Author Deborah La Chapelle Mitchell shares how she overcame her 'stalker'

Deborah La Chapelle Mitchell has found purpose in her life overcoming suicide ideation to write a book about her experiences. - Jeff K Mayers
Deborah La Chapelle Mitchell has found purpose in her life overcoming suicide ideation to write a book about her experiences. - Jeff K Mayers

Disturbed by the number of children she knew who experienced suicidal ideation (considering suicide), local author Deborah La Chapelle Mitchell has written a book sharing her experiences and giving tips on how to deal with dark thoughts.

She said Suicide, Why Are You Stalking Me is about people having difficulties adjusting to and understanding life changes and challenging situations. It is about people being fed up of life’s adversities and rejections, as well as the ways she eventually stopped suicidal ideation in the hopes of motivating and helping others.

“I want people to live. I want to give them a fighting chance through my book. My mantra is, ‘There’s hope in waiting,’ because you never know what could happen or what you could become. And if you take your life you could rob people of something you alone would have been able to give them.”

Written mostly from her experiences and some situations she saw others endure, she wrote about suicide as a person, as if it is someone who stalks people and whispers in their ears.

She said factors she personally saw or experienced included bullying, abuse, and the local culture of adults “attacking” or bullying children and calling it picong or a joke.

She also believes rejection can be felt in the womb. Just as a foetus can hear music, recognise a voice, or react to a mother’s stress, she believes it could also sense rejection, starting its life on negative footing.

She told WMN one of the reasons she wrote Suicide, Why Are You Stalking Me is because in 2016 she was a facilitator at a vacation Bible school where there were about 100 children, whose ages ranged from five to 16.

At one point she asked the older children if any of them had ever contemplated suicide. All raised their hands.

She then asked if any had tried and was shocked by the number of children who had. She was especially surprised because one of the latter was “the life of the party,” a jolly boy who liked to make people happy.

La Chapelle Mitchell, 52, believes in God and Jesus Christ, and does not believe He makes mistakes in who He allows to be born.

She quoted Job 14:1, which says, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.”

Deborah La Chapelle Mitchell said a discussion about suicide with children at a Bible school camp moved her to a book about her own experience of suicide ideation. - Jeff K Mayers

Since the Bible said hardships should be expected, she believes circumstances should not be the main factor in people not wanting to continue living.

“There is always hope. But that hope can only be seen if we wait and see how life plays out, rather than take this way out.

“Look how long it took me. I am 52 years old and I just wrote a book. If I had succeeded, my pages would have been empty. The time may seem long, but if you hold out, who knows? You could very well be the next prime minister, because it’s usually older people who are PMs.”

Another motivator for the book was the Bible character Tamar, the daughter of King David who was raped and discarded by her half-brother. David found out about his son’s actions but did nothing about it.

She considered how many women and girls were in that situation – violated and when they speak out they are not believed or are dismissed. She put herself in these women’s positions and could imagine Tamar and these women having suicidal thoughts.

La Chapelle Mitchell grew up with her mother, stepfather and two siblings. She said her mother left everything up to her stepfather, including discipline. Although he would beat them all, he targeted her verbally. He would call her ugly and generally put her down, no matter what she did or how well she behaved.

She said it was only after reading her book that her mother realised his treatment of her children was not “normal,” as she too was abused as a child and by her first husband.

La Chapelle Mitchell recalled developing two imaginary friends, Rosley and Sherry, to help her deal with her trauma. Their interactions were always verbally and emotionally abusive, but she felt safety in that familiar dynamic, and they remained her closest friends for years.

Her first suicide attempt was at 13 or 14. She remembers falling in the road and someone taking her to the hospital.

“At that point all you want to do is leave. And once you close certain inner doors it’s really hard to open them again. But I don’t think anyone who contemplates suicide really wants to die. Sometimes you just want somebody to see you and say something positive.”

At 16 she ran away from home and bounced from the homes of family members to apartments to hostels. Just before she turned 18, she heard her stepfather had died, so a pregnant La Chapelle Mitchell returned home to help her mother.

Around 23 she had the last of her four children and married their father. She started going to church, was baptised, and things started to change for her.

She stressed that, although she never attempted suicide again, things did not immediately change for the better. But she continued to attend church and pray to God to help her.

“It took me some good years before I truly got over my past and the negative thoughts. I was probably in my 30s already.

"I remember my father used to abuse my mother so I promised myself I would never love anybody. I didn’t love my husband when I married him, so to me I didn’t make such a good wife, but eventually I let my guard down and that changed.”

She said even now, with a good job and her life reasonably settled, suicide still tries to whisper in her ear every once in a while.

La Chapelle Mitchell hopes one day to write more books, including one on Tamar and an autobiography. She would also like to write a children’s series personifying different feelings and adversities, and teaching youths how to deal with them.

However, she is waiting to see how Suicide, Why Are You Stalking Me performs before she publishes anything else.

Suicide, Why Are You Stalking Me was published by Trinity Hills Publishing and released in 2021. It is available online from Amazon, and in stores as well as online at Walmart, Barnes and Noble and several other bookstores.


"Author Deborah La Chapelle Mitchell shares how she overcame her ‘stalker’"

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