I remember when he said he had once contemplated suicide. I thought he was crazy. It felt like it was the most selfish thing anyone could do. I didn’t think going through something horrendous could ever justify taking your own life.
Then it almost happened to me… almost.
In the blink of an eye I was on the other side. Somehow the worst possible battle was taking place in my mind, and controlled my thoughts, my mood, my actions.
However way it happened, one day there was a knock on the door, and I peered through the window to stare at Depression. Both of us wondering whether I was going to eventually let it in. It waited, I waited…
Sometime during my last two years of college I was going through a rough time. I was struggling in so many things. But I was also very good at hiding it. Not many noticed because normally people assume that you’re OK when you’re always laughing, smiling or making jokes. It was a great cover-up.
In trying to deal with this mess on my own (keywords: on my own), I started thinking about a way to get out of the haze. This was not a good idea because a troubled mind NEVER thinks clearly. More so evident because one thought kept re-surfacing… In order for me to ‘win’ this battle, something bad had to happen to me.
I was at a place where I didn’t feel worthy of anything good, and I became so worried about pleasing everyone but myself.
At this point I knew I had walked away from the window, to stand in front of the door (still closed). How does someone with the absolute best of friends, someone who is a leader of two Campus Christian Organizations, someone who had great family support, get tangled in the web of depressed thoughts? I should have been “all good”.
There’s another unspoken truth here… Toying with depression often opens room for suicidal thoughts. Obviously there are different levels of depression and I know I wasn’t anywhere near that point. But I also know now that if I continued down that path I might have been pretty darn close. Thinking back, there was no way I would’ve possibly inflicted pain on myself as a result to end my life. It seems impossible now, thinking with clarity.
I came up with the ‘perfect’ coping mechanism. If I welcomed pain from another source (not self-inflicted), then people will feel sorry for me. I remember wishing I would get sick, really bad. That might seem strange to you, but I wanted to feel like it wasn’t my fault things were not going the way I wanted them to, so the blame would be focused on something else [sickness]. And if I became associated with something seriously bad as illness, then mission accomplished.
Some of you are probably puzzled and might think this sounds wacky. But I really want to squash the idea that “it is impossible for ‘certain people’ to go through dark periods”, because I used to be one of those thinkers…
I need to say that it is widely illogical to think it absurd for anyone (regardless of stature, reputation, or importance) to go through dark times, or refuse to accept that it is possible for it to happen. And it is wrong to brand [them] as such, based on your limited knowledge of certain aspects of their lives.
For example, I’m a preacher’s kid. Therefore to many many people, there should be absolutely no way on this planet, or mars, that I should ever “entertain” thoughts of depression. First of all I find it strange that others use a word like “entertain” for something as menacing as depression. As if bad/horrible/repulsive thoughts chooses to haunt a certain demographic. Uh… No.
Thoughts circling pain/depression/suicide, does not care about race or faith or ethnicity or gender or socioeconomic status. It doesn’t care if a person is black or white or short or tall or the funniest comedian in the world
There is one conclusion I’ve made through all this. I have come to understand that the battle of the mind is spiritual. And if there is one thing I am absolutely sure of, it is that dark thoughts are not of/from God.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7
It is interesting that while I found myself in this mess, my faith in God was failing. In all honesty, I felt like a confused, lost Child [of God]. But I also know that as humans, our mind and body have such a magnetic pull to the reality of this world. And sometimes it is just hard to look above reality and “pray” and hope for the best. POINT BLANK, PERIOD.
What then do you do, when thoughts of depression and confusion rain down like confetti…