I often think of killing myself. There’s pills that I could swallow to slowly and painfully end it. Or I could hang myself, which is quicker and easier. I don’t own a gun because that would be way too easy. My suicidal ideation is not something I’m public about, until now. I hide it all the time. The desire for suicide can be seen as an irrational solution to a feeling of suffering. It can just be a feeling. That pit of doom stuck deep inside the chest. It’s hard to describe, especially for something that is so prevalent that it constantly hangs over like an awning of death.
There’s two ways to get rid of these thoughts. There’s the cognitive behavioral therapy approach, which can work, if you get good at it. Logically, suicide is a stupid solution. It doesn’t seem like that to your feelings, but objectively, there are almost always better alternatives to ending it all.
Then there’s the praying option. I am an atheist when it comes to the brain. I’m a believer in God when it comes to the heart. When I think about God and the afterlife philosophically I posit that it’s all make believe. Nothing divine can be proved. We’re all just cells in a complex but straightforwardly dialectical material world. But then I pray because there’s nothing else but death and nothingness facing me, and I feel in my heart the love of something that I know shouldn’t be there. God is love. Love is God. It’s so simple that it sounds stupid. We’re all just so jaded that we can’t see through the pain and hatred half the time.
The atheism creeps up on me. I find myself thinking about death so often and the logical conclusion is that there’s nothing after it. I spiral down a hole of depression and suicidal ideation and forget that I can choose to believe in something better. That grace is a choice which is the stepping stone to faith. Then I say Hail Mary’s over and over again in my head. And I feel the comfort of love coming from seemingly nowhere. Do not be afraid, a beautiful power says. And my pain starts to evaporate.
I do not want to sound like I’m evangelizing. I understand the skepticism of faith and everything that comes with it. I listen to criticism of institutions like that Catholic Church and other Christian churches and agree with many of them. The Catholic Church has many problems, pedophilia, corruption, authoritarianism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, the list goes on…. I guess I just identify as Catholic because I was raised Catholic. I don’t go to mass currently, but right after my mom died I was attending mass and it helped me feel better.
I pray and I feel better. I feel love coming from somewhere mysterious. I feel spiritual. And it can sometimes be the only thing standing in the way of me killing myself. The part of me that’s a relapsing atheist can appreciate that I guess. There are times where I am 100% an atheist and happy. Then the depression sets in and my mind spirals out of control until I need something to cling to, and I’m hanging by a fingernail, until I give up all of the arrogance and just pray. And then I feel love. And I don’t want to kill myself anymore.