A Stranger Gave Me The Solution

It was a bad day. My suicidal impulses surprised me today. They are sneaky and they creep up on me while I am looking in the other direction. I think the worst part is that they whisper, they don’t shout.

A couple of weeks ago Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon sent me the following email as a response to my question to him; is this depression with suicidal ideation due to some unconfessed sin? I would like to share part of his response with you.

“Let me suggest, in the meanwhile, something you will find useful in tackling this problem:
Try to give thanks continually, or any time you remember to do so. It is nearly impossible to be giving thanks to God and, simultaneously, to be offending him. The best antidote to depression is the cultivation of thanksgiving to God—whether you FEEL like giving thanks or not. No words in the world are so precious to the ears of God as “thank you.” The goal is to have our souls transformed by the constant cultivation of thanksgiving. It will remove all bitterness and fill us with joy. (Don’t expect it work overnight, however. It will take a bit of real work.

As often as you think to do so, quietly tell Jesus you love him, and ask him to reveal his love and presence to the deepest parts of your soul”

Fr. Reardon is right, it is very hard to give thanks for my sufferings, especially the confusion I feel around the issue of suicide. But he is right that it focuses me on what is important, My Lord and Savior. The self-involvement of depression and suicidal ideation is dreadful and unwanted. I think the worst part of depression is being focused on self when I just want escape from self. So it seems right to just focus on Jesus, to love him, to thank him for my life even though I can’t see the goodness of it now.

I want to thank you all for your encouragement and your kindness. It makes me happy to pray for you and I know you continue to pray for me.

3 thoughts on “A Stranger Gave Me The Solution

  1. Certainly a good word!

    for me, it was the idea that “For you are bought with a price…”
    and “The life that now live is not my own…” No matter what my opinion of “my” life was, no matter even if my low opinion of it’s value was correct or not – it simply wasn’t mine to deal with. I would be like some teenager selling his parents car because he didn’t like it.
    Took me a long time to move from the edge, then a relapse about 5 years ago. Now I think the suicide part is done, although the depression will probably just be part of my make up.

    The task now is to see how that can be used to the glory of God. And of course, you are doing that in writing such things as this post. Whether or not there is anything else, yet, shining a light in this dark place is indeed to the glory of God. As Paul instructs us in Eph, things of darkness, when brought to the light, become light. When your (and my) darkness is brought to the light of God’s presence, and His love, even that darkness becomes a source of God’s love shining forth into other darkness.

    Please forgive me for presuming to teach someone who is fighting the battle with valor and strength – I would probably do better to listen – but I was so pleased to read your post that I could not resist.

    R. Eric Sawyer

  2. You go Father!!! Whenever I feel myself beginning to sink into a “depression mode” I say one Our Father, One Hail Mary, and one Glory Be…” Usually that does the trick. If you have read any of my previous post regarding “When cancer infiltrates your life” I even asked God, “To throw me a bone!” He did, many of them. God Bless, SR

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