World Suicide Prevention Day-10th September
What Causes Feelings Of Suicide?
Suicide is a deeply personal and painful reality. From the onset I would like to say that I am not an expert on the matter, and neither do I intend to be. I can relate to the subject because I wanted to commit suicide myself at the age of 14 years old. As such, I will be writing about my own experience only and reflect upon my own experience and interpretation of those events. I am also an addictions counsellor and from my experience in the field of counselling hurt and broken people is that there is a common theme throughout it all. A deep sense of meaninglessness and hopelessness. The factors involved are numerous as we know – from depression, to the misuse of mind-altering substances, to chemical imbalances in the brain, to psychological and environmental factors such as trauma, natural disasters, abuse and genetic disposition, to just not feeling in control of your life.
Regardless, it is time to start talking about suicide without shame and without guilt. Rather, we should be combating the stigma of suicide with love and compassion. People who commit suicide or have suicidal thoughts are not weak. They are desperate for assistance.
It was 1993, 27 years ago. I was lying prostrate on my bedroom floor, staring blankly at the wall, overwhelmed and numb with pain. I had cried so much; I could not cry any more. I felt completely empty and drained. I was so tired of having to fight for my sanity. All I felt was this invisible weight pushing me down, crushing me to the point of utter depravity. My mind was oppressed. My thinking had been eroded to despair. I wanted a way out of my impossible circumstance. I did not choose to be physically disabled. I did not choose to be bullied or ostracized by my peers or society. I did not want to be vulnerable anymore. I was tired of being hurt and even more tired of hurting others and myself when I went into an uncontrollable rage.
I Was Tired Of The Pain!
I was so tired of escaping to my addiction in search of peace when all it gave me was more shame. I was even more ashamed of telling my parents that I was having thoughts of suicide, so I never told them. I felt guilty and yet justified in my thinking that it was the only way out. To me, suicide was the logical deduction that there were no other viable options available. And all I wanted was peace. As a teenager, my life so far was comprised predominantly of physical and emotional pain daily – coupled with all the love my family could give me. This contrast of love and pain made my hopelessness even more burdensome as it highlighted the guilt I felt and the thought that if I did tell somebody I wanted to end my life that they would not take me seriously and think it was just a ploy for attention.
Higher Power Intervention
What I struggled with the most was not the pain and rejection – as hard and as real as that was. What I struggled with the most was the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness. Without hope I did not have the motivation or the fortitude to persevere through the unchangeable circumstances I was given from birth. I had no faith left in myself. I had no faith left in other people or the world – for neither they nor myself had the power to change that which I had been given. I realized in that moment that what I was looking for could not be generated by myself or others. Only Someone outside of myself and outside of human capability could restore me out of my brokenness. And I am so glad I found Him, for He has known me since before the creation of the world. For He has always been, always is, and always has been and will be forever. It is in Him that I found my hope. It is in Him that I have meaning. It is in Him that I find purpose to write this letter to you. He is my LORD and my God, the LORD Jesus Christ who died for me so I could live and live in the abundance of His joy.
I fully appreciate that this is not everyone’s chosen direction, its simply what has and is working for me. My expectations as a counsellor are very flexible as I accept there are many kinds of Higher Power that can help us as individuals to move forward in life!
John 10:10 – The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (NKJV).
The Importance Of An External Connection
Fundamentally, what pulled me out of the pit of despair and hopelessness was a true connection in the knowledge that I knew I was understood. I did not feel any shame or guilt. I was set free and restored. I was however no means ‘cured’. I still have days or even weeks or months when I get that familiar feeling of despair. The difference since that day is that I know I am not alone and that I have been given and am continuously given the strength to persevere. I am not in denial of the reality that life is a struggle. I can carry my burdens because I know there is a purpose and reason to continue living, both in humility and truth. It is time to start connecting.
Be loving. Be kind. Do not be alone.
Thank you for this opportunity to share.
Head of Treatment
Twin Rivers Rehab
David is the Clinical and Development Director of Twin Rivers Rehab in South Africa and a UK Accredited Addictions Therapist with the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals UK. Articles/Blogs are written with the assistance of researchers and other specialists in the field of addiction and the recovery process