Though I struggled with depression during several seasons, I have only sunk to suicidal lows once, as a sixteen-year old girl in the autumn of 1993. At that time I was totally overwhelmed, feeling unloved and isolated.I felt no one understood or cared, and those lies cut me off from the truth that I was loved, treasured, and perfectly understood by my God. I was under spiritual attack and hearing voices from the enemy. Darkness almost consumed me.
Paul Meier and Frank Minirth describe the destructive process in Happiness Is A Choice:
The process builds as follows: Fleeting thoughts of suicide are followed by a serious consideration of suicide, which is followed by an actual attempt.
God himself rescued me before I made an actual attempt, but I was close to the edge. It’s scary to consider what I almost did to myself, and what the collateral damage would have done to my family, friends, and acquaintances. One of my high school classmates committed suicide, and I saw how his decision affected the whole school. I didn’t even know him, but I was indirectly affected by his loss. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my self-destructive act would have had far-reaching impact as well.
Meier and Minirth discuss the tragedy of suicide:
Most people who commit suicide do so when they are not seeing things realistically. They would not commit suicide if they saw the true nature of the situation and realized that their problem was only temporary and solvable. After two months of therapy, patients who were formerly suicidal are amazed that they were actually considering suicide in the past.
At my low point, I didn’t have a grasp on the reality that my problems were solvable. But as I healed, I was amazed that I had ever sunk that low. The healthier I became, the more I saw I had to lose by hurting myself.
Years later, I was driving to church one Sunday morning with my husband and toddler. A song about the pain of suicide played on the radio, and my mind flashed back to those dark days. As I looked out onto a bright field of yellow wildflowers, looked beside me to my husband, and looked in the rear view mirror at my beautiful son, I realized what I would have given up had I followed through with my plan of overdosing. In my darkest days I had no idea what plans of healing and restoration God held for me in the future.
I’m so very grateful that God spoke to me on that late autumn day and lifted me from my pit of despair. I take great comfort in the words of Psalm 40:
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and the mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
I will praise God forever for being my personal Savior in my darkest days.
When you look back on your darkest days, how did God use those times to draw you closer to him?
Image and text copyright 2016 Sarah Geringer