For Anybody Who has Ever Considered Suicide

Don’t. It gets better.

God bless Kevin Briggs.

FWIW, in February 1977, I was pretty close to where Kevin Berthia was. No hope in my life. Without God in the world. Deeply lonely and, worse, with no idea that there was any hope or love, in a universe I was taught had spat me out by accident and, after an indeterminate time, would smash me like a bug in the hurly burly of its randomness.

It would be several years before I met Christ and found out that at the core of the world was joy. It would be years after that before I plucked up the courage to believe that. And it’s take 25 years of therapy from the sacraments to really begin making the habitual choice to live as though that’s true (something I still suck at).

But what saved me from death back then was theatre. I auditioned for a play at Everett Community College and found friendship, the ability to do something I liked and was good at, and a new lease on life. It was ultimately only a way station on the journey of course. But I learned that there was hope.

If you are struggling with despair, throw yourself in to something you love and have always felt intimidated about trying. Instead of giving up, make an appointment to meet yourself in 10 years. Kevin Berthia did and he is so glad he did not throw it all away.

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

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  • alishadefreitas

    Thank you for sharing this. 🙂

  • Trust in God when mankind fails you- it’s the only reason I’m alive today. Even my most recent despair over the politics in America- God was always there for me, even when no other human being was.

  • Jacob

    My conversion followed a similar route – I had finally understood how depressing atheism was. Worse than my own impending end, I realized that the universe itself would eventually end, and anything I ever did would eventually amount to nothing. Fortunately, I was raised Christian and I turned back to God after about two weeks of depression (I actually lost 5 lbs and was having mini panic attacks). The crazy thing is that the depression came absolutely out of nowhere, I was really enjoying my life up to that point. I thank God for it.

  • Stephen J.

    Well said, Mark, and thank you.

  • Christine

    As someone who has struggled with depression for years, I do want to put in a word for counseling and medication. I was a faithful Catholic who received the sacraments daily and knew that my life had meaning and purpose when my depression hit hard. Atheism is depressing, but you don’t need to be without God to be depressed. It wasn’t more prayer or more sacraments that helped me heal, but a good psychiatrist and a good combination of medications. So for anyone out there who is suicidal, don’t be afraid to seek help. Seek to know God and His plan for you, but also realize that sometimes depression is about something other than your relationship with God, and if you have a biochemical problem, there is nothing unholy about seeking a biochemical solution as well.

    I don’t mean to imply that Mark was discounting the importance of psychiatric medicine or that he was saying that depression is always about a problem in your relationship with God or your perspective on life. I just feel compelled to share a different (but not contradictory) perspective.

    • kath

      Amen, sister!

  • Marthe Lépine

    I would add to Christine’s comment: God created the ingredients used in the medication, the scientists who discovered them, the medical researchers who used them to design the medications, and the pharmaceutical companies that made and tested them. There is nothing wrong with needing them to treat or cure a disease…

  • Steven Cass

    I’ve attempted suicide twice in my life, so thanks for this. One thing that makes me, well, angry, is when people use the “You’ve got it good, what do you have to be depressed about?” nonsense. I tell those people that all they do is compound guilt on top of whatever’s going on, but few seem to get it. Mostly, I put myself out there to people who really are in dark places and can’t see light.
    It could be one reason why I’m allowed to suffer from depression- I’ve always been good at empathy and dealing with a problem without judging a person. Hmmm… never thought about adding my depression to my list of things I give thanks to God for…

    • Michael J. Lichens

      This. I’m glad you are doing better and I know exactly what you are talking about. The problem with the world “depression” is that most people associate it with circumstances, which it can be. Sure, people get depressed when they lose a loved one or lost a job, and we pray for healing. The moment one has the disease and therefore is in a state of despair for no damn reason, then folks just don’t get it.

      I find that talking about it after the really dark times lift a bit is helpful. Like so much in this world, people don’t mean to be callous or silly but are just speaking out of ignorance. Thanks for sharing yours, it is helpful.

    • Gary Keith Chesterton

      People don’t know. The pain of depression is as real as the pain of a broken leg. It’s that simple, but people just don’t know, so they say things they think will help. It’s like grabbing a broken leg and pulling on it, saying “Come on! Get up!” No. What’s hurt has to be fixed. It has to heal.

  • Imp the Vladaler

    If you are struggling with despair, throw yourself in to something you love and have always felt intimidated about trying.

    Suicidal? Nothing to live for? You don’t believe that. If you did, then you’d be out there doing something awesome that could end in death. Fly to Africa and punch a lion in the face. Drain your bank account, run up your credit cards, and rent the finest room in Monte Carlo, then take the rest of your money and bet it all on black. See Bangkok, Tahiti, Tokyo, Dubai, Rome, and Paris. Pick a fight in the toughest biker bar in Texas.

    Then come home, and if you still want to kill yourself, be my guest.