Today is National Suicide Prevention Day. Did you know that persons considering suicide don’t just wait until today, though, before putting action to their thoughts? In fact, suicide rates are highest in the Spring.
One half of all suicides occur from adult men. In fact, the highest demographic of those who have committed suicide are elderly men. Suicide is an act that often follows depression. Grief and depression are not the same, but they do share some characteristics.
Where do men turn to for prevention and support? How do they learn that they can grieve? How do they learn how to grieve? This is a difficult thing, as men so often minimize or silence their grief. We have support here.
Grief, depression, suicide: these things impact all demographics, though, don’t they?
My childhood was spent in and out of foster care, institutions, and orphanages. Just about every six months, I attended a new school, had a new group of bullies to torment me, a new family I tried to fit into. Every Christmas was at a new place, as was every birthday.
When I was a little girl, I lived with my dad for a very short time. He was abusive in every manner. I remember him picking up my stepmother and throwing her out of a window. He threatened me at gunpoint on more than one occasion.
I didn’t live with him long, but his power over me continued for many years after the police removed me from his home. I hated how angry he was, and swore that I would never unleash that sort of anger on anyone, ever.
I tried to counter his dysfunction by always internalizing my anger. I thought that I could quietly swallow my disappointment, my loneliness, my shame. Eventually, I began imploding, unable to contain one more drop of negativity. These feelings needed to get out of me, and so, determined to keep my promise not to take my anger out on anyone else, I became violent to myself.
I punched, pinched, burned, and cut myself, all in a desperate message:
please, someone, love me.
When I was thirteen, I was moved to a foster home that was simply lovely. I felt safe. Safe enough to want the family to adopt me.
Wanting to belong was a feeling I hadn’t previously allowed myself to have. After all, I knew I’d be moved again. Outside people could control an enormous amount of my life, but they couldn’t control how I felt.
At this foster home, I was too terrified of rejection to tell them that I wanted to be adopted, but the passion grew like a fire.
Each day, every interaction with my foster parents began to scream rejection. It became apparent to me that they didn’t want to adopt me – didn’t they care about me? – how can I take my feelings back?
I am a suicide survivor.
Today, we are so caught up in social media, our statuses, and how many “likes” something we say receives.
That is not how I want stillbirthday to grow.
Yes, I want you to like stillbirthday, to share stillbirthday. But not just because it’s one more place that offers pregnancy loss support.
Bereaved parents endure so much trial. I consider it proof that our children matter, but that truth doesn’t always ease the pain.
We are constantly under attack, facing criticism for anything anybody can bring up against us. Other members of stillbirthday – and plenty of other bereavement organizations - will all attest to this frustrating, hurtful fact.
At the risk of being judged, I come to you to let you know who I really am.
I want you not just to like stillbirthday, but to trust it.
When I experienced my pregnancy loss, it was the deepest hurt I had ever endured. I was absolutely crushed to the very core.
But since my childhood, I came to know God.
I came to know that He is big enough for me to shake my fist at.
He is big enough for me to cry to.
I learned that Heaven is a lovely, magnificent place, because those who are there dwell with God.
And I learned that death is not the only way to be in this place.
I didn’t need suicide – and neither do you.
You can enter into a conversation with God, right where you are.
He’s big enough to meet your need, and to meet you right where you’re at.
You don’t have to hurt yourself to call Him.
All you have to do is speak.
Tell someone, if you are feeling depressed.
Tell someone, if you are contemplating hurting yourself.
Tell someone, if you feel unable to communicate with those around you.
Here are resources, including crisis hotlines, staffed by trained people ready to speak with you.
They want to speak with you.
We are not professionals here, but we do have mentors and we have a prayer team, all willing to come alongside you just to remind you that you are not alone. Tell us, how we can pray for you. We take the request very seriously, and we will pray for you.
I want you to come to stillbirthday because you trust this place. Because you feel connected. Because we have the resources you need. Because you can trust that we too, have endured an awful lot, and because what we share with you works.