Yesterday, I wanted to kill myself.
You see, I was diagnosed with severe depression in 2009. I’ve tried so many different medications, my wife and I lost count. It wasn’t until 2012, after five failed suicide attempts and a near-death car accident, when I finally told my wife about the reality of my brain.
Each suicidal thought that creeps into my brain makes me want to just end it all. “Anywhere else has got to be better than living in this hell,” my brain tells me. “My family doesn’t deserve this. They will be so much happier if I am just gone.”
Each time I tried to kill myself, at the very last minute before I would take my last breath on this earth, I would get a vision. I always saw my boys; I am father to two young sons. Most of the time, they waved goodbye from a window as tears streaked their faces.
And that would do it.
I pressed the button on the garage door to let fresh air flow in and I gasped as the poison I had just put in my lungs began to leave me. I ripped the bag off my head just before I ran out of oxygen. I put the gun down and slammed my fists on the floor so hard my hands bruised.
But I won. In those moments, I won.
I finally told my wife about the true terror of my suicidal thoughts in a suicide note one night as she slept in September of 2012. That night was going to be the end of me on this earth. I planned how I would hang myself in our garage, just behind our back yard where our boys play with our dogs. I told my wife not to come find me, that I didn’t want her to see me that way.
I won again that night. As I typed the suicide note, I felt a demon inside of me release. I learned the power of honesty.
I just passed another year with my family. Welcome to 2016. I still have depression. I take my medication every day. I surround myself with other believers, people who are willing to admit we need each other. We are God’s army; we in all our sinful human nature are here on this earth to support each other, to love each other, to help each other understand God is good all the time no matter our circumstances. I am not strong enough to battle this demon without support.
I learned God has not forgotten me. He has been preparing me for war.
My wife and I can laugh, most days, about the reality of my suicidal thoughts. We understand now that God was beside me every time I wanted to end my life, and He was desperately trying to get my attention. I imagine Him holding my head and placing images of my sons in my mind. I imagine Him telling my grandmother to go check on me just before she knocked on our door and caused me to pull the bag off my head. I imagine Him holding the hands of the pharmacists, scientists, and doctors as they created and prescribed medications to help me with my chemical imbalance.
So the truth we have learned to embrace is the humor even in mental illness. Finding good in this evil is our way of telling Satan to go to hell and stay there.
So either I completely suck at trying to kill myself, or God has a much greater purpose for my pain. It may be both. But either way, I refuse to live my life allowing Satan to win.
So yesterday. Yesterday, I began having suicidal thoughts. I felt defeated. “Son of a bitch,” I thought. “They’re back. They were gone and now they’re back. Will this ever end? Will this ever go away completely? It had been so long since I felt this defeated. I had hope this would never happen. Now that hope is gone. I need to be gone. I need to end this. My family doesn’t deserve this.”
So now came the hard part. For a few hours, I said nothing. I was quiet, empty. I had no hope. And then it happened, the first of God’s attempts to snap me back to His reality. My wife looked at me and said, “You’re quiet today. Are you okay?”
Before I would ignore it. I would have said I’m okay and I would have gone on to fight this beast within myself alone. I’m strong enough, right?
I made a choice. “I’m quiet because I haven’t been feeling well.”
“Suicidal thoughts?” She questioned.
I made another choice. “Yes.”
Did the suicidal thoughts immediately stop? No. But now I didn’t have to fight them alone. We’ve been through this before. Bailey knows what to ask. Did I have a plan for my death? No. Were the thoughts overwhelming or fleeting? Fleeting. Did I feel like there was any hope? No. Did I feel like I had been locked in a battle? Yes.
Who was going to win this battle this time? God.
When we went to bed together last night, we prayed as we always do. But our prayers this time did not center around fix me, make me better. Don’t get me wrong, we pray for that too. But I had just worked my way through a battle between good and evil in my own brain, and I did it with much greater success than I ever have. Now, our prayers center around allowing God to use us to help you. “Use this pain for Your good, Father. Help us reach others through our experiences and give them hope.”
I have information others need to know. I have a plan for defeating this demon of depression that lives inside so many. I can help those suffering from suicidal thoughts to understand there is hope, and you can win. How can I do this? Because I live this reality and I know life is worth living. I know God is here with us.
And this morning, my wife, the talented writer, woke up feeling inspired. Our prayer is being answered as you read. Will this post save lives? Will this post, this positive message of true healing, go viral over the negative posts that so often surround us on social media? Will this post be there to save lives of those who believe there is no hope? We believe in our message, our mission. We share our truth because you are loved.
Yesterday, I wanted to kill myself. Today, I live as an example that life does go on, that life is worth fighting for, and that God did not forget you. He has placed good everywhere in our lives. See Him.
I won again yesterday. I won because I have learned how to ask for help. My God, my wife, my sons, my medication, my family, my friends, my doctors, my church family, my counselor…the list goes on and on. There are so many who are willing to help. I know I am never alone.
So today depression is there, but it did not win yesterday. Will my suicidal thoughts come back? They very well may. But they will not win. I know how to fight my illness. I know how to ask for help. I know how to live even when my brain tells me there is no hope. There is always hope.
Today, I don’t want to kill myself. Today, I celebrate another triumph. Today, I ask you to take a stand for the reality of depression with me. Today, we win because God has a plan, a mission if you will. I know my mission, and I will take the evil Satan intended to destroy me with and I will allow God to use it for His good.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Genesis 50:20
Today, I am alive with my family for another day. Today, depression lost.
~ Jeremy & Bailey Koch