They're scary words for anyone, and no one wants to talk about it.
But here's the truth : nearly one million people in the world die by suicide each year, and it is estimated that 8.3 million people struggle with suicidal thoughts in the U.S. alone. Those numbers should make our heads hurt and stomachs drop, pushing us to break through the stigma attached to depression, mental illness and suicide so that we can see the issue for what it is : one that is REAL, COMMON, and needs to be FIXED and ADDRESSED.
So, why do we tip-toe around the issue and avoid it at all cost when so many people are struggling?
It's uncomfortable. It's scary. It's hard. It's confusing.
We've been taught that mental illness in any capacity is something to be ashamed of, something to hide. When in reality, it's really no different than sickness in any other part of the body. When we have the flu we go to the doctor. When we have cancer we go through treatment. When we're struggling with depression, anxiety, etc. -- we... stuff it down and pray it goes away? No. Here's what we suggest instead.
1.) Speak it out loud. Shout it out to God. He already knows your thoughts before you even think them- so this should be no surprise to Him. Don't leave any detail left unsaid - word vomit it all out and ask Him to provide someone you can talk to. // Find someone you trust, and be honest with them. Tell them you are struggling and want some help wading through this intimidating territory- chances are they will help you find a counselor you can confide in (which is a GOOD thing!). When we speak our fear out into the light, the light swallows our fears and the lies that we are believing up whole. Don't keep it inside. That's exactly what the enemy wants. He comes only to steal, kill and destroy. Christ has come so that we may LIVE, and live abundantly.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life,and have it to the full."
2.) Learn to separate the truth from the lies. How do you do that? The first step is following #1, and once you've found someone to talk to, you can start working through the lies you've been believing, and replace those lies with truth. Here's what we mean.
Lie- I will never be good enough, beautiful enough, popular enough.
Truth- I am deeply loved by the creator of the Universe. When He looks at me, He sees himself. I will always be enough.
"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
Lie- I am a burden, useless and hurt more people than I love or encourage. People would be better off without me.
Truth- I am human, and I mess up sometimes. But the grace that covers me is more than able to cover my sin. There are so many people in my life that love me, I am not a burden. I am a child of THE King, and He happens to have plans for me.
"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved ..."
Lie- I could never be forgiven for the things I've done. I'm too far gone.
Truth- I am ALREADY forgiven for the things I've done. I'm swimming in forgiveness & grace. God is bigger than all my crap.
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.."
3. Re-evaluate what you are using to determine your worth. What expectations are you holding yourself to? Who are you striving to please? Chances are, if you're looking to worldly opinions to tell you who you are- you're finding yourself feeling a bit (or a lot) defeated, exhausted & unable to measure up. Here's the truth.
You are not alone in feeling this way.
SO many of us look to Instagram, Pinterest and the media to define what true success looks like- a perfect wardrobe, a brand new house, cellulite-free thighs, travel and adventure every weekend. Would it really be so bad if we stood out amongst the hi-light reels as... different? No.
We are called to be set apart.
To be who God has made us to be, whatever that looks like for each of us. Maybe you're a stay at home mom. Maybe you're the owner of your own business. Maybe you're a teacher, or a student, or maybe you travel the world for your job. ALL of that is amazing. ALL of it. There are golden nuggets of awesomeness in every single one of these scenarios, and God designed each of us to thrive in different situations. OWN your situation.
Be proud of it - because you really are the only you the world will ever have a chance to know.
And ask yourself this question, and answer honestly...
"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ."
The only opinion that really matters, is His.
*We are not doctors, and do not think these words should replace the wisdom of medical professionals. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, or know someone who is, reach out to someone as soon as possible.You are worth it.