I know it’s been a little while… okay, it’s been a long while. I let day to day life get the best of me and didn’t stay committed. I’m sorry for that. After the last couple weeks, I just can’t not say anything though. My heart is sad and grieved and it’s taken me far too long to write this because not only am I struggling to find the words but words are simply not enough. I’m going to try anyways so here it goes…
There have been far too many suicides in the last couple weeks, some of which are closer to home. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the average suicide rate is 123 per day. PER. DAY. Guys, this is not okay. I’m not okay. Each person has a name. The famous and the lesser known. Each one has a name. Each one has value. YOU have value. Every single human you come in contact with has value including the rude person who cut you off on the freeway, the homeless guy asking for booze, your drug addicted aunt that no one wants to talk to, the weird kid at school that everyone avoids, the family member who is so self-absorbed that they can’t see anything other than themselves, the arrogant Christian who doesn’t really show the love of Christ, the ones struggling with their identity, the beautiful people in the LGBTQ+ community that you don’t want to talk to because you don’t see eye to eye, the people you pretend you don’t see because of the color of their skin. EVERYONE has value and should be treated as such.
Depression, anxiety, and self-harm plague humanity. So often, many people around us, people we know and love, battle with these things. I have battled depression since I was a kid. I have had seasons where it doesn’t get the best of me and I have had seasons where I’m suffocated by darkness and have contemplated (and even attempted) to end my life. In the last (almost) year, I have experienced anxiety like I’ve never known to the point of debilitating, can’t breathe or move or think kind of “attacks.” It’s the kind of depression and anxiety I had to be put on medication for. For someone who has always been surrounded by people that love me and support me, that is a very painful thing to admit to. But I can’t stay quiet about this subject. If my story helps even one person then it was absolutely worth it. This isn’t talked about enough especially in the church. And while I completely believe in the spirit realm and the battle of darkness and Light, I also very much believe in mental illness.
THERE. IS. HOPE.
Maybe you have lost everything. Maybe you have it all but feel alone. Depression doesn’t discriminate. We’ve seen it plague the rich and famous. We know someone, or know of someone, that has committed suicide. With each story I hear, I feel literal pain in my heart because I’ve been there. I understand what it’s like to feel like hope is a distant memory, like you’ve been locked in a tiny closet of darkness with nothing but the sound of screaming silence, like you’re in a crowded room but no one actually knows you or sees you for that matter. Hope is always holding on to you even when you can’t feel it. Hope sees you. Hope knows you.
Friends, we were created for relationship. God knew what He was doing. We need each other. Everyone has a story. We need only to be quiet and listen. Listen without criticism or judgment. Listen without trying to “fix” them. People are not weak when they need a shoulder to cry on or someone to listen to them or when they reach out for help. We are all human and have moments of being help and moments of needing help. Stop judging those that are brave enough to reach out. Stop judging those that have issues that you don’t understand. Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t make it less valid.
We need to check in on each other. Check in on the ones you’re close to and the ones you’re not. Love the people around you without any hesitation or reservation or condition. Listen without judgment. Be real with people. When you’re struggling, don’t hide behind your smile or your pretty house or your brand new car or your religion or your happy social media account. Reach out and trust someone with your pain and struggles. Be the person that reaches out to let people know you see them and they can trust you with their pain.
I vow to love fully and completely. I vow to let every human I come in contact with to know that they are seen. I vow to really listen to anyone who is brave enough to trust me with their story. I vow to love the loneliness away. Every choice we make today not only affects those around us but it also affects our future and the ones to come after us. Let’s teach the next generation how to listen with compassion, to love without cause or condition, and to be brave enough to ask for help by reaching out when we need help.
The world needs you. You have a light that no other person has. You are seen. You are loved.