Steady Now, Just Walk – Excerpt from Called To Live

CompassionateLove Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2013  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

The following is a brief excerpt from Called To Live: A Chronicle of Recovery After Attempted Suicide. (c) Nancy Virden 2013 (details for ordering are available on the Shop Here page)

This book covers one year of my life as I struggled to exchange suicidal thinking and behaviors for pursuit of life. 

“You have a strong knowledge of how to stop old behaviors, want to stop these behaviors, and yet there continues a strong pull to carry them out. How can you get to a Regis Philbin-style final decision?” Dr. Jay asks.

What a great question! This entire year I have been a yo-yo, determined one day to move upward, the next to drop back. I have not given up, demolished, or buried the “escape route” mentality chosen on the day of my suicide attempt. Equally, I have not quit aspiring to honor God. The latter is encouraged by nearly everyone who knows the situation. In my heart, I know I should let this side of the fight win. Lynne says I am feeding the wrong dog.

Months ago, she gave me papers to sign— commitments never to attempt suicide again and to follow a set route of options in the case of crisis. Yet unsigned, the battle continues.

Walking in the near pitch-blackness of night on our country property,  as a young girl my imagination created monsters out of tree branches and threats out of shadows.  I knew fears were getting the best of me, and so determined to walk. Just walk.

Dark shapes grew larger when the wind blew, and scattered their fingers across the gray lawn scratching as if pursuing something, someone. Eerie shades of dusky orange emanated from behind the clouds, granting little relief. Successfully managing to control my steps and not my beating heart, I would whisper to my eager-to-run legs, “Just walk.”

Certainly, I knew the trees were not dangerous. Ha! They were just climbing apparatuses and sources of shade! The real question was who was behind those trees? What malicious character lurked in the shadows just waiting for me to get near?

Breathing heavily and walking fast, forcing my eyes straight ahead, I would see out of their corners gloomy forms stealthily making their way toward me. I may have been able to walk that path on clear nights, controlling my panic with my whisper. However, if a movement in the trees was at all unusual, that walk was a speedy one. If a dog barked, I was off like a shot.

It is that old fear keeping me from signing those papers. What hides in the murky shadows of the future? I can make out the darkness and sense the threats easily enough. What if one day I need to run out of here?

A dog is barking. I whisper, “Just walk.”

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 23:3 (GNT)

He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths, as he has promised.



NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.


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