If you have ever felt suicidal, dear reader, what strategies have you used to avoid ending your life? Maybe by sharing our experiences we can help others.
I tried to kill myself because I had been abused for so long, and I couldn’t take it anymore. The Lord used it to get a hold of me, but attempted suicide can be a touchy subject. Even in Christian circles, there can be a great deal of ignorance about it.
It’s not the coward’s way out, nor is it the easy way out. Seriously—-there is nothing easy or cowardly about contemplating, and then trying to take your own life.
There can also be a stigma attached to it, just like a stigma may be attached to admitting your were abused. People may look at you differently, and the difference may not be complimentary!
There is no condemnation for those that are in Christ. Never ever believe His wrath is aimed at you for being abused. His wrath is directed entirely at the abuser who dared to hurt one of His precious sheep.
I understand why many people keep their stories about abuse to themselves. It’s very private and very personal. Without a doubt, you never have to talk about it unless you are 100% able and willing to.
Again—you have nothing to be ashamed of. If Christ holds nothing against you, neither should you.
Many years ago I picked up a young hitch hiker, maybe 18yo. He was going on about a family friend who had committed suicide and saying how they were weak, cowardly and selfish, etc. I asked a few questions and quickly realised that this boy was merely repeating statements he had heard the adults around him saying and now thought of as his own wisdom.
It was a bit of a sore point with me because I had spent many years contemplating suicide myself. So I asked him, “Do you think this person was in pain?” “Yes,” came the answer. So I then asked, “How much pain would you have to be in to take your own life?”
It was a quiet trip after that.
Those that do not contemplate or attempt suicide are not be seen as superior – as if they “handled” their trials or abuse so much better than those that did.
I know you have your workload cut out for you, and it’s your blog, but perhaps you might want to do a blog posting on “Why You Shouldn’t Suicide” for the really mangled, severely abused women out there. It’s something I continually deal with and I know I’ve read it in so many other abused women’s accounts, where suicide is very much on the minds of abused women.
Then other readers can comment on what they do to get through the day, how they stopped themselves from suiciding, and people can support one another.
When Anonymous made this suggestion, I initially thought it was a great idea. Then I got cold feet. How can I dare risk publishing a post about suicide prevention? I might say something wrong, or say something poorly, which would lead to someone taking their own life. It’s too scary for me to do this!
For several nights after Anonymous had made her suggestion, I had awful dreams. Dreams where I was feeling frenzied churning. In those few days, when I was awake and reflecting on the feeling state I’d had in those dreams, I realised that the dreams were (i) my remembrance of the times in my life when I felt suicidal, and (ii) were also perhaps the Holy Spirit giving me windows of empathy into the feelings of many other victims of abuse who have, or will be, or are, contemplating suicide.
And in my daily Bible reading, these passages came up:
Psalm 6, CSB
Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger;
do not discipline me in your wrath.
Be gracious to me, Lord, for I am weak;
heal me, Lord, for my bones are shaking;
my whole being is shaken with terror.
And you, Lord — how long?
Turn, Lord! Rescue me;
save me because of your faithful love.
For there is no remembrance of you in death;
who can thank you in Sheol?
I am weary from my groaning;
with my tears I dampen my bed
and drench my couch every night.
My eyes are swollen from grief;
they grow old because of all my enemies.
Depart from me, all evildoers,
for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my plea for help;
the Lord accepts my prayer.
All my enemies will be ashamed and shake with terror;
they will turn back and suddenly be disgraced.
1 John 3:18-22, NMB
My babes, let us not love in word, nor in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
For by this we know that we are of the truth, and can quiet our hearts before him.
But if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts, and knows all things.
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, then we have trust before God – and whatever we ask, we shall receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
I put a verse of the 1 John passage in bold, because it might help some folks who are feeling suicidal. But if you are feeling suicidal and that verse I emphasised doesn’t help you, please forgive me.
I know from personal experience how convoluted and uniquely personal one’s thinking can be when one is feeling suicidal. Each of us is different. And just because I’ve felt suicidal at times in my life, doesn’t mean I understand all the ins and outs of your thinking if you are feeling suicidal.
From the pen of the man [William Tyndale] who later faced his own martyrdom without flinching, came words of consolation and encouragement to those who had recanted [those who, under persecution by the Roman church, had denied their faith].
In his “Obedience of the Christian Man” Tyndale wrote:
If any man clean against his heart (but overcome with the weakness of the flesh), for fear of persecution have denied, as Peter did, or have delivered his book or put it away secretly [book = the New Testament which Tyndale had translated into English or any other book which the authorities at that time had forbidden], let him (if he repent), come again, and take better hold, and not despair, or take it for a sign that God hath forsaken him.
For God ofttimes takes His strength even from His very elect, when they either trust in their own strength or are negligent to call on Him for His strength. And that doth He to teach them, and to make them feel, that in the fire of tribulation, for His word’s sake nothing can endure and abide save His work, and that strength only which He hath promised. For the which strength He will have us to pray unto Him, night and day, with all instance.
“God’s Outlaw: The Story of William Tyndale and the English Bible” – Brian H Edwards, (Evangelical Press: Darlington, 1976) p 125.
I will end with another scripture, James 5:13a.
If any of you be vexed with sorrows, let him pray.
For folks who are not themselves feeling suicidal but want to know how to help people who might be contemplating suicide, I recommend the website Mental Health First Aid. It’s an Australian website and it has several PDFs that you can download.