By Nancy Virden (c)2021
Jodie functions well on the surface. She is friendly, cares about others, and is dependable within formalized schedules. She knows strategies for dealing with anxiety and depression, and firmly believes she will never again feel suicidal. Her goal is to help others survive their suicidal thinking.
While still under the morning covers, Jodie usually wonders about her purpose. Well, more specifically, she struggles with the idea that her purpose matters. Almost immediately upon waking, she asks God for the courage to get out of bed. Throughout the day, busy with accomplishments or not, her thoughts roam to, why do I still exist on this earth?
Sometimes the question takes a faith-filled shape; I cannot wait to be with Jesus in heaven! This cup of sweet joy blends with a sour tablespoon of defeatism, a pinch of lazy avoidance, and a healthy dose of fear of change. Yet this complicated recipe does not explain the persistence of her question.
“Jodie” is me. My entire childhood was spent in survival mode. Dread of leaving home to go to school followed by dread of returning home was as normal as breathing. Marrying young, that mindset traveled with me, only to discover it was once again a necessary part of reality. It is only in the last six years that I have not shared a living space with an abuser. It makes sense that questioning why I am here would have become a habit.
In my humble opinion, this is not depression. Neither is it suicidal ideation. No. Lest there be misunderstanding, the question why should I exist does not in any way tempt me to take my life. Instead, it is an ingrained dread, a hanger-on after years of therapy and positive change. It is part of PTSD.
Hyper-vigilance is a common and normal response to prolonged threat. It wears away at my emotional and physical energy. As with every morning, several times a day I must ask God for motivation to complete simple tasks – from picking up the mail to doing my job. I need him to provide a compelling reason to take one step then the next. At night I ask him for a push to go to bed and sleep because it is emotionally less complicated to stay awake, “postponing” the next day.
Do you wonder sometimes why you should exist? Regardless your reason for asking, the answer is because you are breathing. God gives us breath and has a sovereign reason for each life. You and I are here for purposes we can grasp in faith even if the fuzzy warm feelings struggle to come along. This is why I ask God for help to move forward.
Old thought habits as well as moods and emotions will take the path of least resistance. To successfully maneuver around their influence, we must know with certainty we have a higher cause. Jesus said to the heavenly Father, “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4). When we choose to move beyond our traumatic pasts and impossible thinking to trust God for the how-tos of finishing what he has given us to do, joy becomes part of our daily experience.
In our humanness, let us not expect perfection or ease. Knowing Jesus as Savior and Lord opens the door to the wisdom of God. We can strive past complex emotional struggles and live as survivors and overcomers one step at a time. -COMMENTS WELCOME
Today’s Helpful Word
A Psalm of David (27)
The Lord is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid? … Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” … Teach me how to live, O Lord.
… I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.
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Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
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