From early teens to young motherhood, I was plagued with suicidal tendencies.
No one knew. Publicly, I always rallied to look happy, confident, even to have peace of mind. But inwardly, the very thought of living was unbearable. My life was a mess of unintentional wrongdoing, frightening lack, self-condemnation, guilt, failure.
At one time I even considered taking the lives of my children to prevent them from having to deal with the same mental horror I'd lived with so long. I don't think I really wanted to die or have them die. I just wanted the misery to end once and for all, and I'd picked up on the idea that only death could bring permanent relief.
For me, help and healing came from God, as I began to learn that none of that could be further from the truth!
I loved God. The Bible and many of its beautiful stories and passages were familiar to me. In a book that explains the Bible, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," I read that "death is not a stepping-stone to Life, immortality, and bliss" (pg. 203). Mary Baker Eddy, the Monitor's founder, made that observation, as well as this one: "Not through sin or suicide, but by overcoming temptation and sin, shall we escape the weariness and wickedness of mortal existence, and gain heaven, the harmony of being" ("Miscellaneous Writings," pg. 53).
Misconceptions about God and ourselves that unwittingly persist in our hearts and minds, ignorance of the fact that God is the very source of our existence - this is what leads to the tragic view of death as a friend, as a genuine or permanent source of relief from misery of any kind.
St. Paul saw that "to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Rom. 8:6). Peace of mind, then, can be found only when spiritual existence is understood and lived right here, right now.
Science and Health brought me a new sense - the spiritual sense - of the Bible's message. It unlocked the mystery of God, showing Him to be the only creator and showing every one of us to be made in His perfect likeness.
God is not sometimes good and loving, showering blessings on us, and other times mean, hateful, punishing, bringing despair and destruction into our lives. God is always good, always loving us. I could only inherit good from my one and only Parent. My children could only inherit good from this Parent, too.
When I started understanding these facts, life started making sense! Instead of being a miserable mortal, doomed to depression and despair, I saw I was immortal. I had from God, who is Spirit, a wholesome nature that was spiritual. The Bible says that God is "of purer eyes than to behold evil" (Hab. 1:13). It was such a joy to find that I could know only what God, the one Mind, knows - and that what God knows about me and everyone is our goodness.
My heart soared. And for quite a long period, there wasn't even one morbid, deadly thought. Then, out of the blue, those old feelings started resurfacing. Now, though, I had a powerful spiritual weapon to defend myself with - a genuine understanding of the true nature of God and myself. Now I was able to pray, accepting only what was (and still is) true and good about my being. And I could keep my life in line with that prayer.
One day, the thought suddenly came to me almost as if I'd spoken out loud: "I want to kill myself!" And I burst out laughing. It sounded utterly absurd. Of course I didn't want to kill myself. I loved life! Life in God, as I'd been learning, is full of joy and light and peace.
In that moment I understood how suicidal thought had never, ever been my thought. It had always, only been an aggressive temptation to accept a mortal, sinful, and totally false identity. I clearly understood that suicidal tendencies could not come from God, could not be a part of my thinking.
And they vanished. That was the end of them.
God is Life itself. Life doesn't know death, cause death, or even suggest death. God knows, causes, and gives us permanent, joyous, pure, and never-ending life. It's our natural heritage as the children of God to experience this life with all its goodness - right now.
The permanent remedy for misery? Not death or suicide, but instead discovering and living our true life as the children of an all-good, all-loving God.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society