A Christian’s experience with suicidal depression.
I am a Christian. That statement may evoke different feelings in different readers, but it is who I am.
I also have depression. I do not want to say I suffer from depression. Yes, it weighs me down some days, but I am not suffering.
I am a survivor of suicidal thoughts and days where the idea of self-harm seemed like the greatest coping mechanism of all.
I often consider how others might view my story.
Perhaps I should clarify: the Bible and the church are certainly against self-harm. It says that those who take their own lives go to Hell.
I have spent many nights staring at my ceiling, thinking about that—questioning if I can call myself a Christian if I have depression and suicidal thoughts.
My answer is yes. I am a Christian. God gave me a second chance; in fact, he gave me an unlimited number of chances.
The devil took me away from my Heavenly Father, and my faith brought me back.
When I was weak, the devil tried to make me believe that my strength lay in my ability to live, or rather, my ability to die.
This past fall, I struggled—deeply. I spent long days and sleepless nights reading my Bible, coloring, praying, and trying to breathe.
There were nights I would bury my face into my pillow, hoping I would not wake up, hoping that by some miracle, the Lord would answer my prayers and take my life from me.
Fortunately, He does not work like that. Looking back at the moment, I didn’t think it was so fortunate.
When I hear other stories of people going through depression or experiencing suicidal thoughts, I go back to my situation. How it felt, and still sometimes feels like death would be a blissful escape.
Then I go back to my promise to God, my family, my friends, and myself. Before, my dark thoughts were embraced like a close friend and accompanied by feelings of joy and ecstasy.
Now, those same terrifying thoughts come with guilt and the realization of how much life could have been lost.
I remember now that God is not angry at me for wanting to escape my problems. Instead, He is grateful I came back to Him.
It can be hard for me to remember that He loves me no matter what. I often feel like a failure, the prodigal son—daughter, in my case.
Each night I pray for others, and at the end of each night, I ask for forgiveness—not from Him, but from me.
I ask for the strength to forgive myself.
I believe everyone should learn to forgive themselves.
It may not come from prayer, and it may not be in the form of a plea to the Lord.
Perhaps it comes from a friend, stranger, or really good book.
Whatever the case, I hope you can forgive yourself.
“The bravest thing I ever did was live when I wanted to die.” ~ Juliette Lewis
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