Where Is God When I'm Suicidal?
My faith in God is a huge part of how I navigate my mental illness. But there are days when it doesn’t seem possible that a loving God could exist at the same time as all the hurt I experience.
I am chronically suicidal. I am a Christian. I do not think these things are incompatible. If anything, my struggle with mental illness has made my relationship with Christ deeper. So how can I want to kill myself all the time?
Because the world is painful. People hurt and die, our brains work against us. We grieve and suffer. I have to hold on to the idea that there is something good happening despite all of this. Life seems too intricate, too complex, for there not to be some kind of plot line. I believe I have a role in this story, and I wonder what it is.
Also, I know that my brain does not function like everyone else’s. Controlling the urge to kill myself is like trying not to vomit. It is an agonizing feat, and it isn’t always possible. Your stomach contracts against your will, and you end up with puke pushing through closed lips and seeping through your fingers. It’s gross. But it is not my fault.
I don’t understand why things are this way, or why they continue to be this way. I hate it. I don’t even have words for how much it hurts. And yet, I find God in the places where my pain touches someone else’s. When, for a moment, all my pain is worth it.
I see God in the trees. I see Him in beauty. When I could instead live in a place that is barren, nature is full. I find God in every minute I don’t kill myself. Because I am still here, and there is no other reason to be.
When I am suicidal, God is in my honesty. He is in the truth of my brokenness, the proof that God lives in and loves the most shattered of souls. God is in my sorrow and in my confusion. If anyone can understand the hurt of my heart, it is Him. His heart aches too. We bond over the weight of everything that breaks my back.
My fight with suicide does not mean I am failing. It does not mean I am a bad believer. It just means I live in a world where things are broken sometimes. Where things are painful and they are not our fault. God is incredibly proud of me when I am suicidal. He sees how hard I try to stay alive. Continuing to live when you are constantly being pulled toward death seems like the very definition of hope to me. When you are standing at the edge of a cliff, ready to hurl yourself off the edge, taking just one step back is hope.
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