Life and Death

suicideIn yesterday’s post, I touched on the issue of suicide.  Here are a few of the comments: and a powerful reminder of how complex and painful this issue can be:

“As a youth worker I have often begged troubled young souls to stay on the planet long enough to access help, talk things through, see life improve. Most have. Some haven’t. Several close friends and family members have taken their own lives and dozens of suicides have taken place locally: in the woods (mostly young men hanging themselves) and on the railway line in our village which seems to be a favourite spot: probably recommended on some ghastly website somewhere. We have already had one this year. Last year there were about 6.

A friend’s young son found his Dad’s lifeless body in their living room and he is so angry about it. And he’s right. His poor Dad was suffering terrible angst but his actions have potentially scarred his children, and his son in particular, for life. I pray they can forgive and learn to understand a little about his actions one day. Suicides leave massive damaging ripples of guilt, horror, helplessness, anger, bewilderment, grief even amongst strangers who witness the actions or the people who have to clear up afterwards or talk to bereaved family members.”

” Hmmmm.

1. Staying for the sake of other people IS a protective factor – to a degree. The reason I didn’t kill myself 3 months ago is my mum, I couldn’t do it to her. I couldn’t have her bury her daughter. Mum was my protective factor. But that didn’t come into play 5 months ago when I was painfully desperate to die, and took things into my own hands (turns out God didn’t fancy me coming up just yet). I was BEYOND caring about Mum, or anyone else for that matter. It had mattered before, but as things got worse and my state deteriorated, NOTHING was worth living for. That stands too for community, I’m afraid. Now, yes, it might be a protective factor, but not when you’ve gone beyond caring. ‘Community can stuff itself.’

2. I never denied that my death would affect my loved ones; even though “they’re better off without me”, they would still miss me (a bit like chocolate – better without it but not having it is still hard). But I hoped that their grief would be shadowed by their relief, joy and thankfulness in knowing that I was at peace for the first time in what seems like forever.

3. I hated the doctors, the nurses, my family, the law for sentencing me to life. It was immoral and unethical. There was no quality in life, only pain, and they were forcing me to experience it. There was an option to experience peace once and for all. I was more than willing to do the necessary. But they sentenced me to the pain, misery and struggle that came with every breath. THAT was selfish, not anything I was doing.

It’s not 5 months ago any more. Thank goodness. But I’m still resentful that they stood in my way, and I still think they shouldn’t have had the right to keep me alive. Leave that to me and God to decide.”

“Suicide is a complex subject. No one cause or one answer although many people don’t commit suicide because they have seen the devastation it always causes to others. But we cannot judge another’s pain either. As a mental health nurse I have seen many people get better with right care and this is sorely lacking in most communities including much ignorance in the Christian community. What we need to do is love and support but also respect sufferers and how utterly hopeless someone feels who contemplates suicide”.

 …

“Many of us have struggled with thoughts of the ultimate escape from life’s pain. Often we are unaware of the devastation we would create for our loved ones.

A little over a year ago, I was at a particularly low time. Overcome with the hurt I had inflicted unwittingly upon my wife, and feeling a sense of overwhelming hopelessness, I planned my own escape from the pain. I convinced myself that this fate was what I deserved, that ultimately it would be better for everyone, even including my children.

I wrote out a note to be found on my body explaining to my wife why I had done it, and why it was for the best. I then sobbed in the woods and waited for the train I would throw myself in front of. I kept waiting and wondering if God really loved me then why would he let me do this. This only fueled the sense of despair and strengthened my determination.

As I waited, a family on snowmobiles came riding along the tracks and they wouldn’t go away. I knew I couldn’t do this deed in front of them and began to walk down the tracks away from them. Still they wouldn’t go and I began to feel conspicuous and out of place so I left the tracks and started back for home.

On the way I read my note that had seemed so logical when I wrote it. I became embarrassed at what I had written. It was so filled with narcissism. Despite my attempts to make this action seem best for everyone, I could clearly see through my own reasoning a desire to simply escape the consequences of my own sin.

I believe, at least in my case, I was angry at God for not loving me enough to take away my pain. I was angry because I actually believe(ed) I was god and I was going to have my way, to be rid of the suffering, no matter what. My pain was more real than anyone else’s, including my wife whom I hurt.

Praise God for families on snow mobiles.

If I had gone through with it, it would have been the ruin of my family. Beyond financial crippling, my children would have bore the shame, the bad example, and the question of whether they were somehow to blame. My wife would not have been set free at all, but left with the evidence that she wasn’t worth it and the burden of raising our children alone.

No pain we suffer is equal to what God Himself suffers. He personally feels the pain of everyone. Unlike us, He is capable of carrying it all.”

Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability.

 

Places that Help:

  • Mind and Soul:  http://www.mindandsoul.info: Christian site with resources on mental health
  • Mind: http://www.mind.org.uk: Mental health charity (o300 123 3393): confidential help and support
  • Samaritans : http://www.samaritans.org,  (08457 90 90 90) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you are feeling, or if you are worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.
  • Students against Depression: http://www.studentsagainstdepression.org, a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
  • PAPYRUS: http://www.papyrus-uk.org/ (0800 068 41 41) a voluntary organisation that supports teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
  • CALM: support group for young men, http://www.thecalmzone.net. As well as the website, CALM also has a helpline (0800 58 58 58).
  • SOBS (Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide), http://www.uk-sobs.org.uk, (0844 561 6855)

 

 

6 thoughts on “Life and Death

  1. I’ve been debating about posting on this – the issue is very, very timely for me. 15 years ago, almost to the minute, actually, a cousin and I ran up to the bedroom of another very, very dearly beloved cousin (I have too many cousins!) We thought we were going to have a sleepover. Except that we found Ashley hanging from the ceiling instead.

    15 years later, I still have very mixed feelings. At the time, I think the biggest thing I felt was anger. Whatever she was feeling she had no right to do that. Why the hell didn’t she talk to us about it? For a while, it made it worse that she’d deliberately done it, according to the note she left, so we would be the first to find her. Which felt like she was throwing the close relationship we had in our faces.

    A few years later, I went through a particularly hard time, and I attempted suicide about 4 times. So I guess my feelings had changed a bit by then. Life was so bloody unbearable, I’d changed to thinking that it was unfair on everyone else to want me to stick around. I haven’t attempted it isnce that time, but have come very close. I’m struggling at the moment with EDNOS and depression, and most people I know don’t have a clue. It’s incredibly isolating. I realised recently, that I’d always kept suicide in my head as a “reserve option”. Kind of along the limes of “well, if I can’t cope, there’s always plan B”…

    I think God’s been challenging me recently that plan B is just not an option. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not actively suicidal now, but it’s been – I don’t know, kind of a comfort blanket? And something you wrote in the first post really struck me. Not in these words – but essentially, whatever I think and feel, I am needed. I have family who can’t be family without me, Christian brothers and sisters who would not be the same body of Christ without me. And so – I simply can’t. I’m needed.

    The challenge will be, and is, learning what to do without the comfort blanket! (counselling is a wonderful thing…). Anyway Emma, your posts have just served as a real blessing and confirmation to me. i might not have that comfort blanket anymore – but I have Jesus. And he isn’t a comfort blanket to guard against the storms of life – He is life itself.

  2. Dear L,

    In the words and all the sincerity of ’The Lion King’s Nala – I think you are very brave. (and, incidentally, ur counsellor is very honoured. I am in early stages of the training, as it happens.)

    L – Thank you for staying. We, too, and others, present and future, are genuinely and profoundly touched, moved, even- by your courage. And I, for one, will you on with all of my heart and soul. You can do this, L. It’s a long old road, I know that too, in my own smallest of ways, but I promise you that both it and, leagues more importantly- YOU. .. are so much more than worth it. I, too, think Emma’a right – you Are needed, lovely one, if I may say it? And she does not err when she says we are not the same without you. Okay, so these internet links may seem oh so small- but You are so much bigger, and I type with tears as well as a genuinely heartfelt smile. Thank you, L, for your openness and heart, and hold on in there, because after every storm, there shines somewhere a rainbow, and you might just be astounded at how Our God can move. I know I have been – and I wouldn’t particularly qualify my own heart or story… :-)

    Dear L, you’re doing amazingly, if I may say so – and He’s not about to leave you alone, okay? We might feel like very little people,but actually He ’a a very big God – and I tremble to say it, but it really is true- that He holds you- so precious and dear… right in the palm of His hand…

    love you and leave you for now,
    Esther xx

  3. sorry, maybe shldn’t hv said I’m training. I’m not on the proper course yet, it’s all just hopes,dreams and aspirations, but one day I’ll get there. I’m on the certificate at the moment and that certainly doesn’t make it much to write home about, but the ’journey’ is touching my heart, and to me that matters.

    So yup :-) hold on in there rockstar, there could be more to this idea of sticking around with the ole Crew than may at first appear. I can’t promise you an easy ride, and who knows that better than you… but it is true that you are wanted, that you are needed – and that we’ll never get another you. Staying is and may long be very brave… but it is also profoundly and speechlessly appreciated.

    Quiet e-embrace,
    Esther xx

  4. Esther – I just finally read this. Thank you so much – it was just what I needed to hear. You’re pretty amazing too!

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