Christians Today

Can You Be Suicidal and a Christian?

One woman’s story of depression, loss of hope–and other things Christians aren’t ‘supposed’ to deal with.
Most people assume that I started running to lose weight, and I tend to let most people think that. Because the real reason is a lot less glamorous, a lot darker.
I started running to beat depression. Notice I didn’t call myself a runner, because that would imply that I am actually good at it. Me and my 13-minute mile-look out, world! But I didn’t start running just to kick the normal depressive episode that many of us experience from time to time. I started because of the more sinister, dark-night-of-the-soul depression–the kind where you don’t remember to eat, you don’t have the strength to get off the bathroom floor (if you make it that far), and you can’t think about anything except how badly you want to die.
Most of us will agree that Christians can get depressed, but can Christians get suicidal? Good Christians?
I suspect that many in the Church unconsciously believe that Christians do not and should not become suicidal, because suicide is, after all, something that only happens when you lose all hope, and don’t Christians have the best Hope there is?
I always believed that God absolutely, 100% had the power to heal me of my depression. But during those darkest nights, I didn’t believe that God would heal me, even though I knew He could. I never lost hope in Jesus, but I did lose hope for recovery. All I wanted more than anything else was to rest in the arms of my Savior. I gave up.
The temptation to kill myself felt like too much to bear. And so I had two options, to give in to that temptation and commit an irreversible (but not unforgivable) sin, or believe God’s promise to me in His Word:
“God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
And so, on December 22, 2011, I was admitted to Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services for five days.
I think Christians often make the mistake of over-spiritualizing depression and neglecting the very real physical needs of a person caught in depression’s grip, while non-Christians tend to focus too much on the physical aspects of this condition while neglecting spiritual health. But what if getting to the bottom of depression requires a body, mind and soul approach?
In the hospital, I rested. I began to treat my body, mind and soul.
By Karen Neumair

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