Very recently, the words in the title of this post were spoken to me. They’re true. I know that. I think I’m okay with it. These days, I often hope for anonymity.
Today is supposed to be National Suicide Prevention Day. September is supposed to be National Suicide Prevention Month. An evangelical pastor named Jarrid Wilson, whom I never met, lost his life to suicide on Monday at age 30. A lot of people are talking about it today. In the hours before he took his life, a video shows him spending happy times with his young son. He also posted encouraging things to others.
In the words @levithepoet wrote on his Instagram post about Jarrid he mentioned that those of us who are dealing with depression shouldn’t feel that what we have to say can’t be stomached by others. If only he were correct. The truth is that there are indeed areas in life that others just don’t want to hear about.
I wish those with whom I used to associate wanted to hear things from my perspective. I wish they wanted to understand how a person gets to the places to which he’s traveled. Not to justify the bumpy road in any way, but to be understood. Acceptance isn’t expected nor is it hoped for, but it would be nice to hear, “I see how that happened. It was a huge mistake, but I still like you. Come, eat at my table.”
Jarrid, I wonder if you ever felt as if all those who call themselves your friends were only there for you conditionally? Did you wonder whether or not they’d be gone if they knew the things with which you were struggling? Did you feel unworthy of standing in front of people, being “looked up to” and yet knowing that you weren’t very well put together inside?
If so, I get it, Jarrid.
I may not have known Jarrid personally, but I now know depression and for once in my life I can understand why someone can, like him, post happy things and say nice things to people and be in video clips having a great time with his son and then, only hours later, be gone.
I know what it feels like to believe that the entire world would be glad if I left and that I’d actually be doing it a favor. I have no doubt that there are many people who agree. Knowing that there are those who say, “I kinda wish you’d actually do that” definitely doesn’t help.
Sometimes, the only thing that has kept suicide from becoming my own reality is knowing that my son and my mother would be SO hurt and that I would let them down once again, in a totally unredeemable way. After all the other letdowns they’ve been put through by me, that which I’ve so often contemplated these days might be too much to bear, especially for my mother for whom I am her only living child. She has fought so, so hard for me.
My alienation is hers as well.
I just stay busy and envision a future in which I’m able to FEEL forgiven and redeemed and that somehow, miraculously, my friends become my friends again instead of pretending I don’t exist. I’m really not sure why I want such “friends” back in my life: they liked me only because I stood on a stage and said things that moved them or forwarded their own agendas. Many of those same people who have abandoned me still post about unconditional love and grace. But it turns out that unconditional actually has conditions. Psychologically, it’s probably the rejection that makes me wish to regain their acquaintance.
Jarrid, if you can hear somehow: I don’t need to know a single detail about your personal issues to tell you that I get it, man. Until I arrived at this place myself there was no way to comprehend it. Even when surrounded by the masses, there are just some really lonely places in the world where you feel everyone has abandoned you except a few. But you don’t want to overwhelm those few who have remained, so you walk truly alone in a very busy world and don’t feel worthy to be a part of it. God doesn’t seem to be enough even though your intellect and training says he should be MORE than enough. Which, of course, makes you feel guilty for not feeling it deep inside.
I No Longer Have a Platform. I Never Will Again. I Need to Stay Small. That’s okay. I just wish small didn’t have to mean alone or abandoned or alienated or looked down on or living in fear for my life. Humans seem to have a need to feel superior to others, which is often expressed through hatred and violence. And while it has become increasingly unacceptable to discriminate against this group or that group, there exist certain groups of people our society feels are still okay to hate and treat as less-than-human.
And God’s church? They, too think it’s okay to treat people in this group the same way the rest of the world treats people in this group. In fact, in many ways, they’re worse.
In such a place, you can feel happy this hour and see nothing but darkness next hour. I know all about that darkness, Jarrid, and I’ll pray for your family. Maybe in some way the prayers of those who are in a similar place will have power. But Jarrid, if you’re now part of that great cloud of witnesses, could you please pray for me, too?