Trigger warning: This episode discusses death by suicide.
In the last couple of weeks, we have been impacted by the deaths of three prominent people in America who died by suicide. We know there are so many more whose names we do not know and even more people who are still in the struggle for their lives.
In this episode of Heart Work with PBJ, Dr. Patrice Buckner Jackson shares her personal struggle with suicide ideation and the moment it all changed for her.
This one is dedicated to my students.
Note: I am not a counselor. This podcast is full of my opinion and personal experiences. If you need help today, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
To connect with Dr. PBJ, go to www.aspoonfulofpbj.com
Do you need a dynamic transformational speaker? Dr. Patrice Buckner Jackson is ready to serve. Check out Dr. PBJ Speaks
Follow me on IG @drpatricebucknerjackson for #aspoonfulofpbj every Monday.
Support the show
Hey, friends. I'm Dr. Patrice BucknerJackson. But you can call me PBJ Welcome to another episode of Heart Work with PBJ where we are disrupting cycles of burnout and compassion fatigue. For people who serve from the heart, y'all. It's our 50th episode, our 50th episode, y'all, I'm just, I'm so grateful. I'm so grateful. I remember recording the first episode in my closet, on my phone in the closet because the acoustics are good. Okay. Oh, my phone thinking I don't know how long this is going last. But let's give it a try. And I have found so much joy in sharing with you all and you sharing back to me that the episodes bless you. I'm just so grateful. So let's continue doing this thing. How about back in celebration of our 50th episode, if you will share with somebody send them the link. Tell them what episode is your favorite. Help us get the word out about this message of burnout and compassion, fatigue, help us get the word out. People are looking for help. And they're looking for a community. And this is a good community to be a part of. All right. So thank you all for helping me do that. Today's episode is going to be a little bit deeper. So hold on to your hats. Just ride with me. Okay. All right, let's get into the episode. So today, I'm going to start just from jump and let you know that we're going to be talking about death by suicide. So this is a trigger warning, if this is not an episode that will be healthy for you. If this topic is something that you are struggling with, or you lost someone, I encourage you to take care of yourself, not just encourage you really asked you from the heart to take care of yourself. If you're someone who's struggling with the thoughts of suicide or wrestling with thoughts of suicide, there is help, I encourage you to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. And that number is 1-800-273-8255. Again, 1-800-273-8255. And I will be sure to put the number in the show notes as well. So that you can be sure to connect with some help today. Now friends, y'all know me, I'm not a counselor, I'm not a psychologist. I'm not trained in those ways. So that's not how I'm coming to you today. I'm coming to you with my experience, and how I walked through some troubling times. And it's just that is my experience. So again, I encourage you if you are suffering, if you are wrestling, if you know somebody who needs help, reach out for help, there's help, okay. Recently, if you're listening to this as it comes out, you're not surprised by the topic because we've really been rocked in America by some pretty high profile death by suicide. More than one public figure or family members of a public figure have died to suicide in the last couple of weeks. And I'll be honest with you, I really hesitated to even have a podcast on this topic, because I know how sensitive it is literally life and death. And I don't take that for granted. And I never want to just add to the noise. But it really was impressed on my heart. I know that a lot of millennials and a lot of Gen Z. Listen to this podcast, I hear you, you send me your comments. Some of you were my students. So I know that that generation those generations listen to this podcast. And I feel a responsibility to tell you all the good, the bad and the ugly. Sometimes we just give you the highlights, and just seeing the highlights will make you feel inadequate or make you feel like there's something wrong with you. So I'm devoted and I'm determined to telling you the whole story. So that you again, it's my story, but it's the whole story. So that you know that ups and downs in life are normal, so that you know that the struggles that you are feeling are not just you you're not the only one you don't have to be isolated. You're not alone. There's nothing wrong with you. This is a life my friends. This is life. So that's what I decided to have this episode because I think it's important that we tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. You are, I'm going to stick pretty closely to my notes. Again, because I know this topic is so sensitive, and I want to bring honor, I want to bring honor to people that we've lost. I want to bring honor to family members and friends who are grieving. And I want to bring honor to those who are struggling. We need you. And we need you to stick around. There's something that you bring to this earth that nobody else does. There's a gift, there's a brilliance that you bring that was created a new that nobody else can bring. And it's not just for us, it's for you. Is not just for us, it's for you. Sometimes, sometimes when you're facing struggle, all you can see is the struggle. it obstructs your vision, your trouble is so big that you cannot see beyond it. If you're listening on the podcast and not watching on YouTube, I've got my hands in front of my face right now, blocking my vision. Because oftentimes we're we're in the midst of a struggle. That's what it feels like. That's what it feels like it feels like there's no answer, it feels like things will never change, it feels like things will never get better. Because you can't see beyond what you're going through. I can't tell you how many times I've met with students and supportive students, and literally all they could see was the trouble in front of their faces. And they didn't ask for help, because they assumed there was no help. And how many times did I come in and say, Hey, we can fix that, we have a solution for that we have helped with that. They didn't know that there was help. They didn't know that it could get better. So I'm here to tell you, it's just like if you're driving up a mountain, if you're driving up a mountain, all you can see as what's on your side of the mountain, not because you're not going anywhere, not because you're not progressing. It's because the mountain is so big. But I'm here to tell you you're not far away from a new horizon. As soon as you go over that mountain, you have a different view, and you are just steps away from it. But you couldn't see it because the mountain was so large, you're steps away from it from change from better from purpose. But you just can't see it yet. So I just want to encourage your heart. And I want to encourage you that you're not the only one. You're not the first one to struggle with thoughts of suicide, especially in the African American community. And I can talk about it because that's who I am. So I'm not saying that, you know, other communities don't struggle. I know they do. But I need to speak to this, because I know this intimately. When I was growing up, we didn't talk about mental health. And honestly, the African American community, we're just breaking in to talking about mental health. When I was growing up, if it was anything about mental health, it was either somebody is crazy, or somebody is going to the crazy house. And the crazy house was a hospital or some side some kind of institution. And so it there was no in between there. There was either you were saying or you were crazy. And nobody wanted to be crazy. So nobody talked about their struggles. We didn't talk about depression or anxiety. We didn't even talk about fear a whole lot, because we didn't want people to think we were crazy. But you know what, when I think that to my childhood, and think about growing up, I have to tell you that the children talked about it. The children did I remember other children coming to me as a child, telling me about how they attempted to take their own lives. And the attempt failed. I remember specifically those conversations and because we were fearful. We were fearful of being in trouble. We were fearful of being considered crazy that we didn't tell adults, we didn't tell anybody who could help us. We told other children, we taught children talk to children. And what we ended up doing is swap and traumas. So I'm taking on the trauma of another child, they taken all my trauma, and we're just swapping traumas because we can't help each other. We didn't have the knowledge, the skill, the expertise to help each other. So we ended up just swapping traumas because it wasn't it didn't feel like it was okay to talk about the trouble. But I'm so glad that we're finally on Breaking through the three high profile deaths by suicide recently that I am aware of. I know that there are more. But the three high profile ones recently are all people of color, and a shaking our community. But even beyond that, I know of some deaths unfortunately here, locally of children. And I don't know what their cultural background is, and it doesn't matter, but those children have gone because of death by suicide. Our country, our world, has been through a lot. It's been through a lot. And we haven't counted the cost of the trauma the last couple of years. And now all of a sudden, we are seeing not that it doesn't always happen. This is happening in our world. But right now it is in our faces, and we got to do something about it. It's time to speak up. It's time to speak up. So I just want to share with you all, an experience that I had as a young adult. And you may have heard this, I shared a lot of it in the episode where I talked about my quarter life crisis. So you can go back to that if you want more details. But the summary of it was, I had found myself in the midst of struggle, because of my own choices. I had made some bad financial decisions, just ignorant, I didn't know better, and gotten myself into a hole in that way. And honestly, when I think that edit, I didn't even owe that much money. But it was more than a hate. And it seemed insurmountable to me at the time. But it wasn't just the financial trouble. I was in this place where I was desiring. I desire to get married, I desire to be a mother, I desire to have a family. And it didn't look like that was happening for me. So while I was serving as bridesmaid for other people, I was longing, almost grieving at times for my turn, and my day, and my blessing. And all of this age 2324 25. All of this seems so impossible. And so insurmountable. I could only see my current trouble. I couldn't see a way out. I didn't know how I was going to resolve the financial trouble I was in I didn't know, there was nothing I could do to make somebody fall in love with me. I felt like my hands were tied. I tried everything. I remember I had a full time job and a master's degree like, can we just tell the truth, I had a whole master's degree and a full time job and I was still broke. And I'm not talking about broke like you don't have as much money as you want. I'm talking like, going into the cushions for change. I'm talking about I had a car but I couldn't drive it because I couldn't afford to put gas in it. I'm talking about eviction notices on the door. I'm talking about one kandalama beans in the pantry. And I refuse to eat it because I was I was fearful that one day, I wouldn't have anything and I couldn't hold out any longer and I wouldn't need those long beans. It was it was bad. It was bad. And I tried. I tried to get another job. I tried all kinds of things. All kinds of things. There are things right now I'm in pawn shops that I wish I had kept. I mean, can I just can I just be honest. I tried everything that I knew, to dig myself out. And I made it worse. I just made it worse. I remember one day I went home early from work. And I remember laying on the couch, and I remember bawling. I'm talking about bawling my eyes out screaming screaming at God. I literally felt like what if I die? And my mom gets my life insurance, and she'll be okay. And everybody their feelings might be hurt, but they'll they'll be because I literally, I never wanted to die. I just wanted relief. I just want to relief. I didn't want to die. If I'm honest. I just wanted relief. I got on that couch and I described and I told God how I felt like he was unfair. And I told him how I was feeling I'm going to believe he even existed, because how can he love me and like, beat his heart. I just screamed and cried, I think for hours, I cried literally, until I could not cry anymore. Until I just fell silent, and lay there in tears just fell silent. And at some moment, and may have fallen asleep and woke back up, I can't remember. But at some moment, I remember, my spirits started singing to me. And if that doesn't make sense to you what I mean is inside of me, deeper than my mind, it felt like it was coming from the heart inside of me to a song started playing, and I started hearing it on the inside. And it's an old song that I grew up hearing in church, you know, and you just sing what everybody else sayings. And the song Never really meant a whole lot personally to me, but you know, just saying it, you know, if that was the song, we were singing in church that day. But that's all started playing in my spirit, it started playing. And before I knew it, I started saying it to myself, I will trust in the Lord will in kept saying it, I will trust in the Lord, I will trust in the Lord, I will trust in the Lord. And I didn't feel that at that moment. But I kept seeing, I just kept seeing it. And I felt like my spirit, God's Spirit was ministering to me in that moment, it was almost like, I've been waiting for you to throw your hands up. I've been waiting for you to be honest about how you feel. I've been waiting for you to take your mask off, and stop at them like this is okay. And to tell the truth that this sucks. I mean, waiting for you to get real with yourself. Nobody else was there. Nobody else heard me as far as I know. I mean, the neighbors might have heard me out on nobody say anything. It was just me. But that was a reminder that God was with me. Even in the midst of all of that he was with me. And that is the point when things started turning around for me. And it wasn't overnight. Like I didn't win the lottery or didn't get a big check or nothing like that. But what happened versus my mind changed. My mind changed, my hope came back, I began to see my life beyond where I was in that moment, I began to believe again, that I was going to be okay. And things were going to be okay. And as my mind started changing, situations around me started changing, my living situation got better, my financial situation got better. And I can't even tell you steps one, two, and three, I don't even remember all the things that have been added noise. And when I look back on that experience now, from where I sit now, I think about it, think about the things that I almost missed, if I would have not wrestled that suicidal thought to the ground. If I would have given up and given it to that thought I would have missed meeting my husband and enjoying life with him. I would have missed meeting my baby girl. I would have missed all the students that I've had the honor of loving and being a part of their life all these years. Even now my husband and our Preparing right now today to travel to go celebrate a wedding renewal with one of our students and her partner. I would have missed years and years of students that have come in my life and may feel like my own that I watched grow up and move into their own families and their own careers and have babies and do all the things that they desire to to I would have missed all that. I would have missed my work. I would have missed sharing with you. I would have missed knowing my purpose and what I was created to do. If I would have given in to that thought so I share this with you today. I know, I know that millennials and Gen Z listen to this, and this is for everybody. But for my millennials and my generation Z, let me tell y'all something. You're not supposed to meet all your goals before you're 30. Maybe you're not supposed to hit six figures before you're 20 you're not supposed to have all the answers. Love will come, keep sowing love, and love will come. If it is in your heart purely, I'm not talking about just chasing stuff, for the sake of chasing. If it is in your heart, the Bible says God gives us the desires of our hearts that he played well, we love Him, He places desires in our hearts. And if he placed the desire, he's gonna bring it for. If it's in your heart, it will come. Even to those who have maybe met some of those goals. Maybe you got the marriage, maybe you have the children, maybe you have the degrees, maybe you have the careers, and you got there and you're looking around and like, this is not what I thought it was gonna be. This is not as shiny and glittery and glamorous. As I thought it was gonna be. This is not fun. I'm here to tell you. It's not over until it's good. And if it's not good is not over. Even that good is not over. So even though you might have made it to the place where you thought you were supposed to be. There's yet another pinnacle. There's yet another place, there's yet another thing is not over until it's good. And good is coming your way. Life is full of peaks and valleys. It is full of the mountain top, and sometimes the painful Valley. But if you can hold on while you're in the valley, surround yourself with wisdom with good community. Tell somebody when you're struggling, ask for help, you're gonna make it to your next peak. And you will enjoy that season of victory. Don't give up hope returns, hope returns, even in times where you feel like you've lost your hope. The Bible says Hope deferred makes the heart sick. That means when we lose our hope, our whole body I hope being suffers for it. Hope returns, I'm here to tell you it comes back, you're going up the mountain right now. But on the other side of that peak, there's a brand new view that you haven't seen yet. And friend is where C is worth seeing is worth fighting for. It's worth waiting. It's worth it. I can't wait for you to be five years, 10 years, 20 years, whatever, on the other side of what you're in right now. And to look back and see the value that you gained by learning how to fight through this. So that's what I got for you today. I'm here to remind you that hope returns and the trouble that's in your face right now is not the full view. There's more to your life is more for you. And you have a brilliance, you have a purpose. You have a mission. And nobody can execute it like you. You deserve it. You deserve to get to that place. You deserve to see your blessings you deserve. You deserve to see your overflow. You deserve to see what's in store for you. Hang on in there, friend. Hang on, it's worth it. So again, if you are struggling, or if you know somebody who's struggling and wrestling with suicide, or suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255. It'll be in the show notes. Call somebody. Let somebody know. Reach out to somebody you trust. Hold a hand get somebody to hold your hand so you can get through this. Don't you ever forget. You are powerful. You are significant. And you are love. Love always PBJ