As small as a mustard seed
Warning this post covers the topic of mental illness and the issue of suicide. This topic may trigger persons who are affected by this experience. Readers discretion is advised.
As Small As A Mustard Seed
“There’s a hole in my soul that won’t heal”- Kirk Franklin.
The line above came from an interlude on Franklin's album, although the song was not about mental illness it summed up how I felt living with Depression and PMDD.
There is a hole in my soul that will not heal.
Every day I lived life bleeding from this pus-filled gash wondering how no one saw my pain. I wouldn’t be expected to run with a broken leg but I am expected to function with this pain. Some days the thoughts of removing the pain entirely seem like the best way forward. First, it's like a small voice," what about suicide" but at that point, it's an annoying fly that I swat away but after four years of constantly battling my illness and trying different methods of self-care. The mental illness was taking a toll and all I wanted was for the pain to end. I wanted to stop losing blood from this wound. I never understood how people who live with mental illness all their lives who seemed to have overcome this illness commit suicide later in life, but at this moment I figured it why.
This seems plausible
My first act of surrender started when I watched my wrists and wondered what is the best way to cut them. I started to wonder if instead, I should take same medication I was using to treat myself all at once. Rationally I disregarded hanging or jumping off a building because that would just be too messy for others to deal with. "Curing" this injury in the quietest way possible way was my goal. There is a forest in Japan, far away from civilization, where people go to commit suicide. I get why it exists when suicide comes to your mind, all you want is two things: to stop feeling the pain and to disappear. I thought about when and where and who should find me. Who would be the person strong enough to cope after they found me? Before my diagnosis, I never understood how people who live with mental illness all their lives, who seemed to have overcome this illness commit suicide later in life, but at this moment I figured out why.
Mental illness wears you down,I no longer wanted to hear from God. One week in June last year, everything came to ahead, there I was, not talking to God, barely interacting with family and friends, never leaving my room and taking no real action to end the pain. After days of darkness, I was weary from all the wrestling I did with God, physically, emotionally and mentally.
Finally, with the hope that if I talk to him he will leave me alone, I began the conversation:
Alright God, what do you want
You know what I want lea.
I sighed and with arms metaphorically folded, I started.
“Listen, you said a mustard seed can move mountains but I don’t even have a full mustard seed to give you, so leave me alone. I don't want to hear anything from you”.
“Okay give me what you can”
“Well I don’t even have half a mustard seed to give you”
“Give me what you can"
"God, I tried, leave me be, I don't want faith or hope, I’ve been there and I don't need false hope that things will change, they won't
“Give me what you can lea”
Rolling my eyes, I audibly made a sound of annoyance.
I begin again internally,"God, all I have is quarter of a mustard seed, I have faith quarter of a mustard seed. If that is sufficient enough for you I will take suicide off the table and I will never put it on the table again. I will force myself to rely on you despite the pain. If you can move my mountain. I can surrender my faith in this week. You have seven days, deal?”
Immediately I heard, “Thank you, for giving me your faith”.
This picture represents the size of a mustard seed, my faith at that time could only spare God a quarter of that. For the next seven days, the pain in my soul never left, I just learned to live with it and remembered my promise. Still, depression comes like a fog, rolling down from the hills, clouding my mind. At times the pain becomes too much and I forget everything and everyone I love.
Ironically, I become devastated when I hear of someone who decided to end their life. It knocks me over and I begin to mourn for the person as if I knew them. That happened most recently in December 2017, I unwittingly click on the hashtag of a 27-year-old Korean music star who committed suicide and stepped into his worldwide fan base mourning his loss. Situations like this affect me mentally because I know what that darkness feels like and I weep for persons who became so worn down that they ended the pain. My heart breaks thinking about how hard that darkness and suffering must have been right before they made that irreversible choice.
In these moments I recollect a documentary on suicide I saw years ago where a family member wished they could express to their sibling the unimaginable pain they leave behind. At the end of the documentary, the family member described suicide as a selfish decision.
These moments resonate with me during my darkest days, I see the rippling effect it will have on others. Then my mind centers on my life and I feel the loss of missing all the weddings, birthdays and milestones of my loved ones. I want the dreams I would be leaving behind. I Â pine for those years as an old woman surrounded by family and friends.
Therefore when the pain blinds me from my truth I reach for these lifelines:
The smile of my nephew
The abundant love from my dog
The wedding of a best friend that held me to the month of August last year
The birthday of loved ones kept me focus for September
The surprising engagement and marriage of another BFF stalls these dark thoughts
The excitement in celebrating my birthdays
I think of all the children I am Godparents to and anticipation for the ones yet to come.
The dream to travel and the hope of falling in love and being loved again held
In this fog, any lifeline I find I latch on to with a ferocious nature and my mind focuses on living. I contact my support system and they help me walk through these dark periods. As I write this it has been 10 months since I made my seven-day deal with God. During that time I realize despite my relapses, God's promise to me still exist. Through my last grasp at faith,God moved mountains with my measly, tarnished, broken mustard seed.
If you or anyone you know have thoughts of suicide please confided in a trusted person or local suicide hotline. Love Lea