Larry Taylor On Despair, Suicide, and Hope

This is a reposting of a response  Larry Taylor wrote to an article on this blog in January of 2009.  Allan

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide you can call this number at any time.   1-800-273-8255

National Suicide Prevention Hotline website is located    HERE.

Despair is the worst of all human emotions and states of being.  Despair is the absence of hope. It is depression so deep that the  depressed person cannot see any way out, any hope of escaping the  terrible, oppressive, dark pain that is pressing down on them. It  affects everything they do and everyone around them.

I am not writing academically. I have been in the depths of despair. I  know what it feels like to have no hope. Depression runs in my family,  but when my son died by suicide when he was in high school, something  snapped within my soul, and I was plunged into years of depression,  panic attacks, and periods of despair.

I battle with it even now as I approach the anniversary of my son’s  suicide. He killed himself on my birthday and was buried on Valentine’s  Day.

People told me to trust God, but when you are in despair, you cannot  trust, you have no coping mechanisms left. You are simply crushed. You  can no more help yourself than a man physically crushed under a bolder  could help himself.

People told me it would get better. I could not see how that was possible.

People told me to read my Bible. I tried. I could not.

People told me to fill my thoughts with good things. In despair, you  know no good things; you know only despair. Your world is without light.  It is hopeless.

People told me to exercise. I did not have the energy.

People told me to eat nutritiously. I did not care what I ate or even if I ate.

People said to go see a counselor. I was too ashamed. I thought good Christians didn’t need counselors.

Thoughts of suicide battered my mind like assaulting Huns. I had no  ability to stop them. Suicide seemed like the only way to relieve the  pain, to escape the darkness.

Then, I remembered my wife and how devastated she would be if I committed suicide.

I remembered my children and how I would be teaching them that suicide is an acceptable way out of problems.

I realized that the pain I felt came as a result of Elliott’s  suicide, and I would be inflicting that same kind of pain on my family.

Eventually, I remembered God.

One day when I was standing at my son’s grave weeping, I somehow knew  Jesus was there with me, his arm around my shoulder, weeping. I  realized that Elliott’s death hurt God as much, no, more, than it hurt  me.

I realized that suicide was a permanent and horrible solution to a  temporary problem. Permanent because it results in death. Horrible  because it hurts those who love us — God, spouses, children, parents,  friends …

I saw an ad for an antidepressant, screwed up my courage, swallowed  my pride, and made an appointment with a good psychiatrist. He diagnosed  me and prescribed medicine that worked wonders in lifting me out of my  despair.

I could cope. I could work. I could think. I could engage in therapy  with a good counselor. The combination of continued medication and  therapy set me on a path to normalcy.

I still struggle with depression occasionally, but never with despair.

I have hope.

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7 Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing, and God bless you.

  2. I loved this post!
    So real! I’m bipolar and I have know depression too. Depression so difficult I tried to kill myself 4 times. But God had other ideas for me. He had a plan for me which is SLOWLY un-folding before my eyes. I have come to realize that he gave me the desire to write and part of his plan is that I write – and that I write my truth for others to connect to. You are writing your truth. I can see that. It comes out loud and clear in your writing.
    much love to you my friend,
    robin claire

  3. I guess I am still new to my son’s suicide and some of this I can relate to some of it not. One thing I remember clearly was that I could not read my Bible. It was punishing and judgmental and it seemed that God was wrathful and mean to allow my son to die this way and that my life would be torturous each minute of what is left of my life. On some days I still feel like this. The difference is now that time has passed I have received signs that it is “well with my son’s soul” and if I cannot have him here with me at least I know he is with Jesus. I do not take care of myself….I want to be there where everything is good and wonderful and I can see my son again….I want to be over this loss and cannot be while I am in the flesh. My wish for death is when I am in the deepest pain of missing him. I do not eat like I should. I have extremely high triglycerides and cholesterol…with high blood pressure since my son died. Heart attacks run in my family and if I get a pain in my chest…I am almost giddy with anticipation. I just can’t believe that my heart hasn’t already given out by pure grief. I am not dealing with an imbalance of chemicals like most people who die by suicide….just an imbalance of life brought on by the death of one of my children which has left my whole life lop-sided. It will take a divine intervention for me to think differently. I am a grieving mother….not for a day…not for a month….but for a lifetime. I read every word I can on this subject to that I might understand…thank you for your post. It was written two months before my son went to heaven…March 6, 2009.

  4. Scott, You’re welcome and thank you for dropping by.

  5. robin, You have come through so much and my prayer is that God keeps you close as you navigate through your life and any challenges you may face.

  6. lensgirl53, I read your post last night and was grieved as I felt I had nothing to offer you. The pain you described and losing your son as you did is something I can’t relate to, let alone comprehend.

    I then spent a little time on your blog and read some comments from others that seemed to speak to and uplift you.

    Thank you for sharing openly about the pain you have and still endure. The only suggestion I would have for you is to find a sound counselor who God might use to make life more bearable for you. Maybe medication might be an option…. It was a big help for Larry who wrote this article. God bless and keep you lensgirl53.

  7. Thank you for you kind concern. I have come a long way although it sounds like I have gone backwards a time or two…and that does seem to be the way it is. I know God is with me and I trust in His love and guidance that He provides each day. Some days spell VICTORY and some days spell….well, I won’t spell it here.

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