PART 1: Siri, Play Even When It Hurts – By Hillsong United.
Before we begin, there shouldn’t be vagueness about this, only the most certain clarity that you are loved, valuable, and seen. There’s none more special than you, none more beautiful in character or great in strength. I know sometimes it’s hard to believe these words. And I can’t begin to understand the nuisances of your life, or the deeply rooted traumas ravaging your mind. The topic of mental health can never be exhausted. We can spend our whole lives learning about it and still come up short. Either because we are truly on the outside looking in or we do not understand the very nature of our mental well-being (or lack thereof) enough to explain it to ourselves first, then to others. And as much as there is a logical explanation as to why people’s minds become fragmented, sometimes beyond repair, there is also a huge spiritual element to it (if you are a believer).
Ephesians 6:12 says, “for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in high places.” This verse tells us that the obvious answers we seek to better understand the issues plaguing our lives are not always the right ones. 1 John 5:19 says, “we know that we are of God and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” The very nature of this can take hold of a person’s mind, and either give them hope or bring them down. For those it’s brought down, there’s always that ill-fated belief in your ability to overcome your circumstances because the mountains can sometimes be insurmountable. That being said, you’re currently in pain — some sort of physical or mental suffering that is ravaging you. I am sorry you feel this way, I wish we could all have life the way we want it. But in reality, it is an incredulous suggestion, risible even to think that this wicked world would permit you to live free and happy without you putting up a good fight. For you to press beyond the temporal into the eternal, you’re going to have to guard your heart with all diligence because out of it comes the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).
Another thing I know to be true is that pain (in whatever form it presents itself) is temporary, however, you want to look at it. Ecclesiastes 3 says, — quoting loosely: To everything, there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to break down, and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to get, and a time to lose. A time to love and a time to hate. A time of war and a time of peace. But God hath made everything beautiful in His time.
So, even when unexpected storms come hurtling towards you, bearing down so hard that there’s nothing you can do about it – it is only temporary. Now, when something is temporal, it is also relative. Whether your pain lasts for a moment or a decade, no one can truly say. And yes, it is hard to look at yourself in the mirror every day and say, “it’s going to be okay,” when you don’t know when or how. God has promised to work all things together for your good. But the million-dollar question is: why did He let anything bad happen to you in the first place?
It is so easy to trust God when you don’t have insecurities staring you in the face. When you don’t wish that you had a different reality. When you are not rattled by anxiety, fear, darkness, demons, and ghosts. When you don’t have to wonder where your next meal/rent would come from. When you don’t have to count the steps, the breaths, the blinks, the seconds, the days, the weeks, the months, and the years until better comes along. You’re quite sure God said in Isaiah 43 verse 2 that, “when you pass through the waters, He would be with you; and when you go through the rivers, they would not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Also, in Psalm 34 verse 18, He said, He is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. But If He is too faithful to fail, then why do you feel like He has failed you? Your mind is off its hinges. You’ve prayed, fasted, and prophesied as you were commanded. God can do impossible things, you know this, even in your fragile state. You know not to take these issues as a sign that God does not love you. You know that God is in the details. But you can’t seem to translate that belief into an actual lifestyle. There’s something in you that does not believe that you have what you need for the season you are in.
Your pain is supposed to produce perseverance, and perseverance, hope. As much as the fruit of the Spirit includes love, joy, and peace — it also includes self-control, longsuffering, and kindness. Longsuffering means showing patience despite your troubles. Depression is the body’s way of saying it’s tired, and it’s temporarily shutting down. But suicide is the opposite of longsuffering, it is the opposite of kindness to one’s self. It is a kind of violence that only you can give permission to. It is violence in such a final, grievous, and permanent way. It locks you out of redemption because you no longer exist in the realm of time. You can no longer ask for help or mercy. You’ve taken a life that you didn’t give yourself. And maybe you’re reading this, and thinking that it’s exactly what you want. To never have to be full of the fear of the guilty — to never have to disappoint yourself, your family/friends, and even God. You want your heart to stop crackling like a rocking chair every time it beats. You’re just not finer for being here, and you want to leave. Whatever judgment lays beyond this earthly realm you are sure it’ll never be worse than your time here on earth.
You may think that there’s peace in death, but you can also find peace here on earth— it is within your reach. Psalm 6:2: says, Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. David knew that if we make decisions on our own accord without the help of God, there is a tendency to crash and burn. It’s why he enlisted the help of God. And it’s why we should all aspire to pray about everything because the Lord of peace is ready to give you peace, always, by all means necessary (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
PART 2: Siri, Play I’m Still Here – By Sia.
Clinically, depression is the result of a complex interaction between personality, chemical imbalances, nature, and nurture (or the lack thereof). Depression is a difficult subject to contemplate and suicide is an even more complex and traumatic subject to discuss. Someone once defined suicide as purposefully taking one’s own life out of misdirected self-love. I did not agree with that definition. It’s not out of misdirected self-love, but one’s inability to look outside of themselves. In that state, that person is too busy being introspective, looking too deeply inward. And when you look for anything hard enough, you’ll find it. You become too consumed by your pain that it takes on a life of its own. Soon, you fall because what you’re carrying is too large, not measured to fit your size. A lot of what we face has complex and traumatic elements to it. Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event. Sometimes, people never fully heal from that. They tend to relive it until it becomes the be-all and potentially the end-all of their lives.
Being depressed and doing something about it are two different things. One takes place in the mind, the other is an action. Just because you are surviving does not mean you are okay — it means you’ve found a hack for now, but it won’t suffice for long. You need to learn to open up and ask for help from those that love you. If you are worried that your friends and family may not understand, that’s okay. It’s a legitimate concern to think that they may appease the worry or anxiety instead of pursuing it. Sometimes, instead of trying to figure out “how” this came to be, they’ll be too focused on “why” you are depressed.
How many times have you told people how you felt and instead of truly helping, they gave you that universal response— “It will be okay. You’re not the only one going through it. Call if you need anything.” Some say these words passively because not everyone means them. It is no wonder you keep matters of mental health to yourself. You don’t want the uniformed response. You don’t want to burden people. You don’t want to be looked at with a magnifying glass. You don’t want to be labeled or be identified by your issues instead of the sum of the goodness inside of You. You don’t want to be judged, you judge yourself heavily already. While these are legitimate concerns, if you build up these walls of reasons, you’re feeding your problems instead of starving them. Depression should not be fed, instead, you should guide yourself away from it by seeking help no matter how daunting the task might be.
Please, when you’re sad, express yourself. Especially when the light inside of you feels like it’s turned off. There’s a magnitude of light coming from the outside ready to reach you. Express yourself as often, and as quickly as you can. Don’t conceal your worries. With all the labyrinth of emotions going on inside you, it can get stuffy. Air it out, let it out. There’s so much love in this world for you not to take advantage of it. Never believe the lie that nobody understands. It’s a ridiculous ruse used by the devil to keep you in the dark. When you talk to people about your struggles — it doesn’t make you a complainer. That’s why you have resources of friends, family, counselors, therapists, and spiritual advisors available to you. No one can know what goes on in your mind. We are all outsiders. Only you can reveal your innermost burdens — unburden yourself and be free. Help isn’t a shout into oblivion. It is in your ability to say the words and to have the courage to take the assistance that’s being offered.
My sister once said, “your trauma has by design made you sensitive. So, now you need a filter and a switch. You can not take everything to heart. If you keep your heart on your sleeve, it will get bruised by any and everything. Know when to turn it on (for people, situations, and things that matter) and turn it off.” Never behave as if your life belongs to your challenges. Life may seem gossamer right now, but please, give yourself grace, and be patient with yourself. For the sake of those that care deeply about you, do not give in to the lies of the devil.
PART 3: FROM THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN.
When it comes to conversations like depression and suicide, there is a lot of stigmas, shame, and isolation that go with it. It leaves people involved very isolated from everything and everyone. The person most likely to suffer from a destructive impulse is usually the one who has it, and those around them can be greatly affected too. There are so many factors that come into play when a person goes from a happy-go-lucky lad to a suicidal one. Think about the pain some families go through when they don’t see the signs of outlandish behaviors as a huge cause for concern until it’s too late. You see, brain illness is like a ticking time bomb and if it’s not treated, one day it will denote, leaving scars, sorrows, and questions in its wake. After a person dies by suicide, emotions are strained because the victim is also the perpetrator. There’s a need for those left behind to try to understand what has happened. And without a doubt, it tears people apart. Survivors begin to wonder what they could have done differently, going over conversations in their heads, trying to change the outcome. The intense questions are like unsolvable mathematical equations.
Sue Klebold said, “When a person’s sense of reality is greatly impaired, we begin the harrowing job of turning a pile of broken bricks into a solid structure after they have fallen. But if we remove the stigma around any form of mental illness, we may be able to prevent it before we have to cure it. When we can do a better job of helping people before their lives are in crisis, the world will become safer for all of us.” That being said, the conversations about depression and suicide are not abominable topics. Don’t be wary about bringing up the words, those are exactly the conversations you should be having. Even though you’re a family member or friend, you are also an outsider. As an outsider, ask questions that encourage an open dialogue. Show those struggling that you want in, you want to be a part of their pain as much as you share in their joy. Don’t ignore it or think it will go away. Let your loved ones know that they can talk if they want, about what they want, when they are ready. Don’t try to explain, minimize, judge them. Listen without judgment, and help them take responsibility without blaming them. Do the best you can and know deep in your bones that you tried. also, get help for yourself because it can take an emotional toll on you. Above all, learn to be vigilant.
PART 4: FINALLY.
1 Corinthians 10: 13 says, No temptation has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience. But God is faithful to His Word, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability to resist. But along with the temptation, He will always provide a way out as well so that you will be able to endure it. Pastor Steven Furtick said, “If God has put you in IT, then he has put IT in you.” You are capable of overcoming whatever you may be facing right now. I can only say that it is okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to need a shoulder to lean on. It is okay to be prayed for. It is okay to receive love. These words aren’t mechanical, I hope you can truly understand this. You weren’t created to be consistently strong. You were created to just be. You, just being who you are is all that’s required of you. You are pure light and I thank God for YOU.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
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