Four years ago, I shared the struggles I had with suicidality and one specific experience where I felt a Divine hand lift me from destruction. At that time I struggled to find the way out of the darkness. However, today I am fundamentally changed through the atoning power of Jesus Christ. The thought to write a follow-up post comes strong, though still difficult to verbalize, but I decided to try.
And a certain woman…had an issue…and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse.
When she heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
…and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said Who touched my clothes? …
But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.
And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague. Mark 5:25-34
Impact of the Saved From Suicide Post
Writing that post four years ago and publicly sharing my struggle felt horrific to me. I would have never written it without a direct commandment from the Lord. However, because I obeyed and shared, several things happened.
Firstly, hundreds of people flooded me with their stories. I had to take breaks (and still do) from listening to or reading and responding to those suffering without their loved ones, those suffering with suicidality, and those trying to understand how someone can feel such despair.
Secondly, I instantly felt accountability to everyone who reached out. I spoke of how the Lord saved me on a train at my lowest point of despair. I can still immediately relive that scene in my life at any moment and overcoming that experience didn’t preclude me from other despair.
I’ve faced that darkness, though to a lesser degree, several times since I wrote the post. The voices silenced on the train returned with thoughts of driving off a cliff or setting myself on fire but I began recognizing those nefarious voices right away and banishing them from my mind.
I banished them from my mind by forcing a change of thought by singing a song or calling someone. Sometimes I asked for a blessing. Sometimes I cast the voices out through the name of Jesus Christ. Sometimes I called out to Jesus wherever I was and begged Him to take the burden from me.
I Will Lead You Along
And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. Doctrine and Covenants 78:18
And I noticed that the voices receded little by little.
I turned and faced the darkness head on. I recognized my triggers and I prayed to know how to change or lessen each triggers’ impact. That looked like a variety of things like sitting in my grief of not having children and also letting go of others’ comments and judgments about our parental status. I sat in the pain of past traumas and searched for light. And I found light.
Facing the darkness also looked like recognizing the darkness for what it was. I prayed to be led to teachers who could help me understand the darkness. Most often, the lesson showed up as I worked. I happened to select editing jobs relating to applicable subjects. As I worked, the Holy Ghost confirmed that what I was hearing applied to me. I’d stop and sift through the knowledge being shared and learn how to apply it to my life.
Once sifting through knowledge involved asking other family members if they’d had experiences related to that topic. They had to a small degree but not exactly as I had. That led me down a path to understand what caused the “split” in me.
Once I had it mapped out in my mind and saw the evidence in my life, I took what I’d discovered to my husband Anthony and we discussed how the issues manifested in my life and our marriage.
Bravely discovering and facing some of those scary things blew the door wide open for my healing.
I Will Heal Thee
I am the Lord that healeth thee. Exodus 15:26
I felt like I was learning to trust and interact all over again. The pendulum of joy and darkness kept swinging, and during that timeframe, I experienced one of the greatest external betrayals of my life. As I worked through that heartbreak with Anthony by my side, I came to see the betrayal as a great teacher. I took a few steps back and fell down, but when I stood up again, I knew I was becoming stronger and stronger.
I decided that I didn’t want to repeat the same patterns over and over again. Even just deciding I was done reliving old, stagnant patterns helped catapult me out of the cyclical repetitions.
And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
And Jesus stood…saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.
And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.
And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God….Luke 18:38-43
I moved from just believing in Christ to believing that He could save me from darkness long term, in this life, now. I felt like Peter who saw the Savior walking on the water and jumped out of the boat to walk to Him and then began to sink when the waves began crashing around him.
Amazingly, I saw Jesus extending His hand to me. I stepped out of the boat of unbelief and old ways of thinking and the horrible comfort zone I’d been blind in for so long onto the crashing waves. And with His encouragement, I began to walk to Him in ways I’d never done before.
I sought His direction more. And I prayed about my weakness more. I repented of my sins more. I followed promptings of the Holy Ghost more.
And I walked on water. Until I didn’t and I began to sink.
Lord, Save Me
But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him…., and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? Matthew 14:30-31
But Jesus lifted me up again. However, He didn’t put me back into the same boat, because I’d become different. I didn’t want to go back to where I’d been.
Jesus gave me the courage to try again. I tried again, again. And again.
And again. Until one day I realized that in this thing, I was walking on the water without fear and doubt!
Applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ
The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. … yet has thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God. Jonah 2:5-6
I actively sought the Savior’s grace. I pled for healing grace in prayer. The temple became a safe place to learn how to apply His grace. I read scriptural examples of how other people sought and received grace.
I asked the Lord for tangible ways I could learn to recognize and receive His grace. That looked like learning to forgive others, whether they knew I forgave them or not. It also looked like apologizing and rectifying wrongs that I could rectify. It looked like really scrutinizing myself and repenting quickly of mistakes.
I had this clear realization that if I truly believed in the power of the Savior’s atonement, then I would start seeing the Savior’s face on the faces of those who “wronged” me. Meaning, He took upon Himself the pains and griefs I experienced, so I can accept His gift and mark debts against me as paid. Instead of harboring resentment, I chose to see Jesus Christ’s face on the face of my offender because Jesus promised to pay the price of that hurt. And He did pay that horrible price.
Tangible lessons also included feeling joyful abundance and recognizing and appreciating beauty all around me. I trained myself to consider all life as precious and irreplaceable – though admittedly, some creatures are harder for me to totally love.
My lessons included seeing different perspectives. For instance, I watched a video about a guy who really loved cockroaches and extolled the great benefit they offer the environment. I watched a college class discussion on the environmental and economical benefits of other kinds of insects. Documentaries about people with radically different beliefs from me helped me view different perspectives on life.
Searching For Divine Worth and Purpose
Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7
I asked the Lord to show me my purpose and my worth. I read my patriarchal blessing frequently. Miracles and tender mercies, just for me, revealed divine care for my life. I verbalized appreciation for miracles in various ways. The more I acknowledged the Lord’s hand in my life, the more I saw His hand in my life and the more I trusted that His hand was in my life for a reason.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
And I will be found of you, saith the Lord. Jeremiah 29:11-14
My intentional efforts paid off! It’s been a long time since I’ve had to fight off suicidal thoughts. My trust in general is restored. My marriage is better. My relationship with myself is better. My relationship with the Lord is better.
I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more. Mosiah 27:29
I still remember how it felt. Memories rush in if I want them to. But today, I generally only recall them when I encounter a precious soul needing similar compassion and hope.
Now instead of reliving and replaying the past in spiraling downward patterns, I’m enjoying my journey to a promised land of freedom, grace, and peace.
Almost everyone I’ve met experiencing similar pain and darkness can’t believe there is a way out of that pain and darkness. But I testify that there is a way! For me, there was only one way and that way is Jesus Christ! I’ve found the Way and so can anyone else!
Thomas said unto him…how can we know the way?
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life…. John 14:5-6
May your journey lead you to the Way, Truth, and Life. I promise that happiness is available, peace is tangible, light is a reality, and truly Jesus makes old and broken things new.