Choose Life


Suicide has been on my mind a lot lately. Don’t worry, it’s not something I’m considering. I’ve been researching information for a sermon I’ll be conducting in July while our minister is on sabbatical. Naturally, my sermon will be about mental health. Part of the research I’m doing is analyzing suicide rates of those with mood disorders. The numbers are sad, but not surprising.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 50% of those who have bipolar will attempt suicide at least once in their lives. 20% of those with bipolar disorder will successfully commit suicide. That’s one out of every five persons.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I have never attempted suicide. The three times that I was hospitalized were because I had suicidal thoughts and had detailed plans on how to accomplish the act. The first time occurred after chatting with an acquaitance and apparently said more than most people would share with a person they hardly know. I didn’t realize he was a psychiatrist. He immediately reacted, as he is required by law. He had some friends put me into a car and take me to a hospital where I was placed in the psych ward to protect me from myself.

The other two times when I wanted to end it all life felt hopeless. I kept asking myself “Is this as good as it gets?” I saw no reason to continue and then suddenly I would think of my daughter. She deserves a dad. I still felt scared so I had friends take me to the emergency rooms where I knew I’d be in a safer environment. Sometimes I think about others who have family members and still killed themselves. I would think the pain it would do to their families would come to mind. What is the point where that doesn’t matter anymore? I’m grateful that I never reached that point.

13 comments on Choose Life

  1. Perhaps you’ll reach someone in your congregation who is struggling too. Instead of being the accident, be the life preserver. You’re daughter should be proud.

  2. I attempted three times. But u prolly already know that from my blog. I did it bc my fear of abandonment was realized and i couldnt bear the feelings that it left me with. I thought that bc he left no one would want me, he didnt want me… so why live?

    1. I’m glad you are still with us. I did miss that on your blog, but I can relate to your reasons. The closest I came to killing myself was when I grabbed a bottle of pills and then hid under a bridge where no one would find me until it was too late. I couldn’t do it, though. I wanted to very badly. I beat myself up over not having the courage. It was one of the times that I finally reached out for help and willingly went to the emergency room.

      1. I straight up slit my wrists with a broken beer bottle. I was so close to the vein but I didn’t really have time to think about getting it bc my brother fought me for the piece.

      1. It’s not very hard to write anymore. I realize now how foolish I was, and that I never needed the guy in the first place. I’m going through a break up now, and it’s very difficult not talking to him, but I’m using my supports and talking to people. I’m trying to write and get thoughts out too and just relax and enjoy the time I have alone.

        I am a very honest person. When I find that I made a mistake, I own up to it. I try not to lie because I always end up getting in trouble for things anyway. I find that honesty is the best policy.

  3. I pray it goes well in your message. I encourage you to be prepared – spiritually and psychologically for whatever response you might get. When I preached on the subject in my congregation on Long Island, I was not prepared, and that was the beginning of the end of my pastoral ministry.

    The “powers and principalities” that strive to keep the afflicted in darkness rather than having the Light shine can be very intense. Surround yourself with prayer warriors – before, during, and after you deliver the message.

    God be with you.

    1. I don’t know how prepared I’ll be able to be, but I’ll live in acceptance the best I can. The good thing is that most of our congregation witnessed me as my life started falling apart and followed along during the times that my pdoc and I tried to find the correct cocktail of pills that would work best for me. I’m planning on a meeting with my minister soon to discuss just how open and honest as I should be.

  4. My dad committed suicide when I was 8, he was 32. He was bipolar and alcoholic. I must have asked my mom why, though I don’t remember actually doing so, and she told me that he must have believed it would be better for us kids if he were dead. It didn’t make much sense to me as a kid, but now that I know more about depression I can understand how a severely depressed parent could follow that train of logic. Anguish and despair can make it seem like the only option, no matter who you are leaving behind and what the fall out will be.

    Suicide fills some people with outrage, people who don’t get it. I’d be really surprised if there isn’t some of that in response to your sermon.

    1. You hit on what I’ve been thinking today is the answer. If you think your loved ones would be better off without you, then it would seem very easy to justify. I’m very sorry about your father.

  5. Oh Bradley. I am so cross with the internet! I specifically told it to tell me when you posted, and it hasn’t. I had assumed you were having some quiet time. I have a lot of catching up to do. It’s been chaotic here, and I’ve been a terrible blog friend. Forgive me. I will catch up this week. x N

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