“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)
For a long time, I battled suicidal thoughts. This would happen mostly at night when everyone else was asleep and when I would wake up in the morning. I felt alone, unwanted, unlovable. I felt like a failure and a loser. I believed that nobody cared about me and that I was a bother. I believed that I was weird and could never achieve anything good in life. Though I had a strong urge to end my life, I feared the consequences that would follow just in case I failed to die.
See, I had attempted suicide three times. First, I took some yellow capsules at home, but I couldn’t swallow them. They got soaked up in my mouth, began dissolving, then became bitter and disgusting and I couldn’t swallow them, so I threw up. The second time, I remember I was 10 years old. After being sexually assaulted in a bus on my way to school, I tried crossing the road carelessly, but the driver swerved to avoid hitting me.
The third time I attempted suicide was after getting my Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam results. I felt like I had disgraced my family, so I took advantage of a day when I knew that my mother and brothers were away and would come back home in the evening. I finished the house chores, and at around 3 p.m., I locked the door and the window and took some tablets that I found in the house. This time, I even prayed before ending my life. Just when I was raising my hand to swallow the medicine, I heard a knock at the door, and I panicked. Then my heart began beating so hard and fast. I felt guilty and got confused. I didn’t know who it was because I was not expecting any guests.
I dashed to the kitchen to put away the glass of water and threw the white tablets in the bin. Then I rehearsed a smile and composed myself as I went to open the door. It was my brother’s friend looking for my brother, but I told him that he wasn’t there. He asked for drinking water. I allowed him to come into the house then I brought the glass of water that I intended to use to end my life. He drank the water and stayed until my brother came.
That day, I gave up on ending my life. But that didn’t end the thoughts of wanting to die.
Every time I would hear that someone had died, I wished I was them. I didn’t see anything good in life. These thoughts were rooted to the belief that I was unworthy, unwanted, and I had no value in life.
I never thought that God cared about us when we are in despair until I read the story of Prophet Elijah from the Bible. When he was threatened by Queen Jezebel, he asked God to take away his life. He was on the verge of giving up. He felt he was alone. But God reached out to him by sending an angel to serve him food and water to nourish his body. God didn’t agree with Elijah’s suicidal thoughts, but he attended to his need and pain because he cared for him.
You may feel that you are alone like Elijah or that you are the only one suffering, but no, you are not alone. Many of us struggle with suicidal thoughts in our lives. This does not mean that you are crazy, weird, or insane. It means that you are going through an overwhelming and painful season. And you can find help. Yes, there’s a solution to your current problem, and suicide is not part of it.
Begin by acknowledging your pain and your thoughts. Then choose life by seeking help, and begin caring for your body. You don’t have to bear this burden alone. Someone cares, and yes, someone is willing to listen to you. They may not change your current situation, but you’ll receive the support you need to press on.
We may not receive help from the people we expect, but God can use anyone to bring help. Embrace the love and the help you’ll receive, and choose life no matter what.
Yes, your pain is real, and God is touched by it. He calls you the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8) because you matter to Him. He says that His love for you is everlasting (Jeremiah 31:3). Your feelings, though real, don’t define you. Remember,
- Just because you feel lost doesn’t mean that you are a loser.
- Just because you were rejected doesn’t make you damaged goods.
- Just because you don’t have an income right now doesn’t mean that your life will be that way forever.
- Just because you lack doesn’t make you a failure.
- Yes, your feelings are real. Yes, your pain is overwhelming. Yes, feeling stuck sucks. But you won’t be there forever.
- You may not recover all that you have lost today, but you can begin a new life now. No, it’s not easy, but it’s possible.
Remember, nobody can replace you in this life. You bring some special light and warmth into the world when you choose life. Though it may take a while to believe this, don’t dim your light. Someone needs it to light their path. Keep winning, keep shining, choose life. Will you?
You are loved and valued deeply.
“Broken but Beautiful” is a weekly column by Faith Gor, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. She shares her story and healing journey to offer hope to other survivors.