Trigger Warning: This article discusses suicide and suicidal ideation, and some people might find it disturbing. If you or someone you know is suicidal, please, contact your physician, go to your local ER, or call the suicide prevention hotline in your country. For the United States, the numbers are as follows: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255), or message the Crisis Text Line at 741741. Both programs provide free, confidential support 24/7.
Suicide. It's such an ugly word. So ugly that we seem to avoid it altogether, but I think that's part of the problem. No one wants to talk about it or face it, and we just shove it away in a corner and pretend it doesn't exist. But it is a very real thing and it is devastating. It's been ten years now since I made that choice. Sometimes it still seems like yesterday, though. I can still feel the cord in my hands as I braided the noose. I can still feel the autonomous sensation of throwing it over the rafters as if nothing else in the world existed but that moment right there. War had taken everything from me: my mind, my job, my physical capabilities, my family. And at that point, I was ready for it to take my life too. I still think about it from time to time, though not as much as I used to, and not in the same way anymore. I still remember waking up on the floor trying to figure out what happened. I remember feeling the cord around my neck and tracing it to a severed end, wondering if it was real or not. I look back at all the things that have taken place in those ten years since that day, and I can't believe how much I would have missed. If that had really been the end, I would never have met the beautiful wife I have now and I would have never met my daughter. I would never have found the success I have today in so many aspects of my life, and I would never have discovered the peace that lives inside me now.
It wasn't easy coming back from that. I hear that when a failed suicide attempt happens to some people, they immediately discover the sensation that they were meant for something more. That didn't happen to me. I just felt like I failed at something else again. But I kept going. I reached out further, harder, and deeper than I ever had before, and I discovered I wasn't alone. I discovered that there were so many others out there that felt just like I did, that we're going through the same things I thought were unique to me. I let go of regret and grabbed on to Jesus. I discovered that if I had been successful, I wouldn't have actually ended the pain for myself; I would have simply just been giving it to others to deal with, and tenfold. In the ten years that followed up to today, like Job, I realized that no matter what I lost, if I keep my faith in the only one who can truly save me, He'll do just that.
"Then Job answered the Lord and said: I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted."- Job 42:1-2
I look at my family and my life now and all the things that I thought that I would never have, and I realize that God has blessed me in abundance with all the desires of my heart. I could have never had any of it, and had I known all the beautiful things to come in my life, I think I would have made a much different decision that day. However, that wasn't the only time I've dealt with suicide. Two years ago I also lost my father to it. My dad suffered for years with a pretty rare disease that had no name and no treatment. And it was only a year later, after the fact, that we figured out how to get rid of it altogether. One year. If he had just hung on one more year, he could have been blessed with the deepest desires of his heart, to live a life without anguish. Instead, he believed the lie we tell ourselves, that there's no more hope, that the wells run dry and times run out. But it's just that: a lie.
"You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you." - Isaiah 43:4
If you're reading this, and it's hitting home on all the things you're feeling, there's still time, and there's still hope. I'm not talking about an idea or an instance. I'm talking about a real and deep, and very life-changing experience that awaits you if you just hang on. I know what it's like to feel like God's given up on you, but I can promise you with every ounce of assurance I've ever found, He won't. Keep going. I'm not sitting at a desk right now typing away something eloquent for you to read. No, I'm sitting in my car, in the middle of a parking lot, on a hot summer day, writing this for you to read, for you to know that someone does care, that someone does love you, and you're not alone. Just reach out. There's so much more ahead of you, so much that you can't fathom or understand right now. If you give up now, you'll never know the amazing grace that lies in store.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."- Proverbs 3:5-6
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Husband, father, writer, poet. Two time combat veteran with a passion for homeless ministry.