “I just need to do IT!” By “It,” I meant to kill myself. I meant it with all my heart! However, as quickly as I had that thought, or quicker if that is possible, I decided to write a note to my therapist that simply said, “I will kill myself one day.”
My therapist and I had an unspoken agreement that I couldn’t take back anything that I physically gave her. By giving her that note, I was giving up that option as a way to deal with my depression. My therapist smiled, looked at me and asked, “So why now?” All I could say was, “I want to have a stronger relationship with God and He is about ‘living.’ Suicide is about ‘dying.’ I can’t have one while still holding on to the other.”
Somehow, over the years, I had placed God behind a glass wall. God was still visible, but I couldn’t hear or reach out to him because of that wall created by my desire to not live. I always said that I never quit believing during the time I didn’t go to church; but I also didn’t reach out to him during my darkest days. Now I can see why…*I* had put that wall there…and *I* had to be the one to break it down.
I finally had reached the point where I longed more to LIVE in Christ than to DIE on earth and the only choice I had to fix this was to give up the option of suicide…so I did!
Within just three months of that decision, I attended my first service at that church, obtained housing assistance to get an apartment after being homeless for a year (more on that another day), and got the job I still have nearly four years later!
Today I can honestly say that I am happier and more balanced than I have EVER been in my life!
“He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.”