Let’s Talk Suicide; A Black Woman’s Perspective

Today, September 10, 2019 is World Suicide Prevention Day.

The attached picture contains a quote by Sarah Mariann Martland and was posted by Trauma & Co. on Instagram. Reading that quote inspired me to write my thoughts about suicide.

As a black woman of faith, I personally haven’t heard of enough talks about suicide prevention. Not in the church, except for the many times since my childhood that I’ve heard preachers say that those who killed themselves could not go to heaven. Even though I believe that God is the only one able to determine who can make it in or who will not. Perhaps scaring people into not committing suicide was their way of prevention. Not amongst friends. Not in enough work-related trainings... some but not enough. Not in any of my circles.

Yet I am in one of the most marginalized groups, having brown/black skin.

Add to that, being a woman.

Add to that, being a woman of faith, where religion is mostly dominated by men.

Add to that, being fat, for most of my life in a culture OBSESSED with diets, weight loss and being thin.

Add to that being a mother/grandmother of black and brown sons/daughters.

Everyday, I am exhausted. Mentally & emotionally by and for all of the patriarchal shit (no better word—other than ridiculousness and injustice and racism/and all other ism’s) that ALL marginalized groups have to face. Every. Single. Day.

Having a president that views me and most black/brown folks as “very very bad, gangsters, drug dealers, rapists,” etc. Yeah, the leader of my country pretty much hates the likes of me.

While I have not directly tried to commit suicide (and that’s not something to be praised), I have certainly wanted to die to feel relief from the emotional pain of being in this body. I know, to die in order to feel seems like a contradiction.

Yet, I live today and I do praise God for that. I am grateful everyday that I wake up and for each breath that I take throughout the day, especially since the toxic environment makes it hard for me to breathe. I fight to live every day without succumbing to the societal pressures (oppression) that are trying to kill me because now I’m living—not just for me—but for my ancestors, my family and for those whom I’m called to serve.

I do strive to live in a way that will invite others to choose life for ALL, over an untimely, and yes! Even a self-inflicted death.

May those who have taken their lives to escape their pain, Rest In Peace.

And you, if you are wanting to die, I may or may not understand but I do know pain. I also believe that you are an image bearer of Almighty God. I can and will pray and hold space for you, at least while there’s breath in my body or even my words on a page, and hopefully until you can find your breath again.

So uhh, yeah, we do need to talk more about saving lives. Let’s talk more about restoring and destigmatizing mental health. And specifically, let’s talk more about suicide prevention everywhere, especially in the church and in communities of faith in ways that promote God’s love, self-acceptance and aren’t rooted in fear.

Thank you Trauma & Co. for sharing this post on Instagram earlier today. 🙏🏽