Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Thoughts and Apologies

Yesterday I posted a link to a blog. A blog that talked about suicide which has obviously been a huge topic as of late. I haven't had as hard a day as I did yesterday for a long time. I feel very misrepresented from the comments people posted and even comments I made myself. Yesterday I was confused, hurt, afraid of the hurt I had caused others, and very contemplative. I've struggled to know if I should even say anything now or just let it pass. As I've thought through everything I decided to share my thoughts of why I posted this link in the first place. I did so for 2 reasons:

1: because my cousin, who suffers from depression probably on a level I don't quite understand, posted it first. I am in awe of my cousin and her ability to find joy in the day no matter what she might be feeling. I was impressed that even though she struggles so much, that she felt that she had a choice about the way her life was going to pan out.

2: because I'm always worried when celebrities commit suicide. I'm afraid for those people who are struggling with depression right now. Who right now are debating ending their life. And then to see all the amazing accolades and think they too will have such a tremendous experience if they also decide to take their life. I didn't post this link to judge those who have taken there life, but to bring hope to those who want to.

These were the only 2 thoughts going through my head when I posted this article. I understand that Matt Walsh is harsh and very blunt but I thought his overall message was very captivating. These are some phrases that stood out to me:

1) "Only we shouldn’t turn the subject into a purely cold, clinical matter. “Chemical imbalances,” people say. “A man is depressed because of his brain chemicals, and for no other reason.” No, we are more than our brains and bigger than our bodies. Depression is a mental affliction, yes, but also spiritual.

Initially this sounds very harsh depending on how you look at it but I thought it was very beautiful. Of course there are chemical imbalances in depression that must be dealt with and should not be overlooked (I don't think he was saying their isn't) but what a beautiful and profound statement to say "we are more then our brains and bigger then our bodies." This brings me great hope in my own life with my own struggles. I felt it would bring great hope to those who really feel that they are not more then their brains or bigger then their bodies. Of course we are because we have the Savior. He who has descended below them all, came out victorious, and has given us the same promise! With His help we can overcome all. 

2) "First, suicide does not claim anyone against their will. No matter how depressed you are, you never have to make that choice.  To act like death by suicide is exactly analogous to death by malaria or heart failure is to steal hope from the suicidal person. We think we are comforting him, but in fact we are convincing him that he is powerless. We are giving him a way out, an excuse. Sometimes that’s all he needs — the last straw."

Ok again, I understand that this is a very harsh sounding but I wanted to address how it stood out to me. 

When I read this I imagined if I myself was depressed enough that I could not think clearly and was on the verge of taking my own life. I would want someone to give me the hope that I wasn't to far gone. I would want someone to tell me that I could overcome and that I could find joy again. That with help from doctors and the Savior, that my life could be full and a life worth living. I would not want to feel that I had no choice; that the only way to escape myself was to pull the trigger, even if that's how I really felt (and I know many people do feel this way which is what makes the whole situation so sad)! I would want to give hope to anyone who I felt was in danger of taking there own life. To me, this statement was about people who are here and struggling.

3) " the end, joy is the only thing that defeats depression. No depressed person in the history of the world has ever been in the depths of despair and at the heights of joy at the same time. The two cannot coexist. Joy is light, depression is darkness. When we are depressed, we have trouble seeing joy, or feeling it, or feeling worthy of it. I know that in my worst times, at my lowest points, it’s not that I don’t see the joy in creation, it’s just that I think myself too awful and sinful a man to share in it.
So this, for me, is always the most essential moral at the end of these kinds of sad, terrible stories: we are all meant for joy. We are all meant for love. We are all meant for life. And as long as we can still draw breath, there is joy and love to be found here. I believe that. If I didn’t, I would have left a long time ago."

Do I even have to say it? Harsh? Yes! My take:

Like I said earlier, of course there are chemical imbalances and when that is the case medication is needed but what else do doctors prescribe? Exercise, eating healthy, getting out, serving, enjoying nature, be active, don't sit at home with your own thoughts, get out with friends. On a religious level we read scriptures, pray, attend the temple, serve in our callings. These are all things that help those imbalances. I'm no scientist, but we know these things cause endorphins and other awesome natural "high" feelings in ourselves. Although medication is amazing and needed it is not enough. We must strive to bring joy into our lives to understand that our life is a life worth living. When we strive to become like God we feel His love and we are slowly (sometimes extremely slowly) able to see ourselves the way He sees us and the potential He sees in us and our lives. That is why being active and medication go hand in hand. 

In the end he says, 

"If you are thinking about suicide, don’t keep it inside. Tell someone. Never give up the fight. There is always hope.

Wouldn't we tell our friends the same? I would. I know everyone would! 

I know this message came across very harshly for those who have lost loved ones to suicide but I didn't post this link for those people. In my eyes it was a message for those who needed hope that their life was still worth living. 

For those who have lost loved ones to suicide I'm sorry. It is a terrible thing to experience. I didn't post this to judge those who have passed. I only have a small idea of what thoughts someone has when they decide to take their own life. You can't live your life with a deadly disease without experiencing depression yourself and having some understanding of such things. Getting to a point in your life where you literally feel that you have no choice but escape through death must be a most terrible experience.  I have no idea what happens in the next life and I didn't mean to presume that I did. I do know that for whatever anyone goes through in this life there is always hope and love in the next life and that in the end only our Father in Heaven (thankfully) will be the judge of our earthly experiences. I am truly sorry for any hurt I caused. 

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