Be Strong & Courageous-Hanging on a Ledge
**** Warning may cause triggers with the mention of Suicide in this article.****
If you or someone you love suffers from suicidal thoughts reach out to 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. 988lifeline.org check your local state for additional resources.
Joshua 1:9 (NIV) Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
The pain was indescribable, from the throbbing headache, chronic fatigue, constant ringing ears and the sharp stabbing pain throughout my entire body. I had been living with this since January. I remember going to see the doctor and being told to increase my water intake and they added another blood pressure medication. I was completely exhausted from being in so much pain. Then, I had another doctor appointment and the same experience as before, the provider wasn’t listening to my concerns or understanding the immense pain I was enduring. I felt completely defeated; I was done! Yes, I was done!
March 23, 2022; I will never forget the day; I was just hanging on the ledge by my fingertips. I was anxious and during that time the question, “Why am I even alive if no one was willing to listen to my voice. Since no one was listening to me this created a huge block in my mind. I allowed my mind to go to the darkest of places; I was done; I was hanging on the ledge ready to let go.
I was emotionally, spiritually and physically drained from all the pain. Throughout the day I was having uncontrollable bouts of tears streaming down my face. That day, I had talked to both of my sisters. (my sisters are my people.) They both encouraged me to reach out to my resources. They insisted I contact my therapist and get an appointment with her. What they wanted was for me to get help. They demonstrated unconditional love, mercy and grace; they listened to my pain and provided empathy and understanding.
After I got done speaking to my sisters I called my therapist office and guess what? They had an appointment available for me at 4:00p. I was sitting there with tears still coming down my face wondering what am I going to do until 4:00. Then I remembered I needed to reach our employers’ Employee Assistance Program (EAP). I talked to a lovely person. They heard the pain in my voice, they kept asking what they could do to help. I knew in my mind I would never end my life by my own hand. I experienced what it was like to have someone close to me die by Suicide. I am fully aware of the emotional toll death by suicide can create for loved ones. The person from EAP asked me 1 question, “do you want to die because of the physical pain or because you are done living?” I answered because of the physical pain and also because no one was listening to me. This person helped me back off the ledge, she explained to me that because of my physical pain was the reason why I didn’t want to live. She reassured me that I was not suicidal. The person from EAP then asked me, “what can I do to help you in this time and in this moment?” I expressed, they had done it already; this person had listened to me; she empathized with me and assisted me in getting therapy sessions set up with my personal therapist.
I could feel all the emotions lifting off my shoulders. (didn’t realize how heavy the weight of emotions could be until that moment.) I could finally breathe again. The pain was still there but it was a little bit more tolerable and the anxiety-it was gone. A few days later I received a handwritten letter from the EAP person who assisted me. She thanked me for sharing my story with her and encouraging me to remember, I was not alone.
Another appointment was coming up and this time I wasn’t alone. I brought my support with me; my husband. This time I was being seen by my pain clinic provider. The nurses in the pain clinic and the provider were very empathetic and understanding. When the nurse was checking me in the question was asked; If I had thoughts of suicide? I answered yes. I was in so much pain I wanted to die. I didn’t see the look on my husband’s face but I can only imagine it was one of shock. I then explained; my reason for answering yes. As a result of the amount of pain I was in I wanted to be done. The follow up question is always about a plan, “do you have a plan?” I answered no, I do not have a plan. That was when they knew I would be okay and not require psychiatric admission.
The provider listened to me, she explained to me I didn’t have complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) like 2 previous providers thought I had. I told her I knew I didn’t have CRPS and that I felt one of my problems was the tendon on my ankle was torn. She said I was right and she was going to refer me to the orthopedic surgeon to have my ankle further evaluated. A relief; wow! Again, the weight of the emotions lifted off my shoulders and just to have affirmation that there was something wrong was a relief. Someone was listening to me. She then proceeded to suggest I see an additional pain clinic provider that was going to help evaluate the rest of my physical pain. But I had to have a referral from my primary care provider to see the new pain clinic provider.
I was still breaking down and crying awaiting the new appointment with my primary care provider and the pain clinic.
I got my referral to the pain clinic provider and after the appointment I became upset. The nurse had come in to check me out and indicated to me that the pain clinic provider believes I was experiencing a Multiple Sclerosis (MS) episode. Keep in mind, this is based on my 1st appointment with this provider. So, I had to get an MRI of my brain. These types of tests are to be used to rule out or to help draw conclusions for a proper diagnosis. Fortunately, this test revealed no lesions on my brain; however, I was still in complete physical pain with no solutions but, I was given reassurance this provider was going to help me get to the bottom of what was going on with me. What we do know, we cannot rule out MS yet. Based on what has happened a full diagnosis of MS could take 2-3 years. We have been assured I definitely have an autoimmune disease.
I was still hurting, completely emotionally, spiritually & physically drained. I was alone, my husband couldn’t comprehend what was going on with me. No one from the congregation we belonged to was just checking to see how we were doing. I was hurt and disappointed. I finally reached out to my online Facebook group. I just poured it out, I let this group of ladies pray for me. They are from all over the country and I trusted them so much that I asked them to pray for me and with me. They always demonstrated unconditional love, grace and mercy at all times. They have a Christ-like love without judgment.
I knew there was something still missing within. It was my relationship with Christ. I had lost my faith and trust in people doing the right thing and by doing this, I walked away from Christ and didn’t even realize what I had done. It wasn’t until one day at work; I was asked if my relationship with Christ had changed since I had started working? I was not offended by the question, it actually made me think. I reflected back on the past 18 months and thought to myself Yes, I have been separated from Christ through this whole ordeal. Again, I walked away. By walking away from Christ this allowed my mind to go to the darkest corner of my mind.
Why do we walk away from Christ when we need to have that relationship the most? There are several reasons: 1) being let down by people. 2) I was ashamed because; I realized we should be walking along with Christ in all times good and bad. 3)Then I behave with such pride and arrogance that I’m going to figure things out for myself. We are going to get the answers we need and we will do it all on our own.
I sat and looked at myself; the behaviors I saw were disappointment, being ashamed and full of pride. Once I had made my post on the online FB group for prayers my dear sister in Christ called me. She talked me through the emotional, spiritual and physical pain I was feeling. She helped me realize, if we don’t ask for help no one will respond or will help. I needed to use my voice to speak up. She helped me realize, I am not a burden. Then, she prayed with me on the phone. She helped the holy spirit within me to reignite. She demonstrated Christ Love-unconditional love, grace and mercy-helped guide me back to my relationship with Christ.
Who is your 1 in 4 people you can contact when you are in a crisis? The person you can reach out to and realize they are not going to judge you, but they will demonstrate unconditional love, grace and mercy. Who is this person?
I have learned:
- Use your voice to advocate for yourself medically or no one will advocate for you.
- Check with your employer to see if they have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to assist you in a time of need.
- Find the individuals in your tribe you can reach out to for help and support. (See attached worksheet)
- Church Family- If you are not connected to a church, find one.
- Online Family-
- Physical pain sucks; it creates a triple threat with a person emotionally, spiritually & Physically. If we don’t manage self care properly each of these areas will suffer.
- God’s emergency numbers. What is your go to scripture to give you the best comfort and peace in the meantime. My Scripture is Psalm 23.(See attached list of scriptures you can use incase of an emergency)
- Even in the darkest and murkiest of times; I wasn’t alone. All the time Christ was carrying me through these storms and murky moments. He was allowing me to become more aware of him during this time. He was showing me that I had the strength and courage to be the child He has always intended me to be. Remember what Joshua 1:9, we are to be strong & courageous. Don’t be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will always be with you wherever you go.
I found the other side of the darkness, I had to humble myself and realize I couldn’t go through this alone. I needed someone else to pray for me not just for me but with me to help me see the light of Christ again. To realize the balance comes with being emotionally, spiritually and physically balanced each is tied together.
This is where I’m at now, I’m still awaiting another appointment, another referral and more tests in addition to all of the different medications I have been placed on. I had surgery to repair my tendon on my ankle and have been on medical leave. This time of reflection and spiritual renewal has given me time to realize my priorities. I no longer feel defeated, as I wait for a diagnosis. I have been working on “Self-Care” taking care of me, working on a plan for my future and learning how to cope emotionally with my pain. Reminding myself, to never walk away from Christ.
Who is your 1 in 4? Attached is a link to a google worksheet to help create your list of contacts in case of an urgent situation. Along with that is a referral of scriptures for when you are… Print and add your list of names, phone numbers & emails for your tribe/your circle. Keep it in a safe place that is readily available to be used.
Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV) Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.