By Laura D. Field of Reflective Tapestry of Life – June 8 2018
Today I am writing on a tough subject. A subject that many tend to ignore; one of much sadness; and one in which the majority does not understand. It is about suicide.
I realize that many take it personally when one takes a loved ones life. It is so easy to blame the victim who felt so lost and unheard, or possibly in so much pain it was impossible to cry out, than it is to blame the reflection in the mirror.
Sure, there are many who live for years suffering the terminal pain of asking themselves “What could I have done?”, “Why did they not reach out?”. After their pain (the ones who are left behind) reaches its peak, the pain either turns to anger or defeat with great sadness.
The truth is? As the one who is left behind transfers all their pain and energy into becoming the victim, they either forget or ignore that the real victim is the one who took their own life.
I have struggled to write this blog post for various reasons along with some personal reasons. Although resourceful, posting phone numbers, posting “I’m here for you” on various media outlets, along with (more recently) online chats might reach a handful of those in crisis, but it will not reach them all. From the many stories that I am aware of and some personal struggles, I have come to the realization that people really do not comprehend the severity of the pain that others suffer.
Life is not easy. It is hard. But it is harder for those who have come to a point where they have no reason to live. It is harder for those who are bullied, for those who are not heard by their friends who I will refer to as acquaintances, for those who are ill and feel alone, for those who reach out for help to physicians, family and friends but are unheard. This is the reality of what those in crisis contend with.
Take my Chronic Persistent Lyme disease or even my anxiety. For those who have told me “It is not a real disease”, “Oh you look great! Glad to see you are doing so well!” without asking how I am doing; or on the anxiety side of my health, “You need to get over it”, “Just let it go”, “Have you talked with you doctor about getting a medication for that?”. The latter, I heard from a pharmacist after I told him I needed to come back later, due to how he was talking to me. Needless to say, I have not returned to that pharmacy.
Do you realize how tiring it is to hear from those who feel they know all the answers from their googled PhD? Do you know hard it is to keep up with the appearance of looking great when you feel as though the world has given up on you? Do you realize, that your comments are debilitating?
Those who struggle inside, are fighting a battle others on the outside are unable to see nor comprehend. There are many invisible illnesses that suffer a raging battle within, and when the defeat finally surfaces and depression hits rock bottom, you will only see the colored in version of what that person wants you to see. Some are often able to continue on as a warrior, but often that warrior shield of protection, will rust and wear thin with holes, where despair finally seeps in.
There is a therapy called “talk therapy”. It is a treatment where one is able to discuss opening with a therapist the various struggles that they are dealing with. If there is no therapist, a trusted family member or friend, and occasionally a physician who might take the time to listen can become that therapeutic sounding board. This type of therapy is very beneficial in that it helps the inner voices escape that weeded cage of frustration that is tangled up inside.
Despite the well intentions of our medical providers and the available therapists, there are simply not enough, nor enough time, to take care of those who are really struggling. Then again, after they leave their session, their minds replay what was shared; feelings of guilt and shame can come over them returning them back to their inner world of aloneness.
Despite the resources, the reality is, people will eventually give up because the paralyzing pain within is more than they can bear. The pain can be physical and/or emotional, from abuse and bullying, from disease and other health issues, and various other stress and PTSD situations that outsiders simply do not understand or even realize exist.
Those that deal with any form of mental impairment do not want to cause others to carry their burden. They have exhausted all their resources. They are sensitive people who understand more than most give them credit for. You see, they honestly feel that if they take their lives, they are relieving YOU from the burden of time in caring. They honestly believe that your life will be easier.
They are also great observers. When around others, they listen and watch, and if you show some unkindness towards them or others, they pick up on it up quickly, and determine that you are not a safe person to discuss anything with.
Why do we turn our head when we know something is going on? I know that when I was a young girl, I was talking with a woman from church. She didn’t want to hear the details and told me, at the age of 7, that God will use my experience to glorify Him and help others. Why I did not walk away from my faith at that age, why I never ventured into drugs, ran away or found other ways to survive, is a blessing and quite honestly a miracle. I made a choice to survive and when the right opportunity arose, I escaped.
Time is a priceless commodity. Taking time to make a phone call, to visit, or simply a card to say “I’m thinking of you”, can make a difference. But it needs to be sincere and needs to be repeated. What I mean by that is a one-time expression of care over a number of years, does not really show a heart of compassion and care.
Most who are struggling, will appreciate you asking how they are doing, but you will notice, that they will talk briefly then change the subject. The reason? They are trying to escape the demons. Their burden is so grand, so exhausting for them, they know that once you understand, you might not return. They would much rather sit back and laugh with you, enjoy some chatter about what is going on in your life as well as you being interested in what is going on in theirs, not related to their illness or situation.
I have given this much thought, as to why people do not actually speak up, in order for the world and those close to them to understand. The words that they share are not heard. People do not bluntly come out and say “I’m going to take my life today”, but they do share statements that should cause those who care for them, whether medically or as a family or friend, to reach out. They do not want to call attention to themselves, or create a panic, but in their last efforts to be heard, although quiet, they hope someone will hear and offer help.
Our society is in a crisis. People are hurting and struggling with various stressful obstacles that they are having difficulty with. This is not a weakness, but rather a form of strength and courage. What I mean is, imagine the length of time they have endured their pain, then finally saying “I’m done”. It is not in anger, it is in a silent retreat. The war for them is over.
Another aspect of why it was difficult to write on this topic, is that I was brought up to believe that suicide is a sin. Well, the truth is, no where in the Bible does it state that suicide will keep us from God and entering the gates of Heaven. The ONLY thing that keeps a believer from Heaven, is to deny their faith in God. And quite honestly, to God, a sin is a sin, they are all equal. So, before the casting of stones, be mindful of your own state of sin.
Now, I do not share that suicide is not a sin, to give release to those currently suffering, because there is a small part of me, that believes that God gives us hope and strength. But God also put us all on this earth, to give comfort to one another, when one is weak and hurting. So it is about accountability. For those of us who claim to be Christians, may I ask of you: How is your Christ like compassion for the underdog, for the sick, for the one who is lonely? Do you reach out to others, or do you ignore them, thinking someone else will tend to their needs? Just because they seem to have a lot of friends, is that an assumption or that a reality you want to believe while not knowing the truth. Funny how Facebook, and other social media sources, can make the loneliest person look so well equipped with a support system.
I pray for healing for all those who suffer. It is a battle that takes courage and strength to endure. May God provide resources and human love to overcome their obstacles.
Laura – Blogger, paid Freelance writer