Yesterday I received devastating news that a close friend committed suicide. She was a beautiful person who gave her best to the people she loved. My friend had so much going for her but she failed to recognize her own value. Life was beating her up to the point where suicide became a viable option. Her choice altered the lives of people who loved her. My heart is breaking for the pain her parents and loved ones are experiencing. No one should outlive their child. I wish she was more open about her pain but my friend thought she didn’t have a right to complain since she was so blessed in other areas. On the outside people thought she had the perfect life but those of us in her circle saw her wounds. She was the strong black woman who neglected her own problems and focused on the needs of others. She downplayed her pain and stuffed her feelings so that no one would worry about her. I wish I pushed more and dug deeper. This is one of the times I failed to follow my gut because instinctively I knew something wasn’t right.
We live in an age where everyone expects perfection. Human beings have flaws and make mistakes. Vulnerability is now considered a weakness because we fear experiencing further wounding, humiliation, or some unscrupulous person taking advantage of our fragile state. My mother once told me that a state of brokenness is when we find out the truth about our lives and those we share it with. How many people are able to handle the truth once life strips us to the bones? If we saw ourselves without the glamour, facades, accolades, or ego will we like what we see?
My friend’s suicide is a painful reminder that all the bullshit we are striving for doesn’t matter. My friend can’t take her multiple degrees, expensive home, or designer clothes to the grave. We need to do a better job taking care of ourselves and each other instead of allowing the disappointments in life to consume our souls. We need to acknowledge our pain and face it instead of allowing things and status to cover our wounds and validate our existence. My friend mattered, I matter, and you matter because God created us for a purpose. We are not some cosmic accident sent to earth to wander aimlessly.
There was a time in my life when I suffered from depression and anxiety. I thought about suicide and how I would do it. This confession may come as a shock because I did a very good job maintaining my reputation as a confident well established young person achieving her goals and making a good life for herself. On the surface life was good but inside I felt consumed with anger, disappointment, and past hurts that I never healed from. I compensated for having those toxic emotions through achievement and worldly accolades. A series of events including a bad car accident that almost killed me and a good friend, a vapid existence, and finding out the person you loved never cared, trigger a meltdown of epic proportions.
One night I had a bad panic attack which landed me on bathroom floor immobile, sticky with sweat, and unable to breathe because my heart kept racing. At that very moment hope was dead and my existence had no meaning. A battled ensued in my mind. One part of me cried out from the depths soul that life was worth fighting for and a more ominous voice egged me to end it all. Somehow I reached for the phone and the speed dial called one of my dearest friends. Usually her phone is off after 9pm but that night she picked up. I told her I couldn’t do it anymore. She started praying and a calm presence swept over my body. That night she saved my life.
Over the next weeks I told my parents and close friends what I was really going on. No more putting on facades or pretending that life was copacetic. For a long time I kept my suffering to myself because I felt ashamed and damaged. When I opened up and let the ego go, I found out that I’m not the only one who has had battled depression and anxiety. My friendships went to a new level because I was showing my vulnerable side. There is such a stigma around mental illness that people prefer to stick their heads in the sand instead acknowledging that many are suffering from these issues. Although I never had to take pharmaceuticals, I was willing to do whatever to get better again. I researched holistic means of handling my depression, found an amazing therapist, went to church, and created a good support network of people who cared about my well-being. I also decided to face my unresolved pain, regret, and bitterness from past events without flinching.
This blog is my platform to speak candidly about my experiences and views on the world. There is no shame because I’m a human being determined to find my purpose and live out whatever role God has for me. I want to encourage strangers and friends alike that there is a light and life at the end of the dark tunnel. Suicide is never the answer no matter how bad life gets. Life is changing every day. A hopeless situation may turn into your biggest triumph. Your life has value and purpose. Your existence wasn’t an accident. Suicide is not an independent act. It leaves a hole in the lives of those you left.
If you believe you life has no purpose, find out what you love and pursue it with all your might. If you want to change the world for the better than do it but that requires you to change yourself first. Stop waiting for permission to live. Your validation has to come from God not people or things. Forgive those who have harmed you. God will deal with them. Everyone will reap what they sow. People will hurt you. You will feel angry, resentful, and may even want revenge. That’s not the answer. You acknowledge what they have done, face your pain, throw a pity party if needed, set up healthy boundaries, and move on. Forgiveness is probably one of those challenging things I’ve ever had to do. I find myself struggling with the concept at times the only alternative is bitterness, resentment, and deeper wounds. Bitterness and resentment will steal your blessings and destroy your life.
Someone loves you. If for some reason you are one of these rare people completely alone in the world, go out and help someone. My default is Jesus. My life is a testimony that he can take a broken mess and make it whole again. If you aren’t ready to “go there” yet then leave your house and meet people. Volunteer. Give to someone who has less than you do. Life is worth living because our suffering, disappointment, mistakes, triumphs, and joy grow us. Don’t interrupt destiny by taking yourself out of the picture. Every human life has a ripple effect. Interrupting that journey can have dire consequences for others. . As for my friend, God bless her and keep her soul. Please pray for her family. They need all the love they can get. I wish that she trusted the people around her more to let us carry her cross for a bit. Even as I write this blog, I can’t stop crying so I will embrace the process of grieving. I’m hurting so bad that I can hardly think straight. My friend absence is painful but one day I will be ok, or lease I will tell myself that until it becomes reality. I have memories of her kindness, generosity, humor, and loyalty. I will honor her member by trying my best to live the life God intended for me. I implore anyone thinking about taking themselves out to hang in there because it will get better.