“I can’t be left alone,” Meghan Markle told Oprah in a CBS interview that aired this weekend.
When she said those words, I felt my breath grow a bit heavier and my mind begin to race. As Meghan recounted her story to Oprah, I wept.
I wept because as I heard her speak her truth, I heard my truth.
I wept because I know what it’s like to feel as if the next moments are too unbearable.
I wept because I remember feeling as if the only solution for my pain was to close my eyes forever.
I wept because that memory of that feeling of hopelessness never goes away.
I was taken back to last summer when I felt as if I wanted to end my own life. I gripped the arm of the chair in our bedroom as my husband sat on our bed. I told him I was sad and that I couldn’t drop it. I let him know I felt broken and lost. He stared at me as the ceiling fan cooled the beads of sweat on my forehead. He tried to offer help, but as tears streamed down my face, I felt drawn closer to what I believed would be the solution. There would no longer be tears or any unexplainable sadness. I believed that I would finally feel “at peace.”
I was wrong.
With the help of medication and therapy, I was able to move past those intrusive thoughts.
In the background of this all happening, my mind wandered to what I would leave behind if I decided to take my own life.
“I don’t want to put that weight on my husband’s shoulders, he’s carrying the world . . . I want to bring solutions,” Meghan told Oprah as she described how she felt when she confided in her husband Prince Harry about her suicidal thoughts after she married into the British royal family.
When you’re a mom and a wife, there is overwhelming guilt you carry when suicidal thoughts cross your mind. You think of your husband and how he’ll need to continue working for the family even though he’ll be mourning. You think of the children you’ll leave behind who may question if they were enough for you or if they made you happy. While you think of them, you somehow still feel as if the solution to the pain and depression is to take your own life. Your mind finds its way back to your family and sometimes that is why you hold on long enough to seek help. You fight for your family and you fight for your life.
Meghan and I are two of the blessed ones.
We have husbands who gripped our hands as we wanted to fall into the darkness of our depression. We have access to mental health resources. We were able to find what works for us to overcome giving in to a solution that seemed like the only one for us. We are the lucky ones.
There are wives and moms all around the world who don’t have that support—or feel as if the support is enough—to overcome the depression. These women lose their battles. They can’t see the next moments and they don’t feel as if there is any hope. They are the women we have lost to suicide.
There is nothing we can do for them . . . oh, but I wish there were a way to save them. While we can’t do anything for them now, there are as many women fighting for their own lives right now. They wake up every day not knowing if this will be the day they decide to take their lives.
As a survivor of suicidal thoughts, I want to tell those women—even you—something I hope you believe:
You are worthy of this life. You are loved beyond measure by a God who knows your name and your pain.
You are not alone in your despair or tears because I am right there with you. There is no shame in not knowing how you’ll make it through the night. There is no shame in seeking help.
You are worthy of a better tomorrow.