How My Faith Saved Me From Suicide
God was not part of my life for many years before I found myself unable to go on without a miracle. Raised Catholic, I went to church and prayed often growing up. My faith was an everyday part of my life, as necessary as my treasured flip phone was to me throughout high school. Then, with a flash and bang, my faith was decimated. My mom was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. The doctors gave her six months to live. She hung on for her family for three and a half years, until a couple of months after my 18th birthday. When she died — after I had prayed unceasingly for God to save her life — my faith turned into a bitter hatred at the supernatural being that had taken not just my mother, but the woman who was my best friend. My untreated mental illnesses (schizoaffective disorder, borderline personality disorder (BPD) and post-traumatic stress disorder) combined with grief, prompted me to turn to drugs and alcohol to cope. I abused drugs and alcohol on and off for the next ten years.
Then, life became unlivable.
On September 19, 2016, I found myself standing in front of my dresser, looking in the mirror at a reflection of a girl who had no life in her eyes. I was ready to die. Unable to imagine life without drugs, but unable to imagine life with drugs, I resolved to kill myself.
Then, I felt what can only be described as an instant, pull. Something prompted me to walk out of my fiancé’s and my bedroom, and flatly state to him that I was going to kill myself if someone didn’t help me. The next couple of hours were a blur of tears, terror and confusion, with the instant feeling that I had not wanted this. What made me do this? My fiancé drove me to the psych hospital and I went through the all too familiar and draining intake process. I spent three weeks there, lost in depression and psychosis for the first week, unable to find hope of any kind.
Despairing over the prospect of possibly never improving, I called my dad crying, confessing I still wanted to die. He gently advised me to read the Bible, specifically Proverbs and Psalms, as a source of hope. I scoffed at the notion, having buried my faith and love for God with my mother. Still, after I hung up the phone, my dad’s suggestion would not unglue itself from my mind. The thought, unbidden and unwanted, exploded in my mind. What was so wrong with reading the Bible? I didn’t have an answer. And with that small realization, my harden heart softened immeasurably, and I suddenly believed in God, loved God and knew he would help me achieve recovery from not only my drug and alcohol addiction, but also from my mental illnesses. For the first time in 10 years, I had hope for a future.
God intervened, God saved me from the biggest mistake I could possibly make. I did not have the strength to stay alive, I did not have the strength to get clean and sober and I did not have the strength to continue battling my mental illnesses. But God did. He filled me with not only the strength to do all of those things, but also gave me a unshakable sense of hope and a budding seed of courage. I’m almost eight months clean and sober as I write this article. I am in an intensive outpatient program to learn how to cope with my mental illnesses and to heal from my past traumas of molestation and sexual assault. My faith had become the very essence of my being, my passion and love. I start in a Masters of Divinity program in August of 2017, beginning the journey to become a pastor and share with other people the wondrous grace and hope God gave to me.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
If you or a loved one is affected by sexual abuse or assault and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
If you or a loved one is affected by addiction and need help, you can call SAMHSA‘s hotline at 1-800-662-4357.
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Unsplash photo via Simeone Muller.