Time to go

Most of the posts I put on this site are intentionally oriented around teaching and building from Scripture. This one will be a little different as it forms part of my personal testimony:

My dad was a good friend to me as well as being my dad. He would call me “Mate” when I was growing up, which he didn’t do with my brother. It made me feel very loved and special in his eyes. As a teenager, we would go and play tennis together during the summer, walk in the Westcountry hills round Child Okeford and Shillingstone in Dorset where his parents lived, and do a lot of things friends do rather than parent/child relationship.

Even after I left home, this continued. We took a couple of holidays together, my favourite being a trip to Italy where we visited Pompeii and Herculaneum as we were both fascinated by ancient history.

Why is this relevant here?

In early 1999, he began to get headaches a lot. By March he was using massive doses of pain pills to control them unknown to me or my mum. In late May he collapsed and we rushed him to hospital where we heard he had a tumour in his brain. His life expectancy would be months, not years.

He died in August 1999 in Torbay Hospital with me holding his hand as he went to be with his Lord. Despite the pain he’d been in it was a peaceful passing at the end, and whilst I believe he could have been healed if I’d known then what I’ve learned since, I don’t doubt his destination.

By the end of the year, I was a mess. 1999 can be summed up for me by how I spent my birthday – at a dear friend’s funeral. I started the year with a fiancee, a decent job, my health and 2 parents.By the end of March I’d lost the job and my fiancee had left me – looking back that wasn’t a bad thing, but at the time it stung. By September my dad had died and my health, at the age of 27, was failing. At the end of the year I suffered what in layman’s terms would be a total mental breakdown. I couldn’t function at all, I physically couldn’t speak, rarely smiled and thank God Tesco had started opening 24 hours so I could shop at 3am or I’d have starved because of agoraphobia.

I was told by a doctor I’d never be fit to work again by the end of that year and signed off on permanent health grounds.

From that point I dipped even lower until, almost inevitably, I become suicidal. In the early part of 2000 I made 4 serious attempts at ending my own life. I was told at the time that each should have been successful. I took overdoses of various medications I was using. On the fourth try, I felt death come for me. It wasn’t like in Ghost. It wasn’t warm and friendly. I felt fear like I’ve never known before or since for myself. This was not what I’d seen my dad going to. There was no tunnel, no light, none of the cliched things you expect, just darkness, cold and fear. Then there was a sense of a greater power beating the darkness back. Death lost it’s grip, and I woke up in my bed knowing I’d just been saved from something far worse than the depression I’d had up to that point. I didn’t see Jesus as much as I was aware He had stepped in to save me from myself, but I learned something I’ve only recently been able to find the words to express.

From my experience, I realised suicide is not a release from, but a dive in to pain. It is selfish and cruel, and it says to God that what Jesus did on the Cross wasn’t enough. In short, I believe it blasphemes the Holy Spirit by placing a higer value on  a person’s actions than Christ’s.

I decided then it was never going to be an option again. There have been times when I’ve wished God would take me, but I know I’ll never take that step again, no matter what.

I know this message is meant for someone out there. Whoever it is, remember you’re not alone. There are many people who have been through depression and illness and come out of it the other side. I’m terrified for those who didn’t make it through.

Don’t be one of them. When it’s time, let it come naturally. Don’t force God’s hand. Reach out to His children around you. Let them, let us help you. Don’t give up. There’s help closer than you think. Call it.

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