4 min read
*This post contains multiple triggers pertaining to mental illness, (sexual)/trauma and suicide*
I think as a society one of the most detrimental things we can do for suicide awareness is to dedicate a whole month to it. Is it even a month? I think it might only be a week? Regardless, don’t judge me. I get it, I do. We have breast cancer awareness month, Black history month, and so on and so forth. But let’s be transparent in our humanity here. Many times when we dedicate a day, week, or month to something; we subconsciously begin to compartmentalize it.
We subconsciously have our allotted time to talk about the skeletons in our closest, and then once the next month rolls around we must pretend to be normal. To be content. Suicide awareness month stops and the freedom fighters and social vigilantes on Facebook and Instagram go from reposting motivational suicide survivor quotes to pictures of their dogs or underwhelming food... I purposely wrote this at this time with two things in mind; 1. Myself, 2. Being happy suicide awareness month is over.
Hear me out.
I’m happy it’s over because I feel like someone reading this needs this RIGHT NOW. I feel like a few of you couldn’t wait till September of next year to get a message like this. What happens when suicide awareness week/month is over but you’re still depressed? What happens when the courtesy “so how are you?” phone calls come slower and slower until they stop?
When you don’t want to bother your friends because they’re tired of hearing you “complain”?
When you can’t tell your significant other because they’re partly adding to your stress?
When you don’t call your Pastor because you feel like your personal salvation-struggle is equivalent to the weight of an entire church?
What happens when there’s only you and your tears left?
I’ll tell you.
Don’t roll your eyes. I know, ‘easier said than done’ right? But I’ve been there, was there, sometimes still am there. Sometimes when the future starts looking so bright the failures of the past start inviting me back. I really believe part of the reason why some people struggle so much to continue to live, is because no one is ever transparent about the thoughts we have about NOT living. If I contribute nothing else to this world, I promised myself and the living God I serve long ago....that I would contribute my transparency. I will contribute my REALITY, even if that means judgment. Even if it means side-eyes at every future family function and church event. Because someone needs this. I need it.
So let’s talk about it.
Death is seductive...
There, now that that’s out the way...
Death is attractive to those who have no desire to keep living in their reality.
Death is beautiful to those who are mentally and spiritually tormented on a daily basis.
Death is a welcomed last resort when people feel that they have exhausted ALL OTHER OPTIONS.
Listen to me, I KNOW.
And the outlandish thing about this is that sometimes this despair isn’t even rooted in what others have done to you. For some, this dead-end is a result of every single, horrible, decision you’ve ever made yourself. You can’t even blame anybody else, you’ve been the perpetual fool all your life. Prideful, stubborn, arrogant, angry. I know so well because I’ve lived it as well.
Then there are others...
There are those of you who are unfairly victims of other victims.
Some of us carry seemingly unbearable shame, guilt, and demons that we never even asked for. Some of us were verbally abused, physically abused, molested, raped, neglected, abandoned. Some of us can cross off every single one of the aforementioned. Maybe it only happened once. Maybe a few times, maybe it lasted years. Maybe it’s still happening, whether literally- or figuratively via the traumatic thoughts.
Maybe you’re NEITHER of these. Maybe you were literally dealt with the physiological cards of mental illness. You hear people you shouldn’t, you see things not there. Maybe you feel you’re the epitome of wishy-washy and unstable because you’re actually bipolar.
There’s a seat for you at this table too.
Constantly wrestling with reality and emotions is traumatizing.
It aggravates me when I hear people talk so lightly and so “happily” about mental health.
I hate the “follow the yellow brick road to recovery” fantasy that many mental health enthusiasts portray. Because sometimes there’s absolutely nothing happy, glamorous, or even desirable about pursuing mental health. There’s so much dirty, gritty, and uncomfortable work involved.
And yet even in this day and age, there’s still so much stigma and ignorance attached to it. Attached to what pursuing mental health looks like. Whether you’re atheist or Christian. Whether you’re white or [especially] a minority. When you cry, scream, yell or have a full-blown panic attack...there will be those that still just don’t get it. There will be those that give you the “mind over matter” speech (don’t you hate that?). Unfortunately, some of these folks will be the closest people to you. Don’t wait for their understanding. Find solace in the understanding of people who are committed to doing so.
Death is seductive.
Death is attractive.
But for ALL the times death has appeared to me like a delicious platter of peace, let me tell you...
Death is also a LIAR.
Death is also a THEIF.
Some of you are welcoming the reminder of this clarity call.
Some of you are angry deep down because you wanted an excuse.
Nah, fighters DON’T NEED EXCUSES.
We need the right STRATEGY.
We need the right people in our corner.
We need the right perspective.
Some of us really just need a DO OVER.
And I promise you, that that Do Over is on THIS side of eternity. It’s on THIS side of life.
Death is a thief to our potential. It’s a thief to our future business, our future marriage, our present or future children, our future celebrations, degrees, stability, happiness.
We MUST know that no matter how long the season may be or have been, seasons ALWAYS CHANGE. On this side of eternity is mortality. That means things die. It means things have the ability to end, to cease.
Let’s commit to seeing the impact of our trauma die so that WE DON’T HAVE TO.
Despite what’s been done to you, or maybe even what
[YOU’VE DONE TO SOMEONE ELSE].
Healing is your portion. Freedom is your portion. Happiness yes, even HAPPINESS is YOUR PORTION.
When we face trauma, I believe one of the first things it takes from us is identity. And with that comes the unbelief that we’re worthy of a happy ending. We carry shame, guilt, and a heaviness that constantly tells us we’re not allowed a fulfilling life. But I promise that you are. That we are.
You may be struggling with mental health for the rest of your life, but that doesn’t mean that that life isn’t worth living.
Behind the pain is a person who the world desperately needs to get to know.
Some people will never struggle with poor mental health. Some people will never know the perpetual instability of their thoughts or emotions. They won’t relate when you tell them you’ve sat for hours contemplating how to make it all go away, or how the end seems more like a fantasy than a horror. Some people
Just. Won’t. Get. It.
And that’s OKAY.
There are people such as myself, who do understand. And we understand without even needing a full explanation.
There are people and even strangers in this world who absolutely love you and care for you.
I may, or may not know you from a wet can of paint. I may see you next week or may not ever see you in life.
But I love you because I am you.
Victim or perpetrator, I was you.
I love you because everything in my Faith empowers me and ENABLES me to do so.
So whether you have a huge supportive family, or you’re the outcast lone wolf...
Know that there’s some random chick out there who knows the depths of the pain you feel.
And I’m committed to seeing you WIN.
So do whatever you need to do to stay in the ring.
To stay in the fight.
Take the meds or try new ones.
Continue therapy, finally go back, or finally seek it.
Keep friends, lose “friends” or make new ones.
Break up with them, makeup with them.
Go scream, go cry, go hyperventilate.
And then go paint, go write, go take a hot shower.
Go try new things, go learn new things.
Go join a gym, go join a church.
Go pursue TOTAL HEALING.
We will commit to seeing the impact of our traumas die,
SO THAT WE DON’T HAVE TO.
I love you with the love of Christ,