After My Suicide

By Samantha Nelson

Photo by Dreamstime

Suicide…it’s a frightening word that evokes deep pain and emotion. For some, the thought of suicide brings a sense of relief because it appears to offer an opportunity to escape life’s problems. But it is really a desperate act by one who believes he or she has run out of options.

Are you, dear reader, feeling lonely, depressed or anxious? Have you ever felt like dying or thought about committing suicide? Allow me to share with you some wonderful news about God’s grace! I’m going to tell you about the time I “committed” suicide. I use the word “committed” (past tense) because I was dead (technically) and was revived at the hospital.

I was raised in an abusive home and my family members were not professed Christians. I attended church sporadically, generally whenever a friend would invite me. I believed in God and  prayed to Him, and even saw answers to my prayers at times. But I never had the opportunity to attend church on a regular basis.

I left home at 16, hoping to escape the pain and abuse, but I ended up in a relationship with an older man who turned out to be abusive as well. Over the next year and a half, I became quite depressed. When, in desperation, I finally called out to the Lord to help me get out of that situation and relationship, He did. I was thankful, but I was still depressed. How does a teenager survive on her own? Life was full of craziness and uncertainty. I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue.

Someone to Love

A few months later, with all my “baggage” unfortunately still intact, I met Steve, who later became my husband. A mutual friend of ours introduced us and I fell in love with him on our first date. He was so unlike any of the other men in my life (family, friends or otherwise)—he didn’t drink, smoke, use drugs, curse, hit me, watch TV all day, etc.—he was perfect! At least I thought so. Although it was difficult and uncomfortable for me to learn to relate to someone like Steve (having been accustomed to abuse, it was easier and more comfortable to be around abusive people), someone who seemed much healthier than me emotionally, spiritually and physically, I knew that I needed him—that I wanted to spend my life with him.

Much to his dismay, I began talking “marriage” almost right away! He surely must have wondered who this young woman was and why she was so desperate to get married! Of course, this did not help matters. My talk of marriage so early in the relationship frightened him, as did my self-injurious behavior. You see, because of the emotional pain I had carried around for so many years, one of the only coping mechanisms I had, unhealthy as it was, was to cut myself to ease the pain. Physical pain, for me, was much easier to bear than the emotional pain. Steve’s seeming withdrawal from me, and lack of marriage commitment, was more than I could take at that time in my already depressed state.

So, I started planning. I wrote (but didn't mail) letters to all of my friends and family members, telling them why I had killed myself and that I loved them. They were to receive these letters, per my instructions, upon my being found dead. I called pharmacists and I studied the Physician's Desk Reference and found out exactly how many of the tranquilizers I was taking would be enough to kill me. I saved enough pills to where I had 2-3 times the amount necessary. Then I set the date (a few months in advance) that I would kill myself.

I planned on parking up the street from Steve's house so when he left for work in the morning he would see my car, wonder what was going on, stop, and find me. I wanted him to be the one to find me. I realize now how cruel that would have been to him but, at the time I thought it was “romantic.” I loved him. Time passed and I never mentioned my plan to anyone. When the date I had set arrived, Steve and I had a wonderful evening together, and as I left his home, I drove up the street and parked—exactly as I had planned. I took many, many more pills than necessary to kill myself (I react very easily to medication) and I went to sleep, never expecting to wake again.

The next thing I knew, I was coming in and out of consciousness in the emergency room of the local hospital, surrounded by nurses trying to make me drink charcoal to get the poison out of my stomach. They did whatever treatments they needed to stabilize me and then sent me to a mental hospital an hour or so away. I was not awake for most of the treatments, or even the ambulance ride. I think I slept for 1-2 days solid upon arrival at the mental hospital, because when I finally awoke there was a young girl there (younger than me, I was 18 at the time) sharing my room who said she thought I was dead because I looked so pale and didn’t wake up for so long.

Upon gaining my composure, I was confused as to why I was still alive and now in a mental hospital—the very LAST place I ever wanted to be! I later learned that the doctors in the local hospital emergency room had restarted my heart and basically brought me back to life. I had “committed” suicide, yet I was not permitted to die. God had not allowed it. Why? I wondered.

Shortly thereafter, I found out what had gone "wrong" and why I hadn't died. Apparently, after taking my pills and lying down to die, someone in a nearby upstairs condo or apartment called 911 in the middle of the night to report a woman walking around outside of her car with a baby in her arms, or so it looked like to her. Now mind you, I had locked myself in my car, I was covered with a blanket and could not have opened my door, nor gotten out of the car, for any reason because I was so heavily drugged. In fact, the paramedics arrived to find me in my car, all the doors locked and covered with my blanket. (Steve had not seen me when he left for work due to a heavy fog.)

At this point, after hearing this part of what happened, I realized God had intervened to save my life. It is my belief He sent an angel to get the neighbor's attention so my life would be spared. I still wondered why, why He would make me live when I so desperately wanted to die. But I decided that if God had something He wanted me to do with my life, I was going to live for Him, no matter how much I wanted to die.

The Beginning of Hope

There was no denying the fact that I was alive because God had a plan for my life and I decided to let Him use me according to His will. While in the hospital, I devoured a book Steve brought me titled, The Desire of Ages. As a result, I became a person of hope!

It was a rocky time, but once I made the decision to turn my life over to God, I felt more secure, stable and loved. No longer was I as lonely and empty as before. There was a reason, a purpose, for my life. While I wasn’t sure what it was, I knew God would reveal it to me in His time.

Thankfully, Steve and I worked things out after my release from the mental hospital and we were together for 6 years before we finally got married. I am so glad I lived for that! Marrying my best friend was a dream come true, and although it is the biggest blessing I've received, it is only one of the many blessings God poured into my life since I decided to live for Him.

Nothing can fill the void in our lives like God. Things aren't always easy or perfect, but if we trust God, things eventually work out. The Bible says in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Right now you may not be able to see how your life can improve. But God has wonderful plans for your future.

I understand your feelings. I have compassion for you. There may be times when it seems like there's no way out of the nightmare you’re in at the moment, and it may feel like the world would be better off without you, but that is not true. God created you—He knew you before you were born. He has a purpose for your life. You can read about it in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (NIV). God can, and will, see you through this crisis, if you’ll just invite Him to walk beside you and carry your burdens.

Help Is On the Way

Psalms 34:18, 19 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all” (NIV). Take courage, my friend, life will get better, your circumstances will change. Please, give God—and life—another chance today.

I share this, not to try and push religion on anyone, but to give you a brief account of my life and how God has blessed me. God is the only One who can heal your hurt and pain and fill your emptiness. He is there for you to call on—any time, anywhere. Isaiah 40:31 tells us, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (NIV). 

Right now I invite you to call on God for healing and comfort! May His love strengthen and encourage you to live for Him!