Please be advised that this post discusses suicidal thoughts.
Depression is very persuasive in its lies. It tells you there is no possible way out of its deep pit. It tells you it has you firmly in its grasp, a strong hand gripping your heart, barely allowing it to beat. Your friends tell you things will get better, that depression can be managed, but depression is more convincing. I believed things were hopeless, that the deep pit of depression was my life now, the way things would be until I died.
For me, believing this was my entire future was when the suicidal thoughts started. Another lie depression can tell people is that their loved ones and the people around them would be better off without them. For some, suicidal thoughts are related to removing this perceived burden of themselves from their loved ones’ lives. That wasn’t where my thinking landed. For me, my primary thought was, “I can’t keep doing this.”
I remember sitting on the rocks looking out at the water at an annual retreat in June. Normally at this retreat, I would take in the beauty of the nature with a sense of awe and contentment. That year, I looked at the water as a possible suicide method.
I reached out to my priest near the end of July. She was very kind, understanding, and generous with her time, staying in touch with me regularly over the next few months. She got me to write out a suicide prevention safety plan and send her a picture of it. I talked to a few friends as well.
Beginning to reach out didn’t stop me from thinking suicidal thoughts. I was attempting to bring people alongside me in my pain, trying to get help, but that didn’t make the pain go away. It still didn’t seem possible that the intensity of despair, aloneness, or exhaustion could ever ease.
As the summer and the depression continued to progress, I continued to think suicidal thoughts more frequently and with more specificity. To think ahead to another month of this agony, or even a week, was overwhelming, never mind another year or twenty years or seventy years! I was worn down and broken, feeling and thinking, “I can’t keep doing this.”
Suicide is terrible and tragic. It can be hard to talk about. It can be frightening to hear about. I am not encouraging suicidal ideation as a solution or trying to shock and harm with my words. I am sharing a part of my story, showing what depression can be like. This is one very real and serious part of my story that should not be left out. Talking about suicide can be difficult, but talking about these thoughts instead of hiding them can save lives. I am not the only person struggling with a mental illness who has been in this place. Thankfully, I also have other parts of my story that include difficult and ongoing healing. These parts of my story will come later.
Manitoba Suicide Prevention & Support Line (24/7): 1-877-435-7170
Klinic Crisis Line (24/7): 1-888-322-3019
You do not have to be in immediate crisis to call these lines.
Kristen. First off...I LOvE YOu! :D you are so courageous and having people share the reality of what they are/have been going through (mental health related) is sooo soo needed! Thank you for being real! Thank you for speaking on behalf of all of us who have been there. And thank you for continuing to touch so many lives with the amazing person you are!!!
Can’t wait until the next time we get to spend some time with each other! Kristen hugs are the best!
This was hard to read, and yet, I'm sure harder for you to write. You are brave, and you are inspiring to address suicide head on and not avoid or minimize it. Sidestepping this painful part of your story might help make it easier for my heart to read, but it would do nothing to help someone else who feels the same way as you have. It is what it is and we all need to understand and accept that with you and with everyone else experiencing this darkness. I'm soooo glad you are in the world today and fighting to choose life. It is worth it. You are worth it!!
A very difficult read and I am sure a much harder write! Way to go Kristen! I love that you added the HELP phone lines at the end!!! Your journey is reminding me so much of my own. And I know we aren't the only two!!! Bless you as you travel down this road and write about the 'sites and feelings' on the way. You have much to teach others!!
You are not a burden. Thanks for being strong and writing. Can't be easy to write, but it is good you have. You never know who needs to hear these things and who you are blessing by being in their lives in this way. Thanks for sticking around and sharing.