People don’t understand suicidal thoughts. I mean, how could they? Most people don’t understand depression. How can we expect them to understand suicide?
When you have severe depression, suicidal thoughts are a big part of the deal. You have them, they tempt you daily, your illness uses the idea of death to taunt you and chide you until you ultimately give in to the demand.
It’s not like you have a suicidal thought once and then kill yourself. No, if you manage to overcome the temptation and survive, your illness will most likely remind you on the regular that there’s a way out, it will lie to you and tell you that freedom is just a small act away.
I’m rarely without the temptation to end it all. Like the old devil and angel on your shoulders, my psyche argues over the ‘right’ way to handle my pain. One screams that there’s no point, that forty more years of this is just not worth it and I should throw in the towel now. The other pleads with me to try just one more day, that this isn’t ‘that’ bad and that I can survive it all.
I recently took a trip to see my family in another state. It was great to see my amazing parents and spend time with them. My dearest oldest friend lives there too, and so I worked hard to make sure I could see him on a couple of occasions as well. But my depression was intent on ruining the entire trip. I spent hours each day crying in bed uncontrollably. A wave of anxiety and depression consumed my whole being. For four days I avoided killing myself. The devil on my shoulder was loud and quite convincing.
But I survived. My family was encouraging, and my wife was my rock, and because of the prayer of my friends, I managed to make it back home alive.
Relieved I made it home without succumbing to my temptations; I was hit the next day by texts from my sweet friend, one of my Thunder Buddies, who was dealing with the same thing.
Like me, every passing car, every intersection, was an opportunity to end it all. ‘If I could just close my eyes and step out into traffic, this will all be over,’ we think.
Our depression lies to us, and we feel so worthless and so insignificant that we believe that it would be easy just to drift away without any consequence. But that’s just not true, and we have to remember that.
That’s why I wrote this note. When we all go through these dark periods where we feel like suicide is the answer yet again, when suicidal thoughts run rampant, I want us to read this.
This letter is to you, to me, to my friend who is currently under siege and struggling with suicidal thoughts. Anyone drowning in pain that gets tempted to end it, I want to read this letter. It’s important that we all know the truth when the lies are so realistic.
To: My lovely friend, my fellow Depression Fighter
First of all, I love you. You need to know that you matter to someone, me. This illness lies to you and tells you that you’re nothing, that you can leave and it won’t cause any harm. That’s bullshit, and you need to run away from such talk.
I hear time after time about the pain you feel from your friend who killed herself years ago. It’s been a lifetime, and you’re still struggling with that loss. Dear, that’s nothing compared to the pain you’ll inflict on our other friends and me if you bail now. We’re Thunder Buddies, we fight this together, without you I can’t keep throwing punches at my illness. I need you for strength so that I can survive too. You see, you’re not insignificant, you matter, my life needs you in it, and I can’t take the pain of you not being here. So think about that and keep yourself alive. My survival depends on you fighting too.
If you leave you’re just taking your pain and heaping it onto the rest of us and, to be blunt, I can’t take any more crap in my life. My depression is bad enough without having to mourn you and figure out how to keep living without one of my lifeguards around to watch over me.
This moment is only one small one in your long life, and it will pass. I know it will. I hate when people tell me that when I’m at my worst but you know what, it’s true. I saw some sunshine today for the first time in four days. You’ll see it soon too. Just keep moving forward. You’re going to get through it. It’s annoying when people tell me that. But it’s true. Just push past it. Close your eyes and run through. The sunlight will appear again, and these feelings will subside.
But never forget, and this may sound corny, but my Mom reminded me of this, and she really knows what’s up, you have so much incredible value to God. He’s had his eye on you since you were a fetus, do you think he’s not watching over you now? God brings us to certain points in our life, not because we can’t handle them but because we’re strong enough to persevere, and where we aren’t, that’s where he wants us to trust him. So instead of concentrating on your shortcomings, try concentrating on God’s incredible strength and how he’s going to get you through it. Take the focus off of you and put it on God. That’s where it should be anyway. It ain’t about you. It’s about God’s power through you.
Friend, I’ve watched as you overcame far worse things than today. You’ve been through great ups and downs and today is a small one in comparison. You’re a rock star; you’re so strong that today doesn’t stand a chance. So your depression has you thinking about killing yourself, you’re stronger than that. You’re worth more than that, to me and everyone else.
Fight. Run. Do whatever you have to do. But make sure you’re still here tomorrow. Because I know, it will get better. I’m proof of it. Two days ago I couldn’t imagine the world with me in it anymore. Now I’m sitting here surprised that was even a consideration in the first place. We change fast in this game. One minute we want to die, and we’re making a plan the next minute we’re annoyed we have to take our anti-depressants and go to work. It will be business, as usual, tomorrow my friend. Just close your eyes and grit your teeth today. Good things are on the way; I know it.
But if that’s not enough for you today, just never forget how much you mean to me. There isn’t enough space on this website to describe how much you matter, how significant you are. The world without you would only suck more than it already does. You leaving me would only make a crappy situation infinitely worse.
So fight today dear friend. Let’s lean on each other and get through this. Nothing you’re feeling today is worth giving up your future. Don’t make a permanent decision based on temporary lies. You’re better than that.
I seriously love you. From the bottom of my depressed anxiety ridden heart. So please keep going, for me.
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