I just became aware that it is World Suicide Prevention Day, 2019. And although I have written several posts already, I felt compelled to write this one today, as people may just be hearing of it or someone may find peace in my story, enough to keep them on this side of the living.
It was a regular day, meaning that I had gotten up and went to work. I had performed my job all morning, and it was lunch time. I had remarried to a man from another country, and I had spent a lot of money bringing his four kids to the United States, signing government papers that I would not allow them to go on public assistance.
I had my five children and two grandchildren already in a three-bedroom, one-bath home, when I agreed to take in the other four. I had been desperate to be married, and in my desperation, I hurried into a marriage that wasn’t meant to be. Suddenly, with my then-husband’s brother coming to live with us, without my agreement, there were fourteen people living in that little house.
Every day, there were fights, and my children were so unhappy, especially as the other children had not been taught to respect me. My children wasn’t having it. Even with Bible study once a week, the hate was so great. I was so tired from the constant bickering and fighting, which meant no peace at home, at the same time I was experiencing anxiety attacks at work from the long hours I worked.
One day, it became too much, and the darkness descended upon me as I walked to buy some lunch. As I stood among other people waiting for the light to change so we could cross the street, I heard myself think, “If I just walk out in front of a car, all of my troubles will be over, and everyone will be better off!”
I don’t know if I would have stepped into the path of a car, if I hadn’t felt what seemed like arms holding me and keeping me from doing so. But as soon as I felt strong enough to walk without stumbling, I crossed the street and kept walking for several blocks until I reached my doctor’s office. I told his nurse what had happened at the light, and she immediately put me in a room to see him.
I didn’t return from lunch that day, for the doctor sent me to a psychiatrist within an hour of hearing my story. The psychiatrist and I had a great conversation, and he decided that I did not need hospitalization or medication, as I was back in my “right” mind by then. But, he sent me to a psychologist, a woman who changed my way of thinking about my roles in life. It took a lot of talking and learning to love myself.
It was such a dark moment in my life, a point when the darkness was so great that I could see no light. The decision to commit suicide can happen in the blink of an eye. Yes, the situations that drive us to those ideas have usually be ongoing for awhile, but we cope until something sends us over the edge of sanity.
I was blessed that I was not alone that day, that God was truly with me. I had come to think of Him walking alongside of me, because He had saved me from dying twice during severe beatings from two different men. But that day, for just a moment, I forgot and thought that I needed to handle the horrors of my life alone.
I am not saying that those who succeed at suicide are not blessed or in God’s care, for that is not what I believe. I am saying that we can all find ourselves on a precipice in a split second, particularly when we are physically and emotionally empty from constantly dealing with negative people and residing in a negative atmosphere.
Today, I read a post where someone found a report that said that suicide was selfish. Selfishness requires great thought, and in those moments when it seems nothing will ever be right, there is not enough energy for that deep a thought. All that occupies the mind is finding a sense of peace and solitude. Unfortunately, for so many, just like me that day, it comes to seem like we can only find it in death.
On this World Suicide Prevention Day 2019, let’s set aside the whys and the need to point fingers, and let us concentrate on finding ways to detect when someone has reached their point of no return and need help. Let’s take away the stigma attached to mental illness, especially for men who need help.
Not one of my co-workers or children or friends would have believed that I was that close to ending my life, for the facade I wore was to keep everyone believing that all was well, not causing anyone to worry about me. Thankfully, I found the help I needed.