I’m sharing this old post because today, 10th September, is World Suicide Prevention Day, and it seemed apt. It is an oscillating internal dialogue between suicide and hope. You’ll be glad to know, it ends with hope. But if it’s a subject likely to trigger you in any way, please open another tab and find something – anything – supportive and uplifting.
There are times when I feel like I can’t carry on. Depression is so wearing, and the side effects of the drugs supposed to control it make me wonder why I bother with them. The two amazing little people I gave life to and would give my life for hardly raise a smile, and grate on my nerves, driving me to distraction and causing undeserved shouting in their direction. Darling husband stands alongside, knowing and worrying without really understanding, and wonderful friends do chores and provide tissues, hoping this is a phase that will pass soon. I hope too, but the world is just too painful and life is just too hard. Sometimes life feels like death, and death seems like peace, and all I want to do is quietly slip away.
Of course, there is no quietly slipping away – however you go, a huge tidal wave follows in your wake. It’s not like a party where you can sneak out the back door and nobody notices. Making an active decision to ends one’s own life has repercussions that go far beyond the black suits and eulogies. As much as you try to persuade people that there was nothing they could have done, and that you love them and don’t want to leave them, at the end of the day they are left with nothing but guilt and a tear stained note. Suicide is messy.
But the idea of death runs amok in my head. I sometimes wish that I could die in some completely blameless way, so that everyone around me can grieve and move on. And there are times when I feel angry at my wonderful little family, because they are the reason I can’t end it all now. I have to tell myself constantly that it will get better, that it’s worth fighting through the dark days.
But although there is one aspect of all this which seems like pointless semantics, it is actually more important than it is possible to state: There is a difference between wanting to die and being suicidal.
Not wanting to face the world tomorrow isn’t the same as actively wanting to end it all permanently. That isn’t to say that things aren’t bad – life feels hopeless at the moment, and I can’t imagine it ever changing. I feel hemmed in and trapped, and feel like a small child wanting to throw myself on the floor and say “I just can’t do it any more!” But while I can keep the difference in my mind, there is hope.
There’s this story I know. It’s about a man who had to do something he didn’t want to do, despite knowing that it was his very purpose. His name is Jesus, and lots of people who talk about him will tell you about a Sunday, when he rose from the dead and made sin a thing that never need stain us again, and provided the gateway to a Heaven unimaginable and a Father infinitely loving. It’s an amazing story.
But how many people hear the story of the Thursday before, when this man threw himself down and wept and sobbed and shouted “I just can’t do it! Please don’t make me! I can’t face it!” Even knowing that his next action would save every single person from death, changing the world beyond recognition, doing away with all that comes between a sinful people and a holy God, this man Jesus said all the things to his father that I am saying every minute of every day.
Jesus didn’t want to carry on with the Father’s plan for his death, but he did it. I don’t want to carry on with my Father’s plan for my life, but each day, hour, minute, second, I do it. Likening my situation to that of Jesus feels like a huge supposition, but I can carry on by telling myself that, if nothing else, He knows how I feel.
And after every Thursday, there always comes a Sunday, however long it takes.