Suicide Ain’t Painless

Posted by jael on Feb 21, 2011 in Education, Spiritual Journey |

Hey, my name is jael, and it’s been 3 days since my last post.

Hi, jael.

Hello friends.

I am glad you’re here.

As you know, I’ve been in treatment for over six months now for a broken hallelujah, but since I got the phone call, I’ve been playing hide-and-go seek.

Or maybe dodgeball.

It used to be that what I thought about most, I wrote about least.

brokenhallelujah reframed that for me.  bh carved a space for me to record my process _regardless how raw_ with reverence. It is a place that calls my obedience and lifts my voice in Praise.

Recent events entice recidivism.

I don’t really feel like writing about my process or lifting my voice in hallelujah.

I’ve hidden behind sick kids and dodged the pink elephant in the room.

And that five-toed, pastel pachyderm is suicide.

Suicide tops the long list of things we are socialized not to talk about in mixed company. Suicide is about as taboo as any topic I know. For example, our local paper will not report incidents of suicide as a matter of public policy. Obituaries don’t publish that someone quit their life at the end of a rope or tried to fill the hole in his broken heart with a gun. Often, people fear suicide like a contagion more horrible than the awful flu that’s been going around, and even though most understand that suicidal ideation is neither airborne nor transmittable, fear clings to the topic like static electricity. People worry its very discussion might jump start the idea in another like two evil cables connecting batteries.  As such, suicide is shrouded in myths, misconceptions and shame. Shame is the naughty mistress of all things we are taught not to discuss. What is even more unfortunate is that shame is like the black widow of mistresses. She lures her mate into the shadows and eats it.  Shame shackles Hope.

It is only natural, then, that since I got the phone call about G’s suicide I’ve battled grief and shame. This shame pours bitter dregs from two cups.  The first splashes my own history on today’s canvas as the second makes me feel selfish. The second cup distills more guilt than Worship.

But for the Grace of God, go I.

Shame and myths aside, there are warning signs for suicide.  There are reasons people commit suicide. It’s not only helpful to talk about these warning signs and reasons, it’s preventative.  Talking to a person you fear might be considering suicide does not compel him to take his life, it offers him the relief of being able to be honest about his experience. People who have survived suicide attempts often report that it was not so much that they wanted to die, but that they no longer wanted to continue living their life as it was.  In other words, talking to a person who may be considering suicide invites him to reflect on how he might be able to live his life differently.  And that’s it in a nutshell, if there were an in-between place, a I-don’t-want-to-suffer-like-this-anymore-but-I’m-not-dead-space, I think people would choose it.

That’s the space we need to create in discussions, healthcare, families, treatment, and ideology.  We need to hold that space for people to pause, breathe and heal enough that they can bear their circumstance without lethal measures.

I know it’s not a feel good topic, friends.

But I plan to write a series of posts about suicide.

The focus will be on education, treatment and prevention.

My face will look up to my Portion Deliverer as I research and type.

While I consider hopelessness deep enough to prompt good people to quit life, I will cling unto my Rock.

I will be still, and know that He is God, and His plans are to prosper and not to harm.

There is nothing too big or scary for my God.

I reject the outgrown chains of my history and shame.

Darkness will have no victory in this circumstance or over G’s community.

Nothing will turn me away from the Face of Love.

Well it goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah


Ed Hio
Feb 22, 2011 at 9:35 am

I’ve got a song that I play on guitar sometimes at open mics. about thinking about suicide. It gets a good response, I think because it’s something most people think about it from time to time. It was also written in reaction to U2’s “Beautiful Day” song.

Feb 22, 2011 at 10:11 am

I agree with your sense that suicide is a common chord that pulls an emotive response from a group because people think about it. Do you have a youtube link or place folks could plug into your song? I would love to hear it. I am certain you touch many people with your music.

Ed Hio
Feb 22, 2011 at 11:50 am

It’s also about being depressed, when the weather is perfect. I’ll give you the words…1 I wake up in the morning, get an overpriced coffee, go around the corner and I quit my job. go back to my dirty little apartment, sleep away the rest of the morning, and it’s a perfect day. 2.I have a lovely girl, I broke up with her, ’cause she never looks for the real me. I’m just a sham, living in a sham, but I build a shell of who I’m supposed to be, and it’s a perfect day. 3. Evening comes, what else to do?, evening comes, and who gives a damn? I hope it’s brave to stick around awhile, than it is to fly off a tall building, downtown, and it’s a perfect day, It’s a perfect day!


[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by wendy edwards and jaelbh, Albemarle Wndw Cln. Albemarle Wndw Cln said: Suicide Ain’t Painless: Hey, my name is jael, and it’s been 3 days since my last post. Hi, jael. Hello friends. … […]

Feb 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm

I totally appreciate why this gets a response from your audience. Your lyrics resonate the the realities of pace, the struggles of the race, and the valor of hanging around. It must strike such a sacred chord when you sing, “I hope it’s brave to stick around awhile.” The solidarity invites communion and encourages others.

Feb 22, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Thank you so much for posting your lyrics! You’re a poet musician.

Wendy Edwards
Feb 22, 2011 at 12:17 pm

yes, i believe there are signs of suicide’s impending release; however, i’ve only ever understood them when it was really too late to tell that someone, “omg, hey, i know you’re thinking about this…let’s talk.” or even “how can i be here for you? can i help in any way?” i have to admit that it’s made me more sensitive to others in the present and i have made those questions and comments a part of my normal communication – because i don’t want to let one person go without knowing i tried….but, it doesn’t make me more aware that someone will actually kill themselves. i think the reason we are shocked by an actual suicide is because we can’t even fathom someone could or would do that, even when reality shows it’s possible.

for example: my step-dad called me (the week he decided to shoot himself) in order to say goodbye, and he asked me to please never consider him to be a weak man. i promised. during the call, i interpreted his meaning to be that he would no longer fight his liver disease. i thought his call was to tell me that he would quietly leave us when his time had naturally come. but this was not so…

so, i second this, jael. i encourage anyone to talk about suicide because it is sad and haunts those left behind while natural death often does not – the natural death of a loved one is already hard enough.

Feb 22, 2011 at 12:47 pm

I extend my heartfelt sympathy, Sunshine. You are a source of hope and light. It sings on your pod-casts and shines through your tweets. LIGHT is your sparkly signature.

I agree that suicidal ideation is difficult to perceive, and that the way things are now, it’s too often a retrospective identification of warning signs rather than a proactive conversation. We are trained not to talk about it, and as such, hide our feelings upon its consideration. It’s a deadly Catch 22.

I applaud your conviction to make those questions and comments apart of your normal conversations. I believe it matters and heightens our sensitivity to recognize that there are tipping points, as you referenced, like terminal illness, that compel people to quit their own lives.

I second your seasoned perspective that suicide haunts those left behind. The sonic boom of, “Why? Why? Why?” shrieks like a constant metronome in sinister stereo.

Healing and hope follow pulling it all out into the Light where we can see it and talk about it. Darkness cannot reign nor exist in the Light.

Sending you Light and LOVE, Wendy.

Thanks so much for sharing your heart and story.

Kit Bag | broken hallelujah
Feb 22, 2011 at 8:33 pm

[…] promised a series of posts about suicide in Suicide Ain’t Painless and I will deliver.  The next post will identify the most common reasons people suicide in […]

Prelude to Suicide | broken hallelujah
Feb 26, 2011 at 10:08 pm

[…] We’re back; time to pick-up the conversational thread from Suicide Ain’t Painless. […]



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