Anastasia Waller is one of OCN's featured bloggers. Because this post is of a personal nature with sensitive information, she has chosen to publish it under a pseudonym in order to protect the privacy of her family and loved ones. If her first post on the topic of depression proves helpful to someone, you may hear more from Anastasia in the future.
As I’ve written before, I have quite recently and for a few years now been struggling through the depression of a loved one. Robin Williams’ tragedy has me thinking more about the consequences of suicide — wondering, worrying, and hoping in God’s Mercy.
As someone who grew up Catholic, I was taught to believe that suicide is the worst of sins. It is a sin that will certainly bring damnation because there is no opportunity for repentance. Even Judas could have been forgiven for betraying The Lord, but he couldn’t be forgiven for hanging himself. It’s not hard to accept that judgment when you don’t know anyone suffering from depression. It’s much harder when you do, and so many of us suffer with depression or know someone who does. How do we grapple with the consequences of suicide in this life and the next?
I am still living in the shadow of depression. There were times when I have stood beside my loved one on the brink. Suicide seemed to offer the promise of relief. Dare I admit even as the caregiver of one who is depressed, it offers the relief of an end? And yet even in the darkest moments on earth, there is hope in God’s grace and power to lead us through the depression and back to life. My loved one has said, “I’m living in hell now; death can’t be any worse.” I’m not exactly sure what hell is like, but I’m sure it does exist. And I think my loved one was right in feeling he lived in hell on earth. As little as I know of hell, I do know that it is a separation from The Lord. Depression is hell on earth. It separates one from God, and even from friends and family who are physically near. The emotional isolation of depression is overwhelming. The mistake in thinking that suicide is the answer to ending the misery is that suicide, from my Christian understanding, will only make that misery eternal.
With the worry of the eternal damnation of one I love so deeply at the front of my mind, I know that despite moments of weakness, suicide can offer no relief to him or to me as a Christian. Because of my faith and my worry, there have been times when I’ve kept vigil, watching over my loved one until he fell asleep. There have been times when I’ve prayed with such fervor for God and His angels to protect him when when I felt the situation was out of my control. I’ve experienced moments worrying about his soul should the unthinkable happen. I thank God that He has protected him, that the idea of suicide has been rejected in the end. I pray for all those who have made this ultimate choice; I pray that as the deed was done but life lingered, that they may have found a second to repent, a second where they knew God’s grace and sought His love and forgiveness. I pray that God’s mercy may be so much greater than we know, so great that there is hope for all of us in whatever state our lives may end.
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