Friday, February 20, 2015

Suicide: Opening our Eyes to the Elephant in the Room



You will find that the title above rings true among many evangelical Christians today. In this post, I would like to take a moment to share some thoughts about how I felt when I was twenty nine years old, dealing with suicidal urges during my first episode of depression. Looking back, I have been able to better understand the demonic devices that the Enemy used in order to draw me toward suicide during those dark days.

I had no idea that the depression plaguing me was actually biological. At 29 years old, there was a stark differentiation in my mind between having a chemical imbalance and battling a more commonly understood physical ailment like the flu. In my ignorance, I failed to realize that clinical depression was a "whole body disease". It affected my gastrointestinal system, my sleep, appetite, and even sex drive. The fatigue was beyond anything I had ever experienced. In my weariness, I began to believe the doctors who said that my affliction was nothing more than emotional and mental "stress".  My mood went from moderate to severe in a very short time.

 Image result for man blowing in a paper bag

I was in the dark emotionally and spiritually, trying to alleviate my symptoms through nothing but increased exercise and meditation on Scripture. While Scripture did help me to persevere in the faith, my depression stayed.

I remember one night, while at a dinner with my wife and in-laws, I began to hyperventilate, sinking quickly into a panicked depression. I excused myself from the table and and did exactly what my doctor told me to do in such a situation: blow into a paper bag. After asking to be excused, I went into a restroom stall, blowing furiously into my brown paper bag. To my terror, breathing into the bag was an exercise in futility; it did nothing to lift my mood. I thought, “How pathetic am I?". None of the remedies suggested to me were fixing my problem. My inability to get better led to absolute hopelessness, which meant that...

At a certain point, suicide became a viable option to me, a way of escape. I remember thinking, while out to eat with my family, “I will go outside and jump in front of a car.” Then, at least, I would not have to live a life of agony. In my depression, I felt cut off from God. Like the Prophet Jeremiah, I found myself lamenting my existence from a deep cistern of despair.

I was also sure that I was a terrible burden to everyone. Now I realize that this is a common scheme of the devil, The Greek word for devil, diabolos means slanderer.  The demons were telling me that I was in a no man's land. They sought to isolate my lack of faith in God and insinuate that He did not care about me anymore. Remember this: Satan will heap insults onto your own feelings of failure self-loathing; he did it to me. He will attempt to discount the biological nature of your depression, telling you that your problem is spiritual. Our Lord Jesus Christ, said about him, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44)

Lastly, I began to believe that I was better off dead than alive.
Most people struggling with clinical depression believe that their families would be better off if they were dead. However, no matter who you are and what you have done; your family will never be better without you. They will feel sorrow, betrayal, anger, abandonment and confusion because of your suicide; their grieving will be long and hard. Statistics tell us that members of our own families (siblings, children, nieces and nephews) will, after seeing us end our own lives, begin to consider suicide as a solution to their pain and depression.

This is not the truth! Suicide is a sin, and just like any other sin it can become a temptation to us. However, for those of us who are in Christ's family, God will provide a way of escape from temptation.

As the Apostle Paul puts in his second letter to the Corinthians, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (I Corinthians 10:13).

Do not commit suicide! Get help!
This was taken from CAMI Leaders Guide and Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You’re Losing It, Kregel Publications, Chapter 4