Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c) 2018 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
Of utmost importance: If you are suicidal with a plan or intent, go immediately to your nearest Emergency Room or call 911.
A group of about seven people seemed stunned. The therapist choked up with tears in his eyes. It was April 30, 2012, and while attending my regular depression support group, I blurted that if I’d had a gun a day earlier I would have killed myself. Sadly, I meant it.
My life didn’t matter to me. Mixed up thinking that led to a suicide attempt over a year earlier still carried a powerful emotional pull. Nevermind I’d written a book chronicling recovery from major depression. Ignore that my faith ran deep and worldview was improving. Honestly, I was stuck, pivoting in indecision.
With all my heart I wanted to honor God and not hurt other people. Somehow, the lie that suicide could be appropriate had not been fully erased. Every day, many times a day I had tried to rid myself of it. Prayer helped. Therapy helped. It was confusing and messy.
The strong reactions of others that night shocked me to the core. Their faces and words will never be forgotten. You see, when one does not recognize her value, it is very difficult to perceive that others do.
The next day I made a deliberate decision to throw away self-annihilation of any kind, and to learn how to enjoy life. Why this was such a quandary in the first place is complex. For one, I no longer believed enjoying life to be possible. Yet now instead of looking at two choices, there was only one. I cannot overemphasize how powerful was that leap of faith.
Without it, today’s contentment and fulfillment would be evasive. Unnecessary suffering would have extended indefinitely. Despite recent challenges, I know joy to be real. This is contrary to an old belief system, and gladly accepted!
If you are thinking about taking your life, I invite you to choose instead to learn with me what enjoying life means. I did not understand the following statements were true or did not believe they could ever be so for me. I was wrong. They are true for you as well.
- Your value is not defined by the behavior or decisions of others. Your worth is inherent. You can learn to know and live in real love.
- The only perfect and unending love is from God. His love is not pity, but is truly from his heart. He expressed this love through his Son Jesus, and still does.
- Power to change unwanted emotions belongs to the one feeling them.
- We are responsible for saving our own lives.
- Victim status does not have to last forever.
- If you are abused, stopping the abuse is the only way to heal. There are people who understand what is happening and offer guidance. See The Truth About Abuse page.
- Trust those who say you are needed, wanted, and who hope the best for you. Rely on the faith of others in you when you doubt your worth.
- Spare yourself more suffering by avoiding bitterness and blame.
- Friends and family often do not know how to offer support in the exact way you need. This inability is not lack of love. People can care deeply and still disappoint. Embracing this fact creates space for believing you are loved and lovable.
- You can learn little by little to grasp what is beautiful and good.
- There are survivors all over this world who have stood where you are, thinking the same thoughts of despair. So many have become advocates for hope. We speak to audiences, write books, or whisper our stories at bedsides and in hospitals. You can join our ranks. Your life matters.
I am glad you are alive and will say a prayer tonight that you stay with us. Please do not become a statistic. Truth is, you deserve a better legacy.