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7 years ago today, I lost all hope & tried to end my life in a hotel room 2 hours from home. I thought the least I could was die far enough from home that my wife wouldn't find my body.

In the past 7 years of recovery from a suicide attempt, I've learned a thing or two.

THREAD
Here are 7 things that nearly killed me:

1. Mental illness.

This fact so often overlooked. It's an ILLNESS. Not a lack of faith, selfishness, a choice, or a crime.

(Side note: You wouldn't say somebody "committed" cancer. Think about how you talk about suicide.)
2. A lack of boundaries.

I was addicted to busyness, found my worth in my work, and never said no.
3. Toxic theology.

Performance-based Christianity was all about external behavior, to the detriment of true faith and belonging. There was no prayer or Christian platitude that could magically fix my mental illness. I needed extra help from outside the church.
4. Fear.

As a pastor, I was scared to death for anyone to know the real me. I wasn't even scared of hell (I was already living there). It was fear of what everyone else would think if I admitted I was weak.
5. Shame.

I believed the lies shame tells us: you aren't enough. Not man enough. Strong enough. Sane enough. Christian enough. So I learned to stay quiet and keep my head down.
6. A low view of self.

I hated myself. I believed I was a burden on my family and the best thing I could do for them would be to disappear, so they could start over.
7. The sin of comparison.

It's killing so many. Comparing what we know about ourselves to what we don't know about someone else. We believe the shiny car, new house, and diamond ring are real life, all the time. But they're not.
Tomorrow, I'll share 7 things that keep me living. For now, all I can tell you is that the only way I healed was by integrating my mental, spiritual and emotional health.
It took years of work with mental health professionals and a refusal to hide. I had to have other people to survive.

If you're struggling today, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-283-8255.
If you suspect that someone you care about is struggling with thoughts of suicide, start by having an honest conversation. If they tell you they are thinking of suicide, don't leave them alone. Get them help, and keep them safe.

#suicideprevention
#keeptalkingMH
#graceismessy
And one final note - if you're a pastor (or any other helping professional for that matter) - remember that you're a human, too.

Don't isolate.
Ask for help.
Go to therapy.
We need you healthy.

#SuicideInChurch
Here are a few ways your church should look more like a psych ward. Via @USATODAY

usatoday.com/story/opinion/…

#suicideinchurch #keeptalkingMH
@USATODAY "From Pastor to a Psych Ward" is back to #1 on Amazon in the Psychology of Suicide category and #2 & #6 on Audible.

Thanks!

If you'd like to order a copy, here are the links:

E-book: amzn.to/2loShAb

Paperback: amzn.to/2msucsm

Audible: amzn.to/2lawwUV
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