For almost 30 years, I struggled with clinical depression and suicidal thoughts. For 26 of those years, I was a born-again, Bible-believing Christian.Â
Which means, off and on, for 26 years, I was what many would consider a spiritual oxymoron â€“ a suicidal Christian.
Are you a Christian who thinks about suicide? Can you remember what it feels like not to be depressed? Do you wish you could tell your pastor or your friend sitting next to you in church, but the shame of your â€œlack of faithâ€ keeps you from opening up?
Iâ€™ve been there. I remember how lonely and scary it felt.
Yet I took a chance and talked to a few fellow Christians and it made all the difference. God led me to people who cared and never gave up on me. Believers who â€“ with huge amounts of loving endurance â€“ counseled and prayed with me throughout my dark season.
They reminded me God would never give up on me either. That He still had a purpose for me, as Psalm 138:8 (ESV) says: â€œThe Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.â€
Many donâ€™t have people to walk with them through their dark season. The church has come a long way in dealing with the issue of depression but we still have a long way to go. Perhaps those of us in the body of Christ need to ask ourselves:
â€œWhy is it so hard for church-going, Bible-believing Christians to tell their pastor or church friends that theyâ€™re suicidal?â€
â€œHow can we make it easier for them to do so?â€
This would be a discussion worth having, wouldnâ€™t it? Especially if those of you who struggle with depression and thoughts of suicide were included in that discussion.
As we (the church) continue to work on this, dear reader, refuse to believe the lie that you are hopeless â€“ or worse, that no one cares. More and more people are coming to understand the reality of your struggles. Please, donâ€™t give up on your church community.
(October is National Depression Education and Awareness Month. If youâ€™re in a mental health crisis, dial 988 and speak to a trained counselor. This nationwide Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24/7.)
Sheryl H. Boldt is the author of the blog, www.TodayCanBeDifferent.net. Connect with her at SherylHBoldt@gmail.com.