2017-03-08 by Object of Contempt
Rest. An end to the hopelessness. Ultimate peace. So many euphemisms for the same desperate action to end all actions. Suicide. Lynda Lee writes A Blog About Healing from PTSD, and also comments here frequently. She has been struggling a lot lately and has been in my prayers, so I sent her an e-mail. Having finished that, I immediately came across a blog post by Lilly Lucario describing her efforts to stave off the continual desire to end her pain in death. I’ve been thinking about her all day and what I could possibly say in a comment to help her in her time of desperation. I couldn’t fit it in a comment… I hope this post is an encouragement to her and to others.
I couldn’t ignore her words because I know something about how she feels. I have dealt with emotional abuse and neglect that has crushed my spirit to dust. It often hurts physically, intensely, for weeks, even months at a time. Even now, I still just wish all the pain would go the hell away. Although I don’t consider ways to end my life, I still occasionally go to bed and think how nice it would be to not wake up in the morning. Psychiatrists and psychologists recognize that as being suicidal, although to a lesser degree. It is still important to recognize in yourself and in others. A person in this kind of state is entirely miserable, and may very well be worse than he or she lets on.
There is little that can be said if a person doesn’t feel they have a place of relief from abuse. Abuse can continue after leaving the abuser. Plus, the continuation of the PTSD, or any other outcome of the abuse is extremely painful in ways that are very difficult to describe or prove (which matters because it can be hard to find someone who even believes there was abuse, let alone on-going PTSD symptoms.
Saying that time heals, or that others have had it worse is a show of callousness towards a person who needs sincere kindness above all. One church counsellor told me it was all pride masquerading as false humility. It is popular to counsel those that are hurting and alone to start to “self-love”. I may ruffle some feathers, but I think that’s about as useful as telling a person with a migraine to rub his own shoulders. The migraine doesn’t go away, and his hands get sore. The Bible tells us in Isaiah 42:3 that God’s way is to not break the bruised reed (destroy the injured) or to smother the smoldering wick (extinguish the soul’s last hope). This is the example we should be following.
How can I encourage this lady who is in complete misery? I don’t really know her. There is only one way to help a person who is hurting like this. Sincere love and affection. Truth, justice, mercy. All the basics that give a person their humanity back, and a safe place to heal… that’s what she needs. There are no substitutes. She can’t give it to herself. And, when a person has become isolated from all real and reasonable help (a situation I understand) it is a bleak, dark thing to face. The only thing I can do is to tell her she isn’t alone. I know what it is to hurt and feel completely alone. I want her to know that it matters that she holds on… that she doesn’t think her pain matters to no one. Contempt is unbearably painful, especially when it piles up for years without relief.
I was thinking about all this, and quite by accident came across a page I had written long ago. It was separate from my journal, a loose page of paper. I had written it down because I didn’t know what else to do about what I’d learned about the hopelessness of being unloved. It follows below, slightly edited.
2nd Sunday — Feb. 2002
I can’t tell anyone.
I found out this morning for the first time
— why a person would actually think of suicide as a way out.
For thirty seconds or less, maybe a lot less, being dead seemed less painful than being alive. I don’t know what that means about me. I wasn’t mentally persuing it. It found me in the morning when I woke up. Slipped in. Just a vague feeling that my half-awake mind picked up on. I was struck with disgust to find myself thinking about my wife walking in on me as I pointed a pistol at my head. I felt shame for the action, even though it was only in my day-dream. Then I thought of the horror they, wife and kids, would face finding me in a pool of blood.
My most intimate, passionate, real expression of love is repulsive to her. She thinks it’s just selfish male animalism. She wants me to stop without a care as to what it means to me. I am worthless to her. It breaks my heart.
I’ve learned a lot since then. I have learned that there was a lot more causing my pain than I had thought. The gaslighting and manipulation… I’ve learned a lot. I haven’t thought of ways to carry out a suicide because I refuse to do that to my kids. I have felt the weight of loneliness carry me down to the bottom of a dark, black pit. I have felt empty, foolish remarks land on my soul like a suffocating sludge, and self-righteous, condescending remarks that pierce like knives. I have wished innumerable times not to wake up, not to have to deal with her anymore, not to deal with her flying monkeys, lies, and contempt.
The future scares the crap out of me. Getting free will be a nightmare. It sounds to me like this is part of what Lilly is facing. Her faith in God is shaken to the core. To anyone who hurts or cares at all… and especially to Lilly, let’s hold on together.