Tuesday, August 6, 2013
#31WriteNow Blog Challenge Day 5
Day 5- A time you thought about ending your own life.
Okay, who ever came up with these 31 day topics needs to stay out of my damn business.
My life hasn't been a cake walk. (Ummm...what is a cake walk exactly? Where did that phrase come from?) While I know of stories that were far worse than mine, easy isn't how I would describe my life.
The worst part were my teenage years and not in that angst-y teenage way that everyone goes through. My family was homeless. Sleeping in the car, washing your clothes in the gas station bathroom, asking for food at shelters, homeless. Things got better but those hardships during my formative years did a number on me.
I'm an emotional person by nature. So those homeless days made me especially dark. More than once I thought about taking my own life. But the only thing that kept me from doing it was thinking about how it would effect my family, specifically my younger brother. Suicide is selfish and causes more problems for the people who are left behind than it solves for the person who dies. But I truly understand the desperation and the pain. I understand wanting to do anything to get out from under it. I just couldn't bring myself to commit such a final act.
There were a few times in my adult years where my emotions seemed to be skewing way too far into darkness. And again, suicide crossed my mind. I ended up seeking professional counseling because some of my issues became too much to handle on my own. I struggled with a lot of things including the fact that I was supposed to be a happy all of the time, "mind of Christ" Christian. (I hate the way the religious community, specifically the black religious community, sometimes views mental illness but that's another topic for another day.) Finally taking the step to understanding how to process my emotions and swim out of my dark days was one of the best things I've ever done.
I won't sit here and tell you that I'm now a shiny, happy, pink unicorns and rainbows person. But I will say that I understand the gift of life. I see how even the crappiest days are a gift. And every day when I open my eyes I'm hopeful for what the day may bring. Sometimes it brings nothing but crap and nonsense. Other days things are literally beautiful and I fall asleep smiling. So if I have any advice it's just to take it day to day. Try to find the joy in every day. There's a reason to be here. Make a point to try to find it. And hell, if you don't find it today, find some cake (because cake will cure what ails you) and give it another go tomorrow.
Well the last thing I want to do on a Monday is talk about suicide but here we go.
I can think about two distinct times that I thought about taking my own life. Once was when I was in my mid-teens and another happened to be a few months before I decided to move to Nashville. When they say that it is often darkest before the dawn, they are absolutely right. I just felt really hopeless and would come home at night with thoughts of driving at a very dangerous speed directly into a telephone pole. I was so lost. I felt like I had no direction. If I had taken my own life I would have never known that I am strong enough to overcome the very things that troubled me. Now I know. I'm glad that I didn't rob myself of that and so much more.
The thing about my journey in my faith in God is that things have been very unpredictable. I've suffered during times where I have felt that my ideas of how things would go or should go have been taken right from under me. I think that's why I have had to learn to let some expectations go. You always hear "Trust God" but I am someone that needs to know what to do in the meantime. And usually when I am left to my own devices in that meantime, I am plagued with guilt about how the waiting game is entirely my fault. That's when hopelessness develops.
Here's what I am learning though: in my times of hopelessness and condemnation, I have learned that there have been some things personally that I have had to deal with before I can even get to where I'd like to be. If I would have gotten these things beforehand, things could have not gone so well and I'd be left in even more guilt. I wonder how many people who have taken their own lives were just *this* close to their breakthrough. We will never know.
I've made it a point in recent days to just be more hopeful regardless of what things look like right now. It's not easy to speak words of victory when it's visibly nowhere in sight but I'd rather die hopeful than in misery. I get wanting to escape the pain when there seems no way out. I get feeling like you are too weak to take anymore. I also believe that is exactly what the devil wants to see happen. You have to know that when you pray for the help you need to get back up that that help is always on the way. I think sometimes the people in the most pain, that have gone through the most excruciating circumstances and inner struggle are the ones who satan knows have the most to give to the world. When you look at it that way you have to understand that your life is a fight against a very unfair enemy. My life is a fight. It's a constant battle and I'm worth suiting up for it everyday. So are you.
I love that Pink's "Try" is playing in the background as I am writing this.
I don't know not one person who is not going through right now. Not a one. There's been some comfort for me in knowing that. I think when it comes to suicide, people isolate themselves sometime before so all they are able to see is what they are going through. I get that but humanity is much bigger than that. Everyone hurts. Everyone is hurting. Everyone, at some time, has to fight. It just has to click inside your head that your life is worth fighting for-not just for you but those that love you, those that know you, and those people who you don't even know yet who will be forever impacted because you lived on this earth.
And that is why I am still here.