Thursday, May 18, 2017

When Life Doesn't Feel Worth It

A teacher in my area committed suicide recently.  He wasn't a teacher at my kids' school, but was a favorite teacher at their friend's school.  For various reasons, it came up in conversation in my house.  We have talked about suicide in the past, but only in very simple terms.  

Today on the way to school, Lizzy asked about this man and why he would decide to end his life.  The news hasn't indicated his motivation.  I could only speculate--I said that there are many reasons why people feel their only option is to end it.  Financial stress, relationship issues, mental illness, physical ailments, addiction, abuse, feeling hopeless.  For teenagers, the most common reason I read about is from being bullied.  My kids were shocked.  

"I want you to hear me very clearly:  If you ever find yourself in a place where you think that it would be better to be dead, you come to me.  If you are being bullied, we will pull you right out of that school.  If you have made choices that leave you feeling trapped, you talk to me and I will help you.  I don't ever want you to think that there is no other choice.  Because that just isn't true."

When you are in the thick of things, it can be hard to remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  I have been there.  Five years ago I found myself at a busy intersection wondering what would happen if I just drove on through when it wasn't my turn.  As a middle school kid, I thought about suicide on more than one occasion.  I couldn't even tell you what was going on in my life when I was 13 that made me feel that way.  

As an adult, as I sat at that red light, I knew that it was time to get help.  I hadn't realized I was that bad off until that moment.  And it scared me.  I made an appointment with my doctor and got put on effective meds.  Best decision ever.  

Again, just a few months ago, I found myself understanding why people with chronic pain/illnesses/disabilities would feel suicide was the answer.  After months of dealing with chronic muscle/joint/nerve pain with no diagnosis or end in sight, I started to see how it could get to be too much for someone.  Living life in pain sucks.  Without God sustaining me, I could see myself falling into depression and feeling hopeless.  

So I get it.  I get that life is hard and painful and scary and ugly.  That people can be mean and nasty.  That jobs can be lost, finances gone.  That addictions can leave people feeling trapped.  These things are real issues.  The struggles are real and difficult.  

Which is why I am real with my kids.  I can hope that they never feel this way, but the reality is that they probably will find themselves at least once wondering if life is worth living.  I need them to know that it is.  That there is nothing that we can't work through.  That in the moment they may feel hopeless, but God, Hubby and I will see them through to the other side.  

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