When You Feel that Death is A Better Option

I had always been highly anxious on airplanes, and especially upon takeoff. However, on this day I was unusually calm. We were taxing down the runaway, and I had zero anxiety. And then there was the pause, I pictured the pilots fist bumping each other before getting one of their dopamine rushes for the day. Then my head flew back as we tore down the runaway, the nose lifted as I could feel the airplane being pushed to it’s limits, the sound of the engines drowned out Cross Canadian Ragweed in my earbuds, and then the pilot banked with a sharp left and I thought, “I really don’t care if we crash.”

As I looked around the cabin I noticed children, young couples, and grandparents likely on their way to visit their family. And I quickly realized what we all know about severe depression…it makes us selfish. Our world becomes very small, and the misery can make us get lazer focused on the negative. At that point in my life I wasn’t hoping for the airplane to crash…I just welcomed the opportunity to escape the daily battle of depression and anxiety. However, how incredibly selfish my thought was did not escape me.

When someone chooses to take their own life it isn’t to necessarily escape the moment, but more so to escape the future. For those of you who are fortunate enough to have never experienced such deep sadness or anxiety let me help you understand. Those who struggle start the battle at the very moment they open their eyes in the morning. Hell, I can remember a time when it would also find its way into my dreams! To understand anxiety picture yourself opening your eyes in the morning to someone screaming fire! To understand depression, picture yourself waking up and someone immediately delivering very bad news.

The moment someone begins to have any form of suicidal ideations (thoughts) they should seek counseling immediately. Therapist are more skilled today than ever before with tools to help, and many medical professionals can prescribe a medication to take the edge off. Don’t assume that it’s just a “crazy” thought you’d never act on…its a sign you need help. More people than you can imagine have been right where you are today. And here is the key, how you’ve felt for the last few days, weeks, or even years does not predict your future! Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

I want you to close your eyes and begin to picture what you could miss if life ended today. I know, some of you are in a bad place so force yourself to be positive! I feel ya, I use to say that I don’t only see the glass as half-empty…I see it falling off the counter and shattering into 1000 pieces! Close your eyes, and picture a wedding, children, or grandchildren. Picture a promotion, finishing a 5k or half-marathon, or being out of debt. Close your eyes and picture yourself happy, healthy, and laughing with friends. Your past does not have to be your future. And while some of you have been diagnosed as bipolar, generalized anxiety, and the list goes on…your diagnosis does not define you! However, if you are bipolar then see your doctor and take your medicine. If you were a diabetic you wouldn’t give up insulin!

It was about 5:00 in the morning when someone began pounding on the front door of the parsonage where I lived as a pastor. I stumbled to grab a robe or shirt to put on knowing that something was wrong. I opened the door to a frantic church member who let me know a father of 4 (in our church) had just taken his life.

As I drove the 15 minutes to the home I was still somewhat dazed, and trying to gather the correct words to share with this family. I was a young pastor, and quickly learned that I just needed to be present. I also learned that there is no greater darkness on the planet than that which comes from a family member taking their own life. As I walked through the front door the sound of crying struck me like a sudden thunder clap as I looked around the home to see family and friends hugging. I had entered a battle zone. I apologize to soldiers if that is an unfair comparison, but it is the closest I will come as a civilian. There had been a battle between good and evil and evil had won. No, I am not saying the deceased was evil, but pure evil pushed him to that point. He was actually a good man who had lost his way in the darkness.

I was handed the note he left behind for the family and I’ll never forget one line which read, “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Again, we see that false belief that because things have not gone well they will continue to go poorly or get worse! As I read his goodbye note I have to be honest and admit that I got a little pissed. Yes, I fully understand being sick and tired of being sick and tired, but I was sitting in a room full of people who loved him. A room full of people that felt lost, crushed, and alone, because their father decided they weren’t worth living for! You say, “Tony that’s a little harsh and insensitive.” Well talk to a child who has lost a parent to suicide, and you’ll quickly learn that they want to know why they weren’t worth their parent choosing life. And I think this is important for those of you considering suicide to remember. Life is NOT better without you. I love you even though I’ve never met you, but listen to me…you matter to the people around you. If you choose to take your life then you may just destroy some of their lives. And if you are thinking about taking your life, due to a breakup or divorce then I have one point to make. Wake up my friend, there are nearly 350 million people in the United States…and one of them will love your sexy ass! The pain you feel today will go away.

As I finished the letter he ran down a list of things that were wrong in his life, and I assure you that every single one of them could’ve gotten much better in time. Unfortunately, his darkness over came him to the point there was no light. Today I write this blog after hearing of yet another suicide in my circle of friends as well as among our Nashville Country Music family. And I want to beg you to get help if suicide has crossed your mind. I want you to picture a bright future, because it is possible. This is a better world because you are in it, and you are dearly loved by your creator, and more people than you could possibly imagine.

Love you,



5 responses to “When You Feel that Death is A Better Option”

  1. hyltonla

    Tony, today was so hard that I sat sobbing in bed with my shrink’s phone number pulled up. All I had to do was push that red button. I knew all I would do was cry to him about the heartbreak that is speeding towards me. In between heaving sobs I turned my phone off. What’s he gonna do? Change my meds? The inevitable pain is rushing nearer every day. I’ve been in this spot before and I was blessed to be able to adapt but it’s harder when you get older. I don’t even know why I’m telling you this except to let your readers know that you can come out on the other side of what feels like crushing loss. This isn’t the first time even though it sure feels like it. God help us all. Please keep writing your blogs. Billions of people on the planet. Your words hit the bullseye for many of us on just the right day. Thanks and love.


  2. Marsha

    Lost my son to suicide a little over a year ago, heart broken. I flew to Texas and picked up his ashes on his birthday. Hardest day of my life. But being the kid he was he saw the irony of me “breaking him out of the funeral home” aka picking up his ashes,” at the time of his birth. And yes his ashes were in my hands. I flew back to Seattle the same day.


  3. Jennifer Mallozzi

    What a beautiful post. You are 100% correct and I wish every single person suffering through any mental crisis (we all do) could/would read it. My mother killed herself slowly with drugs and alcohol and I’ve had several good friends and the child of a good friend kill themselves. They all had a better life ahead of them. Each was completely unique. Thank you for your transparency and your ability to spread God’s word as well as make all of us feel human and loved.

    Jennifer Mallozzi


    Liked by 1 person

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