Suicide And The Suffering

                               By Phil Scovell

     Author's Note.

          None of these  stories are fictional.  Three of them are personal
     experiences.  I could  not have written this four years  ago because I
     wanted to die.

          She  stuck the barrel  of the gun  in her mouth.   It was heavier
     than she had anticipated.  It was awkward in her trembling hands.  She
     had never  handled a  gun before.   This one she  had stolen  from her
     boyfriend's house.

          The pain and fear and anguish and guilt flooded her mind; filling
     it to overflowing.  She couldn't stop it no matter how hard she  tried
     and  she had been trying,  too, but nobody believed  her.  It was more
     than she could bear.   Something felt physically clamped to  her head,
     her brain  hurt, and her mind flopped around like a fish out of water.
     She couldn't stop it.

          "You aren't worth it.   Kill!  Kill!  Die!  You'll never be worth
     anything to anybody; not even your children."

     The thoughts slammed around inside her head so violently, they felt as
     if they were  living things; biting  and snapping  and tearing at  the
     very fiber  of her brain.   She wanted just  some peace of  mind.  She
     wanted out.  There was no other way now.  She pulled the trigger.

          Nothing  happened.  The gun wasn't loaded.   Her failure made her
     feel even worse.  She had failed yet again.  She sat  and cried harder
     than she had ever cried before.

          I had been awake for days.  I heard voices,  day and night, in my
     head but I couldn't tell anybody.

          "Mr. Scovell,"  the psychologist  said, "I need  to ask  you some
     questions but I  want you to know  something up front.   On this form,
     there are two very important questions.  I want you to know about them
     in advance.   If you answer yes  to either of these questions,  I will
     have to  report this information  to the proper authorities  so listen
     very carefully and think before you answer.  Ok?  Here they are.   Are
     you suicidal or have you recently attempted to take your own life?

          "No," I lied with absolutely no inflection to my voice.

          "Ok.  I'll write that down.  Now, the second question is,  do you
     feel you want to harm someone, including yourself, or have you had any
     homicidal thoughts, that is, do you feel like you want to kill someone
     or even hurt someone?"

          "No," I said most convincingly.

          "Ok,  very good,"  she said as  she wrote.   "This  next question
     isn't as critical but it is  important so please be careful with  your
     answer.  Do you hear voices telling you to harm someone or telling you
     to do harm to yourself?"

          "No," I lied woodenly.

          This woman would  never know I had lied because I never went back
     to  see her.  She would never know  what the voices had been saying in
     my head and how I had become so  frightened of my own thoughts, I took
     all  the medication  the doctor  had  prescribed the  day before,  and
     through  them away.  The  voices had been telling me  to take them all
     and they would let me sleep.

          The depression was  something he felt no one understood.   He was
     almost right.   Digging around in his  desk drawer he found  the screw
     driver.  He  needed to tighten a  screw.  He  sat holding it in  hand.
     The fear  washed over him like a bucket  of filthy water had just been
     dumped on him.  He wasn't afraid of killing himself;  he was afraid he
     might use it on someone else; someone he loved.  He put it back in the
     drawer, and he took his pocket knife out and put that into the drawer,
     too.  He couldn't tell anyone; they'd think he was crazy.   Maybe they
     were right.  He cried.

          The  man awakened in the  middle of the night.   He felt the fear
     immediately but  tried to  ignore it.   Ignoring  it never  worked but
     trying to face it  made it worse.  He made his  way into the bathroom.
     He almost felt he was in a dream when he heard the  voice.  "Kill your
     wife and everything will be ok.  You might as well do it; you know you
     are going  to anyway."  The raw fear  in the broken crippled tormented
     mind  screamed silently for the  voices to stop.   He knew that he did
     not want  to kill anyone  but the voices  tried convincing him  it was
     real  and on  top of  everything else,  he was a  preacher, too.   Why
     wouldn't they stop?

          The woman told  me that whenever she  entered her kitchen  to get
     something,  she stayed  away from  the  silverware drawer  as much  as
     possible.  She likewise stuck the fingers of both hands into her mouth
     and bit down hard  on them.  She was afraid she would  go and pull one
     of the knives out and stab herself.

          He  lay next to his wife listening  and waiting for her breathing
     to slow so he  would know she was asleep.  His  mind just wouldn't let
     him sleep any  longer.  He had  even gotten lost  earlier as he  drove
     through  the  night streets  trying  to clear  his  mind.   He finally
     couldn't remember where he was  and had to use his cell phone  to call
     his wife.  With her help, he was somehow able to find his way home.

          Now they had gone to bed, but he couldn't sleep.   He had made up
     his mind and tonight would be the night.  It wasn't worth it.  Nothing
     was working for him any more.

          Holding his breath,  he listened.  His wife  breathing had slowed
     and she was  breathing deeply.  He  waited for awhile longer  and then
     slid  quietly  out of  bed.   Once  free of  the blankets,  he tiptoed
     downstairs.   He  closed the  garage door from  the house  behind him.
     Opening  the car  door, he  climbed behind  the wheel and  started the
     engine.  He rolled  down all the windows.   Maybe what he didn't  have
     the courage to do himself, the carbon monoxide could do for him.

          Reaching into  the car,  his wife turn  the keys  and the  engine
     died.  "Come on back to bed, honey," she said and opened the car door.
     "It isn't time for you to die."

          "I'm going to hang up  on you and kill  Carla," the voice on  the
     other end of the phone said to me.

          "Oh, that doesn't sound like a good thing to do," I replied.

          "Well," the defiant voice said, "you can't stop me.  I'm going to
     do it."  "I'm  going to make her  hang up and  then I'm going to  kill

          "Are  you  forgetting  something?"  I  calmly  suggested  to  the
     alternate personality at the other end of the phone.

          "No, I don't think so.  What's that?" she demanded.

          "Lord Jesus," I replied, "Would you tell Marsha what it is she is


          "Did you hear him?" I asked.

          "No," she replied as if she were stomping her foot.

          "Were you listening?" I asked.

          "No," came the single word answer.

          "You have to listen.  Ok?"

          "Well, all right.  I'll listen," she finally agreed.

          "Lord Jesus," I repeated, Show Marsha what she is forgetting."

          "Oh,  I forgot about  that," the voice said  with surprise in her

          "What did you forget?" I asked.

          "She said, if I kill Carla, I'll be killing myself.  How can that
     be?  That can't be right," the stern voice of the little girl said.

          "Did you forget who you are?" I ask gently.

          "Oh, that's right.  I forgot that," she said.  "I'm part of Carla
     so if I would kill her, I'd die, too."

          "That's right," I  agreed.  "Why don't we find out why the little
     girl is hurting and  why you have to  work so hard to protect  her and
     then you won't have to be so angry.  How does that sound to you?"

          "That  sounds good.   I just don't  want Carla to  hurt any more.
     People were so mean to her.  I was just trying to help."

          "I know, and Jesus knows that, so it is ok.  Let's just ask Jesus
     to help us and you stay around and help, too.  Ok?"

          "Ok," she said and her harsh tones began to fade.

          The man carried  his rifle out  of the back  of his house and  up
     into the hilly  ground behind his house.   He walked for quite  a ways
     because he wanted  to get  far enough away  from the house  so no  one
     would see him.

          Climbing up  to the  higher ground,  he sat  down on  a rock  and
     cried.   He wanted to die.  He had  tried for so long to fight off the
     anxiety attacks  and the  voices that told  him he  was a  failure and
     should  have never been born.  Why had  his dad hated him so much.  He
     never did anything to deserve that sort of talk.  He was just a little

          He cried until  there were no more  tears and then picked  up the
     rifle.   He knew with the barrel  in his mouth, he  could barely reach
     the  trigger but it wouldn't  take much.   He could even  take off his
     shoe and trigger the  rifle with his toe  if he had  to.  He'd do  it,
     though, no matter what.

          Laying the  gun back  down, he  cried again  and prayed.   "Lord,
     there has got to be somebody who knows how I feel and can  help me.  I
     am  going to go down to the house  and do a search on the internet one
     more time.   If that doesn't work, I'm coming  back up here and finish
     what I started.

          Seated at his computer, he typed  in a search string.  A  website
     called popped on to the screen.  He clicked on
     it and began to read.  Within moments of reading a man's testimony, he
     picked up the phone and dialed long distance.

          Suicide isn't something anyone wants to do.  "Then why do some do
     it?"  Good question.  They  are hurting wounded people.  "Aren't  they
     mentally ill?"   What's that  have to do  with it?  "Well,  don't they
     have something like a chemical imbalance in their brain so that causes
     it?"  Let's say that's true,  just because we think we have to  have a
     reason.   The  medical professionals  call the  "reason" a  diagnosis.
     Would you not  agree that suicidal people  have a reason for  why they
     want to die?  That one is a no brainer.  Of course, they have a reason
     and it isn't because they are happy.  So what is it?   It could be any
     one of a hundred reasons.  A divorce, a death of a  child, the loss of
     a best friend,  hearing from the doctor  you have AIDS, or  cancer, or
     your baby  is dead and has  to be taken, are  but a few examples.   It
     could also be  something as basic  as the feeling  of failure in  your
     life.   I know that  one from personal  experience.  It  could even be
     something of which they aren't even aware.

          The Bible is pretty clear, in fact, Jesus said, "The thief cometh
     not, but  for to steal, and  to kill, and  to destroy: I am  come that
     they might have life,  and that they  might have it more  abundantly,"
     (John 10:10).  If you are suicidal,  it isn't you wanting to take your
     life but the Evil One wants you to think that.  Oh, no, he isn't going
     to take credit for it up front but he will pay for it in the end.

          sure, there  are hundreds of reasons not  to kill yourself.  Your
     family  will miss  you, your  friends will miss  you, some  who really
     loves you,  and hasn't expressed  their true feelings, will  be deeply
     sadden  at your death.   Yes, I  understand that none  of these things
     help you feel any better when the burden is so heavy.  

          Then  there is the  issue of sin.   Some churches  teach that you
     will  go to  hell  if you  take your  own life  because it  is murder.
     Others  say that  isn't true.   For now,  let's just put  the theology
     aside concerning the right and wrong of this issue.

          Jesus wants to  bring healing and direction into  your life while
     you are on earth.   You are His plan.  Read that  last sentence again.
     I'll repeat it.  You are His plan.  He wants to give you abundant life
     in place  of what the  devil wants to  destroy.  The  word "abundance"
     means something like sitting a glass in your sink under the faucet and
     then  turning on the water.   Let the  water run until  the glass over
     flows.  Allow  the water to continue overflowing the glass and that is
     what Jesus has for  you.  Yes, I understand  it doesn't feel that  way
     right  now  but that  is only  because  you are  believing  lies about
     yourself.  Those you can't see either at the moment.

          If you need  help getting to  the root of  the problem, that  is,
     what is causing the suicidal thoughts and feelings, let's talk.

     Safe Place Fellowship
     Phil Scovell
     Denver, Colorado
     Mountain Time Zone

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