When I was Suicidal
When I was suicidal, I still believed in God. I imagined landing by the gates of heaven, where I would answer to Jesus why I killed myself. I thought he would understand and welcome me with open arms, saying, “Everything is alright now. Your pain is over.”
I wasn’t sure of the right time to write on this topic, although I had several lines already written. It wasn’t until I received an email from a reader in regards to this post on Suicide and Depression by Karen Neumair that I felt so compelled to complete this.
I know many people have a strong opinion on this subject, and this is mine. One of the reasons I was so scared to post this was due to fear of attack. I ask that you please respect my opinion and my story.
You see, I didn’t want to really share this all that badly. But now I feel like I’ve got to. Some of this I am still ashamed of, and afraid to admit so publicly. But there’s a brave part of me that wants to take this risk.
I’ve mentioned my “mental health issues.” I don’t even know anymore what my “diagnosis” is. I think I do have some degree of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but those issues have gotten a lot better.
And then there’s that demon called depression.
I’ve been in and out of depression for the past four years. I’ve been varying degrees of suicidal for a good chuck of it. I have been in the “mental health unit” of the hospital three times and I have tried to kill myself before.
The only time I really tried to kill myself was during a hallucination caused by Prozac – I now know some anti-depressants and I don’t agree.
I made it through that terrible episode, got on different medication, and I got (somewhat) better.
But for so many years, when things would go awry I still had an urge to end it all.
Things never got very far. I never made another attempt. But my mind still went to that dark place where I would think, “I want to just kill myself.”
It’s so sad for me to think back on how hopeless I felt. When I was suicidal, I was blind to my life’s potential. I was in so much pain.
I’m not going to pretend that my life is perfect now, or that I’m not still dealing with pain. I just ended up deciding that the prospects of my future outweighed all of that stuff from my past.
I moved on.
I still believe that going to heaven is a possibility for those who end their own lives. I can’t say definitively either way. But now that I see my own future and potential, I can’t even imagine killing myself. I feel like if I did, Jesus would be disappointed in me. Maybe I would be allowed into heaven, maybe not. But the probability of meeting a disappointed Jesus scares me enough that I don’t want to take the chance.
It’s pretty amazing to me to live like suicide isn’t an option. I lived that way for so long – I always thought there was a way out if things got to be “too much.”
I just don’t see that anymore. I see a future – a bright future, with so many possibilities.
One of my dreams is that someday God will provide me with a way to open a Christian-based treatment center for suicidal or depressed women. I think if I was more able to see a real future for myself filled with joy and see what a difference I could make, I might have pulled myself out of that despair sooner.
When I was suicidal, I honestly don’t think I trusted God enough. I worried too much.
Simply put, I was a believer, but I wasn’t following His instruction.
Just to be clear, in no way do I stand behind the “if you pray enough, your depression will go away” theory. I just think I should have trusted God more when I was suicidal. Of course, prayer helps. I probably should have prayed more in those dark times. But there are so many factors that go in to mental illness.
I’d like to leave you with this scripture that I think sums it all up:Romans 15:13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.