My Faith and Suicide

Before you read any further, if you are looking for a Bible referenced theological piece, this most certainly is not it. This is one man’s experience, it is not about sympathy; the past is done with, instead it is the hope of understanding for others. I am fairly sure no one sets out in life wanting to be able to write an article about the time they took an overdose and how their faith impacted on that decision, and I certainly would never want anyone else to be able to write it either. So here goes.

On the outside, I had everything going for me, the Christian life ideal, not a perfect life, but one many aspire too. I had enough trappings of worldly success to be comfortable without so many we appeared overly materialistic. I had my own business, we went on day’s out in summer, we could give pretty generously. Inside I cried daily, I would sit in the quiet and wonder why I was not allowed to be happy, I felt broken, worthless and unworthy; a walking fraud. I immersed myself in positive literature and self help material, looked to focus on the journey, embrace the grind and looked at Biblical figures. I took advice from elders and my pastor. Inside I felt I was failing, my work meant I was working a lot, which made me a bad father missing great chunks of my children’s lives, a bad husband because I could not be there, a bad person because I could not really fulfil any practical contribution either. I was told to love my way through it, I pretty much came to know verses about the responsibilities and duties of a husband off by heart. The more I learned about my role, the more I came to feel I was a failure. Time with my wife was dominated by all the things I had not done, the things I had missed, the emotional support I had not given. A birthday trip to Paris for the weekend for my wife became an illustration of how I did not get it, my extravagance, wastefulness and lack of appreciation for other people, their commitments and feelings. I remember pulling up a the hotel (in my enthusiasm I booked a 4 star suite) and dreading the reaction, silent treatment was actually a blessing.

Daily, I felt, further and further away from being a success, and more I came to feel excluded from my own life. I knew, oh so well, my failings, failures and shortcomings, and somewhere I stopped believing that happiness was around the next corner. I was a failure, life hurt. There was no redemption, no making it up, when I hurt, I knew I deserved it, the solution to simply  “man up” and deal with it.

Which is, of course, where Jesus, comes in. This is supposed to be the bit where I tell you that I rediscovered Jesus, my faith grew and I turned it around in his name relying on God for Grace. If only that was true. Instead, I read about salvation and grace and how Jesus paid the price, his intercession, about wiping our tears away. If heaven is a better place, and this is all true, then if death has lost its sting, it is okay to take the pain away. The thought of a day without the torment started to dominate my waking thoughts. I knew I could not talk about it, no one had understood so far, and “everyone knows” that suicidal talk is just attention seeking, it is selfish, and think of the children. I was, I could not bear another day failing them as well as everyone else. If their father was their role model, like every book and advice says, then they were learning to be failures and life’s losers. Suicide would put one last piece and draw a line, and dead at least I was supposed not to be there. What about your wife; I knew what a burden I was, I knew that in her eyes I had “made myself unattractive”, I knew a lot, except her touch in tenderness not anger.

Literally, there was a saviour and salvation, an end and a new beginning. Who would lose, I would no longer be lonely in a cacophony of sound, my tears would be wiped away, I would no longer hurt, physically or emotionally, I would no longer endure days. I believed that should I live, at least the crisis services would sweep in, I would get a day off in hospital at the very least, maybe there would be someone who would understand somewhere, I clung to two hopes in the three outcomes. If I died I would accept my salvation and no more tears, if I lived I would get help; secretly i knew if i lived it would make things worse.

I rolled my dice, I passed out, I woke up chewing at my line, discharged with the blood pressure cuff still attached. The hospital had apparently assessed me and said I was ok, the community team said I could not be assessed but when they did, I was ok. I have no idea either of these happened. No one swept in, within days, it was not as if nothing had happened, it was worse. To the world I had a dose of food poisoning and dehydration. Behind closed doors the piper required payment. Inside I wanted to feel dead, I encouraged numb but it never came, instead I was alone and forsaken.

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