TRIGGER WARNING :Warrior story contains subjects related to suicide, psychiatric hospitalization, domestic violence and possible substance abuse.
How can you be a bad ass warrior while dealing with mental illness?
There’s no a one -size-fits-all answer. I do have a powerful and personal warrior story. My recent experience with strong suicidal ideation, survival and divine intervention will hopefully encourage others, who are suffering from mental illness(es). If you are a born again Christian, you will undoubtedly see the ULTIMATE WARRIOR woven throughout this story.
On June 21st I admitted myself into the ER for suicidal thoughts. I’ve been dealing with depression for a good chunk of my life. What made me certain I had to go to the ER this time? I was on a very quick downward spiral. My coping mechanism, self-harming, wasn’t working anymore. It wasn’t enough anymore to dull the mental anguish. In a time moment of total hopelessness, I started planning my suicide. All I needed were bullets for my 9mm.
Badass Warrior move #1 is to seek help asap if you have suicidal thoughts. I walked into the nearest ER and said,”I’m suicidal. I need help.” Was I afraid of being admitted? Yes, I was afraid of “what if’s” playing in my head. The thought of my family grieving the loss of me scared me even more. My family and faith kept me from buying and loading those bullets. The possibility of going to hell, never seeing my loved ones or Jesus was a chance I was not going to take.
On June 23rd I was discharged from the hospital. I had the official green light to go back home. Honestly, I had reservations about going back home. That being said, I still knew Jesus was with me and was in control. I had faith he would keep me safe and He surely did.
On the evening of June 24th, I had a panic attack and used a healthy coping skill. I stepped in my car and drove towards Mill Creek Park trails to “walk it off”.I quickly changed my mind at a stop sign and proceeded towards the Riverside Gardens instead. It was closer and flowers make me feel instant happiness. After I turn left at the stop sign, my wandering mind saw a garage sale. Yup, I decided to stop and take a quick little peak. As soon as I stepped out of my car my eyes gravitated to 19th century looking painting of an angel.
Before I could touch the painting, I hear a child screaming across the street. This is the point my brain automatically turns the flight or fight switch on. I then hear adults yelling and scuffling. An eerie silence permeates the atmosphere followed by a more horrifying scream.I run as fast as I can to see what’s happening. I see a young child, about two years of age, standing near a backyard porch. I ran up to the child and notice she is physically unharmed but terrifyingly looking over my shoulder.
I look to my right and see a large man, over 200 hundred lbs., choking the bleep out of a woman on the backyard porch. The woman waved her arms to try and escape. Other adults were looking through the sliding door about two yards away. Not one person in the house intervened. All this happened in seconds. Badass Warrior move #2 is to help people in need. Even if you’re under 5 ft. like me, you CAN tap into unimaginable courage to help others.
The calm and confidence I had during this domestic abuse incident is best described as the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). Jesus and his guardian angels were all around me. I could feel the divine presence. I felt like time was in slow motion mode. Something you would see in a movie are scenes of time standing still while you’re still moving.
My softly placed hand on his left shoulder got his attention. I look into the man’s possessed- looking eyes and calmly said “It’s okay man. Hey, hey, everything is okay.” I spoke to him in a calm voice because panic and yelling induces even more panic and yelling. If I had yelled at the abuser, my voice would’ve been lost in the chaos and likely become a victim myself.
Calm verbal and body communication (soft voice and soft touch on shoulder) translates to, “I’m not here to hurt you.” Let’s be real though. A warrior is prepared to fight; I had a plan in case he tried to hurt me. Badass Warrior move #3 is to use effective nonviolent behavior and communication to resolve conflict.
De-escalation worked fairly quickly. Mr. “Under the Influence” (chemical and evil) choker began to lose his grip as I pulled them apart. She takes a swing at him as I pulled her to safety to the front yard. Victim then saw my hospital bracelet and cuts on my wrist (self-harm) and whaled, “oh my gosh you were in the hospital?! I feel horrible.” In a crisis situation, it is so important to help a person feel safe and calmer, if possible. I told her I was perfectly fine then yelled at the other cowardly- drunken adults, “Are there any guns in the house?” Thank God there were not guns.
I yelled across to the garage sale people,” Call the cops and get me some water for her now !” I snapped my fingers to signal immediate action! Poor woman, who was choked, panicked at she held her red neck. I calmed her with a safety pep talk, “You’re ok, right here right now. You’re going to be ok. Jesus sent me here to help you.” As she began to blame herself, I said ” NO, NO, no, its not your fault. There are no excuses for violence.Would you like a hug? She gladly accepted my hug of comfort.
Imagine the irony of a suicidal woman saving the life of another woman. There was no coincidence being in the right place at the right time. I have a purpose to fulfill and it’s not my time to leave this earth just yet. Jesus used divine intervention to save a woman’s life while sending me this loud and clear message -“Jenny, this is your purpose. Helping people is your purpose and you’ve been doing it ALL ALONG.”
I give ALL credit to the Ultimate Warrior, Jesus Christ. I was just his chosen vessel. Jesus was with me that day and always will be. He can be there for you too if you ask Jesus into your heart and acknowledge him for what He is, our redeemer and salvation.
PLEASE CALL 911 OR A SUICIDE HOTLINE if you are having SUICIDAL THOUGHTS or in a time of CRISIS.
(Suicide Prevention Lifeline logo found through http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org )
Quick Bio: I have completed conflict resolution and communication courses at Kent State University. Check out my mental health Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Jen2Ready/
Youngstown’s local newspaper published an article about the incident. http://www.vindy.com/news/2017/jun/26/partys-over-man-faces-assault-charges/
If you know someone who would like to share their PTSD, depression or bipolar stories, click this link www.ptsdchat.org to learn more about different ways to contribute.