I hesitated sharing these thoughts in light of September 10th being World Suicide Prevention Day and decided that in fact, it was the perfect time.
It’s no secret that suicide attempts have plagued my life for 25 years. If you’re new to my ramblings, rest assured, I haven’t tried to end my life.
Last Friday, my mother was discharged from a “long term” mental health facility. Her case worker admitted that she wasn’t doing well but that she vowed to actively participate in group therapy sessions and take her medication. My mother knows just what to say. Wash – Rinse – Repeat.
Here I am, five days after her discharge, waiting. Waiting for several things to happen.
Waiting for the inevitable: It’s not an if but when scenario. November will mark the 26th anniversary of her first attempt to take her life. I have to believe that she isn’t too far gone to remember the spark that ignited the blaze. Was it the holidays? Was it me, getting pregnant? Was it me moving away? Was it her childhood? What was it that started the self destruct rampage all those years ago?
Waiting for the hurt to go away: Human nature, the culprit. Although resolved through God’s grace, I would be a monster if I didn’t hurt. With the holidays approaching, I long for the idea of a mother daughter relationship. Fa-la-la-la-BLAH!
Waiting for the phone call: I’m not sure why I think she is going to call, but still I wait. She is home. I’ve heard that she is showing signs of her “old self.” Meek but making jokes. One would think she would call Stacy or I and apologize. Heck, maybe just call to see if we’re ok after her ordeal. One would think…
During this waiting game, I’ve prayed. Maybe praying is my intended take away. You can bet my prayers and conversations with God haven’t been what some would call conventional. Going to Him with sugar coated prayers and pleas is presenting a farce and He can see right through it. He’s a big boy, and He can handle my anger and pain.
Times such as these are when I feel His grace the most. Ya know, when I am most vulnerable. What if the purpose of struggling is to keep us in a state of brokenness in which we seek Him above all else? Let me try that again.
Life is life. Bad things are going to happen regardless of our soul status. Our lives are going to be plagued with struggles at times. Pain and anger will rear their ugly heads throughout each of our stories. How do we react?
Do we forge ahead and handle “life” with a go it alone attitude? I’ll answer for me because I am the only person I can answer for. – YEP!
Is my first instinct to pray and seek scripture to guide me? – NOPE!
Do I project my anger on those closest to me with no explanation? – Um, YEP.
Do I hold all of the hurt and anger in until it gets ugly? – Sadly, YES.
The ugly truth is, we all try to go it alone at one time or another. Probably more often than not if we’re being honest.
When will I learn? When will I turn to God at the first sign of trouble?
I don’t think we are meant to get it right all of the time. Or even most of the time for that matter. Maybe the lone ranger mind set is a prerequisite for the sanctification process.
For me, the times I’ve tried to go it alone and FINALLY turned to Him are some of the most precious moments in my life.
Seems like I’m forever taking the all-terrain route, getting stuck often along the way.
All of that being said, shouldn’t I just be camping out in a constant state of looking toward the Son, good bad or indifferent? Well duh! That’s the goal. I feel selfish most of the time, seeking Him in times of need only. When life is smooth sailing I put Him on a shelf like that dadgum elf. Pulling Him off the shelf to make a point. Pulling Him off the shelf to confront my demons. And then, putting Him right back up there on said shelf once all is well, knowing all the while, He is watching and waiting.
My conclusion? This time, while I wait, I’m turning to Him BEFORE the going gets too much tougher. Sadly, part of me feels like I am cheating myself out of some aha moment if I rely on Him too soon. How sad is that?
While I am trying to rely on Him, I still feel that I have to play an active role in my story. Nothing gets my goat more that hearing someone say, “I’ll pray about it.” Wait – don’t get all angry yet. You know what I’m talking about. Ashamedly I admit, I’ve tried this tactic a time or two. Ya know, you aren’t ready to commit or you don’t know how to handle a situation so you put it all on God’s answering of your prayer, fully aware that you have no intention of praying over that situation. Oh come on now, don’t act like you have no idea what I’m talking about.
I’ve mentioned three very specifics concerns. I will pray specifically for each, well except the call.
The inevitable: God please breathe new life into my mom. She needs it. Heal her broken mind.
The hurt: Lord, please use my hurt, as I am seeing that it is lingering. Reveal its’ purpose.
The call: Well God, I’m at a total loss here. Not sure what to pray.
Meanwhile, I have a job to do. I have an active role to play.
The inevitable: I will continue staying in contact with my mother’s daughter in law. Checking on her from afar. Giving insight to the last 25 years. The doctors and her daughter in law have found the information invaluable.
The hurt: I will focus on my own kids although grown and forging their on way, they still need their momma. They need me happy at the holidays. I never want them to feel empty or void of their mommas love.
The call: I will continue to wait. I made my big move. Right or wrong, I feel that the ball is in her court.
Mental illness affects more than just the sick person. If you are in a cycle of self destruction, reach out to someone. Get help.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call 1-800-273-8255