Q: My problems
are just overwhelming. I don’t want to live anymore.
A: This profound feeling of hopelessness, and of doubting
whether living has any meaning, is one with which I can personally
relate. In my book, Prodigal Song:
A Memoir, I write about my own descent into a darkness
that caused me to attempt suicide. Unless someone has been
to this black pit of a place, they will always find it hard
to understand how a person can reach this level of despair.
(Also, please see an article I wrote on this topic, called
“Coming Home to a Place
As a counselor, one of my prime responsibilities when seeing
new clients is to assess them for depression, and to gauge
their levels of potential for harming themselves. I try to
recognize three primary levels of suicidal behavior: Ideation,
Intent, and Behavior.
Ideation includes thoughts of suicidal behavior. These
thoughts range from relatively mild, generalized thoughts
that life is not worth living and wishes one were dead, to
serious ideas about specific plans, methods, etc.
Intent behaviors would include writing suicide notes,
making out of wills or other documents, giving away possessions,
and minor self-destructive acts.
Behavior involves actual suicide attempts, be they
pseudosuicidal (“cry for help”), minor (distinct
possibility of failure) or major (small probability of failure).
Suicidal ideation and behavior are often found in persons
suffering from major depression, and accompanying feelings
of overwhelming hopelessness. Some destructive behaviors may
also be initiated by delusions and hallucinations, with increased
levels of suicidal ideation in persons suffering from anxiety
or personality disorders, and alcohol and drug abuse. Some
warning signs include frequent accidents, engaging in dangerous
behavior, a preoccupation with and frequent talking about
death or morbid themes, etc. If any of this applies to your
current thinking, you should get professional help immediately.
I remember from my own experiences an intense sense of being
disconnected, and what I call feeling “spiritually separated.”
And the more I self-medicated with substances and behaviors,
the emptier my soul became. I found, just in time, that I
needed the help of others with similar wounds, people who
would love me right where I was, without judgment. I needed
You are not alone. Christ is with us all along. And others
wait to help. Here's the phone # for a suicide crisis
center: 1-800-784-2433. To find a counselor, try
Ministries – 1.800.NEW.LIFE