Category Archives: Appalachian Preacher

Appalachian Preacher – Judas and the Suicide Quagmire

I have never really believed in demons. Not as they are often portrayed in movies and artwork, anyway. But there is evil in this world and so maybe those artists who paint the shadowy figured perched menacingly at the corners of paintings depicting some horrible scene that is unfolding were on to something.

To be honest, if my depression had been a shadowy figure hiding in the corner of the house, it would have given me a target to battle. Maybe I would had a fighting chance if that were the case. But what I was up against was scarier than that. You couldn’t see it. You couldn’t touch it. You couldn’t scream Jesus’ name at it and chase it back into whatever snake hole it had slithered out of. You couldn’t even really describe it.

Some people thought I was exaggerating as I tried to explain what I was facing. Others thought I was whining. Some told me to just think positively. Some avoided me. Some shrugged it all off: “It’s just in your head!”

I began to wish depression could be a demon. I began to wish it could be some dark figure following me around, something I could point at and say, “That’s what’s menacing me!”

But it wasn’t like that. And I was struggling against it mostly alone. [T]he decision had already been made for me: I was going to kill myself.

That’s what people don’t get about suicide. They assume that a person just decides to “give up”. That we just wake up one morning and decide to end our lives. Except it doesn’t happen that way at all.

That evil thing that we can’t see, touch, or describe has already made the decision for us, and every second of every day becomes an endless, ruthless, brutal struggle against it. Every second that we cling to life is another second that we have just denied it. Every day that we make it through without collapsing under the weight of suicide is a one more day that we have fought the fight and came out on the winning side.

And most of us are doing it alone because it’s so hard to explain what is happening and there are so many stigmas surrounding mental illness, depression, and suicide–so many myths, so many lies, so many false ideas about how we can overcome it, and so little pushing and nudging us in the direction of real help.

Read the rest of the story! Visit Judas and the Suicide Quagmire | Appalachian Preacher.

Trigger Warning: Suicide

Appalachian Preacher

. . . [F]inally, you have helped to shape my sense of justice.  Justice is a major part of my personal theology.  Now when I hear about some kid being pushed to the point of suicide because of the relentless and constant bullying of some other kid–when I hear about gay youth being tortured by their class mates–when I see the pain in the eyes of a girl who finally had too much–I can’t help but think of you.  And I know that we aren’t going to set the bullied free from their torment until we set their tormentors free from their need to inflict pain.  Bullied kids are oppressed by the maliciousness of others, and bullies are oppressed by the life-circumstances and societal pressures that encourage them seek out the weak and hurt the helpless.

. . . I hope you never know the heartbreak and the agony of wrestling for years with the temptation of suicide.  I hope you never know what it is like to be broken that way.  I hope you never have to hurt so badly. But if you ever do, I would be willing to help you.  So please reach out.

Read the piece in its entirety!  Visit An Open Letter to my Childhood Bully | Appalachian Preacher.