mental health

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On Suicide (after Robin Williams’ passing)


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I wrote this originally as a facebook status yesterday, and the response was rather overwhelming–probably more people interacted with it than any other post I’ve ever written, so I thought to share it here also, in the hope that some part of my experience will be helpful to others.

 

 

Most people who commit suicide do not want to die. They want to be whole. They want to cure what ails them. If they are addicts, they cannot forgive themselves for one more lapse, knowing that however long and hard fought their sobriety, there will likely be another, and sooner or later the will to start over erodes. Surrounded by those they love, given assurances, they remain tortured, feeling like they have disappointed and failed so many times that this grace, this love, could not possibly be true, and if true, surely not lasting. And so they turn to what they can control, convincing themselves that the world and all those people would somehow be better without them. And they are always wrong.

 

Still others are depressed or struggling somehow with mental health. They try to figure it out with meds, they get counseling, they endure the well meaning but terribly misguided comments of friends and family who explain that everything is going to be alright, or, worse, that they can somehow snap out of it if they would just think more positively about life. And slowly they are drawn into the abyss of loneliness and hopelessness, until one day they have the courage to make it stop, and they feel, for once, like they can choose. And though it is always the wrong choice, let us not judge, for most of us have been spared this fight and do not understand it. Rather, let us love without expectation and without condescension, which might be the only hope for any of us.

 

Faith

Why You Mustn’t Give Up


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We are defined.

All of us.  We are shaped, molded, angled, built, crafted…

Intended.

All of us.  We carry the talents, gifts of birth, reflections of a perfect Image…  We are awesome, capable, creative, giving, loving beings…  As we are defined, as we are intended, we are perfect.

Perfect.

But we are also re-defined.

All of us.  We are broken, bent, stretched, spent, undone…

Ruined.

For while we are formed and imprinted with the indelible Image, nearly everything that happens after that seeks its ruin.  All of us have experienced this: our dads beat the hell out of us; our moms told us we were worthless or an accident; we were sexually abused; we woke up depressed this morning in spite of our very best (and medicine’s very best) efforts not to be; our loved ones died; our friends broke our trust; we failed by our own standards or someone else’s…

Over time, we lost faith in the Image, and then in ourselves.  We lost confidence that we were among those who bore it.  We lost hope.

Because we thought we were alone.

Over time, we came to believe that we deserved this.

But we did not.

You did not.

Not then, not now, not ever.

For defined does not change its mind so easily.  Intended does not acquiesce to such persuasions.  And it does not suffer threats to its beloved well.

Friend, You are that beloved.  Then, now, and for always, it is you.  With all your baggage in tow, with all the wounds that never seem to heal, with the messes done to you and the messes you have made, with whatever you woke up with this morning and the day before and probably tomorrow, it is you.

And this is why you mustn’t give up.

It is why you mustn’t believe, not now and not ever, that you are alone.

It is why you mustn’t believe, not now and not ever, that you deserve this.

It is why you mustn’t believe, not now and not ever, that you are hopeless.

You are defined.  You are intended.  Whether you have ever seen a glimpse of it in your life or not, you are wonderful, courageous, beautiful, able—a crowning jewel among all that exists.

You deserve to know that even if you have never seen a glimpse of it in your life, the world and someone in it waits with grand anticipation for something only you can provide.

You deserve to know that you deserve the thanks, admiration, and praise that come from resiliency, and giving your gifts to the rest of us.

You deserve to know that every day you wake up feeling like you did this morning and say, “I’ll do this anyway,” hope is winning.

You deserve to know that even if you never hear it, someone is watching, gaining inspiration from your example.

You deserve to know that we are proud of you whether your life sings or barely gets by.

You deserve to know that we are waiting for your song, and that we know its words because it is our song too.  You are not alone.

Defined.

Intended.

Believe.

And when you don’t, ask.  We’ll tell you.

He’ll tell you.

Beloved.