Earlier this afternoon, I received a text from a brother-friend about another suicide.
The suicide of a young, 23-year-old African American brother, MarShawn McCarrell, who apparently in his twenty three years of life, had already made a great name for himself: activist, mentor, leader, son.
One thing I do know, I’m no better than MarShawn and all the others who’ve committed suicide. As MarShawn’s last written words on Facebook noted, “My demons won today. I’m sorry.” Of course, I don’t know the demons that MarShawn is mentioning here, whether it was systemic evil or not, but…
I’m sorry too. I’m sorry suicide came calling and won.
One day, just over eight years ago, I drove up to my lovely neighborhood block in Philadelphia, walked into my beautiful home, sat on my comfy plush couch and stared at the wall in front of me contemplating how my mom would have to take care of me, “IF” I lost my mind.
I was depressed.
But, I didn’t know it because depression isn’t something you talk about and I wasn’t exposed to it, to know the symptoms.
Like, what is depression? How do you get it? More importantly, how do you get rid of it?
As I stared weirdly at the wall that day, I was so afraid for ME, for my life, for the woman I desired to become, and I didn’t want to die. I knew that I wanted to live, BUT I was in deep emotional (spiritual) trouble and I didn’t know how to get myself out of the anguish, the sadness, the pain of life not being what I thought it “should” be.
On that day, on that comfy plush couch, I was not thinking of committing suicide, but I was deeply oppressed within, and I was clear that suicide was trying to schedule a future visit with me. Oh the disappointment, heartache and loneliness I felt back then.
Please know, it’s what fuels my self-engagement passion today.
In that moment, while sitting on that comfy plush couch, the fear of losing my life caused me to fall to my knees. I wailed to God from the pit of my soul! I begged a God I didn’t really know was real, to save me from myself, to help me live, to help me find joy in life, to help me move past all the hurts and denials that life had thrown my way (and the hurts and denials that I had caused others).
“Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done.” ~1 Chronicles 16:8 [Circle pic: Me in the midst of depression. Square pics: Me celebrating where my help comes from.] Personal Pics
I know I’m no better than anyone else in God’s eyes, but on that day, God lifted me.
My recovery from my internal war and “demons” as MarShawn put it, was not overnight, but gradual from the day I cried out. Daily, it felt like God was holding me closer and my ability to tune out the pressures of life and tune into God’s presence in my life increased.
I never stopped praying since that day. I was reading more books that gave me life, especially the Bible and the Book of Job.
God was slowly restoring my soul and my life.
On the day suicide tried to converse with me and I fell to my knees, and cried out, in my holy imagination, here’s what I believe happened:
“As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. ” ~Daniel 9:23
I believe as soon as I began to pray, God sent me angels and ammunition to help me fight for my life and my purpose, to help me #GetEngaged with the truth about me and my beautiful life. It wasn’t as dark as I thought.
Why do I believe this? Because…
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” ~2 Corinthians 10:4
Overtime, I started to get more curious about God, church and the spiritual weapons that the apostle Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians. Bottom line, I wanted out of that dry place (wilderness) I was in by any means necessary. I also wanted to learn how to help others get out too (if possible).
If you are in a difficult mental, physical or spiritual space, where you just can’t seem to FOCUS or see a better day or maybe you’re so deeply heartbroken over a loss, please CRY OUT!
Cry out to God, cry out to a safe professional (counselor, coach or therapist), cry out to a friend, just cry out. Don’t stay in the company of darkness, of all that pain (or frustration) on your own. Let someone hold it with you or for you.
Don’t let suicide win.
This post is written in honor of every soul that said yes to suicide. Let’s not be afraid or ashamed to talk about such an important topic. Please comment if this article blessed you and share it with others as led.
P.S. Next on the blog is a timely post from the Founder of Love Naturally, Elbonie Metcalfe, -yup! #ShesEngaged. If you need accountability to make sure 2016 is the year, signup for the #GetEngaged Pledge.