Choose Life


Suicide has been on my mind a lot lately. Don’t worry, it’s not something I’m considering. I’ve been researching information for a sermon I’ll be conducting in July while our minister is on sabbatical. Naturally, my sermon will be about mental health. Part of the research I’m doing is analyzing suicide rates of those with mood disorders. The numbers are sad, but not surprising.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 50% of those who have bipolar will attempt suicide at least once in their lives. 20% of those with bipolar disorder will successfully commit suicide. That’s one out of every five persons.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I have never attempted suicide. The three times that I was hospitalized were because I had suicidal thoughts and had detailed plans on how to accomplish the act. The first time occurred after chatting with an acquaitance and apparently said more than most people would share with a person they hardly know. I didn’t realize he was a psychiatrist. He immediately reacted, as he is required by law. He had some friends put me into a car and take me to a hospital where I was placed in the psych ward to protect me from myself.

The other two times when I wanted to end it all life felt hopeless. I kept asking myself “Is this as good as it gets?” I saw no reason to continue and then suddenly I would think of my daughter. She deserves a dad. I still felt scared so I had friends take me to the emergency rooms where I knew I’d be in a safer environment. Sometimes I think about others who have family members and still killed themselves. I would think the pain it would do to their families would come to mind. What is the point where that doesn’t matter anymore? I’m grateful that I never reached that point.

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