The guest blogger today is Anne Peterson. She is a poet, speaker and author who has found God to be her strength and hope trough multiple tragedies. She shares the things that she has been through with great honesty and transparency. Today she talks about her family's experience with depression and suicide.
Anyone who calls suicide a decision clearly doesn’t understand all that it entails. We are complex human beings. More goes on below the surface than we can even comprehend.
More and more, we hear about people taking their lives. And suicide/depression is not limited to a certain class of people. When we use terms like “those people,” we demonstrate our lack of knowledge on the subject.
But before I begin, let me say I’m no authority on the subject. I don’t have letters after my name. But I feel I have something to say.
I almost became a widow three times. And my husband, whom I love very much has shared with me how it felt when he was in the thick of it. With his permission I have written about our life in my book, BROKEN.
Depression is a hole
Mike shared, “It’s like a cave I couldn’t get out of. A hole so deep.”
Yesterday, like millions of others we watched a program about Robin Williams. I was curious to hear my husband’s response when they spoke about Robin’s family. Curious because it’s been this puzzling piece to me. How a person who is loved, and part of a family could go down that path.
My husband’s response was, “Wow, that is so heavy for his family to have to go through that.”
No. I didn’t blurt out, “What about you?” Maybe in the past I would have been tempted to. But living with someone with depression has slowed down my quick remarks. I listen more.
When my husband was nineteen years of age, a neighbor came up to him and said, “Hey, there is a black man in your car.”
So Mike went to the garage where the door was blowing open and shut and he saw something he would never forget. Leaning his head against the glass he saw a man. But not a black man, a man he called “Dad.” it was his father, asphyxiated. He had not driven away as they thought. He was there in that car for four days.
Depression is generational
Suicide had also taken two other relatives in his life. And when Mike suffered with depression his father’s option became a viable one for him as well. It was always in the back of his mind.
Depression in three generations. Would it continue? Please tell me no.
When our son was a teenager he silently fought that same monster of depression. He was cutting himself and we had no clue. Then one day we received a call from his youth leader, Kyle.
“Hi Anne, is Nathan there,” he said quickly.
No small talk, no chit-chat, just the question.
“What’s up Kyle?”
“Anne, I have reason to believe Nathan is going to hurt himself.”
And so began our nightmare. Friends offered to look for him. That hour and a half seemed like forever. They found him alone in the park. Nathan had planned to end his life, but instead he said God gave him music. And today his passion is to reach out to struggling students. Because he remembers how lost he felt in that hole. You can hear Nathan's story here.
Compassion is the answer
So why am I sharing all this? Because we need to have compassion for those who suffer. We need to let them know we're here for them. As long as it takes.
Suicide is not a simple choice they make. And it doesn’t mean the person doesn’t love his/her family. In their minds, at that moment, they think they're alleviating pain their families have suffered. They believe their families will be better off without them.
My heart goes out to the family of Robin Williams. It is a long, lonely road back to feeling normal.
So unless you have seen the ambulance pull away as attendants shoot questions at you in rapid fire. Before you judge the actions some make, forever affecting those left behind. Pray. Pray for the family. And pray for those who may be in your circle of influence.
Maybe we can figure out a way to help them.
We have to try.
Anne Peterson is a poet, speaker and published author. Some of her books include her memoir, Broken: A Story of Abuse and Survival, Real Love: Guaranteed to Last, and children’s books, including: Emma’s Wish, The Crooked House. She recently published Droplets, a poetry book for those in grief. Anne has also authored 42 published Bible Studies and over 30 articles with christianbiblestudies.com/Today’s Christian Woman. Anne is also a regular contributor to www.crosswalk.com. Her poetry is available in gift stores throughout the U.S. as well as in 23 countries. While Anne enjoys being a poet, speaker and published author, her favorite title is still, “Grandma.”
To find out more about Anne you can visit her at: