I’m about to enter an emotional minefield. And it’s uncomfortable. Walking in the redwoods and chatting about my life with a friend is one thing. Reflecting on my spiritual journey through time and space in a book is another. But in the Internet age, revealing a very dark moment in my life can be risky. Very.
This digital stuff doesn’t disappear. I know it hangs on servers somewhere out there like vampires in the netherworld. But Internet musings have the potential to be like hydrogen atoms from the Big Bang––indestructible, ubiquitous and unfortunately, a shelf life of 14 billion years.
In the beginning of my blogging life––I just passed the four-month anniversary––I decided to be candid about my own experiences in hopes that sharing them would be edifying for others. But to date, I’ve stayed away from one subject. Suicide––Latin suicidium, from sui caedere, “to kill oneself.” The memories of pondering such an act are none too sweet.
However, since I survived the 12/21/2012 apocalypse and have a new beginning (Excuse me? Nothing happened? The trailer in the Mojave was unnecessary? But I stole it!), and realizing that folks may get melancholy around the holidays, I thought I could shed some light on a more intimate type of destruction; one that is the leading cause of death by injury in the United States.
Suicide––Self murder––Warped Resolution.
And the reason for my discomfort, my anxiety for broaching this topic? If I tell the “world” that I contemplated killing myself, even planned it, do the lessons learned––which are good––outweigh the bad of exposing a vulnerable moment in my life? Am I not inviting judgment? Will there be unintended consequences?
Surprisingly, my answer is simple. In thinking about the example of the Cross and the good that came from bad––our salvation as a result of Christ’s Crucifixion––if just one person benefits from my post, in any number of ways, then my serenity is an easy sacrifice. It’s the right thing to do.
First, here are some disheartening facts from the Centers for Disease Control:
- There were 38,364 suicides in 2010 in the United States–an average of 105 each day.
- Among adults aged ≥18 years in the United States during 2008-2009:
- An estimated 8.3 million adults (3.7% of the adult U.S. population) reported having suicidal thoughts in the past year.
- An estimated 2.2 million adults (1.0% of the adult U.S. population) reported having made suicide plans in the past year.
- An estimated 1 million adults (0.5% of the U.S. adult population) reported making a suicide attempt in the past year. About one-third of people who attempt suicide will repeat the attempt within 1 year, and about 10% of those who threaten or attempt suicide eventually do kill themselves.
- And the most surprising fact?
- Worldwide there are more deaths due to suicide than to accidents, homicides and war combined.
Clearly, the topic is a serious one and affects millions. For those who’d like more information about suicide––getting help, learning more, crisis centers––please go here. My discussion, which will encompass three more posts, is a personalized account and only illumes certain aspects of my struggle.
Allow me to set the stage. The year was 2009, an awful time of my life. I lost everything. Materially, spiritually, I was bankrupt; even my body was waving a white flag. Every breath, every day seemed to be a cascade of emptiness and desolation.
But for some strange reason, I kept a journal. And I don’t keep journals. From this painful garden of words I will cull moments. Be forewarned, however. Some of my pickings are not only somber, they’re sarcastic, dark, angry and at times inappropriately funny––my defensive mechanisms in full force––but I’ll share them nonetheless. They are in-the-moment reflections and are indicative of my state of mind as a perfect storm almost drowned me. People who have weathered such a tempest will find them familiar.
But there’s also hope––in effect, a happy ending––as God’s grace lifted me and drew me to His heart of love.
Next post. Phase I of Self Murder. Suffering. It’s here.