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.