One of my favorite bloggers, James Altucher, once said that “If you’re not afraid to post what you wrote, don’t bother posting it”
I am definitely scared to post this one.
I’ve wanted to write this for so long, and with the recent death of robin Williams, there’s no greater time. You see that necklace I’m wearing, well I just don’t wear a bullet around my neck for fun. There’s a whole story behind this little thing. But before I get to that, let me start with this:
My heart has been stirred and broken over the last few days. The death of Robin Williams and the subsequent conversations about depression, and suicide have flown all over the cyber world. Yesterday I spent several hours reading blogs and Facebook posts. I felt the sting of this fallen world as I read about people who have lost loved ones to suicide as well as personal accounts of battling clinical depression.
The death of Robin caught my attention for two reasons. First, I really enjoyed watching him over the years. I was sad to hear that Robin took his life. I thought about the pain that was hidden behind his smile and laugh and it broke my heart. I thought about his family and friends and the new reality that they are forced to accept. I have watched people go through this process and I do not want that for anyone— even people I have never met. So to be honest with you, when I heard the news, I wanted it to be wrong. Second, I was shocked over some of the very ignorant blog posts. “robin Williams didn’t die from a disease, but by his choice” or Facebook posts like “he was being so selfish”, these things being said by people who don’t understand this disease called depression, and yes I said disease. Depression takes you and tries to destroy you. It blinds you to those who care about you, makes you believe your alone, it smothers you. Depression is an inward battle that’s fought daily. If he was to die of cancer, we would call him a fighter!, but since he committed suicide we call him a quitter. Robin Williams didn’t die from suicide, he died from depression.
And here we are, getting sad and debating over the suicide of one actor, but we pay no attention to the reality that almost 3000 people commit suicide daily. And that for every person who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end their lives. DAILY. Am I the only one who sees a problem here!?, am I the only one who’s heart breaks reading this!?. Am in the only one mad that it takes a celebrity to die of depression for us to pay attention!?. You might be asking "why are you so passionate about this?". It’s because I could have been one of those 3000. I could have been just another statistic
I was about 15, I just moved to Stockton, and just started going to public high school for the first time. I thought life was horrible, certain situations(that I don’t have time to talk about) had happened, and I thought life would never get better. Me and my group of ‘friends’ we’re constantly picked on, but we found solace in each other. we also found a common ground of cutting, pill popping, drugs and alcohol. Skipping class to smoke by the dumpster and compare our sad lives. One day, during summer break I had enough. This is the part I’ve never shared before, whenever telling my testimony, I only ever said that “i had everything planned”, I’ve never gone into detail before. So this is my first time being transparent about this. It was a Friday night, and I got my hands on a gun(which is sadly very easy to do in stockton). It was a little thing, I wasn’t even sure how to use it. I sat on the roof of my old apartment building. I had taken a few of my mom’s subscription pain killers, and was feeling quiet numb to the world. I sat there for what seems like hours and hours. Just having this tiny gun pressed to my head. But my finger just couldn’t do it, everything else in me was ready, I was so blinded by this deep depression, but my finger wouldn’t move. Finally something happened, I had felt something, almost like someone grabbing my hand. It took the gun away from my head. I pointed the gun out toward this tree across the way, and I finally fired the gun, my finger could move again and I shot the tree across the parking lot. got some crazy backlash and a bad bruise on my temple. I cried, I hardly remember what happend next. But the next day, I went and retrieved the bullet from that tree. I now have that bullet as a necklace, a reminder that I’m still alive, and I’m alive for a reason. That Saturday I got invited to a church, that Sunday I went to that church, and the rest is history. That was almost 5 years ago. I still refuse to be another statistic. Depression tries to sneak up on me but, I’m a fighter, and I will always win with God on my side.
I share this to encourage you. Keep fighting. Suicide does not just stop suffering, it stops life from ever getting better. When your depressed, its like wearing Sunglasses, they block out the light, everything is seen from a different reality than what really is. You believe no one will miss you, that everyone will just go on without you as if you never existed, but none of that is true. Your choices impact everyone around you, whether you know it or not. It’s scary to think that if I would have pulled that trigger that night I would not be here right now. That this quiet, stubborn, passionate, funny, and creative person would not be typing this into her Kindle at this very moment. I think about all the people I would have devastated, how many I would hurt, and I think that maybe, just maybe my story may keep someone from doing what I almost did. Things. Get. Better. Life. gets. better. Trust me on this one.
A sister blog of mine wrote THIS beautifully written blog post. And I really like what she had to say:
"Don’t only turn up the praise songs but turn to Lamentations and Job and be a place of lament and tenderly unveil the God who does just that — who wears the scars of the singe. A God who bares His scars and reaches through the fire to grab us, “Come — Escape into Me.” Nobody had told me that"
Depression is not a character defect, a spiritual disorder or an emotional dysfunction. And chief of all, it’s not a choice. Asking someone to “try” not being depressed is like asking someone who’s been shot to try and stop bleeding. Having faith in God’s ability to heal is hugely important, and personal faith can help ease depression. But to deny medical or psychiatric treatment to someone suffering from mental illness is really no different than denying them to someone with a physical illness. Add that to what feels like the inability just to be – every shaky breath hurts and getting out of bed is impossible – and you’ve thrown gasoline onto the fire.
The Word is full of wisdom and encouragement for those suffering from depression and anxiety disorders, but it doesn’t come in one-verse doses.
A true examination of depression and anxiety in the Bible shows the existential dread that accompanies the illnesses instead of an easy out, one-and-done antidote. most of us have no idea what David meant when he further lamented, ‘I am forgotten by them as though I were dead.’ Severe depression is often beyond description. Anxiety and depression don’t look how we often think. When I’ve opened up to Christian friends about my own battles with depression and anxiety, they’re often surprised. “You seem so happy and calm all the time!”. Well some of us have learned and understand that “the joy of the Lord is my strength”. That when the invisible weight of the world comes crashing all around us, we cry our eyes out and ask God to take it all, and he does. he gives peace that surpasses all understanding, and that alone can sustain my weary soul. Things don’t always have to be perfect. It’s okay to not be okay. whatever you do, do not pretend everything is fine, don’t put on that ‘christian mask’ and pretend like life is perfect. Life. Is. Not. Perfect. its messy and its hard, and your gonna need peoples help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. pretending is the most dangerous thing you could do, because that’s when you start to feel alone. Ann Voskamp wrote “I’d rather walk tall with a crutch than crawl around insisting like a proud and bloody fool that I didn’t need one.”
Churches often don’t address mental illness, which gives people even more incentive to keep it hidden away. If churches begin responding to mental disorders as a community willing to offer encouragement and support, people suffering from those illnesses may just be able to accept the help. It may just be people you never expected.
Christ, the Great Physician, came to heal the sick. As His body, it’s time for the Church to do the same.
There is hope, there is love, there is joy, and there is peace. God is our rock and salvation when depression rears its ugly head. Stand strong, and fight. we got this.
from your fighting friend,
"In You, O Lord, I put my trust;
Let me never be ashamed;
Deliver me in Your righteousness.
Bow down Your ear to me,
Deliver me speedily;
Be my rock of refuge,
A fortress of defense to save me.
For You are my rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your name’s sake,
Lead me and guide me.
Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.
into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.
I have hated those who regard useless idols;
But I trust in the Lord.
I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy,
For You have considered my trouble;
You have known my soul in adversities,
And have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy;
You have set my feet in a wide place.
Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble;
My eye wastes away with grief,
Yes, my soul and my body!
For my life is spent with grief,
And my years with sighing;
My strength fails because of my iniquity,
And my bones waste away.
I am a reproach among all my enemies,
But especially among my neighbors,
And am repulsive to my acquaintances;
Those who see me outside flee from me.
I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind;
I am like a broken vessel.
For I hear the slander of many;
Fear is on every side;
While they take counsel together against me,
They scheme to take away my life.
But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies,
And from those who persecute me.
Make Your face shine upon Your servant;
Save me for Your mercies’ sake.
Do not let me be ashamed, O Lord, for I have called upon You;
Let the wicked be ashamed;
Let them be silent in the grave.
Let the lying lips be put to silence,
Which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.
Oh, how great is Your goodness,
Which You have laid up for those who fear You,
Which You have prepared for those who trust in You
In the presence of the sons of men!
You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence
From the plots of man;
You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion
From the strife of tongues.
Blessed be the Lord,
For He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city!
For I said in my haste,
“I am cut off from before Your eyes”;
Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications
When I cried out to You.
Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints!
For the Lord preserves the faithful,
And fully repays the proud person.
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the Lord” -Psalm 31