Every once in a while when I hear the words assisted suicide, my stomach drops, and my heart sinks. I can’t talk about it without feeling really unarmed, I know I am supposed to be the anxiety guru here, but this word, this topic makes me tremble. This will officially be the first time I have ever officially written on this topic. So maybe this blog post is for my liberation, or maybe it’s for yours, but either way, here is my heart.
My friends, suicide was the greatest torment of my entire life, it frightened me daily, it followed me everywhere, it stalked me, and interrupted parties, it triggered panic attacks and ruined family time, it was my great obsession.
I don’t know how else to describe my thoughts today then to share with you two vivid dreams I had once, prior to my breakdown…
DREAM 1 : THE BEAR
I walked out of a University campus, full of excitement, full of hope and ambition for the future, there were crowds of others excited too, books in hand. Then from a distance, I spotted a bear. I wasn’t afraid of it, because it was far off, but as I stopped to watch where it was going, it made eye contact with me. I cautiously walked into a nearby forested area so the bear would lose sight of me. Then I spotted a small one room cabin. I looked behind me and the bear had found me. I quickly ducked into the cabin, and in the cabin was a young, overwhelmed single mother, with 2 small children in her arms. I peeked out the window and saw the bear approaching, and so I ran to close the door, but there was no door. Only a sheet, nailed to the frame. I clung onto the loose sheet with a death grip and I spread my arms and pinned them to the walls, trying to tighten the sheet over the open door frame. Then a claw came at me. I remember looking over my shoulder to the frightened mom and children, and I knew that if I let go, if I didn’t fight with everything I had, I would perish and so would they. I was in a fight for my life, with only a thin sheet to protect me.
WHEN I WOKE UP
When I awoke from the dream, my heart was racing and I could still feel the presence of the bear, to be honest, I could almost see it standing over me in the darkness of my room. It was just a dream I told myself, and then I heard God THE FIGHT
6 months after this dream, the bear made eye contact with me. (You can read my story here)
I was recently on television sharing my testimony and how God healed me from crippling anxiety & depression. (watch interview here). They asked me in my interview, “what was the moment you knew that you needed serious help” I had never been asked that question before, and I answered honestly – “the moment I sat in my running vehicle, in the garage and hesitated to turn off the ignition” As the words came out of my mouth, I was overcome with emotion. Not because I was afraid to share, or because I was still struggling, but because I realized in the moment, that I did fight that bear, with all that I had, I almost lost, but then I won.
DREAM 2 : THE TUNNEL AND THE WATERFALL
When I was in recovery from my breakdown, I was beginning to have a sense that God wanted me to show people the way out of anxiety and depression, and one night I had another dream…..
I was standing in an underground cave. There was a secretary’s desk in the middle, a dark long straight and narrow tunnel to the left, and a tall, slippery, rocky, dangerous waterfall to the right. People were gathered with me, and they asked me, which way out should I take? I looked to the left and thought, “quick, easy, and straight”, then I looked to the right and I thought “Hard, upward and exhausting effort” but there was one difference, one was illuminated by light, and one wasn’t. I informed the secretary that I would choose the hard way out. She nodded, and the majority decided to follow me up the waterfall, except for one young man. I encouraged him to come with us, but he was too tired to make the effort, so I turned to the others, and told them “this way….” As I began to assist others into the gushing waters of this waterfall, I followed the young man with my eyes, he walked into the tunnel. My heart raced… “maybe, he did choose the easier, better path?“, I thought to myself.
Then I saw it..standing at the end of the tunnel, in shadow… THE BEAR
I stood in shock, as I witnessed this bear devour the young man. The pressure heightened to get these people out fast, before they too were tempted. It was the hardest climb I had ever made. and once we made it to the top, fully in the light, we had to hang onto one another against the current of the river that kept wanting to pull us back into the cave. I stood with my feet firmly planted and I yelled “keep going, you can do it”…. then I woke up.
THE BEAR THE WATERFALL AND THE VOTE FOR ASSISTED SUICIDE
Just the other day, I was sharing the bear dream with a friend when I said to her… “I’m not really sure what the sheet was about..” Then I turned on the television and watched my nation vote for or against the legalization of assisted suicide and then it hit me. I saw a house, like the little cabin in the woods, with people positioned to fight to protect the vulnerable people in our nation. I saw a house divided, choosing to vote on whether to hang a door on assisted suicide or completely tear down the thin sheet that was barely fastened. I thought… “Oh my God, they are voting to take down the sheet”
Then I saw a desk, offering registration for those who wanted to choose which way out. Paths that lead to the bear or paths that lead to the water. It was our choice… and I thought “Oh my God, who will save us from ourselves?”
LAST THOUGHTS FROM A FORMER SUICIDAL CANADIAN
I know that this legislation is being argued for those who need compassion and relief from a terminal illness, but to someone who has gone through severe mental illness, I may not have experienced the same physical symptoms, but the same mental suffering and despair. To think that suicide is an option to end suffering, leaves us both in the same cave, staring down the same tunnel, no matter how we got there, now it’s our choice. Soon, the government will see that suffering is undefinable and unmeasurable, and soon our government, the protectors of our home, will open up the options to the young, the old, the weary, and the broken.. You see suffering, that’s what connects us as a people, this is not a new revelation. There wasn’t a single person of greatness who once fell into despair, but the greatness came when they fought the bear and won.
I want to see the desk removed, the door hung, locked and the cave barricaded. I want to see a legislation of hope come to our nation, where people, like you, like me, who have fought the bear, say to others “this way…” “you can do it…” “Not much further”
When we become a nation fearful of suffering, we become a powerless nation.When we become a nation fearful of suffering, we become a powerless nation. - Sarah E Ball Click To Tweet
God keep our land…..
IF YOU ARE FIGHTING THE BEAR….. If you are reading this, and you are in the fight of your life, please find someone to talk to, someone who has a spirit of hope, who can show you how to climb out of your despair. I promise you that greatness comes after the fight, it’s messy, it’s hard, but it is so worth it.