a bad day, storms, rainbows and God.

Yesterday was not a great day.

I was running on super tiredness having had no sleep. Well, maybe one or two hours, but I had had nightmares from hell. Literally. Well, it felt that way anyway. I was grumpy.

And I had to do my usual 90 mile round trip to the hospital (the one I am currently doing at least 3 times a week). I had a meeting with my Consultant. I didn’t quite get what I was hoping for.

As I got to my car the torrents of rain fell, the lightening and thunder started. I don’t do storms well. I was feeling quite frazzled anyway and then discovered the great big dent in the side of it (thank you whoever rammed their car into the front of mine) that had been put there during the three hours whilst I had been inside the hospital hearing what I didn’t want to be hearing.

So I had a rant. Sent a text message to someone who I knew could handle the swearing. Rang my Mum. And posted a Facebook status.

By the time I got to into the next town on from the city my hospital is at, I had to stop, and delete the Facebook message. Why?

Because as I drove into Newark in front of me I saw THE MOST stunning, bright, beautiful coloured (obviously) rainbow I have EVER seen. I have only ever seen such a full rainbow once, and never seen one quite so bright, and extravagant before. It was one of those ‘gasp’ type things.

And then, and I know some of you will think I have gone mad, and I have not written about this before, but I felt like I had this presence in my car. And I did. In a really visual way. (feel free to ask me if you want to know more) and my body physically felt like something electric was going through it (I will also explain that to anyone who wants to know/ask).

I ended up crying. Not from an an angry place which I thought would be the reason why I would eventually end up in tears, but because I was so overwhelmed by the love of God. And by the fact that the last time I had this visual thing I saw, and felt that presence, it had come with a really strong and visual message, reminding me I was forgiven. And that I am protected.

As I drove on under that rainbow, it felt like I was driving through it. The rain had subsided, and I was reminded of Gods promises.

I was reminded that He is faithful. That He does provide. And that He can heal.

Even on the stormy days. Even when the clouds are black. Even when it is pissing down with rain and my brain is overloaded and desperately wants to cry, scream, shout, tantrum God broke in, as He seems to often be doing these days.

He IS being faithful to me, and He always has been, even when I wondered away, He never did.

He is providing for all my needs. Seriously, only just a few weeks ago I had looked at my bank account and wondered how the rest of the month was going to work food wise/petrol for non hospital visit stuff. And I just had to to pray and give it to God. And trust He had got it. A couple of hours later, literally, on the same day I got given some money. That has kept me going for the last few weeks. I have been off work for more than a few months now. I don’t quite know its all working. But it is. For which I am so thankful.

And He has and is healing me. In so MANY different ways. We sometimes see ‘healing’ as this big ‘supernatural’ one minute you are ill the next you are not. But I don’t believe it always works that way. I had the privilege to share at a friends seminar at a conference recently briefly, and during those few minutes I acknowledged that I totally totally totally believe in miracles, and that God, at the click of a finger can and does heal. But I know often He doesn’t too. I don’t know why. I also know Gods healing goes far beyond any ‘physical’ thing.

Not long before I was due my bone marrow biopsy results I had a phone conversation with a friend who I love to bits and who always grounds me well, that went a bit like this –

‘Wendy – I’m scared – (I was having a BAD day). I’m scared I’m going to end up being in the same place as a few years ago. What if I end up being so low I can’t deal with life any more again?”

Wendy replied with ‘yeah, but you won’t. Because you are NOT the same person as you were then’.

And she was right. So so right. And that hit home, just the next day as I was in my car and had another ridiculously mad experience of God.

I might be physically sick, I might have had a few years of being physically unwell, and I might still have nightmares, and the odd flashback, and I might still have to work through some stuff BUT what God has done over the last 24 months in my life, my mind, my soul and my spirit HAS BEEN HEALING. Supernaturally so.

My pastor Chris tweeted a quote this morning by Gav Calver (Director of Missions for the EA) who was speaking at some leaders day they’ve been having locally.

It said this ‘nothing is ever just an event. We are all on a journey’.

Yep. Thats it. Thats me. On a journey. A journey just like you, and everyone else. Mine is a bit different to yours, and everyone else’s. As is yours to mine. Because we are all unique. And I’ve been discovering God is pretty unique too, so much so that He is able to meet each and every one of us in our own individual and different ways because He knows exactly how to respond, and how we will respond. How cool is that?

As I got home, the rain which had cleared came back. The storm I had driven through in Nottingham, left in Newark had followed me back to Sleaford. And it was torrential. I sat in my car, on the drive, watching it. The lightening. Hearing the thunder.

Yet I saw the rainbow I had seen just half an hour before flash across my mind.

So I deleted my status. Why?

Not because I want my life to look ‘rosy’, because it sure ain’t ever going to be. And not because I don’t want to continue being as real and as honest and and blunt as you all know me to be. Because trust me, that will continue I promise.

But because actually yesterday I realised what I need to do was to give the glory to God.

(I know I know, some of you are probably rolling your eyes at me, wondering where the old Helen went, and thinking I’ve lost the plot, but its OK, I can handle that)

I wanted the status I put up instead to despite it being a tough day give God the glory He deserves. And to reflect that He is doing good things. And to tell people about His promises.

Because I am thankful each and every day that He keeps them, and what for He has done, is doing and is going to do in my life.

 

Advertisements

World Suicide Prevention Day, today, tomorrow and forever.

When I came round I realised I didn’t actually remember getting there. I was devastated.
I was in a hospital. I wanted to be in a coffin.

I remember being walked to the mental health unit. Where I was put in a room. It had sofas. And comfy chairs.

I chose the floor.

I curled up on it, under a huge open window, and the rain started to fall. The lightening started to strike and the thunder started to roll. And I just sobbed. I rarely cried then (I know, if you know me now you’ll find that hard to believe!). But I did that day.  I didn’t care. About anything. I was alive and I didn’t want to be.

Somehow they let me home. With strict weekend Crises Team contact and my CPN visiting daily.

Fast forward three months later. It had been a long few months. It was the night before my birthday. I was still devastated to be alive and I did not want to spend another year on this earth. Living in and with the darkness that had overwhelmed my mind. With the pain and torment that was overtaking every single bit of me and my life. I

I wanted out. I was tired. My mind was tired. And my body was getting tired. Of the nicotine, alcohol, cutting. So I made plans. Plans that would ensure it would work this time. So I didn’t end up feeling like even more of a failure than I already did by not being able to successfully kill myself AGAIN.

As I walked to the bridge that someone I had known when I was a teenager had hung themselves from I prayed. I know. I didn’t really believe any more. Or so I used to say. But I did really. I just was angry with God for ‘letting’ what happened happen. But more than anything felt like I had let Him down. That my whole life had been a let down. To God and everyone else. So I prayed. And said sorry. Sorry that I couldn’t make anyone proud. Sorry for being a failure. And I asked that God that He would just look after my Mum. It was all I wanted. My mum to be looked after.

As I stood at that bridge I wondered what would happen if it didn’t work. It was the first time a seed of doubt had entered my mind. The first time a ‘what if …’. It didn’t work last time, so what if …. And then a more general ‘what if …’ came by. At the same time as some headlights of a car passing by (I was hidden by a tree).

What if …

What if some how there could be a light found once again. Even if it was fleeting? What if …?

I don’t know how I knew the Samaritans existed. Maybe it was just something I knew. Maybe I had seen them advertised. Maybe someone had told me about them. I don’t know. But something in my soul stirred.

I hung up the first time. And the second. But on the third go, after being silent for what felt like the longest 5 minutes of my life (maybe it wasn’t that long, I don’t know),  I finally spoke. And the person on the end of the line was still there. Just waiting. His name was Steve.

Steve stayed on the phone with me for over an hour. And then another hour. And then while I walked home. And laid on top my bed smoking cigarette after cigarette. He stayed on the phone while I was silent. And while I cried. And while I talked out everything that was in my head. It wasn’t pretty. Steve stayed on the phone most of that night with me. Until the sun started to rise. Light started to flood into my flat, through the crack in the black out curtains. Until imminent danger had passed. I am still, to this day thankful for Steve, the Samaritan. Whoever he is.

It was the last time I would actively try/seriously consider/make moves to kill myself. And it was the night the smallest glimmer of light entered into my life.

That was 8 years ago.

And I don’t know where to begin trying to tell you how different life is now.

Some of you reading this will know me, and will be able to agree with me on that.
Some of you don’t know me but all I can say is I am alive, and thats a good thing.

Living looks very different now to back then.

I won’t pretend its been easy. It hasn’t. It took another 18 months to truly come to a place of accepting I was alive. It took a few more years to be in a place where self harm, smoking, and getting very drunk were not features of daily life. It took even more years to start processing the terrors of life that had took me to the brink.

Its taken 8 years to get to this place now, and I’m still journeying. But it is a journey worth journeying.

Why am I telling you this? Why am I writing this?

Because its World Suicide Prevention Day today, and social media has been buzzing with tweets and statuses. I don’t even know how many. Millions. And I love that we have this day and it does some amazing awareness work, for sure but …

I know, there is a but. Which might not please everyone.

BUT as I read through the tweets on the hashtag this morning, and as I reflected on my contact with Steve and the Samaritans I thought about how many people are ‘marking’ this day with a tweet, and will then never think about it ever again? Or not again until next year comes around?

How many people tweet/facebook status a simple ‘you are not alone’ and a ‘RUOK’ today, but not the rest of the year? We are encouraging people to ask their friends if they are ok, today. Which is great …

But we need to be doing that every day. We need to be asking our friends every day if they are ok. We need to be watching out every day for people we know who are vulnerable and for the people we are in contact with.

We need to be signposting them to organisations that can help. Professionals. Trained people. As well as being listening ears and friends.

AND WE NEED TO KEEP TALKING ABOUT SUICIDE.

We need to keep talking about the issue, not just once a year. Not just on the 10th September. Not just every now and then, when a famous person, or a high profile media story breaks.

We need to be working towards erasing the stigma that mental health issues and suicide bring EVERY DAY. It needs to become part of who we are and not just a topic that we jump onto when its popular.

Because whether you like it or not, this isn’t a popular topic. People don’t normally want to talk about it. People don’t understand it. People misunderstand. People believe the myths. People don’t know where to begin.

Both in society, and within the church/faith groups.

And that leaves people like me with no where to go, and feeling like there is no one to talk to.

That needs to change. Must change.

If everyone tweeting today on the World Suicide Prevention hashtag supported this cause every single day of the year how much of a difference could we make in the world?

If everyone tweeting today using that hashtag (if able to) donated just a couple of quid to an organisation such as the Samaritans, how much of a difference could that make?

I urge, and beg actually that if this is something you have engaged with today, but you don’t normally, please don’t stop. Please continue. Please use your voice. Be active. Do something. It might not be donating money to a cause, sure, I understand that, but maybe it is? Maybe it is volunteering for a local helpline? Maybe it is getting some more education on the issues. Maybe its advocating for those who can’t speak for themselves.

Maybe its … there is SO much you can do … as well as tweeting once a year.

I used to believe there was no hope. I’ve discovered there is. And it was and is because people were and still are willing to reach out, and hold my hand (kinda) and walk alongside me.

And thats what people have done for me, and continue to do. They’ve not given up.

And its what we need to do with people in a hopeless place. Walk with them. Its a hard road. But worth it.

I remember someone saying to me a few years ago when my head was starting to overload again (my Pastor actually) that they (he & the church) couldn’t just pick me up and take me through the crap, and put me down the other side, because it wouldnt work that way. But what they could do was hold my hands, position themselves either side of me and walk beside me, alongside side me. WITH ME.

Please please please be willing to do that. 24/7. 365 days. Not just on the 10th September.

World Suicide Prevention Day needs to be today, tomorrow, and forever.

Thank you x

If you are alone – hurting – broken -in pain – can’t see the light – want out – YOU ARE NOT ALONE. 

Contact the Samaritans
08457 90 90 90  (UK)
116 123 (ROI)

or reach our to your local suicide prevention helpline or a friend if you are somewhere else in the world xx