I didn’t know anyone who had taken their own life. Suicide is one of those words that is not talked about- it has a bad stigma.
Again I found myself wondering why do we think of suicide in such a terrible way?
- Spiritual- I learned when growing up in my church that suicide is murder. And murder is a sin that cannot be forgiven. I don’t believe that anymore because I have felt so much spiritually as I have gone through this with my husband’s suicide. I don’t think it’s a good thing to do at all, but I would never say it is an unforgivable sin. I haven’t felt that from the other side at all. No, I don’t have proof- it’s just what I feel, and have faith that the loving God I believe in has a way for these people who have taken their own lives to progress. I think that people who have taken their own lives also have such diverse lives and things that have happened to them and mental health that this kind of an act- giving up on the pain of life- can’t be judged by those living on earth. I think eternity is much more than we can ever imagine and believe we are all here to experience life. I think my husband was given a mental illness and did the best he could on this earth with the tools he had been given. That feels much better to me- less judgment and more compassion.
- Culturally- Growing up I saw people at the park or on the side of the road who were talking to themselves and who were not mentally stable. As I got older I thought this is what mentally ill was- the extreme stories in my head. When we hear of people who are mentally ill- this is what I think of. I don’t think of the huge gamut of mental illness. I never thought it was possible for my husband to have a mental illness. I thought depression was someone who never came out of their home. Again I didn’t realize there could be such a broad spectrum of depression. I was not aware. I had no idea, and I don’t believe my husband Jay did either, that he had depression. Most of the time he was a fully functioning adult who showed little sign of a mental illness- depression. Then, about a few times a month, he would get very sad. He would talk negatively- mostly about himself. I took it upon myself to lift him up. I didn’t think anything could be chemically or mentally wrong. He came out of it after a while. I thought it was his personality- he didn’t have very good self-esteem.
- Health- I didn’t know that when people have a disease such as diabetes, it could make a chemical change enough to make Jay feel more depressed. I was not aware that this was even possible. We didn’t have a very good “google” in the ’90s to research anything. Doctors are more aware as well. They have more information and are able to better diagnose and help.
We are so blessed to have so much more knowledge at our fingertips in an instant. We can research anything we have going on with us or our loved ones. The stigma of so many things is changing. I love being open to different ideas and rethinking things. there is so much more knowledge now that scientists can study the brain better- even in the past decade things have changed immensely. I’m grateful for this knowledge so I can watch for depression or different mental illnesses in my family and others that I can help. I believe depression is like cancer or diabetes- it’s something that is real and there are ways of maybe not curing it, but living a healthy lifestyle. I”m sad this wasn’t around for Jay, but we will take what came from his story and use it for our good- that’s what he would really want. Let’s STOP the stigma surrounding suicide and be more open to discussions and trying to help, not brush it under the rug.
World Suicide Prevention Day September 10