I started writing this and had to stop several times because it was so painful.
I’ve revisited this several times trying to edit it but with each review it was more difficult.
The only reason I am writing this all out is in hope that someone, anyone will read it, identify in some way and get the help that is available.
When I was younger I didn’t even know what suicide meant.
That song (put out when I turned 20) and the insert that the band “Degarmo & Key” included with the cassette tape raised my awareness that suicide was a option that some people were taking. They included emergency crisis numbers & stats on this crisis I had only heard little about at the time.
When I was in middle school there was a rumor that the guy that lived in the house on the corner, where we waited for our bus, die by suicide. At the time I didn’t know the difference between homicide and suicide.
In high school there was a person who committed suicide in an empty church parking lot one night. It was so new and strange to me. Some fellow students were making crude jokes about it the next day. I even sat at a desk where someone wrote a rude comment including the deceased full name. It was as if it wasn’t even real, as if it didn’t really happen.
I still didn’t understand it and it was all very new to me. I couldn’t understand. I thought to myself, ‘why would anyone even consider doing that?’
Around 10 years later after my own family saw I was personally struggling at times with behavior uncharacteristical of me they encouraged me to see a counselor. I wasn’t sleeping normal hours. I was over active and running myself into the ground. For me it wasn’t that I wanted to die, it was that I wanted all the craziness & the over busy racing thoughts in my head to stop. I was no longer comfortable in my own skin.
Now, I don’t talk about it much. It took years & years after my attempt to admit & give details and discuss it; however, now that my son, my only son has done it & succeeded, new wounds are open & it is time once again to talk about it.
Since the late 80’s when I first learned about suicide to the late 90’s (only 10 years) I was contemplating suicide myself.
This is very hard to talk about but may help someone else.
When the chemicals in our brain are out of balance we can become so unlike who we really that we are, unrecognizable by others who have known us for years.
When neurons don’t dock correctly and the waves (messages) are not sent we think, say and do things that ordinarily we would never do.
Mental health, when it is not functioning correctly or as it does for the majority of people, can sometimes be obvious to everyone but the person who is ill.
Here is my personal experience:
I was actually a pastor at the time and had been a pastor for quite a few years but I was also struggling with mental health issues (unaware). My mind was out of control with what they later diagnosed as manic depression or bipolar disorder (the same thing). This is not the same as multiple personalities, although some people ignorantly lump several mental health issues together. One person may suffer from more than one disorder but that does not mean that one with bipolar disorder is also psyzophenzic, has multiple personalities or necessarily has any other diagnosis other than just manic depression.
For me personally I, felt like everything around me was just a complete mess and there were no answers. I tried to alleviate my pain and confusion with various pleasures in life but it never really brought fulfillment. I found out that it wasn’t just a case where if I did things I enjoyed doing I’d feel better and everything would be okay.
I needed satisfaction not just a temporary pleasure. Spiritually I loved the Lord with all my heart but my mind and body seemed to just be going in a completely different direction. I can’t even explain it fully because I was doing things that weren’t even part of my character and completely against my beliefs system.
So, one night I went into the garage and found a piece of rope that I could use to hang myself with. It didn’t look like it would really work very well but again with the confusion it was worth giving it a try. I wrapped the Rope around my neck and threw it over a rafter in the garage. I jumped off a weight bench and the Rope snapped. I hurt my neck tremendously but it mostly just gave me a bad burn. The fall kind of knocked some sense into me but did no damage. I also pictured my children walking out into the garage and seeing me there. I also had a strange memory from the movie ‘Braveheart’ that ran through my head. The scene was of when a little boy sees people hanging and it effected him greatly. I was still in my right mind enough to know I didn’t want that. I went back inside and it was at that point I realized I needed to get some serious help but still wasn’t sure how.
I look back at my behavior and can’t believe the things I thought and attempted. I was clearly ill and didn’t fully realize how off I was and that I could get help to think and act appropriately.
On the drive home, shortly after this experience (suicide attempt), I had shared with my wife my attempts and how confused and desperate I was and I even said at that moment that perhaps I could take out the whole family. Obviously my mind was so warped that life and everything I loved dearly had become temporarily meaningless and blured.
A chemical imbalance (mental health issues) can cause one to think and possibly act on things unthinkable.
Now, please keep in mind as you read this I’m very embarrassed and hate to share this but I do it in hopes that others may read it and find some help if they’re in any state of confusion. I hope others know there is help out there.
As I was saying, I suggested to my wife that perhaps I could take us all out at once and I jerked the wheel to go off the road and over the side of a bridge. I was sure that would work. She grabbed the wheel to prevent it from going off the road and causing an unbelievable accident.
After that I’m really not clear on many details but I assume that she took over driving and said that we would get some help for me.
I do remember that months before all of this I was seeing a counselor and my wife came to me and said, “we’re going to see your counselor.” I noticed she had a bag with her and said “you may have to stay a few days.” I completely complied and agreed with her because some how I still had enough sense to know that I was not in touch with reality and I was slipping further and further away.
It was then in 1997 that I was admitted to a psyc. hosp. and diagnosed as bipolar or manic depression. When my parents came to visit me in the facility I was staying in I recall they read the explanation of what bi-polar is. My dad said, “he’s always been like that.”
Perhaps being diagnosed helps with the difficult journey when you have a mental health illness but it’s not easy for anybody and it’s especially not easy for loved ones who were trying to be with you during this confusion time.
Since that point I’ve always seeked help and I made a pledge and promise to myself that I would never attempt suicide again, however, I would go on walks to try to clear my mind and I would walk and walk and walk until I wasn’t really sure how I got where I was. I would be so far away and too tired to walk back so on a few occasions the police department was called. They (ussually the police) would pick me up and take me to the hospital.
Another 10 years later I do recall one time taking the medicine that was supposed to help with my condition, in my case it was Klonopin, and I wasn’t sure if I took too many but I was feeling the effect and the thought went through my head that I might not wake back up if I fall asleep. Sadly I was okay with that.
Things seemed ok but my thinking still wasn’t right. I knew that I needed to make some changes once again in my life to keep my sanity.
With mental health it is not a matter of being diagnosed and taking meds then everything is just fine the rest of your life.
Chemicals in the brain change and although there is medication that can be helpful there is no known solution or cure. Each person is an individual and what helps some is actually harmful for others, even those with the same diagnosis.
Since my son, Alexx, committed suicide my whole thought process has changed and understanding and knowing the confusion that takes place I want to try to help others so that they don’t commit suicide too.
I don’t think that my son realized how bad it would affect me and all those he left behind but I’m going to channel some of the anger, desperation and unsettling feelings to help get across to others that suicide is brought on by a health condition.
I realize the whole world will not hear me, that’s impossible, but through prayer and asking for help from the supernatural God that I serve I trust that those who need to hear it will hear it. I will do my best to stay balanced as living proof that there is hope and suicide is not the answer. I pray that my health will prevail. If it fails I hope & pray I will get what help is available so that I live as long as possible.
With us, not all things are possible but with God all things are possible.
He created us & knows us like no one else.
He also has the ability to give us life beyond what our body,mind and surroundings in this world could ever successful give.
With that being said, a person’s spiritual life can be in order, however mental health issues may still need to be addressed just as physical health problems may need to be treated in order to prolong life here on earth.
PERSONALLY, SUICIDE IS NOT JUST A CHOICE ONE MAKES BECAUSE THEY ARE SAD OR UPSET WITH INDIVIDUALS OR THE WORLD.
WHAT LEADS TO SUICIDE IS A
IF THAT HEALTH ISSUE (CHEMICAL IMBALANCE IN THE BRAIN) IS UNTREATED OR TREATED INCORRECTLY BY THE INDIVIDUAL AND PROFESSIONAL HEALTH CARE IT MAY LEAVE THAT PERSON, WITH THE ISSUES, TO TRULY BELIEVE THE MISCOMMUNICATION THEIR MIND IS TELLING THEM, THAT THEY WOULD BE BETTER OFF DEAD AS A WAY TO ESCAPE THEIR STATE OF CONFUSION.
Song by Scott Stapp, “Crash”:
In Christ, Beetle
Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure. But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.
Psalms 73:1-2 NLT
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.
Psalms 73:26 NLT