Strength For Today

A journey of keeping my heart, mind, and body in TODAY

Suicide : Is There Any Hope?

on August 12, 2014

Suicide is not a fun topic to write about.  It is not something that I care to spend much time thinking about either.  In fact, if I were to be totally honest with you, I would say that I am extremely uncomfortable even typing these first few sentences.  What do I know about suicide?  Nothing, really.

But, I do know that yesterday’s news of Robin William’s death has really stirred up something in my heart.  A desire to learn, to understand, and to help.

Robin Williams is not the first person I have known to commit suicide.  Pause here.  Did you notice that I wrote “I have known” in that last sentence?  I mean, what did I really know about Robin Williams??  I knew nothing of the person behind the actor.  What I did know, was that he continuously portrayed happiness, joy, and a lightness of spirit in almost every movie he ever acted in.  I find it interesting, yet not at all surprising, that those of us who have watched his films over the years would be SO SHOCKED that he ended his own life yesterday.

On the surface – the Robin Williams we all “knew” was the definition of HAPPY, right?  I mean, he was the GENIE in Aladdin for goodness sake!  He was the voice of Good Morning Vietnam!  He was the sweet, loving, kind-hearted father who went to extremes for the sake of the love of his children in Mrs. Doubtfire.  He was Robin Williams.

He was an actor.  A darn good one at that.  And it is not like I am not aware of that fact.  I realize that there is a person behind every actor.  A person that the public rarely gets to know.  Why?  Because they would become too real.  They would become human. And maybe we would stop idolizing them.  Stop putting them on these pedestals.  Stop expecting them to be perfect just because we see them that way… or should I say, we WANT to see them that way?  Stop the pressure.  Just a thought.

The point of this message is not that actors should be more real. Please don’t stop reading here.  The point I am trying to get across is that EVERY person is an ACTOR.  And EVERY actor has a truth behind the life they lead for others to see.  I am an actor.  You are an actor.  We all present ourselves one way to the “world”, and another way behind the safety zone of our own hearts and minds.

This has become incredibly clear to me as I have walked alongside other women in recovery.  Being totally transparent and honest with others is something that does not come easy.  God blessed me early on in my recovery with the gift of transparency without shame. I have come to understand that this is a gift I should not take lightly.  I have learned that one of the most difficult things for some people to do, is to expose their “underbelly”, so to speak.  To get real.  To get gut-wrechingly honest.

And I have learned that this is an incredibly painful reality for those who suffer from the darkness of depression.  More often than not, they suffer in silence.  They become captives inside their own mind – prisoners in chains.  They walk a fine line of hopelessness, feeling very alone and isolated in the world.  They may not show it on the outside, but on the inside they are screaming for someone, anyone, to SEE them.  To know them.  To help them.

More often than not, we think we do know the people in our life.  We think we know them because we see what they want us to see.  Very few people ever get the opportunity to witness the true person behind the actor.  Sometimes I wonder if we were to invest a little more effort into the relationships around us, would we discover that most people are NOT who they portray themselves to be?  Would we discover that there is hurt and pain inside every heart, inside every life?  I would venture to say yes.  As I am beginning to invest myself into the lives of others, I am coming to find out that there is a great number of people just in the circle of those I know who suffer from depression.  Who battle constantly with negative self-image.  Who see themselves as “less-than” the rest of the world.  A great number.

I did a little research on suicide today.  Did you know that the number of suicides that take place every year in the United States of America is over 30,000?  Does it make you stop and wonder if anyone in your life might be heading in that direction?  Chances are, someone you know has contemplated ending his or her own life – probably more than once.  Even scarier is the fact that you probably know someone who has TRIED it.  Maybe you even know someone who has done it.

So, herein lies the REAL question I am posing:  Is there hope????

I say a resounding YES!!!!!  Depression has been around for as long as there have been people.  If you know anything about the Bible, you know that the psalmist suffered from severe depression.  How did he endure?  He dug his heels into his relationship with his Creator!  He called, cried out desperately, to God – and he was saved!!!  It’s all over the place in the book of Psalms.

Does that mean that all we must do is cry out, and sit and wait for God to move?  That is NOT what I am saying.  What I am saying is that a relationship with God is vital.  Crying out to God is the very first step we must take.  Then, as we are prompted to act…we must act.  Sometimes God will cause a miraculous healing to take place, and crying out to Him is all it takes for the darkness to lift.  More often than not, however, once we cry out to God – He will create circumstances in our lives in which we will be able to receive the help we so desperately need.  He will place resources in our path which will become vital to our recovery.

One of the most precious resources that God has bestowed upon us is people.  He gave us the gift of relationships.  We have EACH OTHER.  We are not alone!! What an amazing and priceless resource this is!  Reach out to someone today.  Ask them how they are. Then listen when they share.  Talk to them.  Listen to them.  Share with them.  Be someone’s hope.  You never know… God might use your words to reach them at exactly the right moment.  God might use YOU to save someone from walking the dark and desperate path toward suicide.

Get to know someone today.  And let someone really get to know you.  It might just save a life.

 

 

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