Through the door there is a room,
filled to the brim with optimism.
Veiled over that door is a lie dark and dim,
it says, “You can’t come in”.
In my book Standing on the Edge, I tell the story of how by the age of 25 I was ready to take my own life. Years of alcoholism and depression had taken their toll. When I think back now, it is very hard to draw on the feelings I had at the time. I can tell you what the emotions were because I have memorized them in talking about them and writing them. I don’t however actually feel them anymore.
I find it very hard to compare the woman I was to the woman I am now. It’s as if I had no control over the direction of my life. Almost 20 years later, I am completely in control of my life—as much as anyone can be. I’m not falling from one drunken mistake into the next, trying to numb the pain with whiskey before breakfast.
How do you go from a state of complete and utter hopelessness to being optimistic about your life again? I’m thinking of the person who cannot see a way out of their situation, the same way I could not—that awful moment where death seems like the only answer to the problem.
I believe, in my case, there was a combination of factors that led to my inability to see my self destructive behavior.
The first was a childhood trauma that had never been dealt with. The second was alcohol abuse, that on its own would have caused a clinical depression that blocked my neurotransmitters from ever having anything to be optimistic about. The third was spiritual oppression. In the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, we talk about alcoholism being a mental, physical, and spiritual affliction. It’s up to each person to work out these three, and the spiritual side is often very personal and not easy to share.
After I had made the decision to take my life, a series of small events happened that stopped me from taking that fatal action. The most important was a very clear thought that I did not want to be found and have someone save me. So I delayed the action of taking enough pills to kill a horse for a more opportune time. That delay literally saved my life. Years later, God showed me in a vision what actually happened in the spiritual realm to save me.
In the vision, I was in a large crematorium. There was a furnace and demons were manning the furnace. I was dead and lying on a steel wheeled table along with other corpses, lined up to go into the furnace. The demons were taking the bodies one by one and putting them in the fire. When it came to my turn, one of the demons came to check my identity, which was on a tag attached to my toe. He checked the tag and then saw there was another tag on my other foot also. This caused confusion and I was not allowed to be put into the furnace.
My understanding of the vision was that I was the living dead. I was dead already and my soul was just waiting for the second death which was the furnace—my final destination. Because the spirit world has to obey rules, the demons could not put me into the fire (kill me for good) because there was an identity query that needed to be clarified first.
Killing myself with no chance of being saved was the best choice I could make at the time. That led to a series of events which brought people into my life who could help me. My choice came from the worse possible image of myself and not being able to see my potential or what was in me all along. Although I don’t feel the pain anymore, the wreckage of my past is evident in all I have lost.
That is my reality and I have to deal with it. If I take that reality and keep it in perspective, I become what I am today: someone who can talk to those who have lost all hope. I am someone who has the courage and confidence to tell someone they can take their own life, and they have every right to so do.
But why not wait until tomorrow? Tomorrow, a door could open. Behind that door is a room brimming with optimism.
If you or anyone you know needs help with suicidal thoughts, I have listed two links below.
If you need help, please reach out to someone!
Want to connect with me? I write a blog which allows me to share what can only be described as the colorful life of the recovering addict. Discovering life anew is both wondrous and unnerving and I am loving every minute of it.