How People in My Church Responded When I Shared I Was Suicidal
Unfortunately many people have negative feelings about the church and how people respond when people share they have a mental health problem. It’s sad because the church should be the number one place that people feel safe to share what they are fighting.
My church family proved to me they weren’t that stereotypical church. For years I feared opening up about my mental illness out of fear of judgment and being treated differently. I only opened up to those I trusted.
One of my symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD), is the constant daily thought of suicide. One day I got to the point that I was ready to end my life. I was completely broken, angry and beyond tired of fighting my illness. I closed my eyes, I was begging myself to have the courage to do what I was about to do. It was during that moment I heard, “It’s going to get better.” I stopped.
I was still angry and I still wanted to end my life. I needed prayer and support. I sent an email to the prayer team at my church. There is a large number of people on our prayer team. In that email I didn’t leave a single thing out about how I felt. I no longer cared who knew that I had mental health issues or what some may think. I no longer cared who knew how much I hated myself, how for years suicide was almost a constant daily thought and how broken I was. In a short time I was receiving phone calls of support from not only people who I knew but also from people I had never met. People sent me text messages and emails with words of support. I was overwhelmed by all the support I received. Days later I received cards from people at my church. The following Sunday and even weeks later I had people who thanked me for my courage of sharing my battle and how I had inspired them.
For those of you who attend church and are fearful to open up about your mental illness I pray my story and my church inspires you to reach out to reach out to your church family. I pray that you receive the same love and support that I received from my church family. That is the way a real church is.
Unsplash photo via Keem Ibarra