Suicide Survived - Living Life To The Full

Although I was working as a doctor in A&E, happily married with four delightful children, I was not immune to the depths of despair that major depression threw me into.  I would wake in a world of grey, where no sunlight burst in, alone, isolated by constant punitive thoughts telling me that I was a terrible person, a terrible doctor, a terrible Christian. I soon had to take sick leave as I had no strength or energy, I could not concentrate, I felt so tired but could not sleep; hunger left me and I hardly ate. Then the thoughts became more sinister – Phil my husband would be better off without me, I didn’t deserve to live, in my desperation I made plans to die. I managed to share how I felt with a trusted friend and so I came to be admitted to hospital, where for 4 ½ of the next 7 years I was to spend time being treated for severe treatment resistant depression.
 
Some of our close friends and family remained in touch; they helped out with the family and were faithful in prayer.  Others could not cope and I heard not a word, their silence being interpreted that I was as I thought an untouchable, a leper.  For some I became the object of well meaning advice.  Why didn’t I pray more?  If only I was to come closer to God, read my bible more, confess my sin........then that would be the key to my recovery.  After all, true Christians don’t become depressed!
 
But for others, even those who did not know me well, gifts and cards and prayers came my way.  They warmed my heart which felt like stone, they helped me see a little chink of light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel.
I survived my ordeal and suicide attempts though I live with the consequences, but once again there is much joy in my life. I wrote ‘A Thorn In My Mind’ as a result of the stigma and rejection of mental illness within our churches, to explain the truth that these conditions are as ancient as history and that biblical characters as well as many famous Christians have suffered from depression.  I tell my story as I grew spiritually through this illness and provide descriptions and treatments of most of the common disorders which are known as mental illnesses.
 
I was not expected to live, let alone return to work, yet I did both these things.  Now finally I have retired after a six month hospital spell when I had a relapse of my condition. But as I have slowly grown well again, I have known increasing freedom in God my Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is time for a different sort of life; one to tell the world – there is no despair that has absolutely no hope, the tragedy of suicide must be prevented and we the Christians can be front runners in the race.  Our goal, to accept  people however they are and provide them with hope - well or sick, able bodied or disabled, mentally well or mentally ill, brothers & sisters in Christ or still yet to find God.  This is our mission as we know God’s love, to love one another and to love the world as He does.
 
Cathy Wield


What next?

 
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Cathy and her husband Phil Wield [a counsellor having trained at LST in Theology & Counselling] run workshops on Depression for churches and other organisations. Click this flier to enlarge for more details.

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Read Cathy's book - A Thorn In My Mind - available from amazone. [review on this website]

If you search the Mind and Soul website for the work suicide you will find lots more - click here to search for 'suicide'
Cathy Wield, 07/04/2013