When People Choose to Die

With two well-known people committing suicide this week, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, it’s difficult to stop ourselves from asking “Why?”. Society tells us that if we have money, love (or sex), a great career, and a famous name, we should be contented and desire nothing more. Yet we consistently see people end their lives when they do indeed “have it all.” What causes this? I’m not sure I can say for certain, although I also suffered from suicidal thoughts twice in my life. I know what it is to feel trapped in your current life, unable to be set free from the ties that the world and your own actions have tied around your ankles and wrists. I have been to the point where I’ve felt like I might take my life and I sat on the floor, staring at a bottle of pills, and frantically calling my mother because I was afraid of what I might do. Not once did I really desire to end my life, but it felt much bigger than me. It felt like the enemy himself was attempting to end my life.

 

It’s so hard to begin to process what could possibly push a person so loved by the world, so financially secure, so famous, to end their life. I’ve seen and experienced a portion of the suffering around the world and I know that people who live with nothing, who have been abused, very often do not take their own lives. Sometimes they do, but usually you see people push through until the end. So, what causes suicide if it’s not life circumstances? I believe it’s something much more sinister than anyone can imagine. Oftentimes you’ll see people write, “Wow, he/she had a lot of demons.” “Man, they had so much personal suffering.” Don’t we all suffer inside of our minds and souls? Don’t we all have “demons” we must battle each day and night? Of course. I’m not sure what propels one person to take their life while another can battle on in life, but I’m not a psychologist. I can only speak to the spiritual aspect of this terrible thing.

 

I haven’t read all of the Bible, but I know that there are several people in Scripture who want to die when their life circumstances turn sour. Job and King David are two examples. But we never actually see a believer commit suicide. The two times I’ve seen suicide mentioned in Scripture were when Satan attempts to convince Jesus to kill Himself and when Judas Iscariot, filled with the devil at the time, killed himself. The first instance is particular to Jesus but we see forms of it today in spiritual warfare. Satan told Jesus, “If You’re really the Son of God, throw yourself off of this cliff. The angels will save You.” The other instance is when after betraying Jesus, Judas Iscariot hangs himself in his grief and shame. Those two instances were facilitated by Satan himself. Satan is the father of suicide.

 

Suicide is the unnatural death of a person at their own hands. They are choosing to stop their lives and to go into the great unknown. Although we believers have a glimpse of what awaits us, a foretaste of glory divine, we don’t really know what lies beyond this planet. So, to choose to leave what is known and to venture into the unknown, especially not knowing if heaven or hell is real (in the case of so many people), it must take great desperation. That person must be in a mental state so low that the only viable option for them is to depart from this earth and go to another place, even if they don’t know what that other place is. I believe that suicide is the work of Satan himself. It comes from the pit of hell. God is the One who first breathed life into our bodies, the One who fashioned our bodies together in our mother’s womb, the One who consistently allows our hearts to beat and our lungs to breathe. He is also the One who decides when our time on earth has finished and then He takes our lives. If we are believers in Jesus, He sends His angels to bring us to His dwelling place, heaven. If we are not, we are cast down into the fiery depths of hell. That’s what Scripture teaches. To take our own lives is to go against God’s plans for us. If we decide that today will be our last day on earth, but God wants us here another 40 years, we are defying God. We are saying that He is wrong. That we cannot handle life anymore. That life isn’t worth living at all. We aren’t saying these things out of a place of selfishness, as so many people say. Rather this all comes from a place of utter hopelessness. In fact, many people who take their lives believe they are doing their family a service by removing themselves from the picture. They are not selfish. They are desperate.

 

There are believers who take their lives. Although it’s more difficult to find those in the Church who will openly talk about this, it does happen. John Piper tells of when he had to help clean up after the suicide of a friend who struggled for years with depression. This man was a believer. John Piper says that in that moment, a person isn’t in their right mental state. They’re so far entrenched in depression and darkness that they do not fully understand what they are doing. God has mercy for this. God understands. He understands what it is to suffer. His Son, Jesus Christ, suffered on the cross for us and died, giving up His Spirit into His Father’s hands, willingly dying to bridge the wide expanse that existed between us and God. Through His death, we are now united with God forever and nothing and no one can ever take us from the LOVE of God! God is Lover, Father, Friend, Counselor, Protector, Brother, and Savior.

 

Should you find yourself in a place where you are considering suicide, or if you’re being tormented with unwanted suicidal thoughts and aren’t sure what to do, I have some advice.

 

  1. Tell someone you trust.
  2. If you don’t have that person, call a suicide hotline.
  3. If you don’t want to do that, call the police and tell them.
  4. Seek counseling from a licensed mental health professional.
  5. Consider medication as a way to lessen the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  6. Put your faith and trust in God!!! (This is really number one)
  7. Get connected with a local church and share about your suffering.
  8. Keep pressing on.

 

I love you all. I’m always here to talk if needed.

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

Advertisements

Struggling with Anxiety and Fear (India)

So, just the other day I realized that I have two weeks before I fly to India. Gee. Just two weeks! I feel like I haven’t done any prepping at all. I guess I felt like it was such a distant date that I didn’t feel the rush to prepare. Well, I’m rushing now.

As I begin preparing more earnestly, I’ve begun to experience something I didn’t really expect: FEAR. When I think about serving with the organization in Gujarat, I feel no fear. Believers will be there with me, to house me, feed me, and keep me safe. In Kolkata, I have no shortage of people I can call and be with. I probably have twenty people on hand in Kolkata. I’m super blessed.

The fear comes when I think about Goa, the first stop on my trip. I’ll be there alone, for a week. Goa is a party town. There will be a lot of drinking and drugs. Now, I’m not going anywhere near that. I’ll be staying away from all of the parties, and I will never go out late at night. I’ve been to India before; this is pretty standard. 

But, for some reason, this wave of fear rushed over me today as I thought about Goa. Although the Indian government has declared Goa the safest state in India for women, I felt afraid. What if something happens to me? What if someone robs me? What if someone in the hostel hurts me? Who do I know in Goa? No one!

Now, I think that if this fear were of God, meaning that God didn’t want me in Goa, He would’ve told me that WAY before. I had a plan to see Goa for months. I was excited when I booked my flight and accommodations, feeling absolutely no fear. You guys probably know I have a bit of a nervousness about me, so it’s natural that I would have feared Goa from the beginning. But I didn’t! I felt no sense of danger whatsoever. I knew I’d be safe because I have God and I know I’ll be staying away from the party scene. 

Yet this fear rushed over me today. A lot of fear about my sustainability in India has come to mind lately. I’ve had moments of “This doesn’t make sense. This isn’t going to work. You’re going to fail. What are you even doing with your life?”

The way I see it, these fears can come from one of four sources:
1. Myself
2. Other people
3. The devil
4. God

I believe that if God didn’t want me in Goa, if it were so terribly unsafe, He would’ve impressed that upon my heart from the beginning! 

I think this fear is of Satan. Please stand with me in prayer against fear, but also pray that I sense when it’s God cautioning me or Satan trying to scare me.

There are moments of questioning that I suffer from simply because I have a history of depression and anxiety. I ask myself, “What will I do if my anxiety is out of control?” “What if my depression comes back while I’m in India?” “What if I fail in India, what will I do after that?”

Now, I know I won’t be alone. I’ll have brothers and sisters around me to support me, love me, and care for me. But India is a hard country. It overwhelms all of your senses and as a woman, I have to be extra careful. 

Countless women have done this before me, women who don’t fit in as well as I do. Because of my tan complexion, dark eyes, and dark hair, I don’t stand out too much. There are women with fair skin, red hair, and blue eyes who have gone before me, paving the path for me. They’ve gone and done it all, by His power and for His glory. They undoubtedly faced seasons of anxiety and depression. It comes with the territory of this work. But, those seasons don’t mean the end is here. Our lives and purpose are FINISHED when Christ Himself takes us up to be with Him. As long as our hearts beat and our lungs fill with air, we have purpose here. I have to let Him bring me through these fears as they arise. I have to let Him hold me in these moments when Satan tries to make me think that I will fail and come to ruin.

 

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” – Luke 4:18

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

Living with Hypochondria as a Christian

Readers,

This is something I don’t really talk about that often. It’s really painful for me because I still live in this, to a certain extent. Today I’m going to be honest and write about my hypochondria.

But, first, let’s take a look at how the dictionary defines “hypochondria”:

abnormal anxiety about one’s health, especially with an unwarranted fear that one has a serious disease.

Last July, I began experiencing hypochondria. I remember the exact day it all began. My father had woken me up at 4 AM and told me that he thought he was having a heart attack. I sprang into action and waited with him, calming him while the ambulance came. At the hospital, we learned that it was simply a panic attack. This event happened two or three days after my brother was rushed into surgery for a life-threatening bone infection. Later that day, after waking up from a long nap, I began having back pain and I felt this overwhelming fear. Something whispered to me, “You’re having a heart attack.” I tried to shake it off so I went back to sleep. Immediately I felt panic rush over me. I could hardly breathe or think straight. I called my mom and told her that I wanted to go to the hospital. 

En route to the hospital, the panic increased and I literally thought I was dying. I began hyperventilating and I repeated “Jesus, please don’t take me!” Mom prayed and she sped to the hospital. After getting checked out, I was told that it was just a panic attack. “Just” a panic attack. Clearly these doctors have never experienced a panic attack. It feels bigger than you. It feels all-consuming. It becomes your reality. Your mind and body begin freaking out and no one around you can tell that there’s something wrong with you.

For the next few months, I suffered constant fear that I was dying. Some days I feared a heart attack, then I feared that God would supernaturally stop my heart, then I feared I would have a blood clot like my Dad, then I feared a stroke, then I feared internal bleeding, then I feared a brain tumor, and the list goes on and on.

These days it takes all of me and help from my parents to convince me that I will never get a blood clot, that I’m a healthy 24-year old who cannot have a heart attack, and that all of the other things I fear are just irrational. But, when you’re so far gone in your fear, that fear becomes your reality. To my brain, it is completely logical that I would die of some disease that older people typically have. I could look around at people my age or older that are obese and obviously very unhealthy, yet I can make excuses for why it would happen to me and not them.

I think that the entirety of last year truly affected the way I view health and wellness. I know it’s not a promise from God and therefore I began to fear losing my health. It got to the point that I told God, “Okay, God, if I get sick, I get sick. But please give me a long illness. I don’t want to have a sudden death because I live alone and no one would know.” That is what my brain thought about all the time. It’s still hard for me to stop my brain from thinking these things.

After going to the hospital so many times with my Dad last year, I think some type of anxious spirit latched onto me and I let it feed on my soul. Going to the hospital was normal for me. Growing up, my mother had hypochondria as well and she used to go to the doctor all the time. I had once dealt with this issue before, but when I was 16-17. It had been YEARS since I gave a second thought to my health. When I did, it became all-consuming.

I would stay inside because I didn’t want to die on the street, alone and helpless. That’s how bad it got. I would constantly jiggle my legs to keep my blood flowing, so I wouldn’t get a blood clot. I still do this. I look at my legs all the time, making sure they’re not swollen and I’d lay in bed at night, obsessively checking my pulse to make sure it wasn’t too fast, both of which would indicate a clot. The Internet told me that people over 50 usually get them, but that hasn’t stopped me from freaking out about it. It feels bigger than me. I used to go to the hospital once every couple of months, convinced I was dying. My doctor saw me almost every week for a new “ailment.”

I’m not writing to you from a “I’ve made it through to the other side and now I’m all better” position. I still fight for my sanity regarding health issues every. single. day. It’s a daily battle. Despite hearing God tell me that I won’t die, that He holds my life, that I’m not sick, my brain immediately goes to fear. 

One day, while just walking around, God said to me, “You’re so afraid of dying. You’re so consumed by the thought of dying that you’re not truly living. You’re really just afraid to live. When you were depressed, Satan tried to get you to kill yourself. Now he’s trying to make you think you’re dying.”

He’s so right, obviously. I was so obsessed with death that I didn’t give much thought to my life. I didn’t fight hard for things in life because I felt like I was going to die at any moment. What was the point of it all?

Readers, I ask for prayer in this area. I want to be fearless. I used to be completely fearless before 2015. I used to be confident, loud, bold, and fearless with everything in life. I KNEW that God had my back. I want to get to a place where I completely trust Him again.

It’s hard being a Christian and reading verses from the Bible that tell us not to worry, but then to suffer from hypochondria and panic attacks. It feels out of our control. We are commanded not to worry. But, how do we obey when our brain seems to be taking over?

Have you guys every suffered from hypochondria or other anxiety issues? Let’s have an open space to discuss, pray, and heal.

Blessings,

Gabrielle G.