Overwhelming emotions can take you to where you want to die. It’s what happens when it all becomes too much for us mere humans to handle.
The other day I was watching a news reporter standing in a stream swollen with water from a recent storm. Water was rushing down against his legs, and he talked about the overwhelming power of the current.
Many people die when their footing is lost to the overwhelming power of what is simply a collection of water droplets joined together.
Are you kind to yourself?
Here is some news for all of us.
Under a certain level of stress and pressure, something is always going to give.
It’s not just the one straw that broke the camels back, but the accumulation of straws. Under an overwhelming stress load, a mental illness may well make its appearance. Depression, anxiety, psychosis.
For some, it might result in a wish to die. To take their own life or to cry out in their pain. ‘God! Take my life. I Want to Die’.
The Dark Hole
In that dark, lonely hole, you may feel hopeless, helpless, and worthless.
- hopeless – a belief that no one can help
- helpless – an inability to take steps forward
- worthless – overwhelmed with a sense of personal failure.
If you’re in a dark hole, then you think there is no way out.
Your world has collapsed in on you, and you don’t have a spade and the willpower to dig your way out.
The man who wanted to die
There have been others who have been in that same dark hole and have recovered and found their way out. One of them was a biblical superhero called Elijah.
He crashed and burned big time.
When his life was threatened by a furious Queen Jezebel, he ran.
Then he was afraid; he got up and fled for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongs to Judah; he left his servant there.
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.” 1 Kings 19: 3, 4
When the walls of the false self crumbled to dust, a desire to die was heard.
One of us
If I ever meet Elijah or the writer of this book I would thank them for including this.
It’s so easy to focus on the positive things coming out of a person’s life and skip over the uncomfortable.
This is not a place to theorise whether what Elijah said was right or wrong. This is a moment of acknowledging his humanity. That he is someone like us.
When you’re in this hole, you don’t want to hear ‘You shouldn’t say that.’
You don’t want cliche Christian kindness or to ‘Try harder’.
You want to hear
‘I hear the pain, it’s ok, and I’m not going to leave you.
Together we will find a way through this’.
If you’re someone who has cried out the Elijah prayer ‘I’ve had enough, Take my life God, I want to die’ then please know that you have company.
Moses in his dark hole of frustration shouts at God.
If this is the way you are going to treat me, put me to death at once—if I have found favor in your sight—and do not let me see my misery. Numbers 11:15
In your dark hole know that Moses and Elijah have been there too. But it didn’t end there in that place of darkness.
God did not cause them to die. There was still more to do, and it required something within them to change.
Overwhelming emotions like surging floodwaters can drag you away to where you want to die.
It happens, and the more times it happens, the deeper the groove is ground out.
There is a way out.
You might like to get my free ebook Out of the Darkness -Help for your depression
Fill out the boxes below, and I will send you a copy.
- Emotional Overwhelm
- What to Do When Your Emotions Overwhelm You
- A Hidden Reason for Suicidal Thoughts
- 6 Keys To Helping Someone Who Is Suicidal
- Just don’t touch that button – your unbearable feeling
Quotes to consider
- When I believe my feelings and those feelings misrepresent reality, I am headed for a self-referential pit that will get deeper and darker as I dig myself into my home-made delusion. D. Riddell
- There is a ladder for my pit – and there is a good counsellor who can help me find the way out. D. Riddell
- When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on. Franklin D. Roosevelt
Questions to answer and leave a comment below or anonymously
- Have you ever been in that dark hole where you want God to cause you to die?
- What comfort is there to know this desire for God to take our lives has been spoken by biblical characters?
- What has helped you get of the hole of wanting to die?
Image cc: Toa Heftiba
Barry Pearman lives in Auckland, New Zealand, and writes about Mental Health and Spiritual Formation. In the past, Barry has been a pastor to people struggling with Mental Illnesses. Find out more about Barry here.
Get his free books – Out of the Darkness: Help for your depression and Four Spiritual Exercises from the Bible for your Mental Health