Choosing Hope, Choosing Life

My heart is heavy hearing about the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain this week. Many people have reacted with confusion, wondering why two people with “so much going for them” would take their lives.

That question shows us why depression is such a demon. It robs you of the ability to draw satisfaction and joy from things that, objectively, should make you happy and secure.

This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study showing that suicide rates have risen at an alarming rate during the past twenty years in the United States. It’s long past time for us to talk about mental health without stigma or shame.

I’ve been open for a long time with my struggles with depression and anxiety. What I haven’t broadcast widely is that there was a time when it almost killed me.

I gave a talk at a pastors’ conference called UMC LEAD back in January where I told this story. The video of this talk is below.

A couple things I want to mention before viewing:

While I talk about the church I was serving at the time and certain individuals whose behavior exacerbated the situation, I don’t blame them. Their behavior came from their own deep brokenness, and ultimately it was my own demons that pushed me toward the edge. I make every effort to disguise the identity of the individuals mentioned.

I talk about how my daughter, who was two at the time, was a major factor that helped me choose to live. Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain had young daughters, too. Everyone’s struggle is different, and just because that factor helped pull me back, it doesn’t mean they loved their daughters any less than I love mine.

Lastly, if you or someone you know is dealing with thoughts of suicide, please consult the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255 if you’re in a crisis, or look to the website for resources about how help someone you know. If nothing else, you can contact me through this site if you need help.

I survived, and you can, too. You are not alone. We can choose hope.

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