While in my hometown, I attended the funeral of my ex-brother-in-law. Adding to the tragedy and sorrow of the family and friends was that he committed suicide, leaving no explanation. As I sat behind his mom, brother, daughter and ex-wife, I listened as the pastor attempted to release any person of the guilt imposed by such a death. He explained that in this young man’s case, as is the case with many suicides, there was something evil inside of him…that had eaten away at him for a long time. And, even though Jesus saved him 18 months prior, this evil had such a hold on him that it finally took his life.
On our 12-hour drive home, Keith and I listened to a sermon during which Matt Chandler of the Village Church spoke of a staff member who had recently committed suicide. We didn’t purposefully put it on. That’s just what we do: listen to sermons and books and have some good discussion afterwards. This topic just happened to come up. Anyway, a couple of things Chandler said really stuck out for me: 1) Jesus died on the cross to cover all sins: past, present and future, which includes suicide. 2) If you’re sick, get help. People run to doctors all the time for physical ailments. Why is there such a stigma associated with seeking help for mental illness? If you suspected a broken foot, would you let shame (or whatever) keep you from seeing a doctor? If so, it will never stop hurting and those crutches are going to slow you down quite a bit, keeping you from much of your everyday activity. Why would you go through life suffering from the crazies when there is help available? Whether it’s a minor broken bone or a few irrational thoughts, get help.
I will admit that even I have sought professional help for my mental wellbeing. No, I don’t suffer from depression. My issues stem from anxiety. I know you’re just shocked to learn that. When I first told Keith that I was “getting help,” he begged me not to. He said my neuroses were one of the reasons he fell in love with me. My response: I don’t want to feel like a crazy person anymore. It’s exhausting living life on the brink of insanity, just waiting for some tiny, inconsequential thing (like a napkin left on the ottoman overnight) to send me over a bridge.
On that note, I’m not suicidal either. Right now that bridge is merely metaphorical. However, there was a time when I was young…very young…and probably all the way through high school that I suppose you could call a good portion of my thought life suicidal. During those years I never would have admitted, and honestly didn’t believe, that I would ever follow through with it. But I devoted much of my mental energy on just how I would do “it.” All the different methods, which is the least painful, which is easiest to get, which would make the biggest statement, which would cause my family the least amount of suffering, would I leave a note, if so to whom. The list goes on. Even now I can’t believe how morbid this all sounds! And I was in elementary school when it began for crying out loud! Seriously, what kind of child, or person, thinks like that? A seemingly normal, stable person. That’s who! I mean, do I look like a crazy, suicidal gal to you? Don’t answer that.
This kind of thinking is not “normal.” Normal would mean it’s just fine and dandy. Like Christmas candy. But it probably is more common than anyone thinks. Bottom line, get help if you need it. Even if you think you don’t need it.
I definitely don’t mean to be Debbie Downer. So, here are a few more things for which I am thankful:
- A God who chose me and loved me enough to send his only Son so that I could live and have fellowship with Him.
- Jesus who died on the cross to cover my sins. All of them.
- A magnificent husband who is gifted in countless ways and who I believe could do ANYTHING. Marrying that boy has turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.
- Three disobedient children whom God uses daily to remind me of His love, mercy and grace.
If you are getting used to and possibly looking forward to pictures at the end of each post, I regretfully end this one with none. The only pictures I took over Thanksgiving were with other people’s cameras, and most of them included the kids with their extended canine family members. Still, adorable. Perhaps I will acquire them for a future post.