Suicide leaves behind an aftermath of pain. Host, Egypt Ali opens a dark door of stories from those who chose suicide.
Egypt, once feeling suicide was her only option offers real hope to those still suffering.
Egypt Speaks: “Dear MXTV, let me be completely clear. I don’t like calling it “committing suicide.” I came to the realization that it wasn’t even so much that I wanted to die as much as I just didn’t wanna live. I was so deep in a pit that I looked up and all I saw around me was black darkness. Nothing made sense that made sense. I thought nobody needed me. I felt no one was there for me to help me, to love me, to see me, to understand me. I just believed everybody was better off without me, and so, for a split moment, I had a plan.
I woke up in the ICU and was involuntarily committed to the psychiatric hospital, humiliated and shamed. I remember all the processes I had to take in this hospital and it was the worst. I remember going, I’ve made a terrible mistake. Don’t make me do this. I wanna go home. I wanna see my kids.” And it was just awful. I’m tearing up about it right now. I want to figure this out and I want to live. I remember looking around and thinking, “I’m not supposed to be here.” – Shelley.
Egypt: This story is one of many. It’s like suicide’s become a viable option for peace and it hits home, for me especially. It’s the parallel to my story.
I grew up in Ohio. We had nothing but corn, bands, and rollercoasters. That was really about it. But my sister and I loved it. We used to run around and play in our yard and childhood was simple. We ate, we ran, we had a dog. It was good to go, until things got more complicated. School, for example, led to a whole host of issues, whether it was a discomfort with who I looked like, how I was, whether it was bullies, whether it was people who were simply not very kind, it definitely changed the way that I looked at myself. Found freedom in writing and in poetry and in music and in prose.
And I found myself in this weird and wacky world of touring up and down the country, getting to share all of these thoughts, these feelings, and these ideas, which was great until feeling too much became a problem. I remember there came a point where I was onstage preaching about Jesus and his love for you and his desire to give you this thing called peace that I was never sure I understood or had experienced. It was kind of like I was living this double life, standing onstage one moment and realizing that the razorblades in my cosmetic case were looking far more inviting than they should’ve when I was off.
There came a point where I remember I was on this run and a young woman came up to me and shared a very similar story and essentially said, you know, “Your words stopped me from leaping from this balcony at our hotel.” I remember I looked at the other band that was there and my eyes kind of got all big. We prayed together, and I went back to my hotel room and I cried. It wasn’t because I was upset by the story. I’d heard dozens of them like that. I was upset because I was jealous of the peace that she had found. It’s like I was guiding others to this answer, to this story, but death was looking like this giant exit sign at a movie I was too afraid to leave.
Egypt: Heart breaks in the silence. Does it make a sound? Well, it’s crashing. Perform a call and response with my heartstrings. I wonder, will the lie come out in the melody as I try to hide if I’m all right or where I’m at? And, you know, I swear that I think rock bottom is a blues band, that depression will sometimes play this call and response with all of my heartstrings, that it sits on anxiety’s stoop next to all of the skeletons I have locked in my closet that are guarded by the demons that I allowed to carry them in there. The problem is I’m not sure if anybody will hear it. I wonder, if a heart breaks in the silence, does it reverberate in stereo?
Will the clashing and the clanging suddenly cause this beautiful catastrophe as everything crashes in waves over the foundation of childlike faith that was not quite ready for the adult world had to throw at it? But I realized, as everything falls in the midst of the eyes of the beholder, that suddenly a harmony is beautiful because it only works when every single one of its parts realizes that they are not alone, we are not alone, that you are not alone. The silence isn’t home and darkness isn’t the answer. I know that she will hold on to the hope that has grown, and smile. And he will cling to the experience of glass heart stained by experience, realized by itself holding on to the idea that salvation has nothing to do with the amount of melanin in their skin. If a heart breaks in the silence, does it make a sound?
Egypt: The answer is yes. And it’s beautiful.
female: I miss you. Yeah, we all knew there was sadness in your life, Angela. You didn’t hide that from us. Our family, though, you know, kind of pushes sadness away, don’t we? It’s common knowledge that we have this annoying habit of just putting a positive blanket on top of everything. I’m sorry. I guess we just didn’t wanna deal with your sadness and that made you hide how bad it really was. If I had more time with you, I’d make you talk to me. I would demand it. Angela, your note says you didn’t think it would matter if you left, you thought we wouldn’t miss you. Well, I’m mad at you. You didn’t ask me. Life is not the same without you in it. I think about you every single day. I miss your laugh, that crazy, little, snorty laugh. It was definitely obnoxious but it made me laugh even more. And then you snorted even more. We were a hot mess, weren’t we, you and I? But we were a hot mess together. I miss your middle-of-the-night, dramatic phone calls. I may have been cranky when you interrupted my sleep, but girl, I would give anything now to be woken up by you. You did matter. Everyone keeps telling me that it will get easier over time. I don’t think that it’s true. I wish there was some way that you could come back.
Egypt: “To whom it may concern: At the time, ending my life felt like the only option I had left. I was filled with unhappiness. My family, my mother, my father, my relationships, honestly, I thought all I needed was a relationship with a woman, that that would fix me, but then it didn’t come. I came from a broken home, and now I was completely broken. I was unfixable. I thought I was hopeless. This wasn’t the first time I had tried to kill myself, but this time I had all of the availability in my head and in my hands. I woke up four days later and I was on a breathing machine. At the time I did it, I wasn’t scared to. I think when you are inebriated with drug use, you tend to be more courageous. I didn’t think about this outcome. I never considered the part where it might not work. The reality is, facing fear takes courage. There’s a fear associated with death because of the value of life, but when you don’t value life, there’s less of a fear of death. I remember waking up and thinking, “Could there possibly be life after death? Is eternity a real thing? Did I just get a second chance?” Everything was on slow fade. I felt regret as soon as I woke up, handcuffed to a gurney with pipes. I couldn’t breathe on my own. Couldn’t even feel my own toes. And all I felt now was just more shame. Brendan.” He got a second chance. God does what he does and was able to wake him up, not just out of this coma but out of this feeling.
Egypt: So when it finally came time for me to make a decision, all of these emotions had come to a head. I began to write these letters. Letters to my family, to my friends, to anyone I thought might be affected by what I was about to do. Part of me was really curious about how it ended, and the other part was afraid that maybe the light I was seeing at the end of the tunnel was a freight train. And I started to act on that fear. I began to isolate myself from my friends just for the fear that if I did do something or when I did something, that they would be more hurt than I was at the time. I didn’t want anyone to feel this way, this feeling of being surrounded by people and entirely alone. It’s one of the most isolating things I think I’ve been through. It wasn’t so much for my own sense of closure. It was for the idea that I was concerned that they might be more affected or put into the same emotional turmoil as I was in because of the ideas and the plan that I had. I wanted them to have the peace of knowing that there was nothing that they could have done to change it.
The isolation was almost a comfort zone. It was this blanket and this idea that if I could be alone, no one else would be hurt. I didn’t realize that was the farthest thing from the truth. I remember the final night that I’d planned everything out and was gonna put this plan into action, my grandmother ended up in the hospital. The middle of this giant snowstorm and I knew I wanted to go and visit her and see her, and so I packed myself into my little, red convertible, ’cause you’ve gotta be intelligent to own a convertible in Ohio, and came up the hill to go see her in her room. Get all the way to the top of the hill and for the 80-millionth time that week, my “check engine” light came on.
And I will never, I don’t think, experience more stress than hearing that ding and seeing this light light up. And I remember I had to pull over ’cause the thing’s starting to steam and I looked up and I asked God–I asked God if he could still see me. And as this is going on, I get a text message from a friend who was off on a run with people who I’d never met and probably won’t, but what he added was very simple–just, “Egypt, how are you doing? I wish you were here.” I turned on the radio, expecting that I was gonna get to go home and think about this and figure out what it was that I truly wanted and where I needed God to move the most, when this song came on in the background.
Tasha Cobbs had just released a live version of a song called “This is a Move,” and right in the middle of the chorus you got these lyrics. The idea is that mountains were still being moved because wonders are just what you do. That broke me. It was a feeling not just of walls breaking and those chains being loosed, but also that feeling of freedom and peace that I had been chasing through things like cutting, by not eating, by trying all of these God-sized problems with my human-type solutions and they just didn’t work, but in that moment I felt loved and whole and here. I got so excited, I punched my steering wheel. The horn went off. I jumped straight up and was left to pick up my dignity and my ego from the parking lot floor as I hoped nobody had seen that moment. And I went home and continued to wake up and become this new creation.
Egypt: “One of my good friends ended his life. I considered him an older brother. He lived across the street from me. My dad’s brother committed suicide as well. I saw the sadness that it caused, but that didn’t stop me. In my situation, there was so much pain inside of me that I couldn’t think of anything else. I was engulfed by darkness and loss and that was all that I felt. I didn’t feel like there was anything else left for me. Nothing was left of me. I was adopted when I was five, then my new mom passed away. The business failures, the family failures, the physical failure, the emotional failures, they were innumerable.
I felt that I couldn’t take one more thing. Drugs and alcohol seemed to be my only constant. I knew what they would give me: numbness every time. Until one day, even they were not enough. So, I wrote a letter. Then proceeded with the plan that I had put into place. A friend who I considered as an older brother was at dinner with his wife in the city and felt like something was wrong with me. He couldn’t shake the feeling. He told his wife that he needed to check on me, then got in the car and drove to my house. For some reason, I had left the door unlocked.
When I think back on that now, I don’t know if that was subconsciously on purpose or if someone, you know, like God, was looking out for me. He came in, walked into my room, saw my note, picked me up, threw me into the back of his car, and took me to the hospital. – Jake.”
male: Buddy, I still can’t believe it. You’re gone. I keep going to my phone to text you to ask you what you think about something or, the other hand, to tell you about something unbelievable, crazy thing that one of my co-workers did. Remember how you used to calm me down about that? But you aren’t there. Your family left your social up. I guess they feel if they delete it, that it will be the final erasing of you. I keep scrolling through all your stories. Dude, seriously, you had so much to offer to this world, and this world loved you. Dang it, why? Why? That word just keeps going over and over in my head. Some days, I make myself crazy by just thinking about the why. Couldn’t you have told me? Ugh, I didn’t see it. I really didn’t. Yeah, you’d been a bit more withdrawn than usual but that wasn’t abnormal for you. Man, I’ve been your friend for 15 years. I would have fought for your life with you, but you didn’t say a word. Why? There it is again, that word. Your mom asked me if I wanted anything of yours. I do; I don’t. I don’t know. Your death has definitely messed with my head, buddy. I have nightmares about it. It’s like I can’t trust anything or anyone anymore. I trusted you. I thought I knew you. Guess I really didn’t.
Egypt: God has never left us or forgotten us, and I think, especially in those moments of isolation and loneliness and sorrow, it’s odd to think that someone– let alone the God of the universe– would be looking out for someone who feels as low as Jake did, as low as I did, until you realize the ordination that it took for that second chance, whether it was a text message, a song on the radio, the timing, it had to be divine in order for those things to have taken place. Details like an unlocked door or a forgotten text message, something that you normally wouldn’t have noticed are all those signs that God is pointing and asking you to consider that maybe there’s still a purpose for your life.
You were created for more than you’ve settled for. Waking up is more than just giving up and seeing there is hope and life in tomorrow. It’s the idea that we can now move forward through our lives, knowing that God’s Word wasn’t lying to us. Those same promises, those stories, those themes are still things that he’s meant for us today. And sometimes, we just have to see and open our eyes and find that they’re still there. I told you earlier that I was at a point where I felt like my life was culminating in death being an exit sign in a movie theater that I was too afraid to leave. What God had shown me in that moment was that the movie that I’m watching was still beautiful, that the light from all of the sunsets and the things that hadn’t yet happened to that main character were still worth it, that finding beauty, the fact that the Lord had orchestrated an entire ecosystem shows that he would care for me just the same and that while story does have dark parts, it’s simply a part of how he can take our mess and turn it into a message.
The movie is worth watching, if only to see how it ends and what the hero ends up doing and how they defeat their foe, and in this moment, I realized the burden of heroism was never resting on my shoulders. I was meant to rely on a God who understands the emotions that I was feeling but also promised to carry me through it. Romans 8:38 says: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither height nor depth, neither present nor the future could even separate me from the love, from the Lord, our God.”
It was amazing to finally wake up and see that light and to feel that, finally, I had found that hope and that peace that I was looking for, to know that when God wrote that, when he inspired those words, when it ended up on that page, they were just as true then and for the people who had originally read them, as it was for me now. And it was finally that moment where I realized that the Lord wasn’t lying to me. He didn’t lead me here to leave me here, and that I’m still his. I think that was the moment that I finally woke up.
Egypt: If you’re struggling with any of the things that we talked about here, I need you to know three things. The first is that there is at least one really random kid from Ohio who thinks that you’re awesome. You tuned in to this broadcast. It means that you wanted to give this a chance and I wanna commend you, one, for being brave enough to even watch this episode. I can tell you there are times when I don’t think I could’ve. So, one, I think you’re awesome. The second is that I am sure there are people in your life that know that you are amazing as well. And I want you to reach out and find those people, but the third thing is that there is a God who not only created you but loves you. There is nothing that you could do, have done, or will do, that will stop that from happening, because he loves you.
He wants you to have the same peace we’ve been talking about all day. It’s not something that you need to earn. It’s not anything that you need to feel as though you need to work for. This is a gift that he’s had for you since the day that you were born. It’s someone to walk with you through this. If you’re okay with it, I would love to pray with you and for you to not only receive that peace but also to receive Christ in a way that might make him feel more real than he ever has, to invite him into your heart, into your life, and to explore this boundless grace that’s been after us since the moment we were born. If you don’t know how to pray, it’s okay.
It’s one of those things where we’re just gonna take a second and we’re gonna talk to our Father and it’s as easy as just closing your eyes and taking a moment to centering yourself and finding him. So I’m gonna go ahead and do that for you right now, but I want you to remember those three things and if you need anything, you know that you can always reach out to the chat option, but first, I wanna pray for you.
Dear God, thank you so much for today and for your provision, Father. We thank you for your safety and the fact that we are still here. We thank you that no matter what thoughts have gone through our heads, the feelings that we have, that, God, you have provided a way for us to stand up under them, and that you have always been there for us, Father. We know, Lord, we’ve messed up in some ways that we’d rather not recall, and all of those things you’ve seen, God, and thank you that your love has never wavered because of the things that we’ve done and that you love us regardless of who we believe that we are, because you created us and you know. God, I ask and accept your Son into my heart, Father. I thank you for the grace that you have and I want to live for you, Lord. So thank you for your gift and this opportunity, and please continue to lead me in the way that you want me to go, in Jesus’s name, amen.
If you just prayed that prayer, one, welcome to our family. I’m so stoked for you, I’m so proud of you, and I can’t wait to see what the Lord’s gonna be doing in your life. If you wanna talk about that, feel free to shoot me an Instagram message, Facebook, what have you. I’m Egypt Speaks on everything, but if you need to talk to someone right now, if you’ve got questions or you’re going through a hard time and you just need someone to listen, then I want you to know that there’s someone who’s standing by to chat with you 24/7 and meet you where you are. You can find them at MXTV.ORG/CHAT. There’s someone who’s waiting to chat with you and see how we can help.
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