A Candid Look at Suicide
Updated: Sep 28, 2018
Have you or someone you know ever dealt with depression? Attempted suicide? For many of us, sadly, the overwhelming response is “Yes!” So the question is why, how do we address it and what can we do in response to it?
Recently I read a blog written by a good friend of mine who openly shared her personal battles with depression and attempts at suicide. I had no clue. And apparently, it was a struggle for a long time. On the surface, she’s the friendliest, ray of sunshine you’ll ever meet. So learning of her struggle was a real wake up call for me. And the revelation of just how much we cover with a smile, when in truth, what many of us need is the professional expertise of a certified therapist.
So I decided to sit down with my friend, to discuss her private battles. My hope- if this conversation could help one person, it was time well spent.
A heart to heart between 2 friends over brunch one Sunday afternoon:
It was ridiculously hot outside, I mean hot like I could crack an egg on the concrete and burn the egg kind of hot. Luckily Courtney and I sat comfortably inside a well air-conditioned restaurant on that 110-degree day. We could talk for hours about anything (lol) and that’s exactly what we did. We spent a couple of hours talking, eating our banana nut pancakes and breakfast platter and talking and drinking our ice cold beverages.
Courtney: Alright let’s get to this interview before another couple of hours pass.
We had been planning this conversation for a couple of weeks now, and after 2 failed attempts, we were finally going to make progress.
Me: How do you feel today?
Courtney: I feel good today. I’m not anxious, I’m able to live in the moment. When I get anxious I lose sight of my faith, myself, my friends. It’s like being in a pit that I have to make the conscious decision to get out of.
Me: How do you get out of the pit?
Courtney: In my youth, I used to get whooped out of it. A belt will make you move, you know? As an adult I got a therapist, she showed me the reality.
I grinned and nodded my head in agreement.
Me: Your youth? Can you tell me about the first time you attempted suicide in your youth?
Courtney: I tried to slit my wrist with a fish knife.
Me: Wait? A fish knife?
Courtney: It’s a knife with a curved edged used to pick out fishbones. Yes, not a great idea. I passed out from the pain. It was terrible, and I have these scars on both wrists as a reminder. My mom said that we weren’t going to bring those white people problems into our house.
When she said this we both let out a slight chuckle, but we knew exactly what her mother meant. In black culture, we are constantly taught to push our emotions to the side and not really deal with the issue. Mental health is such a taboo conversation and therapy is rarely used.
Me: How was your therapist able to help show you the reality?
Courtney: I attempted suicide as an adult when my Mom and I got into an argument. I was trying to move past a lot of the issues I dealt with in my childhood and I felt hope in God. I began really putting my faith in God to get through difficult times. And it was working! I feel like my mom became jealous or even resentful of my relationship with Christ. We got into an argument that ended with her uttering the words “I hate you”. My mom and I are extremely close. We have an amazing relationship and I know she loves me dearly. There is no reason she would say something like that, it had to be the enemy. It didn’t stop the hurt I felt though.
Tears began to swell in Courtney’s eyes as we sat motionless in the restaurant.
Courtney: I intentionally waited until it was really late, and I was exhausted and got in my car to drive home. My hope was to crash my car that night. In my mind, it would be an easy death.
Me: Wow. That’s a lot of hurt and pain.
Courtney: My therapist put it all into perspective for me, she showed me the ‘reality’ of the situation. In discussing this incident with her she said, “So you’re telling me that the enemy
looked you in the face and said that he hated you, and you got sad?”
I was speechless. What she said was so profound. What could I say? The enemy had seen me as such a threat that he had to personally come to try and break me. I knew then that I had a purpose”.
Me: That is an amazing word and a really great therapist. What advice would you give someone suffering from depression?
Courtney: I would tell them to focus on what’s true, focus on the facts. I process things a lot, I write everything down and pull out what’s real. I try to remove the emotions and determine what is false. What conversation did I have in my head versus what actually happened?
I believe that that advice is so simplistic but so TRUE. We tend to create these problems in our mind and they begin to balloon out of proportion when in actuality it’s rarely that big of a deal.
Me: I would like to start a mantra for the women and girls that are helped through the Still That Girl organization. Can you finish this statement for me?
Even Though ______ I Am Still That Girl!
Courtney: Even though sometimes life can feel unbearable, I Am Still That Girl!
If you or someone you know has dealt with thoughts of suicide and depression and needs someone to speak to please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or the suicide helpline at 1-800-273-8255. We see you, we love you, and we want to help.
Remember whatever you may be going through, you are still the girl God created you to be, with a specific purpose and destiny. Go conquer the world.