I have been suicidal off and on from the time I was six years old. I am a cradle Catholic. I was born and raised in the Church, and received all of my current sacraments, including Baptism, first Reconciliation, first Communion, and Confirmation within its traditions.
I will also say this, because it’s the honest truth: my conversion at sixteen (when my suicidal temptations were at their worst) happened during a Charismatic healing service at a Catholic/Christian conference. A priest and a group of kids prayed over me, and through nothing short of a miracle of God, a ray of Divine light struck my heart just enough to make me want to keep living, despite all my reasons to the contrary. To this day, that ray of light strikes me, and I am still here to live this life God gave me.
I have dealt with my demons and wrestle them daily, and you don’t need to worry about me. I use homeopathic anti-depressants and have been to therapy, and I have several emotional accountability partners who check on me constantly.
I will not be the one to ever deny the work of the life of God in the world, and its ability, through its own merit, to heal hearts and to save. But it has not been easy, and it didn’t get any easier after I was prayed over. In fact, some days it grew harder to convince myself life is indeed worth living, because the contradiction between the potential of God’s beauty in the world and how it is constantly, perpetually violated, tears through my heart like a blade.
But then I am reminded of the gentle kindness of God, the reassuring presence of the Divine in the very fabric, reality, and being in the world — that same kindness that found it apt to grace the matter of this world with His fingerprints, His breath, and His blood, and that is becoming enough to keep me going and yearning and hoping.
Jennifer Riley has a BA in British and American Literature and lives in Colorado. She maintains a blog of her musing and introspections Into the Mysterious Dark. “Enough to Keep me Going” is taken from her Christianity is not a Cure for Suicide. See her Hour of Our Death article with the same title for her reflections on how to speak about suicide.
She recommends the Suicide Hotline: Call 1-800-273-8255 or go to Suicide Prevention Lifeline for online chat, if you don’t want to talk on the phone.