Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Depression and Suicide

Well. I definitely didn't plan to blog about this topic today. In fact, I was going to blog about the exact opposite thing, but I can't leave this one alone. It's just too important.

Of course with the tragic passing of Robin Williams, many people are reeling with questions about depression and suicide. My Facebook feed is FULL of links to articles, quotes, and opinions.

I have a very interesting mix of people in my life. Many of them christians, some not, on all sides of the political aisle and from many different faiths. Friends from all over the world and of vastly different backgrounds. So when tragedy like this strikes, it's like a ping pong game of opinions from one extreme to the other. Some I agree with, some I don't, and usually I keep my mouth shut, but this one...I just can't.

Suicide is not an unfamiliar topic for me. I have a close relative in the hospital right now...right this very moment...because he attempted suicide last Monday night. I'm not going to say who he is out of respect for him and for my family. Some of my church family know who it is, because you have been praying for us. Thank you.

But this isn't anything new to me. My dad has always suffered from depression, for as long as I can remember. Everyone has their demons, that is his. Through prayer and medication and actually trying he has overcome it during certain points in his life. But there are other times he has given up. He has turned his back on his faith and listened to the voices inside of his head and slipped so deep into despair that he's tried to end it all.

I will never forget the day that my dad was carried out of my grandma's house on a stretcher and put into an ambulance because he decided to take too many pills. My mom and grandma shut me in a bedroom so that I wouldn't see, but I looked out of the bedroom window and saw it all.

My dad lived to see another day. And ever since I have watched him live a life of peaks and valleys. Times where he rallies and gets things together and acts like a dad and a husband, and times where he totally folds. It's an ongoing battle. It is not simple. It is one of those few situations in this life that is not black and white...and trust me, I'm a person who believes that most things are.

Is suicide selfish? Yes and no. My relative in the hospital right now, I do not believe, had selfish motives. I think he felt that he was a burden. I think he felt like things would just be better for everyone if he were gone. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth! But that is the tragedy of the disease of depression. But was he acting selfishly? Not on purpose.

My dad, however. I can't think of a more selfish act. He gave up, when I had seen him overcome it before. He would have left a wife and young children behind and struggling. He was looking for a personal "escape" with no regard for anyone else. There are a lot more complexities to his situation that I'm not explaining, but trust me: selfish.

It's not a one size fits all kind of situation. And since we can't crawl into other people's heads and see into their hearts the way that only God can, only God can truly know someone's motive. It's only after the fact, if the person is lucky enough to survive, that we can piece the puzzle together and figure out why.

Here is what I know about depression and suicide:

1. Suicide is not an "escape" from anything. Seeing people say things like, "He's better off now...he's finally in peace now..." that is a slap in the face to anyone actually dealing with depression. What message does that send? End it all, and you'll finally feel better? No. There is enough good in this world and in your life that it's worth fighting for and fighting through and seeking help and getting back to that good place again. I have seen it with my own eyes. You can get back to a good place again - you can. Don't give up!

2. Suicide is not an "unpardonable sin." If you are a christian, nowhere in the bible does it say that suicide is a one-way ticket to Hell. With that said, God makes it very clear throughout scripture that he is LIFE, and that you should choose LIFE and that life will always always be the better choice for you. Always.

3. Depression can be overcome. You are not doomed to lifelong misery if you suffer from depression. Like any other demons that can plague you...alcoholism, over-eating, drug addiction, sexual addictions, pathological lying, gossiping....whatever it can beat it. And if it starts creeping back into your life again (as it will almost surely try to) you can beat it again. And again. God promises that NO temptation or demons on earth are so great that he cannot give you the power to overcome them. I've seen it overcome. You can do it.

4. I do not personally deal with depression, and I don't judge those who do. How could I? I have never been in those shoes, and I can't even imagine how lonely it must feel at times. I care because I've been surrounded by people dealing with depression my entire life, and I've dealt with suicide more than once. I've seen what happens when people give in. I see what happens when people choose to fight it. Fight it. Choose to fight it every time.

5. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow-not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below-indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39. Those aren't my words. :) There is hope for you, guaranteed.

Depression is not the end, it's not unbeatable, and it's not the worst most unpardonable sin that should make you feel ashamed. It is something that you likely need help with to overcome. But it's worth overcoming. Suicide is not an escape, it hurts people, it discourages others who are dealing with depression, it is NEVER the answer.

My heart aches for people that feel like life is so bleak and dark that it doesn't feel worth living anymore. My prayers go out to the families dealing with suicide when it's too late. It is gut-wrenching to feel like someone you love wanted to give up on their life. It's a messy subject. It's not an easy one to talk about. But it's worth talking about.

I appreciate that the conversation has been started and is out in the open. Depression takes so many forms. There is only one component to this conversation that IS black and white, and that is that suicide is never the answer. Ever. 100% of the time. You never know what tomorrow brings, what the next hour brings...someone could be on their way to help you change it all. The answer you are looking for could be on it's way right now. But you'll never know it if you take your life into your own hands. Don't cheat yourself out of LIFE. It's worth living - if not for the life you're living today, for the potential of the life you could have tomorrow.

Peace and love.


Cassie said...

i don't even know how to put into words what i want to say to you. i get so much of this. and you, ahhh, you are a rock friend! you just know exactly what to say, how to say it, and how to just make it ok. you do! you are an awesome, awesome person. with an amazing head on your shoulders. and an even more awesome heart.

Adrien said...

Thank you, Cassie. You have always been and continue to be a huge source of encouragement to me! <3


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