I have a chronic illness. It’s not cancer, and it’s not heart disease: I have a chronic mental illness. I frequently deal with suicidal thoughts. I have gone through periods when I’ve had thoughts of killing myself every single day. Once, it lasted for two and a half years. I’m kept alive by my boyfriend, my family, my psychologist, my psychiatrist, and loads of medications. It’s all very precarious. A shift in any of these supports could be fatal.
When my previous therapist, after four years of therapy for extreme depression, asked if I believed in God, I knew that I was in trouble. If my therapist was resorting to God, what hope was there for me? I explained that I had no faith. I have no memory of ever believing in God, but I do remember a period when, being extraordinarily depressed, I tried to believe in something other than what I had in my life in order to try to relieve myself of suicidal thoughts. I wanted to find solace in something that might help me fight the darkness. I was often driven to self-injurious and self-destructive behaviors. If only I could find some comfort outside of myself! I know better now; I no longer think that a belief in a god will be a substitute for my suicidal thoughts.