Suicide doesn’t have to be the final word in your life, or in the lives of our friends & family. The pain of suicide is personal for me, and I’d guess the same for you too. Many of us, in some form or another, have spent time inside the painful reality of suicide.
September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. Today we should recognize the need for an honest conversation about anxiety, depression, and the pain of suicide. This really isn’t a conversation meant for tweets or posts, but eye-to-eye, heart-to heart. My hope is simply that perhaps a few paragraphs would give you or someone you love the courage to reach out, love deeply, and choose life.
Today, reach out. Let nobody live alone.
In my life, anxiety and depression haven’t played favorites or discriminated. Good on the outside doesn’t equal good on the inside. Mental health as a medical discipline is out of bounds for most of us. No matter how many articles you and I read, we aren’t up to the task. But maybe what our world needs is less would-be professionals and more good friends. You don’t have to have the power to diagnose to make a difference. Behind every call to a doctor or visit to a counselor is a community of friends and family giving someone in pain the courage to pick up the phone.
You don’t have to have the power to diagnose to make a difference.
Today, reach up. We are made to be known & loved.
We have every reason to reach up to our Maker for hope in the pain of anxiety and depression. Not every bout of depression or disease is due to a personal sin. Jesus rebuked this mechanical view of God in John 9.2–3, when his disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned that this man was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might displayed in him.” Jesus breaks our mechanical thoughts about God (this idea that God is more of a machine than a person) and invites us to know Him personally.
Jesus breaks our mechanical thoughts about God, and invites us to know Him personally.
While Jesus attacked mechanical theology, He never denied the link between our souls and our body — he did become human after all. There’s a oneness between our soul and body, something that David experienced as he wrote, “when I kept silent, my bones wasted away…” (Ps. 32.3) David’s silence over his sin — a spiritual problem, affected his physical body. Maybe this is the sort of anxiety thriving in some of our souls. Jesus shows us hope. Hope in a God in whom we can confide and confess, without fear of condemnation. God, who knows the most about you, loves you the most. This sort of perfect love takes fear out of the picture. (I John 4.18)
God, who knows the most about you, loves you the most. This sort of perfect love takes fear out of the picture.
Today, realize we are part of the solution.
Anxiety or depression can thrive out of a physical imbalance, past trauma, or even spiritual silence. It does not discriminate, it’s complex, and it’s insidious. Far from being an insurmountable darkness; anxiety, depression, and suicide does not have the final say. Help and hope is possible. Medical professionals, counselors, pastors, church, family, friends, and Jesus— a messy combination of all of the above is a beautiful picture of life.
A simple text, call, or cup of coffee is the perfect backdrop for speaking life into someone’s soul today. Don’t burden yourself with being the fixer, with putting the right string of words together in a monologue. Have dialogue. Or even better, be on the listening end of a monologue. Don’t gauge your success, just your faithfulness to be a friend, to be family, and to love well.
If you are hurting, or know someone who is, I’d recommend Anthem of Hope as a great resource for starting informed conversations and 24/7 crises moments.