Psalm 18:6 – “In my distress I called to the Lord, I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice, my cry came before him, into his ears.”
The days and weeks that followed were filled with constant anxiety and a deepening depression. I only ate Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. I was not taking care of my children. My countenance became downcast. The clouds rolled in and every thought was taken captive by the enemy. I rarely talked to God, except to ask him why this was happening. I wasn’t rejoicing in my suffering. I wasn’t looking to the Lord to be my rock. I had lost all hope. I hoped in nothing. When stress came, there was only one out. I began fanitsizing about cutting. This physical pain would replace my emotional but it was only ever temporary. My family locked up all of the knives and threw away the razors. I spent most of my time at counseling or psychiatrist appointments. It wasn’t until one overwhelming counseling session that it all came to a head.
Brian and I had argued on the way home. To this day, I do not even remember it. I was supposed to go inside and stay with my mom, when my husband dropped me off. Instead, I waited until he drove away and I ran. I had a suicide plan in mind. I would run two miles to my in-laws and finish the plan there. I ran as fast as I could. Okay, lets ben honest, there was some walking. I thought about the people passing me on the road, they had no idea what I was going to do. If they did, would they even care, would they even try to stop me. I arrived at my in laws and used their spare key to open the door. I went inside, intent to find the knives. I knew they had to be in their closet. All the time I had stayed with them, I never looked for the knives. Today, however, I was moving as if driven by a motor. I was not in control of my own thoughts or actions. I finally found a tiny hiding place behind the clothes. There it was, my box of treasure. I would choose my weapon carefully. I settled on a sharp pairing knife. I took it, my food, a water bottle, my devotional, and my cell phone and packed a bag. I knew where I was headed, I was not sure how long I would stay or when I would come back.
I went outside and began walking across the field to a row of tall trees. I had loved these trees for so long. They were in the middle of a field, and it was so peaceful. I wanted to be alone in the end. I wanted beauty and calm. It took about five minutes to get there. I laid everything out on the ground and debated what to do first. I decided to eat my food, as a last meal. Then, I started talking to God. It is funny how we can be angry and reject God when we are in pain. In the end, however, I cried out to him to help me, to save me. I needed a miracle. That is exactly what I would get. I pulled the knife out of my backpack and prayed. I said, “God, if you do not want me to kill myself today, I can’t see blood. Not a single drop can come out or I wont be able to stop.” I prayed to my brother as well, for him to be with me. I was filled with terrible anxiety. I didn’t want to die, but I felt there was no other choice. This pain had to stop. I had to stop hurting those around me. I thought everyone would be better off without me.
I began cutting, back and forth, back and forth. It was pain but not like I expected. It was a hot searing sort of pain. As I cut, I wept. I could even feel a presence around me. It was the Holy Spirit or an angel, I don’t know. The other presence, I am sure was my brother. He was kneeling, praying, petitioning on my behalf. I cut harder and faster. A mark started forming. It was brown, not red. There was no blood. I examined the knife, put it down and cut harder. Nothing, no blood, not one drop. After five minutes of trying my hardest, I stopped. God was saving me. It was time for me to surrender. I stopped what I was doing. I wept as I turned to the tree behind me. I started carving a cross in the tree, a cross with a heart in the middle. The cross was the only thing that had enough saving power to heal me. I needed to see it, to remember this Ebenezar of what God had done for me. In case you doubted the strength and sharpness of the knife, it was a carving a tree. When I was satisfied, I prayed and thanked God for sparing my life. I buried that knife there. The carving and the knife are there to this day.
Moments later, Brian pulled in the driveway. My mother must have called him because I was not home. I didn’t answer. He, then, began yelling that if I didn’t come he was calling the police. I didn’t want to get the police involved. So, I called him and told him I was only my way back. I gathered my things and trekked back across the field. I told him what happened and showed him my wrist. We knew it was time for greater help. Brian called the postpartum unit at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s Neurosciences Hospital. The unit was full, but I could come in and wait on a room. We decided that Brian and I would go to a cabin together and rest, while we waited. Two days into our stay, I knew I wouldn’t last much longer. My mother helped me buy clothes without and strings, and shoes without laces. I packed my things. Brian, my father, Judah, and I headed to North Carolina. I would spend the next two days going through the psychiatric ER and the general population floor. The experience would be traumatizing.
Journal Entry 2 – March 29 2016
“Yesterday was the lowest and one of the best days of my life. I love paradoxes. Yesterday started well by going to counseling. Brian and I had a two hours session. The first was just me and the second was both of us. I could see the light draining from my hubsand’s eyes. I felt that flame of passionate love fading. That, it turns out, is the thing I can’t live without. I always joke with him that his love is too great for me. That if it would calm down a little it would be okay. I learned, yesterday, that is not true.
We got in an argument in the car. Brian was so tired. I wanted to go get the kids with my mom but he wouldn’t budge. I got out of the van and sat on the side of the driveway, when he drove off. I walked to his parents house. I decided, on the way there, I may take pills or cut my wrists. I am not afraid of death. I want to see God, my brother, and be free of this earthly pain. I found the knives but not my pills. They have hid them well, props to them. I packed a small Cutco pairing knife, m+ms, a granola bar, a flashlight, some water, a sweatshirt, pants, my journal, devotional, and phone. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I knew, however, where I wanted to go.
I went out behind my in-laws to where I want to build our house. I love it there. There is a completely straight row of trees that I nestled into. I sat and I thought and I prayed. I was overcome by sadness. I was worried I was going to loose everything. I wanted to know what it felt like to cut through my flesh. Suicide is a choice. It makes you feel in control. It feels like you have a choice, when all other choices seem to have been taken away.
So, I took the knife and I slowly began cutting. It was a harp and high pitched squeal of pain. I pressed harder and harder, wanting to release the blood and pain. I wanted a scar. A mark to help me never forget this pain. A physical testimony to my internal struggle.I asked God to not let it work, if I wasn’t supposed to die. I could feel a presence with me. Weeping with me. Asking me to stop. I think Hunter was there with a heavenly spirit. Despite my attempts, it wouldn’t cut past the surface. At that moment, I buried that knife beside that tree, promising to never again try to kill myself. First, however, I carved a cross in the tree with a heart in the middle. Something profound happened there. God saved me. I can’t ignore that. It was profound and life changing. Mom mentioned I should tattoo over it. I tend to agree.”
Journal Entry 3 – March 30, 2016
“I listened to a hymn ‘Take My Hand Precious Lord.’ Yesterday was a hard day. It was difficult to process the days before. It was a hard and painful journey. You think that after you walk the path of potential suicide you would feel different. While I know a barrier has been broken, that my life was supernaturally saved, I still think of it in the dead of night. I think of the blade. The marks it has made. I can see it. It is a memory of the pain. As I have said, before, I believe this happened for a reason. I believe I will survive it, but I have my doubts too. I doubt because those dark moments become so dark. My pain becomes so deep so quickly. I feel that I may need to change my medications. One that is more mood stabilizing. I decided that I wanted to do inpatient at UNC Chapel Hill. Everytime, everyone told me to try traveling first. So, Brian and I are going to a cabin for a few days. It is wonderful. If I am not doing better after, I will do inpatient. Otherwise, we are going to Period Key in Alabama.
I just listened to the song ‘Blackbird’ and the song ‘I Need Thee Every Hour.’ My heart is so there. The anthem of right now is ‘It Is Well With My Soul.” Praying for healing and reconnection with my husband here.”