I started to notice it in April. When it took a friend of mine from this earth much too early and so of course, it was too close to my own life again not to notice. Yet, its been taking people from this earth since the beginning. It manages to snake its way into the minds of teenagers, mothers, pastors, celebrities… no one has been left unaffected. As affecting as it is, as devastating as its venom is in our minds, it is flourishing under our society. Slowly it moves, subtle and cunning, so subtle that we do not see it until its too late.
It’s voice tells us there’s nothing we can do to rid ourselves of it; it whispers to us of its immortality, its power, and its immutability. It convinces us of its unbreakable strength while it coils around our minds and slowly starts to smother our hope and joy. Day by day, moment by moment, its robs us of our life. Until we can’t remember why we are alive and why we keep fighting through each day.
But its only TRUE power lies in its anonymity; in its ability to be unseen and unnamed. Its venom may be deadly, but it enters our minds slowly and in such small quantities that it goes unnoticed. Like a deadly cobra, it coils slowly as well; ever so slowly tightening its grasp on our minds and into our hearts until it seems too late to slip away from it.
Do you know of what I speak? Have you heard its voice now that you read this? Do you recognize the coils of it around your own heart and mind?
Its venom is depression, exhaustion, anxiety, discontentment, restlessness, and anger. This creatures name is suicide.
I’m sick of seeing it all around me, of it going unnamed and thriving off the “shame” its very name implies. There is nothing shameful about struggling with life, or about hurting or pain. Our world shames it because it doesn’t know how to fix it, because this deadly creature instills a fear in even the bravest and most intelligent of us. The older I get the more I realize that there are not many people in our world who haven’t been affected by suicide in some way; whether directly or indirectly. Anonymity has an inherent power behind it and I refuse to give this power to suicide anymore.
Suicide sucks. Suicidal thoughts suck. Depression, anxiety, shame, anger… it all SUCKS. But I know that the day a friend helped me see that my suicidal thoughts did not make me less of a person and it did not make me a human who deserved life LESS, I suddenly had a power OVER those thoughts. Suicidal thoughts are only powerful because for some reason, its become shameful in our society to admit we struggle with the thought of living sometimes. Why? Why is that shameful? Because God created us and we should be okay with every experience we have in life because were His creation? Ya’ll, that’s ridiculous. Just because we are God’s creation does not mean we don’t feel, that pain doesn’t affect us, and that trials won’t come. In fact, being God’s crowning creation means we feel more, that pain affects us deeply because we know there is more and there is better. It also means that trials will come, but we are equipped to defeat these trials.
Suicide is not weak, it is not cowardice, and it is not unbeatable. However, the more we shove it under the carpet or the more we whisper its name in fear, the more power it gains.
Suicide and the thoughts and pain and scars that accompany it, is beatable. It starts with us saying its name without fear, without shame. The next time you come across someone who struggles with the thought of living another day, don’t get awkward, don’t get weird! Acknowledge their bravery for being there in that moment, empower them to shake off the coils of that snake in their mind.
In the end, we cannot decide whether someone grabs suicide by the head and disentangles it from their mind, but we can help them know they are not alone, that they are deserving of a fulfilling life and no matter how long they wrestle with that snake in their mind, they are capable and strong to the very end…no matter how that end comes.
I’d also like to put it out there… just because someone has suicidal thoughts (and maybe they never quite go away) does not mean that person cannot live a fulfilling life anyway. In my own life, I stopped trying to get rid of my suicidal thoughts and instead focused on LIVING. Every now and then, those thoughts try to come slithering back into my mind but now they have lost much of their power and I don’t fault myself for having these thoughts. Though these thoughts come, they do not stay and they do not change the way I view myself or the way I then live. This is not to undermine the difficulty of such thoughts but to maybe give someone hope that though they feel overwhelming right now, and though you may feel like you’re treading water in the ocean of life, there is power dwelling within those limbs of yours that will get you ashore. Keep treading that water, and when you’re ready, swim for shore. You’re stronger than you know. I promise you that.
Signing off for now, but with much love,
P.S. If you’ve run out of strength and need a push towards shore, message your safe person. Tell them you need a push. And if you don’t have a safe person, I offer myself to you. I am not perfect, and I am not a trained professional, but I love you and I want you to live. ❤