post-trau·mat·ic stress dis·or·der - a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving disturbance of sleep and constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to others and to the outside world.
---In the telling of my story I hope to paint a very clear picture of what it looks like to walk through the mind of someone experiencing an instance of acute PTSD. It is a very serious condition that can cause death, depression, and the overall inability to thrive.
Please also bear in mind that although this story may recount my personal thoughts of suicide, I firmly believe that murder is a sin (Leviticus 24:17). I understand clearly that in order for sin to be forgiven that one must repent (1 John 1:19), and that in cases of suicide one permanently robs themselves of the chance not only to repent but to have sins blotted out (Acts 3:19). I believe that although God is gracious and loving, the wages of sin is still death and eternal damnation (Romans 6:23).---
Before I begin allow me to provide some background:
-In 2012 I was diagnosed with PTSD, by that time, I had quietly suffered for numerous years with nightmares, lack of sleep, irrational fear, anxiety, and was at times was uncomfortable with being intimate with my husband.
At the time of my diagnosis I was Holy Spirit filled and sold out to Jesus; I fasted regularly, prayed daily and I ran from sin. I attended a church where it was considered almost taboo to seek assistance for mental illness and as a result, I began to feel that my pain was a sin and that somehow I had not trusted God enough.
When my doctor diagnosed me with PTSD, I breathed a sigh of relief, this diagnosis came after surviving almost 15 years of being abused, by multiple men, that began at the age of about 8 and ended after I met my husband. I had been molested by relatives and repeatedly raped and viciously beat by an ex. I knew then that I was not crazy, the men that abused me were.
I discovered that me tending to and managing my mental health was just as important as tending to my spiritual health. I began not to care about what people in my church community thought, they were not there during the abuse and that unfortunately because of their illogical thought processes, they had no power to heal me from it.
God was there and I believe that he wept at the sin that was committed against my body and desires that I be made whole.
Several years ago, my baby sister purchased an absolutely gorgeous forest green scarf that she found it at a shop while vacationing in India. It has tassels and a delicate feminine design at its bottom and is a perfect accessory piece. I receive so many compliments when I wear it and it provides just the right amount of flare, sass, and sophistication without making me look pretentious or unapproachable.
On this day, I sat at my desk at work and ran my fingers through the soft fabric of my beautiful scarf fantasizing about using it to hang myself.
Mid-thought, I received a call from a customer looking for assistance, irritated at the sound of the ring I answered and tried to sound as chipper as possible. Pretending to be happy wore me out and I was glad when the call ended, I had become weary of wearing fake smiles for everyone and felt incredibly drained.
Months leading up to this day the flashes of the horror I had experienced as a child had begun to hunt me in my dreams. Thoughts of being trapped with my abusers began to stalk me during the day. There was nowhere to hide and I was tired of running.
The prior evening, I had sat on my living room couch in a daze. I hadn’t been able to eat my dinner that night, and I remember feeling like I was slowly drowning. My husband became alarmed when on that Tuesday morning I asked him to walk with me to the bus stop, I never ask him to do that unless I am feeling nervous...he had every reason for alarm. I woke up that morning full of anxiety and afraid to go to work. I wanted to crawl into a cave and never come out; by that afternoon I had made up in my mind that if I had to live a life of pain that my life was not worth living.
Now logically I told myself “Girl if you do this, you will be sitting in hell for eternity...looking stupid.” For weeks prior, I had quoted scriptures to myself repeating “Greater is He that is in me,” over and over hoping to prevent myself from falling into the “abyss.” I felt blindsided by the severity of the thoughts and fantasies of death. I knew I didn’t truly want to die and that simply wanted the pain to stop.
It seemed none of my warfare worked because here I sat deeply enthralled with the thought of ending it all. I thought to myself that maybe slitting my wrists would be quicker. I googled it and realized that that type of death was simply way to painful and that I wanted to go quickly. I thought about jumping in traffic, but again way to painful and if I lived I would be right back where I started.
I then thought, let me text my mom and let her know that the suicidal thoughts had returned. She is normally the only person I would tell. For me battling this type of thought pattern was something that simply came with the mental illness. I didn't tell many people because them freaking out about it would certainly annoy me. I also knew that I as a woman of God, that their where demonic components attached to my feelings of despair. The desire to end it all hadn’t been this strong in over 10 years and I knew in my heart that could warfare like a mother.
I thought I’d better tell my husband as well, that was hard, I never want him to worry...
I can feel my mother’s prayers and my husband’s warfare, I texted my mom that morning and told her that I would fight and take it day by day.
Her response was: "The battle is God’s the victory is yours, remember it's ok to stand, just stand." My mom is anointed.
Earlier that week, I told my best friends and one of my sister’s about the fantasies, prior to me telling them I asked them not to panic. I told them the thoughts were there, I told them about the strong desire to die. I shared with them that somehow my mind had painted this picture that death would be like climbing into a womb. Where it was dark, safe, quiet, and I would have no worries. I also shared with them that I knew that would not be so...
I am completely numb, I’m not happy, I’m not sad, I’m not mad….I am numb. I have no strength to pretend that I am feeling otherwise. I am exhausted, I haven’t been sleeping, I haven’t been eating, but I did get my hair done. That helped…
My mom asked me to come over after work for pizza and a movie. When I get to her house I remember that I hadn’t eaten all day and that I should probably eat something before I pass out. I remember thinking how weird it was that I was concerned about feeding myself when just earlier I was so bent on dying.
I can’t remember what we even watched I do remember that as we settled down to watch the movie, I almost instantly wanted to leave. I soon told my mom that I was tired and walked home.
As I walked I knew today would be the day I ended it all. When I stepped into my apartment tears streamed down my face, I felt like I had no control over myself. The pain had gotten so excruciating that I felt I just MUST end it. I took my scarf off and took a mental walk around my house, what doorway could hold my weight?
I paused through the tears and thought, “God if you don’t help me I will die.” I repeated this over and over as the thoughts became stronger. I thought about what my mom said, “Stand,” I told God I would stand. I knew my life had a purpose and I knew that it was not his will that I should perish but have everlasting life. At this point the tears are streaming even harder, I clasped my hands around my ears as if that would somehow silence the thoughts.
Then randomly the phone rings, it’s my sister and she is crying, this irritates me. Here I am in the middle of a crisis and this chick is calling me crying….just great. She begins to recount the goodness of Jesus and how tells me a story of how a mother sued the website “Backpage.com.” This site is a known vehicle for pimps to sexually exploit and traffic women. The woman’s daughter had been raped, pimped, and left for dead and the man responsible for it used backpage.com to do it. Our family friend Judge Sharon Coleman ruled in favor of the mother and as a result Backpage.com (and its affiliated websites) had been officially seized by the US government and shut down. Attempts to shut down this site have been made for over 15 years with to no avail, until now.
When I hung up the phone I feel that I have been shaken out of my stupor, the thoughts are gone, and peace comes over me. I can’t describe fully what happened but as the days progressed I began to think to myself, if God can use the voice of one woman to shut down a website that ended the lives of thousands, what won’t He use my voice to do?
I SHALL live and not die and declare the works of the Lord…..
Just a note,
This post is written in fragments, as I recounted and re-lived my most recent encounter with PTSD I realized that this is exactly the way my mind felt.
Suicide is NOT a means to an end, it is a trick of the enemy to rob you of everlasting life and peace. We are all created in the image of God which in itself means that we are priceless.
I also would like to note that my battle with PTSD is on going, I have my ups and downs. I have, with the help of God and therapy, developed some amazing coping mechanisms. But at the end of the day, when this illness tried to take my life, it was God that saved it.
With that being said, I'm still a Fly Girl that just so happens to be Apostolic.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Darkness to Light
National Sexual Violence Resource Center