The Suicide Matrix

"There are three kinds of people in the suicide matrix: those who succeed, those who try it and live, and those who are hounded by suicidal thoughts—ideators, as they are known in the literature." — Philip Dawdy, "One Suicide Too Many," the Seattle Weekly

I'm both a suicide survivor and an ideator. I've tried overdosing on pills many times to no avail. I've also tried jumping out of cars. Each time, the driver has caught me before I could roll out into the street. Most of my other "attempts" have been strong ideations: drinking Windex, stabbing myself, shooting myself in the head, driving my car into a wall, jumping in front of a train, jumping off a high building — TO NAME A FEW.

I'm not proud of it; the list could go on and on. I identify with Dawdy's words in his SW article:

"In each case, there was little warning. One minute I'd be muddling through a weeks-long depression—wound up, angry, and lethargic all at once—and the next I'd be on the lethal precipice."

I can't really remember planning any suicides. I don't plan suicide attempts; the ideations hit me as an impulse. I become obsessed with the thought and I can't distract my mind. It's like a train headed full speed into a wall with no reverse gear.


This is me when I am suicidal.


My Latest Obsession
My latest obsession has been shooting myself in the head with a gun despite Dawdy's stat that "It is uncommon for women to kill themselves with a gun." I've never had access to a gun but if I did, I'd be dead by now. The act of pulling a trigger is final. So much more so than any act of suicide. A person can survive a stabbing, a jump, overdosing, or self-designed accidents. But once a person sticks a gun inside the mouth and pulls the trigger… it's difficult to miss. Survival isn’t impossible but not likely.

The apostle Paul identified something he struggled with as a "thorn
in his flesh." (II Corinthians 12:7) Biblical scholars assume what he
refers to is some kind of pain (Galatians 4:13), but no one knows
whether it was physical, spiritual, or mental. However, I can
definitively state that the "thorn in my flesh" is mental/psychological.

Some people argue Satan doesn't exist; that he's just a figment of
the imagination or a metaphor for “evil” within the human heart.
However, Satan is very real, very alive, and VERY much at work. In the
Bible, he admits to roaming the earth: "The LORD said to Satan, 'From
where do you come?' Then Satan answered the LORD and said, 'From
roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.'" (Job 1:7, Job 2:2) My husband has nicknamed me "Jobette." Satan's darts are continuously thrown at me whichever way. My struggles with depression aren't just a mental warfare, they are a spiritual warfare. This is what sets me apart from other many other mental illness blogs. I recognize that my depression is a part of my sin condition which I must fight against.

My recent posts have turned into commentary on Dawdy’s article, but there’s a wealth of discussion lurking inside it.

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2 Comments

  1. Bob Thompson said,

    December 18, 2006 at 10:06 am

    “My struggles with depression aren’t just a mental warfare, they are a spiritual warfare. This is what sets me apart from other many other mental illness blogs. I recognize that my depression is a part of my sin condition which I must fight against.”
    I know most people out there would disagree, but I’m glad you said this. Medications only can only do so much…it’s the heart where the root of the problems lie (especially in cases of depression – other mental illnesses are different and require a different tact). Brain chemistry can make a person more susceptible to depression and medications can help take the edge off of that imbalance, but it’s really how people interpret the world and their reactions to events that drives the depression. Even the mental health profession admits this – that medication coupled with therapy is the best course of treatment. It all depends on how you look at it.
    You can attack the psychological aspects from the self-centered view or from the Christian, Christ-centered view. For me the Christ-centered view is more powerful, hopeful and helpful. I believe that at my core I am a sinner and not a good person. I also believe that I am forgiven and God will provide me with the tools necessary to handle any situation that life throws at me. That’s not to say it’s easy. It’s hard…but mostly because I’m fighting against what God has planned and what He expects of me.

  2. December 18, 2006 at 11:50 am

    I guess much of my blogging has seemed really secular and I throw bits and pieces of Biblical references in, but a lot of what I’ve dealing with has been secular. I suppose it’s not necessary to say, “I need to pray that God works everything out with my medication” because it’s not relevant to what I’m talking about. I can commune with God in my own personal life and in my heart but if there are Biblical examples that prove my point, I’ll use it. I guess that’s the thing with me. The spiritual aspect might turn people off a bit but I don’t think that it’s so heavy that people can’t glean stuff from what I say.


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