Tough Stuff

A high school boy committed suicide the other day. I don’t know how he did it. I don’t know if anyone was nearby when it happened. I don’t know who found him. All I know is that there is a family grieving and that he was the older brother of a classmate friend of my daughter.

I am so saddened by this. I can’t comprehend it. So young and so much life left ahead of him. I wonder what was happening in him that would make him choose to end life rather than give it a little more time. To see how much things, situations, people could change in a year, or even two short months, from now. I always wonder when I hear of suicide.

We worry how the younger brother will cope. How will he handle this blow when he seemed to be struggling with depression looking problems already? I pray for wisdom to help my daughter navigate through this. I’ve told her she can talk to me if she feels the need. That she can’t carry his pain, nor should she. I’ve told her to show kindness and be patient with her friend. This will be with him for a long time. Other than that, what do you do? They’re still so young.

My fleeting, momentary thought of killing myself didn’t seem like that was what was going through my mind. I honestly didn’t realize I was thinking about it. Until it dawned on me that I was thinking about it. Once I did finally realize what was happening, it was as if I awoke suddenly from a dream. That one brief experience makes me wonder how many plan to take their lives and how many head that direction without knowing it’s happening, as if lulled by a siren singing?

I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist or counselor of any kind, so I talk here as one who tries to understand, but doesn’t really. I have lots of questions like why does one person fight and endure and why does another no longer have any fight left? What makes that difference?

Depression likely comes from different sources in different people. Sometimes it may be only because of how one’s body chemistry works, while in another a completely different reason. I tend to think that sometimes depression is a mental form of a medically-induced coma. Our emotions, feelings, whatever, shut down in an effort to give us time to heal. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really look or feel like healing.

There’s only so much a person can take, you know? We weren’t meant to experience bad childhoods, abuse, trauma, deaths of others, chronic illness, broken hearts and a whole slew of other junk. And not nearly as constantly as we do in this world. This is not how it was supposed to be. Our souls know this and can’t always reconcile the difference.

Yet, somehow, even though all that stuff wasn’t the original plan, we were created to withstand it. Our body does an amazing job of attempting to help us endure. The brain alone is endlessly fascinating in its ability to sort information and cope and put safeguards in place. But, even our amazing brains can’t handle everything or always handle it correctly. Maybe, sometimes, those brains just don’t want to handle it at all anymore. Overworked and underpaid — you know how it is.

How do we combat what seems to be an epidemic of depression these days? Some people will need medicine to help. Others will need to talk it out. Others will need both. All will be at varying levels and needs in the midst of the cycle. What works for one, may or may not work for another. Some will have to work long hours, days, months, years for good emotional health, while others are just passing through a short, difficult time. Each one could use a little prayer.

What we all need, at all times, in all ways, is a spark of hope to combat what this world tells us. To hear and believe truthful words of our great worth.

So, you’re a no-good, gigantic screw-up. Sure, who isn’t at one time or another? That still doesn’t make you worthless to the One who created you. There’s still time to get things right. Still time for change. Still time for good. You don’t have to hurt. You are still of great value, even if no one treats you that way. You don’t have to agree with the lies poured into your heart. You have a choice. You can choose truth. You can choose life.

There are so many voices vying for our attention, but listen for that almost imperceptible one that says “I have loved you with an everlasting love. I will forgive, just ask. I will help you forgive, just ask. You are a treasure in My sight.” Believe that voice. Seek that voice out. Not the one that speaks to destroy you.

No doubt, it’s a fight. It can be a long, hard struggle, but in the end, I hope you win out over despair and pain, because you are so worth the victory that is waiting for you.

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