This post may be triggering for some so I am warning you now – do not read if talking about suicide bothers/triggers you.
I have a question. If you have a terrible headache and it’s going on four hours now, and you know that taking Tylenol or Motrin will help you feel better, what do you do? If you have Rheumatoid Arthritis and you are prescribed Methotrexate and it actually helps you not progress with the disease, do you take the medicine?
So if you know someone that is struggling with depression and they’ve been prescribed a pill that actually helps them, is there shame in that? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Different train of thought. I’m 19. I’m watching my dad slowly die of cancer over ten months time. I’m watching him go blind. I’m helping him go to the bathroom. I watching him take Morphine but it doesn’t work anymore. Had it been legal and had he asked to end his life because he couldn’t take the pain, is that selfish? When I am in terrible pain, I wonder how much I will want to live if living is so painful (think arthritis pain.) I know that’s terrible to say, but I have those thoughts.
So why oh why do we condemn people who think or actually commit suicide? We get angry at them and we call them selfish. However, remember the headache question above? Well their mental head is bothering them and bothering them until they see no way out.
This weekend I went to a funeral. The boy was 21 years old. His mother is a minister. His father is a prominent business man in the community. His sister is a friend of my daughters. He graduated with a 4.0 from the IB program at our local high school He was a college graduate. He was a gifted writer. So what happened?
His funeral was by far the best funeral I have attended of a person who has committed suicide. The minister recognized that the overflowing audience of young adults and their parents had questions He also realized that some may believe in God and some may not. The family had decided to tell their truth. To that I say Praise God. So many times people are so embarrassed by what has happened that they won’t even say how the person died.
This bright, ambitious, tender-hearted soul had had a mental breakdown. He had seen a doctor and had anti-depressent medicine. But his parents found out that he wasn’t taking the medicine. His dad tried to explain that if he had broken his arm and needed something for the pain, he would take the medicine. But his son still refused. (That DAMN stigma.) The boy actually became homeless for awhile. But recently he had been back in contact with his family. He had a roof over his head, yet he told his parents that his brain felt like it was being dragged through mud.. And they were eating dinners together. His mom remember is a minister. He promised his mom he would not kill himself. Yet he did and she found him. Sad? Absoulutely. Selfish? He was sick. He was in pain and he wanted the pain to stop.
So many other ministers call suicide selfish. They say the person was possessed by a devil spirit. Do you know what this boys family realized? I Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” That is the adversary’s purpose — to steal, kill, and destroy. This family chose to tell their son’s story in the hopes of normalizing taking medicine for depression. Getting help if you need it. Beating the Devil at his own game. Hopefully helping someone in that congregation who may be struggling. Letting them know it’s okay to get help.
AS a minister myself, I would love to have a copy of that service. I applaud the parents for their honesty and I told them so after the service. I pray for their healing which may or may not come. But as a minister I always want to be a part of the solution, not the problem. So if you are struggling at all, contact me at any time day or night. You most definitely matter!